LAZARUS, Eve




Author Tags: Architecture, Art, Crime, History, Literary Landmarks

LITERARY LOCATION: North of Beaver Lake, Stanley Park

In 1953, the skeletons of two little boys were uncovered by a Vancouver Parks Board worker in the bushes of Stanley Park, not far from the entrance to Lions Gate Bridge. Both were likely killed about five years earlier. Eve Lazarus points out in her creepy, saddening and necessary book, Cold Case Vancouver: The City's Most Baffling Unsolved Murders, that they were slain around the time seven-year-old Roddy Moore was inexplicably beaten to death on his way to school in East Vancouver in 1947.

The good news in Eve Lazarus' Cold Case Vancouver (Arsenal Pulp)—if there can be any good news in a book about unsolved murders—is that the homicide rate has been falling in Canada. Near the outset of the 21st century, murder accounted for 0.1 percent of all police-reported violent crime.

Vancouver was becoming safer than ever, with one of the lowest murder rates in North America. In 1962, Vancouver had eighteen murders with a population of less than 400,000; by 2013, the city’s population had more than doubled and yet there were only six murders.

That disparity can be partially explained by demographics. The percentage of the population comprised of men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five—the demographic that commits seventy-five percent of homicides in most countries—had dropped considerably since the 1970s.

In 2015, the VPD had 337 unsolved murders on its books dating back to 1970. Police will not comment about these crimes on the record, but Eve Lazarus examined twenty-four of the city’s most baffling unsolved murders between 1944 and 1996 for Cold Case Vancouver.

As a populist historian, Lazarus developed a lively but authoritative tone in three previous B.C. heritage titles. For Cold Case Vancouver, Lazarus was more like a respectful reporter, avoiding sensationalism, as she relates the facts, without lurid or rumoured conjectures, adding maps, archival photos and newspaper clippings.

There’s the case of the young country singer Debbie Roe, just back from success in Nashville, who was sexually assaulted, beaten, strangled and left to drown in 1975 and also the first recorded gang murder in 1954 when Danny Brent was shot in the head, probably by hired killers from Montreal, and left on the tenth hole of the UBC golf course.

Sex rears its ugly head in numerous entries, including the case of an in-the-closet gay man, Robert Hopkins, who was found strangled and shot in the head in his home in the Kensington-Cedar Cottage area. We learn from BC Gay and Lesbian archivist Ron Dutton that if a crime against a gay person ever did make it to court up until the 1980s, the “homosexual panic defence” was a standard tactic for defence lawyers. A defendant could claim he was so horrified to be propositioned by a gay person that extreme retaliation could be deemed acceptable by the court.

Conversely, when a man attacked thirty women in the early 1950s, he was dubbed “the love bandit” by the press. In that era, domestic violence was largely ignored and women were chronically at-risk in their homes.

“Certainly in the Fifties,” says Neil Boyd, Director of SFU’s School of Criminology, “it was totally permissible for mother and fathers to whack their children in the grocery store. Teachers would hit children, and the notion that a man could ‘correct’ his spouse was seen as totally acceptable.”

Lazarus has not merely regurgitated stories from the likes of retired Vancouver Police staff sergeant, Joe Swan, who operated the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum and wrote an historical crime column for the West Ender newspaper commencing in 1983. His accounts of murder cases were reprinted in A Century of Service: Vancouver Police 1886-1986 (Vancouver Police Historical Society, 1986) and Police Beat: 24 Vancouver Murders (Vancouver: Cosmopolitan Publishing, 1991).

Instead Lazarus has consulted a wide range of informants and undertaken some original research, most strikingly in her introductory story about the grisly fate of twenty-four-year-old Jennie Conroy whose body was found near the West Vancouver cemetery in 1944.

A disturbing percentage of victims in Cold Case Vancouver are female; and we learn we are most at-risk to be murdered if we are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four.

“The truly frightening thing is,” Lazarus writes, “is that these killers might still walk around among us. As a forensic expert for the Vancouver Police Department said, even with DNA and all the scientific improvements, ‘we don’t catch the smart ones.’”

It’s common knowledge that Canuck Place in Shaughnessy was previously a mansion that served as the headquarters for a Vancouver chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, but there are many other addresses in the Lower Mainland with skeletons in their closets.

The Australian-born journalist and freelance writer Eve Lazarus of North Vancouver examined the social histories of heritage houses in Greater Vancouver for At Home with History: The Untold Secrets of Heritage Homes (Anvil 2007).

Lazarus followed with Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens: Tales from the Capital City (Anvil 2012). It received the 2015 City of Vancouver Heritage Award for a book that heightens awareness of the historic value of Vancouver's early neighbourhoods.

Lazarus returned to print with Sensational Vancouver (Anvil 2014). Including a walking tour map of Strathcona and Chinatown, Lazarus highlighted the famous and the infamous, particular the latter from the first half of the 20th century when ‘Terminal City’ was a hotbed for bookies, brothels and bootleggers. Lazarus makes the (disputed) claim that Canada’s first female cop was Lurancy Harris who patrolled the houses of ill repute on Alexander Street. Opium dens and gambling joints were the purview of Detective Joe Ricci. Sensational Vancouver also celebrates remarkable women such as Elsie MacGill, Phyllis Munday, Nellie Yip Quong and Joy Kogawa—along with entertainers, artists and controversial characters.

Between 2004 and 2015, more than 10,000 demolition permits were issued for residential buildings in the city of Vancouver. As of 2015, an average of three houses a day were being torn down, many of them original homes built for the middle and working class in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Very few are deemed significant enough to merit heritage protection, but Caroline Adderson and other Vancouver writers--including Eve Lazarus--believed the demoliton of these dwellings amounted to an architectural loss. Adderson spearheaded Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival (Anvil 2015), co-authored with Eve Lazarus, John Atkin, Kerry Gold, Evelyn Lau, John Mackie, Elise & Stephen Partridge and Bren Simmers. The introduction is by heritage artist and activist Michael Kluckner--who had published a book called Vanishing Vancouver--and photographs are by Tracey Ayton and Adderson. Eve Lazarus "blogs obsessively about houses and their genealogies" at www.evelazarus.com/blog/

Review of the author's work by BC studies:
Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens
Sensational Vancouver
Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders

AWARDS:

Bill Duthie booksellers' choice award
2016 shortlisted for Cold Case Vancouver: The City's Most Baffling Unsolved Murders

Heritage Award for Heritage Advocacy
2013 District of North Vancouver

City of Vancouver Book Award
2008 Finalist for At Home with History

Kenneth R. Wilson Awards
2007 Gold – best merchandizing/marketing article “Keep it Real,” Marketing Magazine
2001 Gold – best merchandizing/marketing article “Sizing up the Sizzle,” Marketing Magazine

BOOKS:

Frommer’s with Kids Vancouver (Toronto: CDG Books 2001)

At Home with History: The Untold Secrets of Heritage Homes (Anvil 2007). $20. 1-895636-80-2

The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen (Mother Tongue, 2009) $34.95 Co-authored with Eve Lazarus, Claudia Cornwall and Wendy Newbold Patterson.

Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens (Anvil, 2012)978-1-927380-06-2 $24

Sensational Vancouver (Anvil 2014) 160 pages, $24 can/usa, 7.5 x 9.5, Paperback 978-1-927380-98-7

Cold Case Vancouver: The City's Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (Anvil 2015) $21.95 978-1-55152-629-4

Blood, Sweat, and Fear (Arsenal 2017) $21.95 978-1-55152-685-0

[BCBW 2017]

The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen
Review



In her incarnation as a literary Florence Nightingale, Mona Fertig has set about rescuing the reputations of little-known B.C. artists—such as her father, George Fertig, who died unheralded in 1983—and sculptor David Marshall. Her next three candidates for revival are Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman and LeRoy Jensen.

As Molnar is the only one of trio still living, his self-portrait graces the cover of Fertig’s second volume in her Unheralded Artists of B.C. series, The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen (Mother Tongue $34.95) with texts by Eve Lazarus, Claudia Cornwall and Wendy Newbold Patterson respectively.

Frank Molnar (1936– ) fled from Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and went to the USA where he studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1962 he arrived in Vancouver and later met artists David Marshall, Peter Aspell, Georg Schmerholz, Elek Imredy and Jack Akroyd. In 1969 he became one of the first art teachers at Capilano College where he taught life drawing and artistic anatomy for almost 30 years. His students included Charles Van Sandwyk, Cori Creed and Will Rafuse. Today he continues to paint and lives in Vancouver with his wife Sylvia.

Jack Hardman (1923–1996) was born in New Westminster and studied art in Western Washington and at UBC. He married B.C. poet Marya Fiamengo in the 1950s. A sculptor and a printmaker, he was an assistant to Cubist sculptor Alexander Archipenko in 1957. Hardman taught many art students in Burnaby in the ’60s, and from the mid ’70s through the ’80s he was the Director of the Burnaby Art Gallery. His friends included artists Joe Plaskett, Jim Willer, Joy Zemel Long, David Marshall and Peter Paul Ochs. He lived in Burnaby where he died in 1996.

LeRoy Jensen (1927– 2005) spent his childhood in China, Japan and Vancouver. He studied painting at the Royal Academy of Copenhagen, as well as with the French cubist Andre L’Hote in Paris. In 1954 he returned to Vancouver to paint and forged a friendship with artists Jack Hardman, George Fertig, David Marshall and Peter Aspell. He was a founding member of Greenpeace and later a member of the Victoria-based Limner group. In 1982 he moved to Salt Spring Island with his family, where he fought for social environmental causes and continued to paint the human condition, especially women, until his death in 2005.

978-1-896949-02-4

Sensational Vancouver (Anvil $24)
Review (2014)


from BCBW 2014
As a social historian who doubles as a sleuth for secrets, Eve Lazarus is happy to let the world know that the mansion called Canuck Place in Shaughnessy is the former headquarters for a Vancouver chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

She likewise uncovered an original building where painter Emily Carr had lived, while preparing Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens: Tales from the Capital City (Anvil 2012).

Now Lazarus has risen again. In Sensational Vancouver (Anvil $24), she delights in exposing how Vancouver was once a hotbed for bookies, brothels, bootleggers and unsolved murders.

Canada’s first female cop, Lurancy Harris, patrolled the houses of ill repute on Alexander Street and the city’s opium dens and gambling joints were the purview of Detective Joe Ricci—but it wasn’t all film noir skulduggery.
Sensational Vancouver also celebrates entertainers, artists and remarkable women such as Elsie MacGill, mountain climber Phyllis Munday, novelist Joy Kogawa and Nellie Yip Quong (1882-1949), easily the most unusual of Eve Lazarus’ discoveries.

Including a walking tour map of Strathcona and Chinatown, Sensational Vancouver spotlights Nellie Yip Quong’s residence at 783 East Pender—hyped as the home for the city’s “first inter-racial marriage.”

That’s a bit of a stretch. First Nations women had been co-habitating with European newcomers for decades. But for a white Roman Catholic woman to take the surname of a Chinese husband in the year 1900 was most certainly extraordinary.

Nellie Yip quong was born as nellie towers in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1882. Educated in the U.S., she was an English teacher in New York City when she fell in love with a successful jeweler from a little town called Vancouver. This was Charles Yip Quong, nephew of wealthy Yip Sang.

[B.C. history buffs know about Yip Sang. An orphan with no prospects, he managed to save enough money to make an 80-day journey from China to San Francisco in 1864, at age nineteen. He found work in a restaurant and gradually taught himself English. At age 36, he put his belongings on a cart and trudged north through Oregon and Washington, eventually reaching Vancouver where he sold sacks of coal door-to-door. As outlined in Frances Hern’s Yip Sang and the First Chinese Canadians (Heritage 2011), Yip Sang, at age 37, was hired as a bookkeeper and paymaster for Lee Piu, who oversaw the hiring of Chinese labourers for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Yip Sang was soon elevated to the position of superintendent, organizing as many as 7,000 Chinese workers who comprised as much as 75 percent of the CPR’s workforce. Later successful with an import/export business, he built the two-storey Wing Sang building in 1889. Designated a heritage building in 1999, the oldest remaining building in Vancouver’s Chinatown, at 51-69 East Pender Street, is now owned and renovated by ‘condo king’ Bob Rennie, who operates a private art gallery on the site.]

When Nellie Towers married Charles Yip, her parents disowned her and she was spurned by the Catholic Church. After the pair lived in China for a few years, they returned to Vancouver in 1904 and were afforded refuge by Yip Sang in his Wing Sang Building.

The young couple shared lodgings with Yip Sang’s three wives and their 23 children.
Yip Sang had allocated one floor per wife—or one wife per floor—and one for a classroom. Yip Sang’s lack of formal schooling was counter-balanced by his Confucian values, such as self-improvement. He sponsored the Oy Kuo School for adult education and served as its principal for ten years. He wanted his own children to attend Canadian public schools for integration purposes but he simultaneously hired private tutors from China and Hong Kong to teach them Chinese.

It was from this environment that Nellie was able to master five Chinese dialects. She soon became a vital and outspoken link between two vastly divergent cultures.

“Nellie fought on behalf of the Chinese,” Lazarus writes, “She challenged the justice system and shamed the Vancouver General Hospital into moving non-white patients out of the basement. When the White Lunch restaurant put up a sign saying ‘No Indians, Chinese or dogs allowed,’ Nellie made them take it down. She arranged care for the elderly, brokered adoptions, acted as an interpreter, and became the first public health nurse hired by the Chinese Benevolent Association.”

The Wing Sang Building also served as an opium production facility. Nellie and Charles Yip Quong moved six blocks away from the Wing Sang Building to 783 East Pender Street in 1917, where her husband did most of the cooking and gardening. Nellie proceeded to deliver an estimated 500 Chinese Canadian babies.

The bi-racial couple adopted numerous children, including Eleanor (Yip) Lum who has visited the present owner of the house, Wayne Avery. She described for him one of her favourite memories of Nellie—as a large imposing woman, wearing a wide hat, with a feather in the side and reading a Chinese newspaper on the bus.

According to Lazarus, during renovations, Wayne Avery discovered his house has also served as a bootlegging joint and a brothel. “He found old Finnish newspapers beneath the floor, cartons of cigarettes stashed in the ceiling, booze in a secret hideout in the garden, and locks on the inside of the bedroom doors,” she writes.
As well, Sensational Vancouver reveals that tenants of the house prior to Nellie and Charles Yip Quong included Nora and Ross Hendrix, the grandparents of Jimi Hendrix.

Eve Lazarus previously examined the social histories of heritage houses in Greater Vancouver for At Home with History: The Untold Secrets of Heritage Homes (Anvil 2007). She “blogs obsessively” about houses and their genealogies at www.evelazarus.com

978-1-927380-98-7


Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (Arsenal Pulp Press $21.95)
Article (2016)


from BCBW (Spring 2016)
Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders by Eve Lazarus (Arsenal Pulp Press $21.95)

The good news—if there can be any good news in a book about unsolved murders—is that the homicide rate is falling in Canada. These days murder accounts for 0.1 percent of all police-reported violent crime.

Vancouver is safer than ever, with one of the lowest murder rates in North America. Whereas in 1962, Vancouver had eighteen murders with a population of less than 400,000, by 2013, the city’s population had more than doubled and yet there were only six murders.

That disparity can be partially explained by demographics. The percentage of the population comprised of men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five—the demographic that commits seventy-five percent of homicides in most countries—has dropped considerably since the 1970s.
The Vancouver Police Department has 337 unsolved murders on its books dating back to 1970. Police will not comment about these crimes on the record, but Eve Lazarus has examined twenty-four of the city’s most puzzling unsolved murders between 1944 and 1996 for Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders.

As a populist historian, Lazarus has developed a lively but authoritative tone in three previous B.C. heritage titles. For Cold Case Vancouver, Lazarus is more like a respectful reporter, avoiding sensationalism, as she relates the facts, without lurid or rumoured conjectures, adding maps, archival photos and newspaper clippings.

There’s the well-known 1953 ‘Babes in the Woods’ story about the skeletons of two little boys uncovered by a Vancouver Parks Board worker in Stanley Park. Both were likely killed about six years earlier. Lazarus points out they were slain around the time seven-year-old Roddy Moore was inexplicably beaten to death on his way to school in East Vancouver in 1947.

There’s the case of the young country singer Debbie Roe, just back from success in Nashville, who was sexually assaulted, beaten, strangled and left to drown in 1975 and also the first recorded gang murder in 1954 when Danny Brent was shot in the head, probably by hired killers from Montreal, and left on the tenth hole of the UBC golf course.

Sex rears its ugly head in numerous entries, including the case of an in-the-closet gay man, Robert Hopkins, who was found strangled and shot in the head in his home in the Kensington-Cedar Cottage area. We learn from B.C. Gay and Lesbian archivist Ron Dutton that up until the 1980s if a crime against a gay person ever did make it to court, the “homosexual panic defence” was a standard tactic for defence lawyers. A defendant could claim he was so horrified to be propositioned by a gay person that extreme retaliation could be deemed acceptable by the court.

Conversely, when a man attacked thirty women in the early 1950s, he was dubbed “the love bandit” by the press. In that era, domestic violence was largely ignored and women were chronically at-risk in their homes.

“Certainly in the Fifties,” says Neil Boyd, director of SFU’s School of Criminology, “it was totally permissible for mothers and fathers to whack their children in the grocery store. Teachers would hit children, and the notion that a man could ‘correct’ his spouse was seen as totally acceptable.”

Lazarus has not merely regurgitated stories from the likes of retired Vancouver Police staff sergeant, Joe Swan, who operated the Vancouver Police Centennial Museum and wrote an historical crime column for the West Ender newspaper commencing in 1983. His accounts of murder cases were reprinted in A Century of Service: Vancouver Police 1886-1986 (Vancouver Police Historical Society, 1986) and Police Beat: 24 Vancouver Murders (Cosmopolitan Publishing, 1991).

Instead Lazarus has consulted a wide range of informants and undertaken some original research, most strikingly in her introductory story about the grisly fate of twenty-four-year-old Jennie Conroy whose body was found near the West Vancouver cemetery in 1944.

A disturbing percentage of victims in Cold Case Vancouver are female; and we learn we are most at-risk to be murdered if we are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four.

“The truly frightening thing is,” Lazarus writes, “that these killers might still walk around among us. As a forensic expert for the Vancouver Police Department said, even with DNA and all the scientific improvements, ‘we don’t catch the smart ones.’”

978-1-55152-629-4