Do not miss during this month what is happening on the Fraser River

By Terry Slack

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The reports are coming in: A Large Fraser River Eulachon Run is moving into the river, after years of declining numbers! The spelling is Eulachon, Oolichan,or even Hooligan and they are also known as the Candle Fish or Saviour Fish by First Nations. It is a member of the smelt family and once spawned in huge tonnages within 15 BC rivers.

Dunbar Southlands North Arm of the Fraser River is one entrance door for the little fish. Down at the river on the Riverfront Trail or in Deering Island Park is where to watch in the month of May and early June. If the run turns out to be as large as predicted and after the Eulachon spawn in late May, the Kelts turn on their side, try to swim on the surface and get washed down the  river to the marshes and die.

Easy pickings for numerous species of gulls, eagles, Great Blue Herons, King Fishers, Hell Divers (Cormorants), and a raft of others such as Harbour Seals, Sea Lions and River Otters. By the end of May the Eulachon table will be set. See you Down at the River!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Wow, what I observed in the North Arm of the river yesterday was a return of Eulachon of times past. A sky full of gulls all looking down. Eagles patrolling the river, also looking down.

In 2010, the fishery for just First Nation Elders was voluntary terminated as the Fraser stocks were on the brink of disappearing forever.

The Fraser eulachon table will be set soon for over 25 wild species once again as the spawned out dying fish Kelts hopefully will get tidally flushed

on ebbing tides down river to the many delta juvenile salmon marshes. The great natural Eulachon fertilization of lower river marsh will hopefully be starting again!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Little Dip Net with a long handle on it, best spots on the North Arm is Low Water Slack at Harry Potter Park, now called Shaughnessy Park in Marpole, You are catching the spawned out fish, the Eulachon Kelts coming down the river from Richmond’s Tree Island spawning place on the North Arm. They are the best ones to slap on the Barbie! Timing of big numbers of Kelts coming down river is in about week and a half. Wear a hat as the big time pooping gulls will be every where. An old timers fact: The North Arm once had a late run of big male eulachon coming up the North Arm, Middle Arm in the last week of May.

Enjoy, everyone! Terry

50th Anniversary of Exact Fare in Vancouver

Greetings Everyone, in August of 1969, the week after Woodstock, I started my training as a Vancouver bus driver. First off, my hire photo, AKA Mug Shot. I have been assigned the seniority number 3281 in our class of 6 trainees. I was 21. I made change and sold tokens for 7 months until Wednesday 1 April 1970 when Exact Fare arrived and we no longer had to do so. I worked an evening run on Stanley Park/Nanaimo driving a Brill trolleybus, and sold my last tokens at Cordova and Carrall downtown, and changed a quarter for the final time at Nanaimo and Charles Street. While so many drivers cursed the changers, B.C. Hydro allowed the drivers to purchase their changers, and a large number did so. I bought my 6 barrel Johnson changer. 

Six years later, here I am in a 1947 Canadian Car Brill T-44 trolley coach in the Stanley Park Loop. I have my feet up on Grant Money Meter fare box. Tie was compulsory during winter months. To differentiate between the two types of vehicles, the instructors called a trolley a “coach”, and a motor bus a “bus”. And we were “operators”, not drivers. Photo courtesy of Sean Nelson.

B.C. Hydro took this publicity photo in a “Fishbowl” General Motors New Look diesel bus at the Oakridge Transit Centre to make people aware of the 1st April 1970 date for the Exact Fare policy.  The EXACT FARE card behind the transfer rack was put in the exterior card holder on the front of every bus in the system. Looks like they borrowed the secretarial pool for the photo. Lady standing has a $2 bill in her wallet. You can see the change dish, and the rack for the changer above the transfer cutters. The operator is wearing his Chauffeur’s “A” Badge on his cap visible to the public, a requirement of the commercial driver’s licence back then. I wore mine on my jacket. This photo also shows the Grant Money Meter, a musical fare box

Grant Money Meter fare boxes annunciated the coins and tokens thusly:

1¢ – BUZZ
5¢ – BONG
“A” token – BING
“B” token – BRRRINGGGG
“C” token – no sound. These were made of blue plastic the size of poker chips and had to be collected by operating the lever for the scavenge door.

Fares: Student “A” tokens – 10 for $1.00; Adult “B” tokens – 4 for 75 cents; Child “C” tokens – 4 for 35 cents; Cash fare – Adult – 20 cents; Cash fare – Students – 15 cents; and, Cash fare – Children – 10 cents.

When I tell younger people today that when you bought four adult tokens for 75¢ back in 1969 you saved a nickel over the regular fare, they say: “Why bother?” I respond: “Well, 5¢ was half the price of a cup of coffee.” It also became apparent that we functioned as change machines. If you ran out of a certain coin or token on the road, you could always stop another bus and see if the driver could sell you what you needed.  

The employee newsletter published the following article in 2005:

An excellent film made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1965 shows what it was like when I started the job few years later, and you can hear the Grant Money Meter tinkling away:

The Grant Money Meters were phased out in 1976 and replaced with Duncans. They in turn were replaced with Cubic electronic fare boxes in 2001, which are still in use. Community Shuttle buses have recently been fitted with drop fare boxes and those drivers issue paper transfers. Over 90% of fares are now registered with a Compass proximity tap card. 

Upon viewing the action here, one man came up to me and said: “This is more fun than watching the parade.”

When I started we drove Brill trolleys with manual steering and no right side exterior mirror. We learned to drive with our left hand and fill the changer barrels with our right. We were trained to climb up on the roof of a trolleybus, walk down the pole and repair a broken retriever rope. Neat trick: If one retriever jammed, you cut its rope and tied it to the other rope. You can put up both trolley poles on the wires with a single retriever rope. I once had this happen and didn’t have a knife with me, so I asked the passengers if someone could help. A man came to the rear of my bus with me and produced a switchblade knife, which did the job.

And if you think climbing up onto the roof of a Brill trolley was adventuresome (see fold-out steps just behind the rear door), check out how we kept service running back in the day. My friend John Day snapped this photo of me riding the back bumper at about 30 km/hr on Commercial Drive for a parade detour circa 1972.

Until 1952 Vancouver’s streetcars had conductors and conductorettes on the heaviest routes to handle fares. Here is Edra McLeod alighting from a streetcar during World War II. She became a bus driver and retired in 1976, two years after a new generation of women operators were hired. The last conductors collected fares on the Marpole to Steveston Interurban in 1958.

All the best,


Winter 2020 Forecast from the Old Farmer’s Almanac

About the Southern British Columbia Region

The Southern British Columbia long range weather region includes all or part of the following provinces: BRITISH COLUMBIA (Abbotsford, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Cranbrook, Duncan, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Parksville, Penticton, Port Alberni, Powell River, Quesnel, Salmon Arm, Squamish, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria, White Rock, Williams Lake).

DatesWeather Conditions
Jan 1-4Showers coast; snow showers, very cold inland
Jan 5-8Snow, then sunny, cold
Jan 9-14Rainy periods, turning mild coast; snow showers, cold inland
Jan 15-18Rainy coast; snow showers inland; mild
Jan 19-31Snow showers, very cold
Januarytemperature -1°C (2°C below avg.)
precipitation 200mm (avg.)
DatesWeather Conditions
Feb 1-8Periods of rain and snow coast, snow showers inland; very cold
Feb 9-17Rainy periods coast, snow showers inland; turning mild
Feb 18-20Sunny, cold
Feb 21-24Rainy periods coast, rain and snow inland; mild
Feb 25-29Sunny, cold
Februarytemperature -2°C (2°C below avg.)
precipitation 150mm (10mm above avg.)

Origins of Hallowe’en

All Saints’ Day, formerly All Hallows Day, is November 1st each year. The night before was called All Hallows Even or Eve now shortened to Hallowe’en. Hallow is a variation on the word “holy.” All Hallows or All Saints is a feast day to honour all Christian saints. What started as a spring event was changed in 835 by Pope Gregory IV to November 1st and coincided with the Pagan ritual called Samhain where it was said the boundaries between living and dead thinned. This made it easier for the souls of the dead to visit the living, not unlike the Dia del Muerte, the Mexican Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2nd. The costumes, the candy and carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern came from the Samhain tradition. Also, the Church’s practice of souling, going from home to home asking for cakes in return for praying for the souls in the house, was probably the precursor of our present day trick-or-treating.

I Remember When…

The Point Grey Bakery was on Dunbar Street

Angus McIntyre

The woman on the right was Dorothy, and the taller one, who had a British accent as I recall, was named Flo’. As it turns out I happen to have the cash register in the photo! When I told them that I had lots of rhubarb in my yard, they said I could bring it in and they could make pies with it, and as payment I got one of the pies gratis. 

In the next photo there is a sign above the door with a little chef’s head and hat. The sign read: LOAFING DEPT. Of course there was always a ginger snap or small cookie handed to the children that came in with a parent. Beside the cash register is a tape dispenser. It had a brush built in that wet the gum on the tape, and that tape was used when the bread was wrapped in light-brown paper. Flo’ lived in the 1950’s apartment building at 16th and Highbury.

I wrote to my neighbour Dave Kileen about the photos, and he responded with his memories. They made a very good malt bread, and also Hovis. I think we should do a little research and list all the bakeries on Dunbar in 1980, and include a short piece on the Ideal Bakery, the oldest one, and currently still a “toney” bakery, which maybe should also be mentioned as the last one standing.

Here’s what Dave said:

The Point Grey Bakery was where my mother would go, often with me, to purchase our bakery items. This is where all my birthday cakes in my early years came from. I remember both of those ladies, the shorter of the two I knew as Mrs. Skinner. She was the primary customer-service person, and my favourite; while the other, also pleasant, was either her sister or sister in law and seemed to take the roll of a backup person during busy times. I have often thought of those ladies, but hadn’t given much thought to the interior of the bake shop, but those interior pictures brought everything back to me immediately, those display cases and especially that faux log cabin back wall with its shingle roof. Mr. Skinner was the baker, but in all the years I went there, I never saw him. I remember that there once was a serious fire in the rear of the building, that required closure of the shop for many weeks, but it was all repaired and continued in business for many years after. There was of course another bakery one block North, on the same side of the street, but while we would look in their window as we walked past, we never went inside and I don’t know why.

Thanks for the pictures, I never thought I’d see them again.

Apple picker

Those apples are way up at the top of your apple tree and you do not want to climb a high ladder to get them! I have a “day loaner” apple bag picker with a very long light aluminum handle! You are welcome to use it! There is also an alternative contact that being the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society Vancouver Fruit Tree. Let’s try not to waste good food.