GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

British Columbia

March 15 1947
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

British Columbia

March 15 1947

Cross Country

British Columbia

INTERIOR B. C. and prairie towns have a displaced persons problem on their hands which they’d like to hand right back to Vancouver.

These DP’s are refugees from the law, petty crooks turned loose because Vancouver doesn’t want to give them jail room. After arrest in Vancouver for some minor crime they’ve been given “floater” sentences of 30 to 60 days. Here’s the catch—the committal warrant is delayed 24 hours, during which the guilty person can get out of town.

Kelowna made formal protest that these Vancouver crooks have moved in on them, and complaints have been heard from as far east as Winnipeg. Edmonton had a $3,500 bank holdup for which two men and a woman, recent arrivals from Vancouver, were arrested. Other towns

blame reportedly sharp crime increases on “immigrants” from B. C.’s Big Town.

When Staff Sergeant Leonard Ward, of Burnaby, B.C., left the Army, he launched into business with a product which, in his own words, “'will till your garden, fertilize your orchard, feed your hens, clean your henhouse and catch fish for dinner. What more could a man ask?”

To be more explicit, Mr. Ward is making a career of raising earthworms.

For $75 he obtained 8,000 worms from the United States as breeding stock. (Baffled Customs men “finally decided to charge me 10%,” says Ward, “just on general principles.”) The worms are hybrids—crosses between the common garden variety worm and a type of orchard worm which likes to live about six feet down.

Mr. Ward now

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Cross Country

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raises his worms in basement boxes and hopes to interest farmers and chicken raisers in his “special service troops for the chicken run.” Planted in wireprotected pits under the roosts, he says they’ll dispose of the manure. “You can just forget about cleaning the henhouse.” Ward worms are also good fishing bait.

In Vancouver’s Kitsilano suburb a campaign to raise $150,000 for a memorial community centre bogged down at $40,000. The Vancouver Air Force Association’s drive for $50,000 was stuck at the halfway mark. Other worthy money-raising campaigns did no better.

Campaigners thought they knew how they could raise the money easily —with raffles. Nothing, they said, brought in the money like a chance on a car or a house. But they were up against a year-old ruling of the late Attorney-General, R. L. Maitland, that all such raffles are a violation of the criminal code. Gordon S. Wismer, his successor, is standing by the decision.

One of the victims of the antiraffle law was the New Westminster Rotary Club’s annual barrel contest. The club used to drop a barrel in the Fraser 135 miles above the city and sell tickets on the time it took the barrel to float downstream to the Pattullo Bridge. Because each ticket buyer was allowed to guess the time, the club maintained it was not running a raffle, but a test of skill. Officials in Victoria thought differently, so the contest was abandoned after having raised $25,000 in five years.

The Prairies

In the dark wartime spring of 1941 a party representing the British Gov-

ernment appeared in the “British Block” of southern Alberta, a sparsely settled area of more than 700,000 acres between Suffield and the Saskatchewan boundary. They wanted the land, and they wanted it fast.

To each of the 130 families in the Block this offer was made: trade acre for acre, for Crown lands north of the Red Deer River, plus a cash settlement for buildings, or, instead, a straight $6.50 per acre. The farmers thought both offers unfair.

But the Government—and the war —couldn’t wait. R.C.M.P. officers summoned the farmers to court in Medicine Hat, where they were summarily ordered off their land in 15 days, and recompensed at $1 an acre for raw land, five cents per acre for each unexpired year on leased land, $4 per acre for standing crops, $2 per head for moving livestock and no stated offer for buildings.

When the settlers had gone, the area around Suffield became the “New Mexico” of Canada. It was used by Canada, Britain and the United States as a supersecret testing ground, chiefly for poison gas, but also for explosives and other weapons. The area is now a permanent military experimental station, including three camps and an airfield, that cost more than $8 millions.

The 130 families scattered across Canada and the United States. Some of them refused to accept a cent of the award. All of them felt that they had been treated unfairly, that the people of the “British Block” got less than British justice. Now they want the question reopened. The United Farmers of Alberta support their appeal for arbitration.

Alberta legislators are wondering whether they should extend wartime

legislation, due to expire this May, which forbade expansion of the 33 collective farms operated by 4,000 Hutterites in the southern part of the province.

The Hutterites are a religious sect who came to Canada from South Dakota toward the end of World War I, to escape the hostility of Americans as a result of their pacifist stand against war. Few of the immigrants became Canadian citizens, and they mingle with the outside world as little as possible. They live a secluded life on their prosperous communal colonies, the men wearing loose-fitting black clothing, black hats, and beards, and the women long voluminous skirts and head scarves. All property except minor personal articles belongs to the community. Their strait-laced faith was founded in central Europe during the Reformation by Jacob Hutter, who was burned at the stake.

During the early days of the war the Alberta neighbors of the Hutterites complained that while their sons were going off to fight, the antiwar Hutterites were growing rich and expanding their land holdings. In 1944 the Legislature passed the Land Sales Prohibition Act to prevent the Hutterites from buying or leasing more farm lands than they already possessed.

This has worked hardship on the colonies, according to a brief they presented to a special Legislature committee recently. It was claimed that on the colony near Warner, for instance, there was only enough land for five or six acres of crop for each person per year. Unless more land could be bought, the committee was told, the Hutterites at Warner would have to leave Alberta.

In the spring of 1945 Richard Platte of Nipawin, in northeast Saskatchewan, obtained four bushels of a precious new strain of malting barley called Montcalm, developed at Macdonald College in Quebec. Platte’s barley multiplied vigorously (from one 225-acre piece of land he got the phenomenal yield of 66 bushels per acre) and by the fall of 1946 he had 20,000 bushels of Montcalm. Sixteen thousand bushels were certified, and brought Platte $3 a bushel. Seed he distributed to other fanners after his 1945 crop brought the two-year yield from four bushels to a fantastic total of 26,000 bushels.

Ontario

All the buried gold in Ontario isn’t to be found under the rocks and rivers of the north, if you can believe the yarns they spin in the little ports along Lake Erie. The old-timers will assure you that at least a quarter of a million dollars worth of bullion has been lying off the Canadian shore of Erie for more than a century, just waiting for someone to pull it up and make himself rich -if he can find it.

There’s the British vessel, whose name has been forgotten, which was carrying troops to relieve Fort Detroit, besieged during the Pontiac conspiracy, and $150,000 in gold to pay the garrison. The ship, so the story goes, was lost with all hands in a storm.

Then there’s the saga of the Queen, taking $100,000 to General Proctor’s army in Detroit during the war of 1812. Off Morpeth she encountered an American man-o’-war. The gold was stowed in a wooden chest and lashed to a floating buoy. When the Americans boarded the Queen, they found nothing and let her continue on her course. Then, so the story goes, the Queen returned to the buoy, but found the chest had broken its lashings and gone to the bottom. Hot-stove historians say the $100,000 lies somewhere

between Morpeth and Rondeau Point.

Of more immediate interest to treasure seekers is the cargo of black walnut, valued at $100,000, which went down with the New Brunswick off Wheatley in 1859. In 1940 a log was discovered which may have come from this cargo, and a syndicate at Erieau is reported to be planning a hunt for the wreckage.

Toronto has a long-standing rule against teachers smoking in schools. Recently the Board of Education took notice of teachers’ pleas, and passed a motion permitting them to light up.

Then the fat was really in the fire. Capt. Sam Hill, deputy fire marshal, took strong opposition to the ruling, and declared: “I am definitely against it. It’s the worst thing that could have happened. The majority of schools in Toronto have 800 to 1,200 children, and it will only take one careless teacher to cause a serious fire.”

Controversy boiled up. Several students said that Mr. Hill’s arguments were “just excuses to cover up an attitude which should have disappeared with the bustle. Our schools are supposed to be fireproof, and if they aren’t, well, why aren’t they?”

Best guess was that the Board of Education’s motion would fail to upset the city’s no-smoking by-law as applied to schools.

Hamilton rates went up three and a half mills this year to 38.5 mills. But the taxpayers aren’t complaining too much, for by the end of this year they’ll have the per capita debt of Hamilton down to $28. Just 13 years ago it stood at a whopping $233.

From World War I until 1933, Hamilton’s debt soared unchecked. When it reached $36 millions, the Ontario Municipal Board began to look askance, and the city fathers began to look at a long-range debt retirement plan. An economy program was adopted and maintained under Conservative Mayor William Morrison and CCF Mayor Sam Lawrence. By 1948 the debt will be a trifling $5 millions.

“Never since I became a juvenile court judge in 1919 have there been so few juvenile cases on the record as there were in 1946,” reported Judge Hawley S. Mott, of the Toronto Family Court.

“The younger generation is definitely not going to the dogs,” agreed Judge V. Lome Stewart, acting judge of the Toronto Juvenile Court. ‘

Both judges, in a statement released recently, found that “there is a very real decrease in juvenile delinquency” in Toronto since homes are returning to norma] after the “overstimulations” of war. The return of men from the forces has brought about the readjustment of the vast majority of homes, said Judge Mott.

Their figures told the story. In Family Court during 1946 there were only 793 juvenile cases, compared with 1,055 in 1945 and 1,732 in 1943.

Although there aren’t as many toll bridges on Quebec highways as there used to be (at one time you couldn’t drive off Montreal Island without paying for the privilege), there are still enough to annoy the motorists. Two thousand Montreal car owners recently demanded the removal of “unjust impositions set by private property owners for the use of spans over their streams and rivers”—sent the resolution off to Premier Duplessis.

Under provincial law, as much as

50 cents a car can be charged for crossing privately owned bridges. The motorists want the government to abolish the tolls and recompense the bridge owners from the road budget.

It was a dark, cold Montreal winter night. A north-bound St. Lawrence Boulevard tram, its destination board reading Cremazie Boulevard, ground to a stop at Jean Talon Avenue, a mile and a quarter away from its goal. In climbed Tramways Inspector Forget and, as Tramways inspectors have been doing confidently in Montreal for years, ordered the 27 passengers into another car. This car was turning around.

But the passengers, already late for their dinners, weren’t having any. This was the time for a declaration of independence. Up stood J. A. Page, who moved they stay aboard. He was seconded by Alexandre Cloutier. The passengers sat tight.

Two policemen from a radio car came aboard, found everything in order and withdrew.

The perplexed tramways men moved the car into an adjoining barn where it sat for half an hour while they debated what to do. The passengers still sat tight. By this time their cold dinners couldn’t get any colder.

Finally, 50 minutes after the insurrection began, the Tramways yielded. The car was moved out of the barn to St. Lawrence, and clanged the last mile and a quarter to Cremazie.

The Maritimes

When a resident of New Brunswick reached the age of 106 last month, a check was made to see if this was very unusual. The investigators turned up the fact that, per capita, the Maritime Provinces have more people over 95 than any of the other provinces.

Nova Scotia leads the nation with one over 95 in 3,321. P. E. I. has one in 3,800 and New Brunswick one in 6,175. The rest of the provinces trail behind, down to Alberta, where only one citizen in 18,511 manages to hang on for four score years and fifteen.

Soon the Nova Scotia museum at Halifax should be receiving some interesting specimens of African wild life—among them a gnu, or wildebeest, and a lion. They are the gift of Michael Lerner, New York multimillionaire sportsman and chain store magnate. Last October he headed a big - game hunting expedition into Africa, accompanied by his wife, Helen, a five-foot brunette who is just as keen a hunter and fisherman as her husband. The Nova Scotia Government sponsored the expedition but Lerner paid the expenses.

This is not the first time Lerner has been the province’s benefactor. In 1935 he went on an 11-day fishing expedition off Wedgeport. The giant tuna he hooked on that pioneering occasion put Nova Scotia on the map as a big-game fishing resort which attracts wealthy anglers from all over the continent.

Lured by the expectation of profits of $275 to $300 per acre, many P. E. I. farmers have signed up to grow cucumbers this coming season. They’ll deliver them to a newly established processing plant in Charlottetown.

This will be a new experiment for P. E. I., where the growing of vegetables, with the exception of potatoes and turnips, has been mostly left to the farm women or not done at all. Premier J. Walter Jones, a farmer, was the first to sign a contract for a certain acreage.