The first Jewish resident was Polish born Louis Gold, who in 1872 arrived at Granville (Gastown) by tug via the U.S.A. The next year he was joined by his wife Emma and their child “Eddie.” The Golds rented premises from “Gassy Jack” Deighton and operated a general merchandise-grocery store on Water Street. Gold was a short man, but he reportedly earned the nickname “Leaping” Louis by springing into the air in the course of some fracas, “swinging his fist mightily and landing with his full weight on his opponent’s chin.” Such a feat was apparently enough to win the respect of local loggers, longshoremen and sailors whose attitude toward Jews was not always free of prejudice. His wife Emma was a businesswoman, and by 1882 she had established the West End Grocery and Royal City Boot and Shoe stores on Columbia Street, New Westminster.
After the Great Fire of June 1886 destroyed their Vancouver store, the family built the 100-room Gold House, a “strictly first-class” hostelry on Water Street. In 1877, Gold had preempted 65 hectares along the North Arm Waggon Road in South Vancouver [just north of the cemetery’s boundary at 31st.], leaving him, along with most such landowners in the suburbs, where population was scant, land rich but cash poor. In 1914 Louis’ son Edward was elected councillor in South Vancouver, and became reeve the following year. An outspoken, controversial figure, Edward instituted cost-cutting measures by suspending the clerk and other civic employees, and hectic council meetings became an attraction, where “chairs were used as weapons of offense and defense.”
Cyril E. Leonoff