Jack Fulton joined the New Westminster fire department in 1950, and became a captain after 18 years. He was both Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief before he retired in 1986. Fulton worked at all the fire halls in the city, but spent most of his time at the #1 hall downtown. When he was not at work, Fulton managed the Salmonbellies, the New Westminster lacrosse team, who took the 1958, 1959, and 1962 Canadian Championship titles. He served as vice-president and president of the Canadian Lacrosse Association for several years, and continues to be involved in the New Westminster team. After having lived in New Westminster for over 80 years, Fulton is tightly connected to his community and appreciates the changes that he is seeing to the downtown area and the access to the waterfront. Fulton offers strong opinions about female and non-European descent fire fighters.
The interview was conducted as part of History 461 – Oral History Practicum at Simon Fraser University
Save the Parkade is a group of New Westminster that was formed as a response to the city’s plans to tear down the Front Street Parkade. This group has a variety of reasons why they feel that removing the Parkade would do more harm than good, including environmental, economic, and other reasons. They propose alternative ways to repurpose the parkade, such as building a park on the top level, or using the existing structure to build noise barriers.
Albert Gibson was captain of the Samson V in the 1970s and worked at the Canadian Public Wharfs on Columbia St for 10 years. He started his marine career as a young boy in the post- World War II years and was given the nickname “Junior,” a name that he went by for most of his career. The interview covers a description of the Samson V, some of the challenges of driving a boat with a steam engine, and his duties as a captain. Gibson also shares the difficulties navigating both by car and boat in the smog created by beehive burners and coal in the 1950s. Companies mentioned include are Gilley Brothers, Marpole Towing, Army & Navy, the grocery store at the Kelly Douglas Building on Columbia St and the New Westminster City Market.
Elizabeth Embling is a server on the M.V.Native; she started working for PaddlewheelerRiverboat Tours in May 2013. Prior to working on the New Westminster waterfront Emblingworked in a pub in a marina on Bowen Island. She also worked on a train that toured theFraser Valley for 6 years. From the experiences she gained in hospitality at those places,Embling felt well equipped to work on the Native. She especially felt that a lot of skillstransferred from her experience working on the train. Embling started doing narration within the first 2 months. When she is not working on the Native, Embling also works part time in the film industry. Overall, she feels that working with Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours has given her new experiences, such as learning how to tie up the boat, and she speaks very positively about her work environment.
Ulrich Gaede is a commentator/narrator on the two boats that Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours operates, and has been with the company since 1990. Ulrich Gaede grew up in Finn Slough, in Richmond. He dropped out of high school in grade 10 and worked as a taxi driver for a while until he decided to take a short vacation. When he came back he was asked by his neighbour, Captain Bill Harvey, if he could help out as a deck hand for a day, and he has been working on boats ever since. When Gaede is not working for Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours he repairsyachts.
Will Gravedos is the head bartender on the M.V. Native and has worked for PaddlewheelerRiverboat Tours for 13 years. He is an immigrant from Brazil; he came to British Columbiafrom Toronto because he received a 1-year scholarship in engineering from Simon FraserUniversity (SFU). He enjoyed his stay and the weather in British Columbia, and decided tonot return to Toronto. He was introduced to Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours by a friend who had a connection to the Leaney’s, the owners of the business. He fell in love with the family atmosphere, and liked how he was treated so that he continued working part time, even after graduating from SFU. Throughout the interview Gravedos speaks enthusiastically about his job and coworkers.
This interview is with Delbert Guerin, retired longshoreman (local 500), fisherman, and former chief of the Musqueam First Nation (1973-1982), He was also the lead plaintiff in Guerin v. The Queen, a land rights case decided in favour of the Musqueam in 1984. Topics discussed include: fishing industry; longshoring; job duties; equipment; technology; workplace safety; race; gender; rates of pay; alcohol use; and the evolution of work duties and culture.
Les Gunderson is a retired wooden boat builder who worked at Sather Boat Works in Queensborough, and is currently a boat building history instructor for Quadrant Marine Institute on Granville Island. Gunderson’s grandfather immigrated from Norway in 1904 to Idaho, then migrated to British Columbia where he became a commercial fisherman. His grandfather and father were both shipwrights and fishermen. While still in high school (1953/54), Gunderson started working with his father at Sather as a cleanup boy on Saturdays. After he graduated high school he was also working on tugboats. He was asked to decide between the two occupations, and chose to work at Sather. He started as an apprenticeship shipwright at Sather in 1959, and worked there for 37 years. Sather was in competition with the 35 other shipyards located on the Fraser River between Steveston to Mission. At Sather, Gunderson helped build 120 wooden commercial fishing boats. Sather was the last shipyard building wooden boats; the last boat was built in 1989. In 1996 following a heart attack, Gunderson decided to retire.
Ray Haynes is a former president of the BC Federation of Labour. As a young man Haynes worked at Hudson’s Bay Company Wholesale, a division of the Hudson’s Bay Company, where he reported earning a low wage and working in poor conditions. He then worked at Canadian White Pine sawmill where he learned about labour and other social issues from union members who were communist, Leninist, and Trotskyist. He worked at White Pine for only 18 months even though he was earning a high wage. Haynes told himself that if he did not leave the mill he would be just like the men working in their 60s working the green chain. After Haynes quit he did a few other jobs and eventually returned to Hudson’s Bay Company Wholesale, but with a union background. Within a few years of his return, Haynes and a partner organized a union which he headed from 1954 to 1966. He became the president of the BC Federation of Labour in 1973. Afterwards, Haynes and his family resettled to on Quadra Island and ran a resort for 5 years. He briefly worked as a union liaison on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry led by Justice Thomas Berger. He worked 10 years with the nurses union, and helped organize hundreds of nurses and brought their pay up to the “standard of everybody else” in the province. His last 2 to 3 years, before his retirement in 1993, were with the Vancouver Municipal and Regional Employee’s Union (VMREU), Local 15, which later joined CUPE.
Hank Hoolsema is an experienced longshoreman, who grew up on a farm in Langley with 15 siblings. His extended family includes 20 longshoremen, including his father. His first longshore job was to pull logs from log booms onto a pallet in 1963, and he has remained on the waterfront every since. Hoolsema never attended school, but his father taught him manual labour on the farm, which Hoolsema credits for allowing him to succeed in the physically demanding longshoring industry. Despite not having any formal education, he was able to increase his ratings through earning multiple journeyman “tickets,” including switchman and engineering tickets. Today, Hoolsema is 67 years old, and still receives calls from the hall about work because of his qualification as a motor engineer. He states that he appreciates that he has the chance to continue to work, as he is not ready to retire.