Vancouver

Thomson Bros.: Booksellers and Ambitious Entrepreneurs

When Margaret MacLean, wife of first Vancouver mayor Malcolm MacLean, travelled on the CPR to join her husband on the west coast in the fall of 1886, with her on the train to Port Moody was Melville Patrick Thomson (1). Thomson was coming from Calgary, where he and his brother, James Arthur, ran a successful… Continue reading Thomson Bros.: Booksellers and Ambitious Entrepreneurs

Vancouver

William Harrison and the B.C. Book Store

I’ve previously published quite a lot about Seth Thorne Tilley, one of Vancouver’s first booksellers (if not the first; click here for the beginning of Tilley’s story). We know that Tilley operated a store in Vancouver prior to the Great Fire of June 1886, and that he rebuilt on Cordova Street following the fire. This… Continue reading William Harrison and the B.C. Book Store

Vancouver

Clarke & Stuart: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

In 1894, when Vancouver’s first bookseller, Seth Thorne Tilley, exited the bookselling business, he handed the baton to Harold Clarke and James Duff-Stuart. The two were former clerks with Thomson Bros., one of Tilley’s main rivals in Vancouver. After purchasing the business, they renamed it Clarke & Stuart. Initially they remained in Tilley’s location at… Continue reading Clarke & Stuart: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

New Westminster · Vancouver · Victoria

British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company

Now that I’ve introduced John Bowerman Ferguson, Thomas Robson Pearson, and David Robson, three of the founding partners in the British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company (J.A. Hart was the fourth), let’s continue the story about this firm. A Promising Start… Beginning in May 1886 with Pearson’s and Ferguson’s existing book and stationery stores in New… Continue reading British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company

New Westminster · Vancouver

Thomas Robson Pearson: New Westminster and Vancouver Bookselling Pioneer

Before I continue the story of the British Columbia Stationery and Printing Company and John Bowerman Ferguson, let’s meet the other bookselling partner in the venture: Thomas Robson Pearson. Establishing T.R. Pearson & Co., New Westminster Born in 1858 in Oshawa, Ontario, Pearson came to Victoria in 1877, and then to New Westminster in 1879… Continue reading Thomas Robson Pearson: New Westminster and Vancouver Bookselling Pioneer

Vancouver · Victoria

John Bowerman Ferguson: BC Bookseller with a Winnipeg Connection

I was in Winnipeg (my hometown) for a few weeks this summer, and that got me thinking about a BC bookseller with a Winnipeg connection: John Bowerman Ferguson. Part of the BC bookselling scene from 1885 to 1889 in Victoria and Vancouver, Ferguson was originally from Ontario. But before establishing himself in BC, he spent… Continue reading John Bowerman Ferguson: BC Bookseller with a Winnipeg Connection

Books for Sale · Vancouver

Lily Alice Lefevre: First Female Book Author Published in British Columbia

It is BC Book Day and International Women’s Day, and what better way to honour both than to highlight this milestone in BC’s bookselling history: the 1895 release of Lions’ Gate and Other Verses by Lily Alice Lefevre, the first book (I believe, though I stand to be corrected) written by a woman and published by… Continue reading Lily Alice Lefevre: First Female Book Author Published in British Columbia

Vancouver

The Final Years of the S.T. Tilley Book and Stationery Store in Vancouver

Judging by his ability to rebound after losing his Vancouver book and stationery store to fire not once, in June 1886, but twice, the second in February 1889, Seth Thorne Tilley must have been a man of spirit and some financial means. The losses he suffered in the fires were not adequately covered by insurance, yet… Continue reading The Final Years of the S.T. Tilley Book and Stationery Store in Vancouver

Vancouver

“Phoenix-Like”: S.T. Tilley Reopens Vancouver Bookstore after Second Fire

Following the devastating fire that destroyed his first Vancouver book and stationery store on Carrall Street in June 1886, Seth Thorne Tilley built a new store at 11 Cordova Street, at the corner of Carrall. A year later, when the first official train arrived at the Vancouver terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, he and… Continue reading “Phoenix-Like”: S.T. Tilley Reopens Vancouver Bookstore after Second Fire

Vancouver

Tilley’s First Vancouver Book and Stationery Store Goes Up in Flames

By the time the above photo was taken in the spring of 1886, Seth Thorne Tilley’s book and stationery store was an important part of Vancouver’s “civic centre,” as Vancouver archivist Major Matthews titled his description of the photo: Here stood the famous “Maple Tree.” Under its shade or shelter, in sun or shower, pioneers held public meetings,… Continue reading Tilley’s First Vancouver Book and Stationery Store Goes Up in Flames