The Beginnings of BC Hydro

1860-1929: The Birth of BC Electric

The motormen and conductors always wore blue serge suits.  I remember Dad used to press them every Sunday morning.  He did it himself because we weren’t very wealthy people, and there were four kids.  Dad used to use vinegar and water to take the shine off – you know how blue serge shines.

1929-1945: The Hungry Thirties & Years of Heartbreak, Years of Joy

After the First World War, BC suffered an economic downturn that continued for almost half a decade. It was followed by a recovery that lasted through the 1920s. During these years, life was good and seemed secure. But everything changed in 1929 when the stock market crashed. That year, BCE vice-president W. G. Murrin became president of the company. More

1945-1962: Young Turks & Wily Veterans

The early Power Commission years were characterized by a dynamic mix of youthful enthusiasm and “school-of-life” savvy among its employees. The employees included kids fresh out of high school or university; returning veterans ready to get back to work, raise families, and leave the horrors of war behind; and experienced power-utility workers “inherited” from other companies. The mix seemed right as everybody buckled down to get the job done. More

1962-1972: The Politician, The Physicist, And The Diplomat & We Two Are One

Although he never worked for Hydro or its predecessors, W. A. C. Bennett, the province’s long-ruling premier, had as great an impact on the company as anyone since Francis Barnard and Robert Horne-Payne. More

1972-1990: New Politics, Old Dream & The Roller Coaster Years

In 1972, Dave Barrett’s New Democratic Party came to power, replacing W. A. C. Bennett’s Social Credit government. Although ideologically far apart from its predecessor, the new government shared with it the vision of BC Hydro as the central tool of provincial development. And develop it did. Unprecedented growth followed-in the number of bus routes, in the expansion of generating capacity, in staffing levels, and in spending. More