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An over-arching theme: The Pacific Highway Association meeting at Vancouver BC, 1913

October 27, 2014

The annual meeting of the Pacific Highway Association was held at the Progress Club in Vancouver BC from August 12 to 14, 1913.

Highlights of the event included the announcement by outgoing President JT Ronald of plans to erect a peace memorial arch on the Pacific Highway at the boundary line, and the election of Samuel Hill as President.

Entertainments included a lantern show hosted by Sam Hill, depicting highways on two continents, and a scenic drive interrupted.

Before getting down to the business of the meeting in the post following, the diversions.

The Vancouver Progress Club

1913 Progress Club logoThe Progress Club of Vancouver was a local association promoting British Columbia tourism and  agricultural and business enterprises.

Adorning the walls of the its meeting rooms were photos of the many arches that had adorned Vancouver streets in 1912 in honor of the visit of the Duke of Connaught.

Below, the Progress Club building on Hastings at Richards seen through the opening of the Canadian Northern Railway arch.

1912 Canadian Northern Arch - Italian Arch - Duke of Connaught visit Sept 1912 

The Progress Club had its own grand arch over Granville Street.

1912 Progress Club Arch

Below, the Progress Club on the northeast corner of Hastings Street at Richards Street. Meeting rooms on second floor.

1913 Progress Club - Hastings at Richards

The Progress Club chambers were decorated for the visit of the Duke of Connaught in September 1912. “Vancouver has the spirit that makes convention cities,” below. The site of building with the flag on the far corner is now SFU Harbour Centre.

1912 Hastings Street Progress Club


Sam Hill’s lantern show at the Kinemacolor Theatre

1913 Kinemacolor Theatre des Beaux ArtsWith the formal program of the Pacific Highway Association taking place in the meeting rooms of the Progress Club,  an entertainment evening of lantern slides was put on at the Kinemacolor Theatre Des Beaux Arts, on Granville Street at Dunsmuir Street.

In the age of black and white movies, Kinemacolor was a tinting process that simulated color film.

From the program:

Kinemacolor Theatre sign - Sun photo“Illustrated lantern lecture by the president of the American Road Builders Association, Mr S Hill. Subject: "Roadways of Two Continents."”

“the lantern slides are of the best in the world.”

At right is the lighted entrance to the Kinemacolor Theatre saved by a local collector, as pictured in an article in the Vancouver Sun.

As it happened, at  the time, one of the distinguished cinematographers working with Kinemacolor was filming in Vancouver at this time. Harold Sintzenich had recorded the arrival of the HMS New Zealand in Burrard Inlet on July 28.

"Commissioner ES Rowe, of the Progress Club, got busy during the afternoon and had on the job Mr Harold Sintzenich, the expert ‘movie’ man, sent from London by the Kinemacolor Company. The machine was kept trained on the Stanley Park crowds and the slate-colored vessel as she passed."

Sintzenich filming on the CPR through the RockiesSintzenich worked on  a number of promotional films in British Columbia, ranging from pastoral scenes promoting the fruit industry, to  one which involved a harrowing ride on the cowcatcher of a CPR locomotive in the Rockies.

Right, Sintzenich, by his own account, considerably fazed after slipping from his moving camera-operator perch on a precipice and clinging to the tripod legs. (Illustration from The World’s News.)

The rude interruption of a Stanley Park drive

Samuel GintzburgerPart of the official program of the Pacific Highway Convention was a scenic drive around Vancouver and  Stanley Park before ending up at the residence of  Vancouver Automobile Club President Samuel Gintzburger for a luncheon.  

The procession of autos was delayed at Brockton Point by a man “who was gathering cans in a garbage wagon.”

According to one of the passengers in an automobile, Charles F Green was offended by the display of the Stars and Stripes displayed on the fenders of the autos and harangued the drivers to remove the flags.

Perhaps it was patriotic fervor, and perhaps some resentment at the opulence of the cars.  In this era — a time of recent clashes between labor and authority  — automobiles were still a rather exclusive preserve of the moneyed class. 

To forestall the image that  their advocacy of good roads was merely for their own enjoyment of “touring,”  auto enthusiasts took pains to point out that public money spent on roads benefitted the entire population, enabling rural populations and facilitating distribution of produce and manufactured goods.  Judge Ronald claimed that good roads improved literacy.

At any rate, Green, in allegedly using profane language and gesture greatly embarrassed the male and female occupants of the cars, one of whom was the Deputy Chief of Police, no less, who found himself powerless to constrain Green’s tirade.  

“I have never been so humiliated in all my life,” was quoted acting Chief McLennan. 

Judge Ronald of Seattle was one of those on the tour, with many of the wives along.

Green was subsequently arrested.

Sam Gintzburger, host of the luncheon that day,  was the Swiss Consul in Vancouver. He served on the first Peace Arch committee of 1913, played a role at the Pacific Highway peace centenary ceremony of 1915, where he attached a brass plaque to a flag-staff, and at the Peace Arch dedication in 1921.

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