Ladysmith movie-goers were enthralled by Sonja Henie – Chronicles From The Past

Ed Nicholson of the Ladysmith Historical Society shares the news from 1912, 1937 and 1962.

Sonja Henie impressed movie-goers when One in a Million came to the Rialto Theatre in Ladysmith.

Sonja Henie impressed movie-goers when One in a Million came to the Rialto Theatre in Ladysmith.

July 1912

In mid-July of 1912, Ladysmith was experiencing a heat wave, which made for long, hot and “testy” city council meetings. A review of the council meetings for the month reveals lengthy discussions on such key issues as: the purchase of a Remington versus a Royal typewriter for City Hall; discussion over the removal of a “dangerous” metal sign placed on a city electrical pole by the Victoria Auto Club; a heated argument over the rewording of the city’s “noxious weeds” bylaw; debate on whether the city or local merchants should pay for stump removal on Methuen Street; and the use of obscene language by young boys in public places in town.

However, residents considered themselves fortunate when the news reached Ladysmith that Saskatchewan had been hit by a tornado on the last day of June. It slashed through six city blocks in Regina, killing 40 people, injuring 300 others, destroying 500 buildings and leaving a quarter of the population homeless. (The “Regina Cyclone” lasted only three minutes, but it took 46 years to pay for the damages. It remains the deadliest tornado in Canadian history.)

July 1937

Twenty-five years later, the city was experiencing another hot July. Ladysmith could hardly complain. On July 5, 1937, the highest temperature  recorded in Canada was reached at Yellowgrass, Sask., when the mercury soared to 45°C (113° F).

To help cool down Ladysmith, the Rialto Theatre featured a film called One in a Million, starring Sonja Henie, three-time Olympic women’s figure skating champion, who had studied with the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia and successfully introduced the art of dance (and the short skirt) into ice skating competition. This was Henie’s first film and featured a “breathtaking winter ballet on ice.” The enthralled Ladysmith film audience was unable to take its eyes off “the pert, five-feet-two-inches-tall, 110-pound blonde and very attractive” Miss Henie.

An article in the July 23 Chronicle reported that Mr. R. C. Henderson had been successful in introducing the boysenberry to Vancouver Island. The berry, original developed in California, adapted well to the local climate and proved to be very popular on Vancouver Island.  Rudolph Boysen, who originally developed the hybrid by crossing several varieties of raspberry, loganberry and blackberry vines, had given some of the berries to Walter Knott of Buena Vista, Calif. Knott then shipped some to Henderson to test “their northern winter hardiness.”  (Note: Walter Knott used the berry to make a popular jam. The success of this preserve marked the beginning of the world famous Knott’s Berry Farm in California.)

July 1962

Longtime Ladysmith resident Mrs. Margaret Walker received congratulatory telegrams from Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister John Diefenbaker commemorating her 100th birthday on July 25. (Note: Mrs. Walker lived in Saltair at Blainey’s Corner for many years. She passed away later that year in November.)

Mrs. M. Loos, who operated Dunn’s Grocery at the corner of White Street and Second Avenue, faced some tough competition. Her two sons, Michael and Bobby, set up a cardboard store in front of the grocery. The enthusiastic young entrepreneurs offered shoe shines and bags of cherries for sale at a very reasonable price. It is tough to compete in the produce market — especially when your competitors are selling cherries from your backyard, packaged in your brown paper bags.

Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read