Author Tags: Local History

A Lower Mainland radio and newspaper personality, Barry Mather wrote for the Vancouver News Herald in the 1940s and 1950s, then as a columnist for the Vancouver Sun. He became an M.P. for New Westminster from 1962 to 1970 for the New Democratic Party. His papers are at UBC Special Collections. Mather was the author of:

New Westminster, the Royal City. Also written by Margaret McDonald. (Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, and the City of New Westminster, 1958)

[BCBW 2004] "Local History"

The British Columbian

from British Columbia: A Centennial Anthology
Once upon a time a little boy asked his Old Man: "Daddy, what is a British Columbian?" The Old Man paused, thought, and then he spoke as follows:

"A British Columbian," he said, "is a man who has a California-type house, a Montreal mortgage, an English car, and a Scottish dog. His wife, who comes from Regina or maybe it is Calgary, either has a cat whose forebears came from Persia, or she has a small bird from the tropics which she keeps in a cage allegedly imported from Eastern Canada, but more likely made in Japan.

"A British Columbian is one who gets his home entertainment listening to an American imitating a Scandinavian on a machine that was made in Ontario by some outfit whose head office is in Pittsburgh.

"A British Columbian is a man who smokes Virgina cigarettes, drinks South American coffee, eats Ontario cheese, California oranges, Norwegian sardines, and Alberta butter.

"A British Columbian gets up when his Quebec alarm clock tells him. He shines his teeth with American tooth paste and he shaves with U.S. steel. His wife feeds him stuff out of a box put out by an outfit in Eastern Canada and from a tin of juice said to be from Hawaii. While eating, the British Columbian reads a New York news agency's report on what the Australians said to the Indians at the London Conference abou the Chinese in Korea.

"The British Columbian eats fast so he can catch a vehicle manufactured in Ontario and deposit a small coin made in Ottawa, with a driver who probably comes from Saskatchewan.

"The British Columbian works hard all morning doing his best to stimulate the sale of a gadget manufactured in Quebec by a big company in New Jersey. At noon the British Columbian will either eat in a café owned by a Greek specializing in confusing the public by using French words to describe American foods--or, he will go to the luncheon of some service club founded in the U.S.A. and listen to a European tell how he escaped the Russians in Bulgaria.

"A British Columbian is one who considers himself fortunate if, after work, he can have one drink of a beverage manufactured in Scottland. He will then rush home in time to coincide with the operations of an Eastern Canadian stove so that his wife will have time to let him take her to a theatre, partially owned by an outfit in Toronto, and see a Hollywood company portray life in the Canadian North.

"I could say more," the Old Man sighed, "but, my boy, that may give you a rough idea..."

However, the little lad had long ceased to listen to his Old Man and was reading a comic book manufactured by some French Canadians in Montreal, about a Texas cowboy saving a Spanish girl from a Mexican.

[McClelland & Stewart, 1958]