Dugald Campbell Patterson 1860-1931


Dugald Campbell Patterson 1860-1931
Pioneer of British Columbia, Civil Engineer, Builder and Author

One of British Columbia’s most prominent citizens, Dugald Campbell Patterson is known in the City of Burnaby as the pioneer that gave the Edmonds district its name. After settling in Burnaby in 1894, Patterson co-founded Central Park, served as the first postmaster of Edmonds in 1909, and was elected a Burnaby school trustee in 1912.

His other legacies include Patterson Avenue, which he originally built as a trail, and a simple wooden platform stop that he constructed on the BC Electric Railway, that today serves thousands of commuters as Patterson SkyTrain Station.

Dugald Campbell Patterson was born in Partick, Scotland on January 2, 1860. His parents were John Murdoch Paterson, of Rutherglen, and Margaret Purdon of Partick. He was educated in Glasgow, became a ship joiner, then later an engineer. Upon his arrival in Canada on July 1, 1884, he promptly added a second “t” to the spelling of his last name. Dugald married Frances Mabel Webb in Victoria, BC. See the biography of Frances Mabel (Webb) Patterson.

Dugald Campbell Patterson was employed at Armstrong, Morrison & Company, where he oversaw the building of the Fraser River Bridge at New Westminster. He was also foreman boilermaker with the Vancouver Engineering Works. Shortly thereafter, in 1903, he established Vulcan Iron Works of New Westminster, a business that was said to be one of the most important operations of its kind on the Canadian Coast. At the start of World War One, Patterson accepted a commission by the British Government to supervise the construction of submarines on the River Clyde in Scotland. Upon his return home, he founded his own insurance business. Patterson was also a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Foresters.

In 1930, as he neared the twilight of his life, Dugald authored and published a book of poetry. Dugald Campbell Patterson died in Vancouver, BC on June 25, 1931 having made many significant contributions to municipal development, industry and the arts.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.

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Frances Mabel (Webb) Patterson 1872-1960

Pioneer of British Columbia, Wife, Mother and Insurance Woman

Frances Mabel (Webb) Patterson’s legacies include Frances Avenue, named for her in Victoria, British Columbia, and Patterson House, the family home that today sits at 7106-18th Avenue, Burnaby, a designated heritage building.

Frances Mabel Webb was born in Cradley, England on December 5, 1872. She was the eldest of twelve children born to Joseph William Webb, and Frances Jane (Yapp) Webb of Ridgeway House. Frances was also the granddaughter of Thomas Webb, founder of world-renowned Thomas Webb Crystal. Her maternal great uncle, Richard Yapp, of the Halesend, was High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1859.
Frances crossed the Atlantic on the SS Lake Winnipeg with her family and arrived in Victoria in 1889. Her father had decided to move the family to Victoria so he could accept a landscape design position for Beacon Hill Park with architect John Blair.

On February 7, 1891, Frances Mabel Webb married Dugald Campbell Patterson at St. James Anglican Church, in Victoria, BC, joining two pioneer families. Frances and her husband moved to Burnaby in 1894 where she farmed the family property, looked after her blind mother-in-law, Margaret (Purdon) Patterson, and raised her seven children. In 1910, as her family continued to grow, she and her husband purchased fourteen acres of land along Edmonds Street at Kingsway and built a larger home with tennis courts and a gazebo. Here, Frances would hold church teas and host meetings for the women’s division of the Liberal Party.

In later years, with the experience she gained from working in her husband’s insurance business, Frances became an insurance agent for the Wawanesa Insurance Company (founded in 1896). She met her clients by using the lower mainland’s vast streetcar system as a means of transportation. This career not only gave Frances a significant feeling of independence, but also gave her an income which lasted well into her retirement years. Frances Mabel (Webb) Patterson died in New Westminster, BC on August 30, 1960.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, historian.

Elva Eleanore (Elliott) Patterson 1896-1973

Vancouver Film Industry Pioneer, Wife and Mother

Elva Eleanore Elliott, after graduation from Vancouver’s King Edward High School in 1914, became the first woman in her family’s history to work outside the family home. She was hired as a stenographer with considerable responsibility at Dominion Exclusives Ltd and Fox Film Corporation Ltd.

Elva Eleanore Elliott was born in Wardner, Idaho on May 5, 1896. Her parents, John Hess Elliott and Nettie Florence (Faris) Elliott believed their new born daughter might not have lived had it not been for members of the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe who fed Elva a mixture of juice extracted from fruit and berries. Once Elva was well enough to travel, her parents brought her to Vancouver in 1898 along with her older brother, Theodore Fay Elliott.

Elva Eleanore Elliott was a part of the onset of moving pictures through her work at Dominion Exclusives and the Fox Film Corporation. These early silent films gradually replaced the vaudeville shows that were still entertaining Vancouver audiences at venues such as the Pantages Theatre, built in 1907 by architect Edward Evans Blackmore. While working at the Granville Street office for Fox Films, Elva oversaw the safe delivery of these movies to theatres and coordinated their return to the distribution centre in Hollywood, California. Pioneer filmmaker William Fox founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915. The company merged with Twentieth Century Pictures to become industry giant Twentieth Century-Fox in 1935.

Elva Eleanore Elliott married Charles Bruce Patterson on July 17, 1918 at the Sixth Avenue Methodist Church in Vancouver. Elva and her husband Bruce raised two daughters, Audrey Elva (Patterson) Brock (1919-2003) and Doreen Nettie (Patterson) Reitsma (1927-2000). Elva Eleanore (Elliott) Patterson died in Richmond, BC on June 26, 1973.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.

Charles Bruce Patterson 1892-1979

Owner of Vulcan Metal Works Ltd., Home Designer and Builder
Inspired by his father who installed the wrought iron railings at Victoria’s Government House in 1903, Charles Bruce Patterson and his company, Vulcan Metal Works, left behind a significant artistic legacy. His work still adorns many homes and apartment buildings throughout Canada.

Charles Bruce Patterson (called Bruce) was born in Victoria, BC on January 21, 1892. He arrived in Burnaby at the age of two with his parents Dugald Campbell Patterson and Frances Mabel (Webb) Patterson, and his younger brother, William Harold Patterson. In 1910, Bruce apprenticed with his father who owned Vulcan Iron Works of New Westminster. At the start of the First World War, Bruce temporarily left his apprenticeship to join the Seaforth Highlanders, but was discharged due to having “flat feet.”

Some years later Bruce moved his father’s ironworks to Vancouver and changed the company name to Vulcan Metal Works Ltd. Bruce became known as an expert in his craft whose work was prized from Victoria to Ottawa. Bruce was commissioned to create custom ironwork for many private homes and in some cases built the homes as well. One such residence was featured on the cover of Western Living Magazine in June of 1951.
Bruce Patterson met Elva Eleanore Elliott through the Odd Fellows Lodge and they married on July 17, 1918. In 1936, after winning a $500 bond at the Pacific National Exhibition, Bruce and Elva Patterson built a new home at 2743 West 29th Avenue in Vancouver. After the death of his first wife, Bruce, at the age of 82, married Martha May (Bird) Summers at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Vancouver on April 26, 1974. Charles Bruce Patterson died in Richmond, BC on February 16, 1979.

Biography by Raymond Reitsma, family historian.