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World War II: Tanks for Russia from Canada

During the Soviet Times they used to say: Russia won the war exclusively by its own might and economic strength. In the light of recent events it looks a slightly different. The facts speak for themselves: military equipment and armoury from the West helped Russia a lot. In particular, land lease automobiles supplies was 70 %, tanks – 12 %, airplanes – 10 %, and marine airplanes – 29 %.

Last year I happened to go to Ottawa where I visited the newly opened Wars Museum. There is a huge hall there filled with armoury and the stuff. By chance I came across a small battle tank called Valentine. I learned that those tanks had been supplied to the Soviet Union from Canada during the World War II. Intrigued, I decided to find out how many of them did Canada supply to Russia during the Great Patriotic War. Read more…

History of Burnaby, British Columbia

It happened so that Burnaby became a popular corner for new immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe to settle down. Metrotown and its Metropolis Mall are well known places. The Simon Fraser University is also located in Burnaby. Well, let’s give a closer look at the history of Burnaby.

In 1858 the Royal Engineers under the command of Col. Richard Moody came to western Canada. They opened up the North Road from Sapper Town (Sapperton) to Burrard Inlet. Read more…

Vancouver Central Business District: Our Downtown and its History

There is a rare visitor to Greater Vancouver who hasn’t been to its downtown area. It’s really worth sightseeing, because our downtown is a unique blend of business area, residential districts, both old and new with high-rises, entertainments quarters, and of course famous boutiques. And all that became real in a little bit more than one hundred years.

A century ago a walk through Vancouver would have been quite a short excursion: In 1876 the town, then cal1ed Granville, stretched 2 blocks along the waterfront of Burrard Inlet, a motley collection of hotels, shops and shacks in a universe of skunk cabbage, stumps and gothic firs. The census of 1881 tabulated the work force of Granville: 2 shoemakers, 44 loggers, one policeman, 31 millworkers, 4 butchers, one school teacher, 2 ministers and one wine merchant. An additional hundred labourers performed various jobs from saddle-making to construction work. The census did not count wives, children, Chinese, Indians or prostitutes. Read more…

From the History of Coquitlam: Past & Present

When we first came to Greater Vancouver we got settled in Coquitlam for three years. Needless to say, we just fell in love with this place. It’s so close to nature: the beautiful lake Buntzen, lake Sasamat where our kids enjoy swimming in the summertime, and, of course, Belcarra beach with its wonderful park where once in a while we’d come for a barbecue. Later we moved to Burnaby, but still it’s on the border with Coquitlam. Thus we keep going places in Coquitlam.

Native people named the Kwayquitlam (or Quay-quit-lam) after a small fresh-water sockeye salmon. Coquitlam’s development begins with the gold rush of 1858. Col. R. C. Moody arrived with 400 Royal Engineers, narrowly decided against founding the provincial capital at Mary Hill, and moved downriver to New Westminster. That winter the Fraser froze, cutting off supply ships. To render the capital more defensible against any American aggression, in the summer of 1859 Moody built the North Road, which ran unswervingly dead north from New Westminster to a salt-water port at the head of the InIet, since called Port Moody. The north end of the road was exceedingly steep, and in 1884 a gentler cutoff, Clarke Road, was built. Moody and other Royal Engineers, along with some early settlers, then claimed the land adjoining North Road and in the bottoms along the Fraser. In 1862, to link up their good Fraser farming lands, the Engineers built Pitt River Road, which today includes Brunette, Cape Horn, and Mathewson avenues and Pitt River Road. In 1863 the Engineers were recalled to England; the officers said out and returned home, leaving many of the enlisted men as settlers. Read more…

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