Nelson Remembrance Day ceremonies in 1969 took place at the cenotaph which at that time was still on the Vernon Street boulevard across from the Hume Hotel. It wasn’t moved to its present location outside City Hall (which hadn’t yet been built) until the 1970s. This photo is from the Nelson Daily News of Nov. 12, 1969.

GREG SCOTT: 1969 Fire destroys a Baker Street landmark

… and other news from fifty years ago in the Nelson Daily News

By Greg Scott

Dateline Nov. 6, 1969

Nelson’s sidewalk canopy plan is not progressing as quickly as organizers had hoped. They report that “quite a few of the merchants are ready to go ahead with the plan but we could say the minority are holding things up.” They have received cheques from four merchants thus far, but the key businesses have not yet pledged their support. The Nelson canopy would have to be paid for by the individual merchants and the estimated cost has been set at $74 per running foot.

The average storefront is about 20 feet wide, setting the average cost to merchants at about $1,500. However, the organizers state that “We have to get 1,900 feet of canopy to get the price and this would result in higher costs.” The canopy project is a slow developing program, taking some cities as long as three years to get one installed.

Dateline Nov. 12, 1969

There were grey skies Tuesday but no rain fell as many remembered those who died in two world wars. Remembrance Day ceremonies at the city cenotaph drew a large crowd of local veterans. The 51st anniversary of the end of the First World War was a time remembered by some with gladness, some with sadness, said Rev. E.A. Hircock, padre of Branch 51, Royal Canadian Legion. Mr. Hircock said warships and fighting aircraft can be built in months or even a year or two, but it takes 21 years to build a man.

“Sometimes we have to meet force with force, however,” he said. “From the earliest, man has had to fight for freedom and justice.” He pointed out that so many today are behind iron or bamboo curtains that we “should applaud” the American way of fighting for freedom and justice in Vietnam and should be counted in the front lines of those who want freedom and justice. “We are too inclined to forget we owe others, as well as ourselves, a free world.”

Dateline Nov. 17, 1969

Twenty guests and several employees of the Queen’s Hotel escaped uninjured early this morning as fire razed the 67-year-old building. The blaze, which is thought to have started in the attic, caused an estimated $500,000 damage, including smoke damage to adjacent buildings. Most of the firefighting efforts were directed at confining the blaze to the hotel. The walls caved in about 8:30 and the fire trucks were still at the scene late in the day while mopping up operations continued.

Nelson Fire Department’s $75,000 aerial ladder rig came under fire for the first time and proved a tremendous asset. The 110-foot hydraulic ladder snaked a fire hose to the top of the burning building and firemen kept the two adjacent buildings well soaked with 720 gallons of water per minute. The wood frame structure — brick on the rear wall and stucco in front — was built in 1902 and by 1909 was purchased by the LaPointe family which operated it well into the ’40s. It has changed hands several times since then. ($500,000 in 1969 is approximately $3,422,000 today)

Dateline Nov. 19, 1969

School students were ferried across Kootenay Lake to Harrop in rowboats by their bus drivers Tuesday afternoon when transmission trouble stalled the ferry. The ferry broke down just before 3 p.m. and until a tugboat was able to be put into service about 7 p.m., to tow the ferry back and forth, residents crossed by boat.

The bus drivers rowed 40 or more students across three at a time so they could get to their homes after school. Others forced to use their boats were men coming off shifts from various jobs. Procter-Harrop residents had met Highways Minister Wesley Black the night before to press for restoration of 24-hour service, which now halts at 2 a.m.

Dateline Nov. 29, 1969

Motorists driving after drinking will find themselves the target of tough legislation which goes into effect Monday. The changes in the Criminal Code are aimed at reducing the number of drinking drivers on the roads and thereby reduce the number of accidents caused by alcohol.

RCMP and Nelson City police forces will be making full use of the breathalyzer, with code changes making it mandatory for a driver to take a breathalyzer test upon request of a police officer. Severe penalties are provided for motorists who refuse to take the test. Nelson City Police are still awaiting the arrival of their breathalyzer and will use the RCMP equipment in the meantime.

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The Queen’s Hotel is destroyed by fire, as seen in this Nelson Daily News photo from Nov. 17, 1969. The hotel was rebuilt and is now the site of the Mountain Hound Inn.

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