GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

B.C. Hangs Up 'Keep Out' Sign C. C. F. Sweeps Saskatchewan Too Many Jail Breaks Jolt Ont. Halifax Wears Shirts Inside Out

July 15 1944
GENERAL ARTICLES

Cross Country

B.C. Hangs Up 'Keep Out' Sign C. C. F. Sweeps Saskatchewan Too Many Jail Breaks Jolt Ont. Halifax Wears Shirts Inside Out

July 15 1944

Cross Country

B.C. Hangs Up 'Keep Out' Sign C. C. F. Sweeps Saskatchewan Too Many Jail Breaks Jolt Ont. Halifax Wears Shirts Inside Out

British Columbia

BRITISH COLUMBIA which in peacetime used to spend thousands of dollars annually to lure visitors to the west coast is now spending money urging people to “Keep Out.” Travel difficulties and accommodation shortages have become acute. When the Dominion convention of the Canadian Legion was held in Vancouver, delegates were urged to leave their wives at home. Most didn’t. Vancouver Island offers little accommodation. On the mainland, at Revelstoke, the Okanagan Valley, around Nelson and in the Cranbrook-Windermere area, visitors stand their best chance of getting a bed for the night.

Eight years ago Vancouver residents got their first glimpse of that city’s now celebrated “Theatre Under the Stars.” This year it is estimated 100,000 spectators will attend performances given by the theatre’s 100 actors of whom less than a tenth are professionals imported from the United States. Operating in Stanley Park from July to September, the outdoor theatre specializes in operettas. On this season’s fare are “New Moon,” “Hit the Deck,”

“Bittersweet,” and several others. A publicly owned nonprofit project, thought to be the only one of its kind in Canada, it has not yet cost the taxpayers a cent.

So youngsters with dramatic ability may have an opportunity to train for important roles, 10 scholarships have been established, each worth $1,000.

In addition to its 30 Vancouver performances this season, the show will hit the road for three weeks in Seattle and a week in Portland, Ore.

The Bata Shoe Company, one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers, is establishing a chain of stores in British Columbia and the Prairies. As a start the firm purchased Christies,

Ltd., of Vancouver. One of the oldest established business concerns in the city, Christies not only specialized in the retail trade but also the manufacture of footwear for persons with deformed feet.

Prairie Provinces

WEST of the Mackenzie River and northward into the Arctic, through that vast hinterland symbollized by such magic names as Canol, the Alaska Highway and the Staging Route, French-Canadian explorer Guy H. Blanchet will soon lead a party of white and Indian surveyors. His joba three-year survey to help open new thousands of square miles of Canadian territory to exploitation. As chief surveyor for the Dominion Lands Department, Blanchet’s last big job was to chart the Canol pipe-line route. Edmonton welcomed news of the land survey. Regarded it as assurance that boom days in the Canadian northwest were not over.

Edmonton’s building boom continues—but some citizens still live in tents. Building permits issued during the first fp'e months of 1944 were valued at

$1,000,000—($400,000 more than during the corresponding period of 1943) — but construction is still behind demand. To accommodate emergency eviction cases city commissioners borrowed large tents from the Canadian Army. Evicted families living in tents grouse about the $15-a-month rent they have to pay; say the city got the tents from the Army for nothing. * * *

A healthy demand for farms at moderate prices is spreading through the West where authorities say agriculture is on a sounder basis now than at any time during the past 25 years. Property owners are paying off farm mortgages and other indebtedness at a record rate and one colonization concern reports selling 650 farms in the last 18 months—mostly to tenants. Aggregate purchase price of these was $2,000,000—($17 per acre)—and cash payments averaged 40% of the total purchase price.

A reversal of the old-time “harvest excursions,” which carried thousands of farm workers from eastern Canada to the Prairies, took place this year when Ontario, short of farm help, welcomed hundreds of Saskatchewan, Manitoba und Alberta workers to help with the haying. Ontario plans to repay the favor, come hurvest time, by sending many of its farm workers West. Officials think Saskatchewan will need between 10,000 and 15,000 outside workers for its harvest.

Victory for the CCF in Saskatchewan—one of the

most decisive election results, both in seats gained and popular vote in Canadian political history — is interpreted by observers in the West as an agricultural verdict favoring Socialist doctrines to preserve private property. Premier-Elect Thomas Clement Douglas with - at the time of writing -at least 45 supporters in the new legislature had made security of tenure of the farms the main election issue in his campaign.

In a province in which one third of the population was on relief eight years ago and in which thousands of farms had been lost through debts incurred through low prices and crop failures, the challenge was potent. The Liberals attempted to rest their case on the current wartime prosperity in Saskatchewan, but couldn’t make it stick.

W'hile many eastern political observers were inclined to regard the election as a Saskatchewan phenomenon not indicative of nation-wide trends there

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was no escaping the fact that for the Federal Government the results were very bad news. Federal issues were dragged prominently into the campaign by both CCF and Liberal speakers and the result was a protest against federal agricultural and fiscal policies. Some observers believed the results would dampen any Liberal enthusiasm for an early federal election * * *

First conviction for the use of counterfeit sugar ration coupons in Canada was made recently at Winnipeg. Found guilty of possessing and using the phony coupons, a resident of Maleb, Man., got six months in jail— plus a $500 fine. Food dealers were

cautioned to watch for other counterfeit coupons.

* * *

Clothing of pre-war quality and at pre-war prices isn’t easy to find—but it’s a member of the Winnipeg Trades Council who comes up with a new beef. He charges adult clothing and footwear is getting a preference in Winnipeg stores over that sold for children. Reason, he says, is that merchants make more profit on adult goods. The WPTB has been asked to investigate. * * *

Winnipeggers recently got the shock of their lives when police arrested three barefoot burglars—aged four, six and eight years. All carried sums of money and some jewellery pilfered from Winnipeg homes. Their technique was simple. They merely wandered into a home and helped themselves. If caught they looked innocent, mumbled some-

thing to the kind-hearted housewife who good-naturedly shooed them away, little suspecting their criminal intent. The eight-year-old was a case for the juvenile court. Handling the four and six-year-olds was not so simple for the criminal code ignores youngsters that young; says a child under seven can’t distinguish between right and wrong. Winnipeggers aren’t so sure.

Ontario

“There have been too many escapes from these institutions in recent years.”

.So saying, an official of the Drew Government recently announced a fullfledged investigation into the administration of Ontario’s more than 45 provincially operated jails. Touching off the announcement was the bold break made from Toronto’s Don Jail by 32-year-old Allan Baldwin, convicted bank robber and ex-gang leader. Facing a 19-year penitentiary sentence for previous offenses, Baldwin escaped from a fourth-story window of the jail’s hospital by sawing his way through the bars and sliding down knotted bed sheets. Behind him, police found his guard, 49-year-old Robert Canning, beaten and strangled to death. For

22 hours, 200 police hunted Baldwin. The spectacular manhunt ended when Baldwin, hungry, unshaven, his right arm broken in two places, surrendered to 30 detectives when cornered under a Humber River bridge. He had a gun but didn’t try to use it.

Police wasted no time in adding a new charge to his criminal record— —murder. What the public—and police—wanted to know was how the escape had been engineered.

* * *

In Hamilton, Ont., another murder charge was laid—this time in connection with that city’s disastrous May

23 Moose Temple fire, which snuffed out 10 lives and injured 30 other persons. Charged was 24-year-old Douglas Dunsmoor, thin, fair-haired dairy worker, organist and self-confessed firebug.

An employee of Hamilton’s Royal Oak Dairy, which company was giving a staff party in the Temple at the time of the fire, Dunsmoor was charged after police had linked him with other fires through an amazing series of coincidences. They pointed out: That while he worked for a local bread company one of its stables burned to the ground; that he was employed by a Hamilton canning company when one of its warehouses went up in smoke; and that later a local church in which he had permission to use the organ caught fire. He admitted setting these fires; remained mum about the Temple holocaust. A few hours later, however, police formally charged him with the murder of Mrs. Dorothy Martin, first woman victim of the ballroom fire.

Quebec

Montreal’s “Battle of the Suits”— violent street fighting between zootsuited civilians and uniformed sailors— recently brought to a head a long series of minor street incidents between servicemen and civilians in that Quebec city.

Sailors, singly or in pairs, have frequently been humiliated by gangs of jeering young civilians who are said to resent the way servicemen monopolize favorite amusement centres. As the storm brewed, more and more sailors were reported returning to barracks with blacked eyes, bruises and minor injuries.

The blowoff came when a group of rowdies annoyed a sailor and his wife walking along a Verdun street, then

beat them up when the sailor offered j raslstance. That was too much for the ! Navy. The following night sailors “boarded” a Verdun dance hall in nautical fashion, escorted the ladies ! outside, lined up the young men and ; demanded their registration cards or ' service discharge papers. Rioting broke j out and spread over a square mile of | downtown Montreal. Dozens of I stripped zoot suiters fled for home in | their underwear or less. A night club ! doorman excitedly fired a revolver; | injured a sailor and was charged with attempted murder. Police and Navy shore patrols moved in, broke up the melee, hailed dozens into court.

Result: Zoot suits practically vanished from Montreal streets. Montreal observers were quick to claim that the outbreak had nothing to do with racial antagonisms.

Helicopter buses would be a common sight in Quebec skies after the war if ¡ present plans of one private company j materialized. Applications have already | been filed with federal and provincial authorities, seeking permission to link 20 Quebec municipalities by helicopter service. More than 30 town and city councils, including that of Montreal, : have passed resolutions enthusiastically supporting the project.

Maritimes

Saint John, N.B., is proud of its age—(oldest incorporated city in Canada)—but it takes no pride in the fact that this age is partly responsible for its deteriorated buildings and slum districts. As a result Saint John has asked Ottawa to give Canada’s older cities financial help in obliterating slum eyesores—either by direct grants or low interest loans. Any slum clearance, say Saint John legislators, requires complete rebuilding of the affected area — an undertaking beyond the financial means of a municipality unless given assistance by federal authorities.

Canadians generally have long had trouble with their “Saint Johns.” There’s St. John’s, Nfld., Saint John, N.B., and St. Johns, Que. To clear the air somewhat, Mayor Wasson of Saint John, N.B., suggests that that city be renamed Port Saint John. The switch would, he says, be good for the city, good for postal authorities and good for | Canadians.

The Apulin family living at St. j Isidore, a small French village near | Bathurst, N.B., holds some kind of a record.

No fewer than 10 members of the family receive the Government’s oldage pension. The 10 brothers and sisters receiving the grant range in age from 70 to 80. One other member of the family is over 60.

Maritime labor shortages have become acute-" some say the worst in Canada. Recently, in Moncton, N.B., Selective Service officials yanked men out of insurance offices, stores and tailoring shops to fill jobs in city packing plants. It was only a temporary measure but impressed Maritimers with the seriousness of the situation. In Nova Scotia, with the labor supply exhausted, estimates put the number of job vacancies in major essential industries at 6,000. Farmers are hardest hit and lumber workers have been ordered out of the bush back to the land. Seriously affected also are east coast mines, steel plants and shipyards.

Despite the shortage in the mines, threatened strike action by the United Steel Workers prevented the use of J soldiers in the mills of the Dominion '

Steel and Coni Company at Sydney, N.S. The soldiers were pressed into service over one week end but the union tossed cold water on the idea by voting to strike if further soldier help was used.

No Halifax service has been hit harder by the labor shortage than the laundries. Coupled with this is the flood of laundry sent ashore from ships docking at Halifax and great batches of washing sent in from nearby service camps. This practically pushed civilian laundry right out of the picture—and many Haligonians, unable to get service, have taken to wearing shirts inside out. The Navy helped by setting up its own laundry but relief was only temporary. Latest word is that city laundries may have to dis-

continue all home laundry service.

* * *

The Canadian National Railways has appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals against a $250,000 business tax imposed on it by the City of Halifax. Because CNR property in the Maritimes is part of the old Intercolonial Railway—always Crown property—no municipal tax had ever been levied against it in either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. Recently the legislatures in both provinces passed bills allowing Halifax and Saint John to assess the CNR as manager of the property. Some authorities think the outcome of the case may decide the rights of other municipalities to tax Crown properties engaged in profitable industrial activity, for example, Crown munitions plants.