Vancouver History: Percy Williams

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 — 11:17am PDT
Comments 2

It has been 84 years since Percy Williams of East Vancouver won two gold medals in track and field at the Amsterdam Olympics — a feat that has never been repeated by a Canadian.

1928 – Archives item# CVA 99-3631 & CVA 99-3638. Photographer: Stuart Thomson.

As part of the King Edward High School track team, Williams made a splash at an early age.

“…Williams won the 100 and 220 yards three straight years at the annual Vancouver and District inter-high school meet at Brockton Point Grounds in May 1926, 1927 and 1928, setting the meet’s 100-yard record of 10.0 seconds in 1927, which took 42 years to break, and the 220-yard mark of 22.0 seconds in 1928, a record that lasted 31 years…” [Vancouver Courier: The Runt That Could 2008]

It was on August 1st, 1928 that 20 year-old Percy Williams won gold in the 100 meters, then again in the 200 meters two days later. His was arguably the biggest sports story in Vancouver history:

“…The Vancouver Sun ran banner front-page headlines for four days straight about “the Canadian schoolboy from British Columbia” who “sprang from obscurity to fame.” His victory in the 100 metres was so unexpected that the band assigned to play the national anthem of the winning sprinter had to scramble around to find the sheet music for Canada. It wound up doing a ragged version of The Maple Leaf Forever…” [Vancouver Sun]

Williams was given a hero’s welcome back in Vancouver and schools were closed on September 14th for a parade in his honor that ran along Granville street to Stanley Park. Mayor L.D. Taylor presented Williams with a new car in appreciation of his achievements in sport.

1928 – Mayor L.D. Taylor congratulates Percy Williams at the Vancouver Opera House.
Archives item# CVA 371-249. Leonard Frank Photos.

He was the fastest man of his generation and has been called the greatest track athlete of the first part of the last century, as well as the greatest all-time Olympic athlete for Canada.

“…A 1950 Canadian Press poll rated his Olympic performance the most dramatic event in Canadian sports history to that time. The design of our flag was inspired by photos of Williams breasting the finish tape in his maple leaf singlet…” [Vancouver Courier: The Runt That Could 2008]

Percy Williams, Vancouverite

“…Oddly, today he may also be our country’s least-known sports hero, a champion of unsurpassed Canadian achievement who died in relative obscurity. Outside the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at B.C. Place Stadium is a life-sized statue of Williams, crouched in a sprinter’s stance. As people wandered past it, I asked if they knew who the statue depicted. Out of 10 people, I found only one who knew…” [Vancouver Courier: The Runt That Could 2008]

In 1930 Percy Williams set a world record for a 10.3 second 100 meter dash. He received the Order of Canada in 1979 and donated his medals to the BC Sports Hall of Fame — which were then stolen and have never been recovered. Williams started up an insurance business in later years and faded away. Tragically, he took his own life in 1982.

For more information on Percy Williams, read the full Vancouver Courier article “The Runt That Could”, and visit the BC Sports Hall of Fame which is located through Gate “A” at BC Place. Williams’ statue sits outside, crouched and ready to rush.

August Events in Metro Vancouver 2012

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012 — 9:49am PDT
Comments 3

They say you can’t have a rainbow without rain and thanks to our soggy start to summer, we’re being rewarded with a scorching August. Free events, festivals, family fun, and much more are in store this month as it kicks off with a holiday weekend, filled with pride:

Ummm Nice
Photo credit: Mark Faviell Photos on Flickr

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Honda Celebration of Light: Brazil
Dine Above the Stars – Benefitting A Loving Spoonful
Dances for a Small Stage (until August 4)
Vancouver Pride Movie Night
Thursday, August 2, 2012
40 Years of Pacific Cinematheque
Historic Treasures, Tales and Toys at the North Vancouver Museum
Squamish Days Sports Loggers Festival
Friday, August 3, 2012
Free Coaster Rides at Playland
Free Ballroom Dancing at Robson Square
Free Take Off Fridays at YVR
Chicks Ahoy! Pride Boat Cruise Party
Barefoot Presents the Davie Street Block Party
Vancouver TheatreSports League: The Comic Strippers
Enchanted Evening – Deborah Ledon
Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver
Squamish Days Sports Loggers Festival
White Rock Spirit of the Sea Festival
Tsawwassen Sun Festival
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Warrior Dash at Mount Seymour
Mount Pleasant: Smoking Sausage BBQ Competition Cook-Off
ABC Recycling’s Family Fun Day
Pic-Knit at the Surrey Museum
White Rock Spirit of the Sea Festival
Vancouver Dyke March and Festival
CanadaFest at Canada Place
Honda Celebration of Light: Italy
Surrey Free Outdoor Movie in Holland Park
Squamish Days Sports Loggers Festival
Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver
North Vancouver Concerts in the Square
Powell Street Festival
Tsawwassen Sun Festival
Cloverdale Blueberry Festival
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Jamaican/Canadian Cultural Festival, Surrey
Free Swing Dancing on Granville
White Rock Spirit of the Sea Festival
Vancouver Pride Parade
Summer of Love Festival
Yelp Food Cart Fest at the Waldorf
Women of Mountain View Cemetery Walking Tour
Squamish Days Sports Loggers Festival
Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver
SummerFest Concerts at Lonsdale Quay
Powell Street Festival
Tsawwassen Sun Festival

BC Sports Hall of Fame & Vancouver Canadians: First Pitch & Ticket Giveaway

Monday, July 30th, 2012 — 1:44pm PDT
Comments 39

The BC Sports Hall of Fame has teamed up with the Vancouver Canadians once again this summer to honor the past and inspire the future.

BC Sports Hall

The BC Sports Hall of Fame re-opened last fall in BC Place and you can visit daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Save your ticket stub from a Vancouver Canadians, BC Lions, or Whitecaps FC match and bring it to the Hall for 1/2 price admission for up to 2 weeks following game day. You can browse through the hall of inductees (including the class of 2011), learn about the legendary Asahi baseball team in old Japantown, and check out special galleries like the Vancouver 2010, Terry Fox, and Rick Hansen exhibits.

[232/365] Base-is for Victory
Photo credit: kardboard604 on Flickr

Some BC Sports Hall of Fame inductees for baseball include Arnie Hallgren, Larry Walker, and Helen and Margaret Callaghan who each have unique and inspiring stories.

Last year I partnered with the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Vancouver Canadians for three weeks of giveaways and we already did it again this summer. We now have one giveaway left for the Vancouver Canadians vs the Everett Aquasox on August 16th with special guest Duane Ward.

You can enter for the chance to win 10 tickets to the game and throw out the ceremonial first pitch in front of family, friends, and the whole Nat Bailey crowd. Here’s how you can enter to win this incredible experience:

  • Leave a comment naming a Canadian baseball player (past/present/any league) (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win 10 @VanCanadians tix & throw out the ceremonial first pitch from @BCSportsHall & @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries next Monday, August 6, 2012 at 10:00am. The BC Sports Hall of Fame will also be FREE for kids this BC Day (Monday, August 6th). Update The winner is Jackie!

Vancouver Icons: White Rock Pier

Monday, July 30th, 2012 — 10:49am PDT
Comments 2

Growing up in Surrey, our beach options were abundant. We could head to one of Vancouver’s beaches, a Stanley Park beach, a lake beach at White Pine or Buntzen, Belcarra, or stay closer to home at Crescent Beach or White Rock. Crescent Beach or White Rock often won out. Strolls along the promenade, fish and chips, ice cream, sandcastles, and observing crabbers dipping their cages off the far end of the pier.

White Rock Pier
Photo credit: Chris Murray Photo on Flickr

Built with Federal Funds in 1914 at 628 feet long, the White Rock Pier officially re-opened on this day in 1915 after 983 feet were added.1 It’s one of the area’s most-photographed landmarks and it’s today’s Metro Vancouver Icon.

[5/365] A peaceful walkway...
Photo credit: ng.kelven on Flickr

White Rock Pier Crescent Beach Pier
Photo credit: Tyler Ingram & causticchick on Flickr

White Rock BC 32 Walk in the wind
Photo credit: derekp & Hub☺ on Flickr

Way to go ladies

HDR of the White Rock Pier
Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

White Rock Beach
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

White Rock Pier

White Rock at Sunset
Photo credit: Tyler Ingram on Flickr

Into The Mist

3D3X4766 White Rock
Photo credit: GenoDM on Flickr

White Rock, BC

Photo credit: GlacierTim on Flickr

Cascades of Blue ~ White Rock, BC

White Rock Beach during Blue Hour
Photo credit: Vick Sahota on Flickr

“Its primary function was, then as it is now, to serve as a tourist facility for pleasure boats, for a promenade, and for fishing and swimming. Since its construction it has acted as the focus for White Rock’s summer tourist activities.”2

White Rock Pier under a beautiful sunset
Photo credit: GlacierTim on Flickr

White Rock Pier

Other Vancouver Icons posts include: The Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

1 Chuck Davis’ Vancouver History
2 Surrey History

Free for BC Day Long Weekend 2012

Monday, July 30th, 2012 — 10:05am PDT
Comments 7

The BC Day long weekend is coming up and local attractions are getting in the spirit of celebrating our province. Here are just few things you can do for free from August 3rd to August 6th, 2012:

Vancouver Pride Parade 2011
Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

Wooden Coaster at Playland
PNE Playland announced that they will be offered free rides on their iconic wooden roller coaster from 6:00am to 9:00am on Friday, August 3rd. Public can enter through Gate 12 near Pacific Adventure Golf.

Slow Food Cycle Farm Tour in Agassiz

Sunday, July 29th, 2012 — 10:16am PDT
Comments 1

Our local Slow Food chapter, part of an international organization that has built a network of small-scale sustainable farmers, recently hosted a cycle tour of participating farms in Agassiz, BC. Slow Food (as opposed to fast food) is farm-to-table, supporting local growers.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

We had spent the night at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort, about 90 minutes East of Vancouver, and we don’t own bikes so we headed over to the Glencoe Motel to rent some. They’re the only place in Harrison you’ll find a bike rental although it seems like a very popular activity — given the proximity to the farms in Agassiz as well.

Slow Food Cycle Tour 2012
The route we took, from hotel to start, and around a loop.

Meeting at the Agassiz Fair and Exhibition Grounds, cyclists could register and head our on their own tours between 9:00am and 4:00pm. We arrived around 11:00am to sign up, pick up our map, and plot our route. Many arrived by car or van, unloading their bikes and heading out for the day. Since we had come from Harrison, we already had 9km of cycling under our belt and were all warmed up and ready to go.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

The Slow Food snail logo is placed all along the flat, winding route between farms and the locations are clearly laid out on the map. Hundreds of families with little ones in tow were out and about as the farms welcomed the mobs of cyclists with open arms, and plates full of treats. Riders were also given a ‘fresh sheet’ listing what the farms have specifically prepared for the cyclists that day.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

A slice of pie at Blackberry Lane B&B was $2.50, a Ploughman’s Lunch at Farmhouse Natural Cheeses was $5.00, a hazelnut sweet roll at Poplar Grove Arbour was $3 and the declicious Minty Lime Juice at Tasty Chicken Farm was $2.00 — among other special menu offerings.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Aside from the free samples and fresh sheet menu items at each farm, you could also purchase their regular products, from garlic at Limbert Mountain Farm (home of the Garlic Festival August 18th) to the couple bags of cheese curds we picked up at Farmhouse Natural Cheeses. If cyclists made purchases along the tour, they could conveniently send their packages, bags, and parcels back to the registration area by shuttle, for pick-up when they’re done.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

The route was relatively flat as it curved past corn fields and orchards; roosters crowed and bike bells rang out in the distance. The tour was such a great way to meet farmers, pick up the freshest ingredients, and support area producers. It was also the perfect family outing with fresh country air and picnic ingredients readily available at each stop. The farmers put out hay bales, picnic tables, chairs, and more to welcome the hungry group of cyclists.

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz Slow Food Cycle Tour Agassiz

The Slow Food Cycle Farm Tour continues today in Chilliwack (Sunday, July 29, 2012), starting from Tourism Chilliwack Visitor Centre off Highway 1 Exit #116, in front of Heritage Park (the big red barns) at 44150 Luckakuck Way. Show up and do your tour anytime between 9:00am and 4:00pm. If you didn’t do yesterday’s tour in Agassiz, the cost will be $15 (it was $20 for Agassiz, $15 for Chilliwack or $30 for both days) and children 12 and under are free.

Follow Slow Food Vancouver on Twitter for more information about events like this.

Some of the stops on the tour are also regularly a part of the self-guided Circle Farm Tour that you can do in Harrison Mills & Agassiz, Langley, Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, and Abbotsford, with or without your bike. My posts from the Circle Farm Tours in Langley, Harrison, and Agassiz can be found under the “Circle-Farm-Tour” tag.

Disclosure: Review
I was not paid to write this post. Our registration was covered by Tourism Harrison. This did not effect the outcome of the content and we paid for our own purchases along the tour.