The Importance of Being Earnest, a UBC Theatre playbill by Ernest Le Messurier, cartoonist and commercial artist, from the Ernest Le Messurier Comic Collection in the Vancouver Archives, 76-32 #121. Ernest was a graduate of the first class to officially bear the name UBC, and this poster was created for the 1919 production of the Oscar Wilde classic. The theatre program can be seen on this page. It was not without controversy, however, as an editorial that ran in the January 9, 1919 Ubyssey lambasted the theatre for its selection:

We note with more disgust than surprise that the Players’ Club has chosen for the spring play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde. It does seem extraordinary that from the vast army of playwrights, ancient and modern, Oscar Wilde should be the one favored by the executive of this club; but it is the play itself more than its writer that meets with our disapproval. It would seem fitting indeed that an organization of University students, enjoying the broadening process of “higher education,” should endeavor to stand for the moral as well as the merely intellectual qualities in the plays with which the University name must be associated by the general public….

But was the editorial intentionally written to garner a response? A week later, a rebuttal appeared in the form of a letter to the editors:

Dear Sir: I read with amazement, mitigated by compassion, your amazing attack on the masterpiece chosen by the Players’ Club for their spring production, it seems scarcely credible that anyone who has carefully read this play could make such absurd comments. Your criticisms seem to be levelled against the character of the author and the moral attitude of the play. The first point I shall pass over as unworthy of discussion. If standard works are to be judged by the morality of their authors, then our literature would be sadly depleted. As for the second charge, I am entirely in agreement with you that the play was written primarily to amuse. If we went to acquire only “higher education” through the stage, we do not attend Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas nor any other exhilarating and piffling productions which for years have been drawing immense audiences from all ranks of life in London and New York. We even exclude the great Shakespearian comedies for fear they upset the gravity of our thoughts. I venture to say ninety per cent, of our great plays aim not at “higher education,” but at wholesome amusement, which in itself is highly beneficial. I am even inclined to think it would do you good, Mr. Editor, to relax your ponderous solemnity with an occasional laugh…

On March 13, it was reported that the “WILDE COMEDY PLAYED TO FULL HOUSE—ACTORS WELL APPLAUDED”

"The University Players, who on Saturday brought to a close their excellent ‘performance of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ did more than give the Vancouver public some delightful hpurs of amusement. They have assisted to put Oscar Wilde ‘where he belongs’— back amongst he most brilliant writers of the Victorian era." Such is the tribute paid to the Players’ Club by one of the editors of “The World.” "The Importance of Being Earnest" is not an easy play for amateurs to act; and the very creditable performances given by our students at the Avenue last week, before large audiences, shows both an aptitude for acting and a capacity for hard work on the part of the performers. The staging of the play was excellent, and no words can adequately describe the charm of the setting in the second act. The costumes were appropriate, the dresses of the ladies being both fashionable and, on the whole, well suited to their roles as English society ladies…

To put things in perspective, UBC was in its 4th year when this play was produced, and Ernest was 25 years old when he produced this poster. I think the poster clearly demonstrates that Ernest was an artistic tour de force and an early achiever! His assortment of drawings in the Vancouver Archives is one of my favourite collections in the entire Vancouver Archives! Vive Le Messurier!

The Importance of Being Earnest, a UBC Theatre playbill by Ernest Le Messurier, cartoonist and commercial artist, from the Ernest Le Messurier Comic Collection in the Vancouver Archives, 76-32 #121. Ernest was a graduate of the first class to officially bear the name UBC, and this poster was created for the 1919 production of the Oscar Wilde classic. The theatre program can be seen on this page. It was not without controversy, however, as an editorial that ran in the January 9, 1919 Ubyssey lambasted the theatre for its selection:

We note with more disgust than surprise that the Players’ Club has chosen for the spring play “The Importance of Being Earnest,” by Oscar Wilde. It does seem extraordinary that from the vast army of playwrights, ancient and modern, Oscar Wilde should be the one favored by the executive of this club; but it is the play itself more than its writer that meets with our disapproval. It would seem fitting indeed that an organization of University students, enjoying the broadening process of “higher education,” should endeavor to stand for the moral as well as the merely intellectual qualities in the plays with which the University name must be associated by the general public….

But was the editorial intentionally written to garner a response? A week later, a rebuttal appeared in the form of a letter to the editors:

Dear Sir: I read with amazement, mitigated by compassion, your amazing attack on the masterpiece chosen by the Players’ Club for their spring production, it seems scarcely credible that anyone who has carefully read this play could make such absurd comments.

Your criticisms seem to be levelled against the character of the author and the moral attitude of the play. The first point I shall pass over as unworthy of discussion. If standard works are to be judged by the morality of their authors, then our literature would be sadly depleted.

As for the second charge, I am entirely in agreement with you that the play was written primarily to amuse. If we went to acquire only “higher education” through the stage, we do not attend Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas nor any other exhilarating and piffling productions which for years have been drawing immense audiences from all ranks of life in London and New York. We even exclude the great Shakespearian comedies for fear they upset the gravity of our thoughts. I venture to say ninety per cent, of our great plays aim not at “higher education,” but at wholesome amusement, which in itself is highly beneficial. I am even inclined to think it would do you good, Mr. Editor, to relax your ponderous solemnity with an occasional laugh…

On March 13, it was reported that the “WILDE COMEDY PLAYED TO FULL HOUSE—ACTORS WELL APPLAUDED”

"The University Players, who on Saturday brought to a close their excellent ‘performance of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ did more than give the Vancouver public some delightful hpurs of amusement. They have assisted to put Oscar Wilde ‘where he belongs’— back amongst he most brilliant writers of the Victorian era."

Such is the tribute paid to the Players’ Club by one of the editors of “The World.”

"The Importance of Being Earnest" is not an easy play for amateurs to act; and the very creditable performances given by our students at the Avenue last week, before large audiences, shows both an aptitude for acting and a capacity for hard work on the part of the performers.

The staging of the play was excellent, and no words can adequately describe the charm of the setting in the second act. The costumes were appropriate, the dresses of the ladies being both fashionable and, on the whole, well suited to their roles as English society ladies…

To put things in perspective, UBC was in its 4th year when this play was produced, and Ernest was 25 years old when he produced this poster. I think the poster clearly demonstrates that Ernest was an artistic tour de force and an early achiever! His assortment of drawings in the Vancouver Archives is one of my favourite collections in the entire Vancouver Archives! Vive Le Messurier!

This could conceivably be Vancouver, as there was no Lions Gate Bridge in 1925. I have to admit those mountains are pretty exaggerated though. Back then, standing on Little Mountain, gazing over to North Vancouver probably seemed much further away. All a matter of perspective, I suppose. One of the reasons I think this poster succeeds is because of its unrealistic, imagined depiction of the coast. The travel agent of the day could extol the merits of the Redwood forest, the Oregon coast, the mountains of Washington, the metropolis of Seattle, and of course, you mustn’t forget Vancouver! See this artwork for a remotely similar view by Ron Jackson. 
The above poster was created by the Willmarths for the Newman-Monroe Company in Chicago. Jack R. Lundbom notes in the book Master Painter: Warner E. Sallman that Newman-Monroe Co. was a design and illustration firm, which at the time described (1909) was located in the First National Bank Building (now home to the Chase Tower Chicago). After further digging, I believe this would have been the neoclassical structure completed in 1902 by noted architect Daniel Burnham.
Here are a few more travel posters that Newman-Monroe produced, one promoting travel to California, and another to the Far West. Then there’s this majestic 1933 poster celebrating the World’s Fair in Chicago. If these posters are any indication, Newman-Monroe must have been a powerhouse, responsible for a significant amount of early transportation advertising. It makes me wonder what happened to them, and much of their legacy is actually known and remembered today.
About the Willmarths, streamlinermemories.info writes: 

I can’t find much information about the Willmarths on line except that William was a watercolorist, while Kenneth specialized in oils. William was born in 1898 and died in Arizona in 1984. While the Travel by Train posters were signed “The Willmarths,” later posters and paintings were just signed “Willmarth,” and many look like watercolors, suggesting they were done by William Willmarth.

Like the Newman-Monroe story, more research into the life work of Kenneth and William Willmarth is warranted! Fantastic work, all around! May this blog post help to solidify their contributions to the art of travel.
vintagraphblog:

Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland, circa 1925. New in Vintage Travel Posters. (via Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland | Vintagraph)

This could conceivably be Vancouver, as there was no Lions Gate Bridge in 1925. I have to admit those mountains are pretty exaggerated though. Back then, standing on Little Mountain, gazing over to North Vancouver probably seemed much further away. All a matter of perspective, I suppose. One of the reasons I think this poster succeeds is because of its unrealistic, imagined depiction of the coast. The travel agent of the day could extol the merits of the Redwood forest, the Oregon coast, the mountains of Washington, the metropolis of Seattle, and of course, you mustn’t forget Vancouver! See this artwork for a remotely similar view by Ron Jackson.

The above poster was created by the Willmarths for the Newman-Monroe Company in Chicago. Jack R. Lundbom notes in the book Master Painter: Warner E. Sallman that Newman-Monroe Co. was a design and illustration firm, which at the time described (1909) was located in the First National Bank Building (now home to the Chase Tower Chicago). After further digging, I believe this would have been the neoclassical structure completed in 1902 by noted architect Daniel Burnham.

Here are a few more travel posters that Newman-Monroe produced, one promoting travel to California, and another to the Far West. Then there’s this majestic 1933 poster celebrating the World’s Fair in Chicago. If these posters are any indication, Newman-Monroe must have been a powerhouse, responsible for a significant amount of early transportation advertising. It makes me wonder what happened to them, and much of their legacy is actually known and remembered today.

About the Willmarths, streamlinermemories.info writes:

I can’t find much information about the Willmarths on line except that William was a watercolorist, while Kenneth specialized in oils. William was born in 1898 and died in Arizona in 1984. While the Travel by Train posters were signed “The Willmarths,” later posters and paintings were just signed “Willmarth,” and many look like watercolors, suggesting they were done by William Willmarth.

Like the Newman-Monroe story, more research into the life work of Kenneth and William Willmarth is warranted! Fantastic work, all around! May this blog post help to solidify their contributions to the art of travel.

vintagraphblog:

Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland, circa 1925. New in Vintage Travel Posters. (via Visit the Pacific Northwest Wonderland | Vintagraph)

The Carrall Street Gas Plant, an illustrated booklet showing the operations of the new Carrall Street gas plant illustrated by KEN and published by BC Electric in 1932. I believe the plant went into service in 1933, and the plant obtained gas from coal until some time in the 1960s? I’m not sure; not much has been written about this former Vancouver landmark. If anyone knows, feel free to comment. The current Georgia Street viaducts were built over top of the site in 1972. This has left something of a toxic legacy, as stated on page 11 of this PDF report on the Georgia Street viaducts.

The activities and wastes associated with this former gas plant have significantly influenced the environmental conditions in the area, and will be an important factor in future remediation planning.

This comment by Alex Mackinnon noted on the Skyscraperpage bulletin board sums up the problem:

I was talking to Andy with Bing Thom at the Viaducts or Viadon’ts event, and according to him, the land underneath the viaduct in 1986 was estimated to cost $180M to rehabilitate due to contamination issues from the coal gas plant that used to occupy the site. CPI adjusted this is $372M in 2012 dollars.

While the industrial waste has left it’s toxic mark in the soil, it also affected the city skyline for many years with this ginormous gasometer jutting out of False Creek. I’ve decided to include a photograph from the Vancouver Archives just to give you an impression of the scale of this structure. You can also see the silo in the top left of the Goranson/Fisher/Hughes mural here. And Tom Carter seems to recall someone - probably Arthur Irving - said the whole city smelled like coal gas while it was being demolished.

KEN illustrated a number of other BC Electric pamphlets and brochures, but I have yet to determine who he actually was. He’s a pretty good draftsman, so I’d like to know more about him! Thanks again to Neil Whaley for contributing this brochure image!

The Lions Gate Bridge, from an ad for the British Properties from May 27, 1939, just a couple years after the bridge had opened. The complete ad has been posted here.

The Lions Gate Bridge, from an ad for the British Properties from May 27, 1939, just a couple years after the bridge had opened. The complete ad has been posted here.

PNE Program artwork by George McLachlan, 1980. The PNE is on NOW! (well, except for tomorrow, closed Aug 26) This year the fair is 103 years old, and while I’ve featured the book before, here’s another plug for their commemorative book of 100 years.

PNE Program artwork by George McLachlan, 1980. The PNE is on NOW! (well, except for tomorrow, closed Aug 26) This year the fair is 103 years old, and while I’ve featured the book before, here’s another plug for their commemorative book of 100 years.

The Target Skytrain wrap, as well as station branding, photos via sengsuriya; thanks, Sophia! I also spotted the Canada Line Target train!

Via Allan Peters blog, the Target advertising reveal for Vancouver. Credits from the blog: Sr CD: Ruth Balbach; CD: Steve Chirhart; Sr. AD: Allan Peters; Sr. CW: Sage Rider; Illustrator: Lab Partners. 

When Target launched it’s first 200 stores in Canada, the brand needed to make a few friends. As the lead Art Director on the Canada social team, I came up with the idea to create vintage travel poster inspired artwork showing bullseye the dog traveling across the country. The posts were strategically leaked throughout the day starting with a tight crop and the post “Hi Neighbor! Bullseye is out on the open road helping celebrate our Canadian store openings. Keep checking in and see if you can spot where he is next”. This invited the audience to participate in a guessing game based on the landmarks revealed in the illustrations. At the end of the day the location was revealed with a message stating how excited Target was to be their new neighbor.

Has anyone photographed the Target - Skytrain wrap? Let me know if you spot it in person or via Twitter, Flickr, or Instagram.

The Shelly’s 4X Bakery Products ghost sign, recently restored by the Grandview Heritage Group. From their blog, Michael Kluckner writes:

Kudos all round for the completion of the project to restore the unique Shelly’s sign on the side of Via Tevere restaurant at Victoria and William. The owners of the restaurant paid the lion’s share of the costs; our Neighbourhood Small Grant will cover the balance of the materials costs, and we have money in our “celebration” budget (thank you, Hastings North Community Partners Group) for a proper interpretive sign, which will be unveiled at the neighbourhood party planned for June 23rd…
Artist Victoria Oginski led the team of 3 in the restoration, lending her technical skills to the stabilization of the painted surface, which was falling to bits two years after it was exposed to the weather during the removal of the 60-year-old stucco on the side of the old Victoria Drive Grocery …She is also the best, fastest colour-matcher I’ve ever seen. I, Michael Kluckner, worked with Penny Street on the preparation and the painting. We finished up today by applying a coat of high-tech acrylic/epoxy sealer that will protect the surface from UV and any sort of graffiti that might happen along…
How old is the sign? Based on surviving examples of 4X advertisements that date from 1939 and the 1940s, we figure the sign’s design is at least as old as 1935…

I recommend checking out the entire blog post, as it is full of fascinating details that are definitely worth a read!
Hat’s off to everyone involved in the project! This particular sign has been one of the happiest reveals of a ghost sign ever uncovered in this town! Let’s hope there are still more exciting discoveries just waiting to be found!

The Shelly’s 4X Bakery Products ghost sign, recently restored by the Grandview Heritage Group. From their blog, Michael Kluckner writes:

Kudos all round for the completion of the project to restore the unique Shelly’s sign on the side of Via Tevere restaurant at Victoria and William. The owners of the restaurant paid the lion’s share of the costs; our Neighbourhood Small Grant will cover the balance of the materials costs, and we have money in our “celebration” budget (thank you, Hastings North Community Partners Group) for a proper interpretive sign, which will be unveiled at the neighbourhood party planned for June 23rd…

Artist Victoria Oginski led the team of 3 in the restoration, lending her technical skills to the stabilization of the painted surface, which was falling to bits two years after it was exposed to the weather during the removal of the 60-year-old stucco on the side of the old Victoria Drive Grocery …

She is also the best, fastest colour-matcher I’ve ever seen. I, Michael Kluckner, worked with Penny Street on the preparation and the painting. We finished up today by applying a coat of high-tech acrylic/epoxy sealer that will protect the surface from UV and any sort of graffiti that might happen along…

How old is the sign? Based on surviving examples of 4X advertisements that date from 1939 and the 1940s, we figure the sign’s design is at least as old as 1935…

I recommend checking out the entire blog post, as it is full of fascinating details that are definitely worth a read!

Hat’s off to everyone involved in the project! This particular sign has been one of the happiest reveals of a ghost sign ever uncovered in this town! Let’s hope there are still more exciting discoveries just waiting to be found!

Way to go Safeamp!
cascadiavancouver:

Also, this is happening on Saturday! Amazing lineup. All Ages! Get your shit together and come down! https://www.facebook.com/events/138192376353423/

Way to go Safeamp!

cascadiavancouver:

Also, this is happening on Saturday! Amazing lineup. All Ages! Get your shit together and come down! https://www.facebook.com/events/138192376353423/

Menus from days gone by, via the MoV. The Chilco Grill, the Lux Café, the Senator Grill, the Press Club, all circa 1948-1952, donated to the Museum of Vancouver by Mr. Sonny Farrington. About Sonny, from the items’ description:

Sonny Farrington b. 1923 in Flin Flon, Manitoba, moved to Vancouver in 1942 with his parents. The family lived at 11th Avenue and Yukon, and Sonny attended Edith Cavell Elementary School (where Pal’s Café was his favourite hang-out) and then King Edward High School. In 1945, Sonny’s mother got a job as a cook at Cunningham’s Grill in Union Market, and Sonny often stopped by there for a meal. Between ages 15 and 20, Sonny went to weekend Teen Town dances, and went out afterwards for something to eat. Many of these menus were obtained on such occasions. Many menus have thumbtack holes in them, where the donor displayed them on a wall or bulletin board…

As far as the Chilco Grill is concerned, Neil Whaley informs me that 710 Chilco Street (now a completely different residential tower built in the late 1950s) actually overlooked Lost Lagoon. The Lux Café, aka the House of Luxury at 616 Robson Street boasted “We Never Close”, proving Vancouver once knew how to party! The Senator Grill Soda Fountain was located at Cambie Street and 25th (King Edward Avenue). And the Press Club was situated at 548 Cambie Street Vancouver, not guaranteed to be politically correct! Thanks to Sonny for donating this remarkable collection to the Museum of Vancouver!

Some vintage commercial artwork by George McLachlan, via his website. The first is a cover from a BCTel brochure cover titled “Communications”, believed to be from 1976. The acrylic painting shows a cluster of downtown skyscrapers, many of which were new modern additions to the city’s skyline.

The next illustration is a vintage pastel rendering of the Hyatt Odyssey Hotel in downtown Vancouver, which is now known as the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

And finally, a brochure for the grand opening of Woodward’s Food Floor at Arbutus Village, which is also flogging the Woodward’s credit card. This post prompted the submission of the last image from none other than Michael Kluckner, who still has his Woodward’s card! Woodward’s Arbutus Village Food Floor opened November 13, 1974; it is now a Safeway store.

Lots more to see in his archives, including this map which I had featured before, but was not able to completely attribute to him! Now updated!

Update! Woodwards Food Floor footage from Oakridge, 1962, from a cooking show on CBUT (CBC Vancouver) called “Cuisine 30”. This week (May 4, 1962).

Five Trips of Scenic Wonder Around Vancouver, a Home Gas pamphlet recently sold on ebay via seller canadianpacific77. The cover appears to be signed by “RAM”, but given this is a very early brochure, I have no other knowledge of his work. A fine pamphlet of one of Vancouver’s early home grown industries.

Union Steamships The Fjords Of British Columbia, a 1930’s brochure of the Steamship Catala, sister ship to the SS Cardena. This item was recently sold on ebay by seller canadianpacific77. The cover appears to be signed by H.E. White, but I’m sadly not familiar with their work.

The Catala had a long and storied history on the west coast. From sunshinecoastmuseum.ca

One of the best known steamers that plied the Sunshine Coast was the S.S. Catala. The 218-foot ship was launched in 1925 in Montrose, Scotland, and carried coastal freight and passengers from Vancouver to southeast Alaska. The name Catala derives from the Roman Catholic missionary Father Magin Catala who came to Santa Cruz de Nootka on Vancouver Island in 1793.

After the collapse of the Union Steamship Company, the Catala was sold in 1958 and used as a fish buying boat, as well as a hotel for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. Apparently, it was one of three such ships used at the World’s Fair, but the only one to make a profit. By this point, the engines had been removed to make room for a theatre, so it lived out its retirement tied up on shores of Washington. According to the Seattle Times, there were some wild times for the ship ahead:

After the fair it was brought to Ocean Shores, where it was tied up at a causeway and used by charter fishermen. Something else fishy was going on, too.

There was gambling and “there were ladies of the evening available, so it was quite a deal,” said Beers.

In 1965, a storm caused the ship to list 30 degrees on the sand, and it could not be righted. Looted, abandoned, and set on fire, it was left to decay on the beach, until a curious explorer fell inside the ship and hurt her back. The State of Washington was sued, and as a result, the bulk of the ship was ordered to be cut up for scrap, with the remainder of the vessel buried in the sand.

Years later, the sands began to reveal the ship, and a curious passerby discovered oil inside the wreck. This resulted in a full scale environmental cleanup, with 131,000 litres of heavy fuel oil removed and recycled, along with more than 10 times that amount of oily water collected. The total project cost for removing the oil and restoring the beach was $6.5 million, and the cost of removing the remainder of the ship’s hull was $0.5 million. From the Washington State Department’s fact sheet:

Ecology funded the cleanup using the state’s Oil Spill Response Account, which comes from a tax on oil that passes through Washington marine terminals. The fund will only pay for cleaning up oil and contaminated sand and for ensuring the old hull is clean. Ecology will seek reimbursement from the federal government for part or all of the costs. The Legislature provided the Department of Natural Resources with funds to remove the hull.

TED2014 masthead, via TED.com. Coming next year.

TED2014 masthead, via TED.com. Coming next year.

Advert for Hume & Rumble Limited, electrical engineers, from page 7 of the Vancouver News-Herald, August 14, 1948. Ad copy states:

The Faith that Built Vancouver

"…mark my words Jim, this town’s gonna grow. In a few years you’ll need a horse and buggy to get from one end of Vancouver to the other. There’s gonna be thousands of people here…more streets…more stores…more homes. Yes, sir—there’s a great future right here and I aim to be part of it!"

Faith in its future built Vancouver from a collection of huts at the water’s edge to Canada’s third metropolis in two generations. The B.C. Electric Railway Co., Ltd has long been associated with this growth…played a major role. Hume & Rumble, Western Canada’s leading electrical contractors, have shared in this spirit for over 30 years…been closely connected with electrical installation work in many great B.C. Industries and enterprises. Latest of these, B.C. Electric’s new trolley coaches are an important milestone on the road of progress in British Columbia.