Bill Zander has lived and worked in New Westminster for over 35 years. Despite being offered a job in a bank after high school graduation, Zander left the bank and started working at Cap Timber. Working at the mill, even on union wages, was not considered a desirable job at the time, but he enjoyed the work and he was able to support his family. He eventually became a carpenter, and served on the executive of the provincial and national Carpenter Union for 18 years. Zander shares stories about the start of women working in the wood products industry, the changing downtown core of New Westminster and the role of unions in various labour disputes.
Ron Zona is a retired longshoremen and member of International Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU). He started working as a longshoreman in 1967 when he was 17 years old. His first job was only for half a day at Overseas Transport where he worked hand stowing lumber, but he left the waterfront after his first shift. In 1970, after he had gotten married, he worked as a cab driver often driving the longshoremen back and forth from the dispatch hall to Fraser Surrey Docks. One day he decided that he was going to become a longshoreman again, which is how he got his second start longshoring in 1970, and continued working until his retirement in 2011. Zona felt like it was his duty to serve in the union leadership, and for 75% of his time he served on some kind of committee, and found the experience to be very rewarding. Overall, he found his longshore experience very positive. Some of the different docks that Zona worked for were Overseas Transport, Westshore Terminals, Annacis Island, Fraser Surrey Dock, and rice mills. Along the west coast Zona also worked in Woodfibre and Squamish.
Louisa Bertok has worked has worked for Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours and on the M.V. Native and for 7-8 years. She first started by doing the maintenance on the Native, but now also she also serves, does tour narration, cooks, and bartends. At a young age her father and 4 brothers taught Bertok how to work with tools. At the age of 11 she learned how to do autobody work on cars, her brothers showed her what to do. Bertok has never received any formal training. She first did marine restoration work on the Samson V, which is docked beside the Native, and was asked by the Leaney’s, the owners of the Native, if she could help them with a task, as they knew she was mechanically inclined. They liked her work and has worked for them ever since. When Bertok is not working on the Native she is both volunteering and working at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, as an on-call receptionist, or on the Samson V, which she has worked on for 11 years. Bertok volunteers at all the places she works because she believes in giving back, and feels a deep connection to the waterfront. Her goal with the Native is to get her marine first aid certification and an engineering ticket, to be “the first Native on the Native”. The sound quality of this recording is poor.
Ron Basran's family first arrived in Queensborough in the early1900s, and he remains a resident. Both of Basran’s grandfathers were in the trucking business, delivering firewood and coal. His father expanded the business to supply fuel for the steam boilers at various sawmills. Basran, his two brothers, and son all worked in the family trucking firm though at the time of the interview his son was the manager of the pub. His trucking firm has worked with companies including MacMillan Bloedel, Canadian Forest Products, Doman Industries, and Interfor Group. As proprietor of the pub, Basran was also involved in its creation, building on his vision for the changes that would- and did- come to the New Westminster waterfront. Basran has fond memories of growing up in Queensborough, of fishing off log booms and playing hockey on frozen flooded fields.
Tara Bangs grew up in Surrey, and moved to New Westminster in her twenties. Since approximately 2002 she has had a connection to the Samson V, either through personal work or friends. The Samson V is a steam powered paddlewheeler boat that after its retirement in 1980 as a government snagpuller was transformed into a museum, now located at the New Westminster Quay. Banks shares her experience being a guide at the museum, and the interpersonal experiences that occur on any given day. The visitors range from families from the area, old crewmembers, and once, a steamboat enthusiast from Sweden. As someone who has worked at the Samson V, the MV Native, and the 1865 Irving House Museum, while seeing the changes to New Westminster, she contemplates the difference between the old and the new, and the importance of preserving history. Central to her story is also her friendship with Mark McKenzie, one of the main restorers of the Samson V. The Samson V is referred to as the Samson, and the MV Native as the Native for the duration of the summary.
Ron Amero grew up in Coquitlam as the son and grandson of longshoremen. He reports that would watch freighters come up to the Pattullo Bridge while fishing as a child, and so it seemed natural for him to take a job at the waterfront. When he was twenty years old, he and his best friend met up for his first day at the longshore dispatch hall. From there onwards, he learned on the job and soon became both a winch and crane operator. Amaro experienced the evolution of equipment, freight and the waterfront in New Westminster. He describes unloading the first Japanese automobiles. Companies mentioned in the interview that he has worked at are Fraser Mills, Overseas Terminals, Brackman & Ker Terminals, Fraser Surrey Docks, Pacific Coast Terminals, and Westshore Terminals.The interview is at some stages collective history between the interviewer and the interviewee.
Danny Amaro is a retired longshoreman and member of International Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) local 502. His family is one of the few families of which four generations worked in longshore in New Westminster. When he first started longshoring at the age of 17, his grandfather, father, uncles, and cousins were already working on the waterfront. During Amaro’s longshore career he worked in New Westminster, Vancouver, Fraser Surrey Docks, and the cannery docks and rice mills. Some of the companies he worked for were Pacific Coast Terminals (PCT), Westshore Terminals, Fraser Mills, Empire, and Canadian. He worked at Westshore Teriminals as a machine operator for 27 year until his retirement. Amaro states that it was a pleasure to work on the waterfront. That there was never a dull moment, and he would not trade his experience working on the waterfront for anything, and that he if he could do all over again if he would.