Fairmount Barracks Parade 1949

Fairmont members RCMP

 

 

 

At the last luncheon meeting of the Vancouver Division of the Veterans’ Association our long time member Dan Lemieux, Reg # 15230, gave a presentation on the history of Fairmont Barracks and his association with Fairmont as an instructor.

 

 

 

Of course there were the personal stories from back in the day which were supported by other veterans who worked and lived in the old Fairmont Barracks. Great stuff, a book should be written on those personal recollections before all the story tellers disappear.

Fairmont Barracks, located at 33rd and Heather in Vancouver, was built in 1912 to serve as a private boy’s school.  The Federal Government purchased it in 1918 to use as a military hospital. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police took over the property in 1920 for “E” Division Headquarters.  The building was renovated into barracks to accommodate approximately 150 men.  Four large barns were erected to stable over 100 horses.

The exterior grounds, the inside and its use has changed many time over the years, the basic outside appearance has remained relatively unchanged. For more on the history of Fairmont Barracks here.

1918 - Photograph of the Fairmont Barracks building (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1918 – Photograph of the Fairmont Barracks building (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1935 - Photograph of the Fairmont Barracks (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1935 – Photograph of the Fairmont Barracks (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1935 - Photograph of Fairmont Barracks in the distance.  It is located in a very rustic area of Vancouver.  Note the four stables on off to the left (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1935 – Photograph of Fairmont Barracks in the distance. It is located in a very rustic area of Vancouver. Note the four stables on off to the left (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

At the same time of Dan’s presentation I had been reviewing the April 1949 RCMP Quarterly that had an article on the presentation of Polar Medals and Bars to members of the crew of the St. Roch at Fairmont Barracks. Below is an edited version of the article;

“It would have been more fitting to the occasion if there had been a little fall sunshine in the air, but in spite of the grey overcast, the setting for the presentations of Polar Medals and Bars to members of the crew of the St. Roch left little else to be desired.

On the grounds of Fairmont Barracks at Vancouver, October 25, 1948, where the fingers of autumn had tinted the leaves with russet and gold stood Inspector H.A. Larsen, F.R.G.S., Reg # 12704, Cpl. G.W. Peters and Spl. Csts. R.T. Johnsen and W.M. Cashin. Behind them in review order facing the main entrance of the building were 40 N.C.O.’s and men of Division Headquarters, Supt. J. Healey, Officer Commanding “E” Division, accompanied by Insp. R.S.S. Wilson, stood by the flag-draped table. The occasion was the investiture of honours bestowed on these me in recognition of their being members of the crew of the RCMP Schooner St. Roch on her historic voyages through the Northwest Passage.”

“Though not widely publicized, the ceremony attracted a fair sprinkling of spectators.”

“Although the investiture took place in “E” Division, where the St. Roch and members of her crew have been a familiar sight since this vessel was launched in Vancouver some 20 years ago, it was appreciated by all that the parade represented the Commissioner and members of the Force throughout Canada. And so with this brief ceremony a chapter in the annals of Arctic exploration comes to an end, and we of the RCMP feel great pride in the part played by members of the Force.”

A few years ago while surfing the net I came across a couple pictures of the presentation of the Polar Medals at Fairmont Barracks.   I sent them to Doreen Riedel the daughter of Henry Larson, on the off chance she may not have seen them. She had not seen them.   I thought that perhaps the little blonde haired girl in one of the pictures was her.   She said it was not her but one of the dignitaries child who attended the ceremony.

Photograph of RCMP members marking into the ceremony (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of RCMP members marking into the ceremony (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph of a medal presentation taking place at the Fairmont Barracks (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of a medal presentation taking place at the Fairmont Barracks (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Note in the background is Little Mountain, now known as Queen Elizabeth Park.   In the beginning, Queen Elizabeth Park was a city landmark known affectionately as Little Mountain as its summit was just over 152 m (500 ft) above sea level. Its surface had been scarred at the turn of the century when it was quarried for its rock, used to build Vancouver’s first roadways.

In 1919, the Canadian Pacific Railway first offered this real estate to the Vancouver Park Board but no action was taken at that time. By 1929, the Park Board had reconsidered and proceeded to acquire the property, which had become an abandoned eyesore but still contained two reservoirs for the city’s drinking water.

In 1930, the park’s floral future was foretold when the BC Tulip Association suggested transforming the quarries into sunken gardens. By the end of that decade it had been turned over to the Vancouver Park Board for park and recreation purposes, and was dedicated as such by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth on their visit to Vancouver in 1939. 

1946 - Superintendent Healey presents the Patron's Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for the year 1946 and bar to the Polar Medal (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1946 – Superintendent Healey presents the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for the year 1946 and bar to the Polar Medal (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1946 - Photograph of another handshake, in the background, in uniform is Cpl. G.W. Peters, to his left 73 year old S/Cst. R.T. Johnson and on his right C/Cst. W.M. Cashin (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1946 Fairmont Barracks – Photograph of another handshake, in the background, in uniform is Cpl. G.W. Peters, to his left 73 year old S/Cst. R.T. Johnson and on his right C/Cst. W.M. Cashin (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph of the RCMP Vessel St. Roch was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner, the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America, and the second sailing vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage. She was the first ship to complete the Northwest Passage in the direction west to east (Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean), going the same route that Amundsen on the sailing vessel Gjøa went east to west, 38 years earlier. (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of the RCMP Vessel St. Roch was a Royal Canadian Mounted Police schooner, the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America, and the second sailing vessel to complete a voyage through the Northwest Passage. She was the first ship to complete the Northwest Passage in the direction west to east (Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean), going the same route that Amundsen on the sailing vessel Gjøa went east to west, 38 years earlier. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

St. Roch was made primarily of thick Douglas-fir, with very hard Australian "ironbark" eucalyptus on the outside, and an interior hull reinforced with heavy beams to withstand ice pressure during her Arctic duties. St. Roch was designed by Tom Hallidie and was based on Roald Amundsen's ship the Maud.  (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

St. Roch was made primarily of thick Douglas-fir, with very hard Australian “ironbark” eucalyptus on the outside, and an interior hull reinforced with heavy beams to withstand ice pressure during her Arctic duties. St. Roch was designed by Tom Hallidie and was based on Roald Amundsen’s ship the Maud. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1921 - Photograph of RCMP members infront of the Fairmont Barracks in Vancouver, B.C. (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1921 – Photograph of RCMP members infront of the Fairmont Barracks in Vancouver, B.C. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph of the RCMP Fairmont Barracks - Another piece of Force history is lost.  Fairmont Barracks is sod and its fate is still unknown (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of the RCMP Fairmont Barracks – Another piece of Force history is lost. Fairmont Barracks is sod and its fate is still unknown (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

If you have old Force photographs and stories that you would like to see in one of our future webpages, please email Ric at rshall69@shaw.ca.

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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