Choosing a new Canadian flag caused heated arguments — Chronicles From the Past

Ed Nicholson of the Ladysmith Historical Society shares the news that was fit to print in June 1913, 1938 and 1963.

June 1913

“A Delightful and Beneficial Spring Tonic”

So read the headline on an advertisement for Union Brewing Company in the June 3, 1913, edition of the Ladysmith Chronicle.

The ad continued: “U.B.C. Beer is a beverage for those of weak digestion or impaired health. Being bottled by us, under the strictest sanitary requirements, its purity is absolutely safeguarded and retained, making it entirely free of disease germs of any kind — a factor extremely important when invalids are concerned. Order a case today!”

June 1938

A meeting was held in the Rialto at the beginning of June to discuss the problems faced by those living within Ladysmith School District but who were not within city boundaries.

Thirty-seven residents of the E&N subdivision decided to form a Ratepayers Association, and Mr. G.E. Chambers was elected chairman. Concerns included the need for fire protection, a sidewalk down Bayview Road, as it was now part of the highway, and the possible installation of an electric light in the same area for the safety of pedestrians.

Mayor Walkem reported to council that his trip to Victoria did not result in any additional funds for the city to help with their problems of “the unemployable and the unemployed.” ‘

However, Victoria had indicated that federal government loans would be made available to municipalities to assist in any local building project during the balance of 1938. [NOTE: One of the first of these loans was used to erect a neon sign for the Wigwam Restaurant.]

Mr. Pete Celle, agent for Imperial Life Assurance Company, left Ladysmith on June 16 to attend the company’s annual convention in New York.

Mr. Celle was being honoured as a member of the company’s prestigious $250,000 Club. [NOTE: Pete Celle was born in Ladysmith in 1911 and after giving up a career as a teacher, sold life insurance to three generations of local residents before passing away in 1970.]

The British Columbia Telephone Company introduced a new procedure in making calls that they believed would “provide not only a higher degree of efficiency in handling calls but also set a new standard of courtesy.” The advertisement provided a sample call under the new procedure.

Operator: “Number, please?”

Calling Party: “123”

Operator: “Thank you.”

June 1963

Ladysmith Little Theatre had a real-life mystery on their program when the theatre was broken into and some artificial flowers and containers were strewn about and props taken.

The theatre group appealed to parents in the town to be on the lookout for any items their children may have brought home that “looked as thought they may have belonged to a theatre.” [NOTE: No indication in later issues of the Chronicle about “whodunnit.”]

An announcement in June 1963 by the Liberal government of Lester Pearson to establish a committee to choose a new Canadian flag precipitated some heated arguments (and even fisticuffs) in many of the town’s service clubs and bars. There was considerable support, especially from The Royal Canadian Legion and John Diefenbaker’s Conservative Party, to retain and officially adopt the “Red Ensign” which had been flown by Canada’s Armed Forces in WWII and approved for general use in Canada in 1945. [NOTE: In 1965, the Canadian Parliament approved a design submitted by George Stanley, a professor at the Royal Military College in Kingston, which featured a red maple leaf on a white and red background.]

Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society