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British Columbia History

British Columbia History 52.1 | Spring 2019

British Columbia History chronicles British Columbia’s unique story through the words and images of community writers, archivists, museum professionals, academic historians and more. Fresh, engaging, personal and relevant, every issue is packed with articles, photographs, maps, illustrations, book reviews and insights into local archives and historic sites.

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British Columbia Historical Federation
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
letters from readers

Waterfront Acquisition in West Vancouver Dear Editor, It was with great interest that I read the excellent article “Waterfront Acquisition in West Vancouver.” I live in Quesnel, where we are currently examining possibilities for riverfront planning, parks, and so much more. So I was fascinated to see the years of foresight and dedication that was exhibited by the West Vancouver council. When I finished the article and looked at the author’s name, I then realized why the article was so good. It was by Rod Day (prof emeritus, SFU) that I had worked for as an editorial assistant when I was a university student. He was a wonderful boss, and an extremely meticulous author and researcher. It was great to see such detail about the West Vancouver process. I also want to thank…

1 min
1923 meets 2018

In December, with some trepidation, we launched a digital version of British Columbia History magazine on iTunes. In some ways the magazine has come a long way from the First Annual Report and Proceedings published in October 1923 with Professor Walter Sage as editor. However, the goal, as stated in the constitution, has remained the same: “to encourage historical research and public interest in history.” For years people have asked why we are not on grocery store magazine stands. Other people have asked us to publish a digital magazine. Now, we have accomplished both—but with a modern twist. British Columbia History is now part of the “world’s largest newsstand” through the Zinio (RB Digital Magazines) newsstand and can be read on a computer or downloaded via the RBDigital app. Subscribers who prefer…

19 min
secwépemc people, land, and laws: yerí7 re stsq’ey’s-kucw

This is a monumental work—and for many people it’s impossible to conceive of how it would have come together. Can you tell us a bit about your process of research and writing? This was a book that took a long time, in some sense, for both of us it is a life-long work of love, kinship, and dedication to the ancestors that taught us. Ron: It literally goes back to the time, some 65 or more years ago, when I tslexemwílc as I explained it in the prefaced Ron’s Story of our book. It goes back to my remembrances of childhood in Skeetchestn and Tk’emlúps (Kamloops), being raised by my great-grandparents, Sulyen and Edward Eneas who were both born in underground pithouses in the late 1870s, and being fortunate to be raised…

2 min
hide shimizu’s scrapbook

In 1895, the BC legislature added Japanese-Canadian people to the list of those excluded from voting provincially. While allowed to vote federally in 1898, this right was lost in 1920, with the Dominion Elections Act that stated that if a province discriminated against a group by reason of race, that group would also be excluded from the federal vote. In response, a group of activists came together and formed the Japanese Canadians Citizens’ League (JCCL) in 1936. Members of the JCCL were concerned about the restrictions placed on their community; therefore, they decided to take action by selecting representatives to travel to Ottawa to fight for their rights as Canadian citizens. The nominated members of the delegation were Samuel Hayakawa, who was a university professor at San Francisco State University;…

14 min
flipping their wigs

As lawyers and spectators filled a Victoria courtroom on April 10, 1905, all eyes watched expectantly for the justices of the BC Supreme Court to enter. The full court, consisting of Chief Justice Gordon Hunter, Justice Paulus Irving, and Justice Archer Martin, would hear the appeal of Hopper vs. Dunsmuir. But the case itself wasn’t the reason for the breathless atmosphere. When the judges failed to appear at their usual starting time of 11 a.m., tongues began wagging. According to the Victoria Daily Colonist, “as the hands of the clock moved round and minute after minute passed, counsel … engaged in whispered conversation as to the cause of the delay … Consequently, it was with feelings of suppressed excitement that the appearance of the judges was awaited.”1 The prevailing belief was that…

2 min
hanging hood

In an abandoned elevator shaft at Oakalla prison, Leo Mantha waited out his final moments standing over a metal trap door. The day was April 28, 1959. The mood in the small cement room was somber and quiet. A small gallery of people watched as the noose was placed over his hooded head. The execution of Leo Mantha was the last in BC, and a hanging hood, possibly this very one, would have been placed over his head for the occasion. Hanging hoods were used to both provide a small measure of privacy for the condemned, and to ensure they would not flinch or react when the lever was pulled, which could alter the position of the neck and lead to a prolonged hanging. The hood also spared those in the…