Campaign for constuction of Ladysmith community centre began in 1963 — Chronicles From the Past

Ed Nicholson shares the Ladysmith news from March 1913, 1938 and 1963 in his Chronicles From the Past column.

Concerned about poor attendance

March 1913

Ladysmith Mayor Dr. R.B Dier was selected at the Conservative Convention to be their candidate for Newcastle District in the upcoming provincial election. Dr. Dier was praised by attendees for his favourable stance on the working man.

The mayor told the delegates that he would lobby the party to include in its provincial platform a minimum wage policy similar to that approved in January by the Ladysmith City Council. The council motion approved an eight-hour working day with a minimum wage of $3 per day.

Cheap Tuesday? The fierce competition for an audience at Ladysmith’s three cinemas continued into 1913. The town’s newest movie house, the Gem Theatre, cut its admission price to five cents for children and 10 cents for adults at its Tuesday and Wednesday screenings.

Rival cinemas, the Opera House and the Lyceum, maintained their prices at 10 cents and 15 cents, respectively.

In its weekly ad, the Gem offered an additional incentive:  “Look out for our bus in the city tonight. Don’t walk to the show, but jump on. No extra charge.”

March 1938

The Ladysmith School Board was taken to task by the Department of Education at its regular March meeting.

A letter from the Provincial Supervisor of Home Economics chastised the board for not keeping its promise to add cooking to the Home Economics curriculum at Ladysmith High School. In her letter, Miss McLanagan declared that,  “I am no longer going to bother with you any longer, but will deal with you through the Superintendent of Education. The department has been more than generous in its grants to the board, but this seems to be a very one-sided agreement.”

The board did approve the motion to teach cooking at LHS but turned down a request from six married women in the community who wanted to join the Manual Training course on Thursday afternoons as “inappropriate.” Some trustees felt that girls should be taught cooking by the women in their families, and there was no need for young women to learn manual training (Industrial Arts). [NOTE: For more on this issue, click here.]

At a private dinner party in Vancouver hosted by A.E. “Tommy” Sjoquist, one of the guests found a pearl in his oyster cocktail. The oysters served at dinner had been grown in Ladysmith harbour. The delighted guest, Mr. P. W. Racey, a mining engineer working at the Zeballos gold fields, stated he would have the pearl polished and mounted.

March 1963

A committee headed by Fred Harker of Branch 171 of the Royal Canadian Legion began the campaign for the construction of a community centre in Ladysmith that would have a swimming pool as its centerpiece. The committee hoped to have the pool approved as Ladysmith’s Centennial Project for the 1967 celebration. [NOTE: The “Ladysmith Sportsplex” was finally opened on May 22, 1982. It was rededicated in 1997 as “The Frank Jameson Community Centre” to honour the former mayor of Ladysmith.]

Ladysmith United Church is continuing its stocking drive with a collection box in Geering’s store. Ladies are urged not to throw away their used nylons, which will be sent instead to Korean widows for weaving.

Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society

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