COLUMN: Greg Scott on Nelson in January, 1918: Dancing at the Hume to an election

January,1918 - From New Year’s Day to an election

JANUARY 1918

Dateline January 1, 1918

All the whistles and bells in the city ushered in the New Year last night at 12 o’clock. All along the mountainside city site, bells clattered and locomotive whistles added to the din of greeting for 1918. Along the lake shore the factory whistles got in the music with shrill shrieks seemingly dedicated to the last knell of the parting year. On the Lake the Nasookin spoke for the waterway. Weather last evening indicated a mild day in the city. The snow melted Monday and early this morning the streets were slushy. Skating on the lake will not enter into the day’s fun. Dances at the Hume and the opening of the Strathcona Hotel under new management will be the drawing cards for pleasure seekers during the evening. Special films have been arranged for at the local theatres and parties probably will be the chief events of the first day of the New Year.

Dateline January 4, 1918

Proportional representation with its complex and involved method of counting votes will be tried out in Nelson January 17 at the civic elections. In the mayoralty contest there is no particular difficulty, as only one position has to be filled. But there are six aldermanic vacancies, two school board vacancies and two places to be filled on the board of police commissioners. There has been a great deal of discussion with regard to voting for alderman, as only one first choice, one second choice and so on may be expressed by each voter. Probably only first and second, with possibly third choice will count as far as the practical result goes. To give the public some insight into the method of voting, a “dummy” election will be held early next week. The “dummy” election will be carried out through the school with students asked to take home “specimen” ballots for their parents to mark. The children will then return the ballots and they will be counted at City Hall.

Dateline January 8, 1918

Men in the city, who are eligible for the army under the Military Service Act, are receiving notification to report for duty. The orders are being received by registered mail and so far as could be learned in the city last evening each summons calls for report for service in person before noon January 10 at the headquarters of the depot battalion at Willows Camp at Victoria. Several men will leave this morning for the capital city. The notice entitles the holder to transportation on presentation at the local ticket office at the Kettle Valley station. Three days subsistence is also provided for by notation on the order which will be recognized on trains and boats. Failure to obey the order renders one liable to punishment in the civil courts as well as making one subject to be taken into custody at any time on the score of a military offender.

Dateline January 8, 1918

J.A. McDonald announced last night that he proposed to open a cider factory in Nelson. He has ordered the machinery. “I believe that a cider factory will be of great benefit to the ranchers as it will provide a market for their cull apples. In addition it will fill the needs of the district for temperance cider which have increased greatly since prohibition came into effect,” said McDonald.

Dateline January 18, 1918

M.R. McQuarrie was elected mayor of the city by a majority of 67 over his opponent, J.E. Annable, after a keenly contested fight which lasted until the closing hours. The first choice ballots for alderman, which, observers pointed out, did not have the same significance as a straight vote under the ordinary system, which elected all six aldermen. Just how the voting worked out under the proportional representation scheme has not yet been analyzed. In that no figures are available to show how many second, third, fourth, fifth and other choices each candidate received. One of the effects of the new plan was to reduce the first choice vote of Dr. Rose. Scores of supporters stated during the day that they had not given their first choice to the doctor because they knew he would certainly be elected and that their first choice ballots would therefore be more valuable if cast for some other member.

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