The Union Club Celebrates BC 150

In July 2021 we mark 150 years since BC joined Canada, we are planning some activities to commemorate the event, and below is some history of The Union Club as part of the union with Canada discussions.



The Union Club of British Columbia was founded in April, 1879, just as the final push was on under Premier George Walkem and Amor De Cosmos, working with John A. MacDonald to get construction to start of the Canadian Pacific Railway as promised under the 1871 “Terms of Union”: a transcontinental railway to commenced within two years, completion within ten.

MacDonald had been able to pass an 1873 order-in-council which identified Esquimalt as the West Coast terminus although this was coincidental with the failure of the CPR syndicate, and just before revelations of the “Pacific Scandal” and collapse of the MacDonald Government

By 1879 there was no sign of a railway. Canada was trying to change the Terms. The negotiations were difficult. Furthermore, a group of disaffected business leaders, land speculators and politicians threatened withdrawal from the union with Canada.

Behind the scenes were the many professionals and civil servants, mainly in Victoria, who were horrified at the prospect of a split. Initially, seeing their civil service appointments and pensions threatened, they had opposed union with Canada. However, having achieved assurances of their continued employment and pensions, a provision actually written into the Terms of Union of course now they remained staunchly in favour of the Union.

It was just such a group, motivated as much by self-interest as altruism who decided to formalize as a club of “remainers”.

Supreme Court Justice Matthew Baillie Begbie was the Club’s founding president. Founding members were businessman and later Lieutenant Governor Frank Barnard, Cariboo MPP and retired Royal Navy Lieutenant Henry E. Croasdaile.  Early members were lawyer, City Mayor and former Victoria representative on the colonial legislative council Montegue Tyrwhitt-Drake, court registrar C. E. Pooley, Surveyor General Joseph Despard Pemberton, and Justice Peter O’Reilly. HBC physician and community leader John Sebastion Helmcken was a member. The owner and editor of the Colonist, David Higgins, soon to become Speaker in the Legislature was a member; the editor of the Victoria Standard, a staunch “leaver” was most certainly not. Other early members and attendees at events were officers of the Royal Navy, and the hierarchy of the Anglican clergy.

By 1884 there were 149 Union Club members and 78 charter members.

Stayed for next month “Chapter 2 – The Battle of the Clubs”

Cleared for Lunch: Japanese airline serves £390 in-flight meals on parked planes

A diner tucks into his £391 onboard meal. Views of the tarmac come gratis. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

The choice always used to simple – chicken or beef. But Japan’s biggest airline has now started offering luxury dining aboard a parked airplane it has named the “winged restaurant,” for £390 a meal.

Diners grounded by the pandemic rushed to relive the cabin dining experience on Wednesday .

All Nippon Airways (ANA) dining “passengers” can choose between a first-class seat with a meal for 59,800 yen (£391) or a business-class option for about half the price, at 29,800 yen, on board a stationary Boeing-777 at Haneda airport in Tokyo.

Guests are asked to select their meal in advance from a Japanese or international menu. Mains include grilled sablefish with saikyo miso, simmered beef and tofu; Wagyu beef with Kobe wine mustard; and sautéed sea bass and shellfish bisque, served with Japanese sake, plum wine or Krug champagne.

The chef speaks with a customer on a parked All Nippon Airways plane at Haneda airport in Tokyo. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

Yosuke Kimoto, 42, who had a business-class meal with his 14-year-old son, told Kyodo News: “It was a delicious meal. I’m glad that my kid enjoyed it too.” They were among 60 guests who had lunch aboard on the first day of the service, with a similar number having dinner.

His son was also impressed. “The business class was drastically different from the economy class in terms of both food and the seat. It was so spacious, and the seat was like a bed when reclined,” he told Nikkei Asia.Advertisement

ANA will offer 22 lunch and dinner sessions this month, each lasting about three hours. There is no in-flight entertainment, but customers receive amenity kits and can also use the airline’s lounge at Haneda’s domestic terminal.

Singapore Airlines became the first carrier to tap into the public’s appetite for onboard dining last October, when it started offering meals on two A380 superjumbos parked at Changi airport in Singapore. Tickets sold out in less than half an hour, despite the £360 price tag to eat in a top-flight suite, with the chance to watch a movie too. Economy-class meals were more affordable at £30 a head.

The pandemic has plunged the global aviation industry into its worst-ever crisis, as many aircraft around the world remain grounded amid coronavirus travel restrictions and lockdowns, prompting some airlines to think creatively about what to do with their idle aircraft. At ANA, the idea of the “winged restaurant” was reportedly thought up by employees.

In-flight meals have been surprisingly popular. ANA started selling international economy-class meals online in December and they quickly sold out. It sold 264,000 meals and made revenues of £1.3bn as of 12 March. The airline said beef sukiyaki and hamburger steak with demi-glace sauce served with buttered rice and creamy scrambled eggs were gone within minutes.

An All Nippon Airways flight attendant prepares food for ‘flyers’ on a parked plane at Haneda airport. Photograph: All Nippon Airways/AFP/Getty Images

British Airways now also offers first-class cabin meals from £80 for home delivery, starting this week. It sells four-course meal kits serving two people – in a choice of vegetarian, fish and meat dishes – through the catering firm Do & Co. Starters include Loch Fyne smoked salmon with a mustard dressing, followed by slow cooked British beef cheeks, a cheese selection and dark chocolate and orange liqueur bread and butter pudding.Advertisement

Similarly, Finland’s national carrier Finnair started selling business-class meals at a supermarket near the Helsinki international airport last October, which proved a hit at €12.9 per takeaway meal (£10.90).

The Australian government has launched an A$1.2bn (£660m) package to get people flying again domestically, which will halve the price of 800,000 flights until July. Airlines reported a surge in bookings when they started selling half-price tickets on Thursday as the Queensland government lifted travel restrictions.

The BA owner, International Airlines Group, has called for the introduction of digital health passes for passengers to enable the airline industry to get back on its feet, as the company reported a record €7.4bn loss for 2020 last week.

IAG has worked with the industry body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on a digital health verification app. The IATA travel pass app enables passengers to receive Covid-19 test results and verify they are able to travel via an “OK to Travel” status. It is being trialled by a number of carriers.