After World War II had ended, there was a housing shortage in Vancouver. Homeless veterans from the war took up residence in the old - and vacant - Hotel Vancouver on January 26, 1946. That building was two blocks east of the present one.
On February 7, American bass Paul Robeson performed at the Orpheum. There were 3,000 fans at the theatre - a sold out show and that kept the performer coming back for more. A favourable review by the Sun's Stanley Bligh read, in part:
“In addition to his great success in the artistic field, the eminent Negro has won an outstanding place in the world by his firm stand on the question of racial equality, his knowledge of languages, international economics and his wide sympathy for the oppressed peoples of the whole globe.”
When I get to the year 1952, I will tell you how that sympathy garnered Robeson trouble and involved Vancouver.
ELEVEN HUSH-HUSH TROOPS DOCK HERE. 11 Canadian soldiers, who had served in the Pacific war, arrived from Australia. The war may have been over but the men were still under orders not to talk about their military activities.
Who were these men? Today we know that four of them were Chinese Canadian soldiers from B.C. These brave men had served in a "secret Chinese guerilla unit" in the East Indies. Due to the prejudice at the time, the Chinese had been fighting a war to be accepted into the military. None of these men were drafted - all volunteered - and all served with distinction.
The four men were Sgt. Norman Lowe and Sgt. Louis King of Vancouver, Tpr Douglas Mar of Port Alberni and Sgt D. Jung of Victoria. Jung was 22 at the time and went on to become the first Chinese Canadian veteran to receive a university education under the auspice of Veteran's affairs. He was also the first Chinese Canadian lawyer to appear before the B.C. Court of Appeal. In 1957, he became Canada's first Chinese Canadian MP.
Sgt. D Jung also won the Burma Award during the war.
I hope you find the beauty around you.