One of Nelson’s streetcars is seen in the 400 block of Baker Street, ca. 1920s. Greg Nesteroff collection

COLUMN: 1919 – Police chief reminds drivers of streetcar etiquette

Greg Scott takes us back to a century ago in the files of the Nelson Daily News

By Greg Scott

from the files of the Nelson Daily News

Dateline June 3, 1919

The Mauretania sailed today to Canada from Liverpool with 4,000 Canadian soldiers including the 54th Battalion which was raised in Nelson leaving here on June 11, 1915, just eight days less than four years ago. The unit saw its first real fighting at the battle of the Somme in 1916 and was in action through most of the fighting of that year. It next took part at Vimy Ridge, where it lost its commander and many gallant men on March 1, 1917 in the big preparatory raid. Following Vimy the unit fought through most of the important engagements in which Canadian troops were engaged. After the armistice was signed it was sent to the Rhine front.

Dateline June 11, 1919

“Who is that masked man?” is the question uppermost in the minds of Fairview’s residents. Bogustown is experiencing all sorts of thrills that one thought only existed in “wild and wooly west” shows at the movies. But a genuine masked man followed Marvin McIntyre and a friend all the way home on Saturday night. Perhaps it wasn’t a hold-up.

He didn’t cry “Your money or your life” in regulation hold-up style. No sir! He simply jumped out of a dark place along the road, flashed a light on the couple and disappeared. A little later he mysteriously loomed up again and repeated the spotlight performance. They say that he had something in one hand like a Bill Hart six-shooter. Nobody is quite clear on that point. It looked like a gun anyway.

“What did he say?” Nothing! Another mystery! He was a silent masquerader. It happened in Bogustown, so perhaps it was a bogus masked man. But if it wasn’t — well, the city and Provincial Police are on the job.

Dateline June 19, 1919

The law says that no vehicle must pass a streetcar while the streetcar is stopped at a crossing and Chief Long stated yesterday that it had been reported to him that there had been some violations of this law which had nearly resulted in accidents. He issued a warning that the law must be strictly observed and that he would be compelled to take action in the event of violation.

The chief pointed out that to pass a streetcar while the car was stopping at a crossing involved great danger to people getting out or getting aboard the streetcar. It was for this reason that the legislature passed the law compelling all vehicles to stop when they approached a streetcar which was discharging and taking on passengers at a crossing. The chief asked that pedestrians should wait on sidewalks on Baker Street until streetcars reached the crossings.

Dateline June 24, 1919

Forest fires in the district have assumed alarming proportions and if individuals do not exercise the utmost care to prevent new fires the result will be disastrous. No less than five fires were reported near Nelson yesterday. The reports are only preliminary so that few details could be obtained last night, other than the fact that some of the fires threaten to burn ranchers’ homes.

The district forester pointed out that the majority of the fires were caused by pure carelessness, helped considerably by the extreme hot weather and high winds of the last few days. The weather is unusually hot for June, this kind of weather generally coming about July. Everything in the open areas is now dry as tinder and without the co-operation of the individual rancher and camper the Forestry Department can do little to prevent what might result in disastrous bush fires.

Dateline June 30, 1919

The Great War is brought to an official close. World peace was signed and sealed in the historic Hall of Mirrors at Versailles this afternoon but under circumstances which somewhat dimmed the expectations of those who had worked and fought during the long years of war and months of negotiations for its achievement. The general tone of the sentiment in the historic sitting was one rather of relief at the incontrovertible end of hostilities and unalloyed satisfaction.

The ceremony otherwise had been planned deliberately to be austere, befitting the sorrows and sufferings of almost five years and the lack of impressiveness and picturesque colour, of which many spectators, who had expected a magnificent state pageant, complained was a matter of design, not merely of omission. The actual ceremony was far shorter than had been expected, in view of the number of signatures which were to be appended to the treaty and the two accompanying conventions, ending a bare 409 minutes after the hour set for the opening.

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