On the Line: Stories of BC Workers

Episode 13: Relief Camps of the Great Depression

February 07, 2022 BC Labour Heritage Centre Season 1 Episode 13
On the Line: Stories of BC Workers
Episode 13: Relief Camps of the Great Depression
Show Notes

Featuring archival audio interviews and labour songs of the time, this episode examines the so-called "Dirty Thirties" or "The Great Depression" and the forced labour relief camps the Federal Government of Canada set up in response. We include a special focus on a little known relief camp that was a mere hop, skip and a jump from downtown Vancouver, BC, in North Vancouver. This is the story of the Blair Rifle Range and other relief camps in B.C.

Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/blair-rifle-range/

FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Performed by Al Jolson, 1932. Written by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" was part of the 1932 musical revue Americana; the melody is based on a Russian-Jewish lullaby. 

"I Don't Want Your Diamonds Mister" & "Nine Pound Hammer" clips performed by Tom Hawken & his band. Part of the "These were the reasons..." film produced by Howie Smith and BC Overtime.

Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Thanks to Donna Sacuta, Exec. Director of the BC Labour Heritage Centre, for her research on the Blair Rifle Range and contribution to this episode.

Building Andy's Range: The History of the Blair Rifle Range by Donna Sacuta. BC Labour Heritage Centre, 2017, rev. 2021.

On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing, May 2018. 

Interview with Donna Sacuta conducted by Patricia Wejr on behalf of the BCLHC, 2022.
Interview with Jean Shiels conducted by Sara Diamond, 1980s. Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.
Interview with Red Walsh conducted by Howie Smith, featured in “These were the reasons…” Stories of Union Organizing in British Columbia (2011) Produced by Howie Smith and BC Overtime, this documentary is about the struggle of working people in BC to win basic union rights. Copyright.