Fred Hume, a member of Union Lodge No. 9, New Westminster, was initiated into
Gizeh Temple on June 9th, 1951.
Born on May 2, 1892, in a little frame house on Hospital Street, in Sapperton,
Fred Hume was the son of John and Alice Hume, and was the grandson of one of
Colonel Moody's Royal Engineers who opened up British Columbia.
Mr. Hume, who was best known as Friendly Fred, spent 18 years on New Westminsters
City Council as both Alderman and Mayor, before entering Vancouver civic politics.
He reigned as Mayor of Vancouver from 1950 to 1958. During this time, he gave
his civic wages to charity and worked for a dollar a year.
When he was defeated in 1958 by Alderman Tom Alsbury in the mayoralty race, he
dropped out of politics and returned to his electrical contracting business,
Hume and Rumble Ltd.
When he became ill three years later,he was forced into semi retirement. His
love of hockey - he once owned the New Westminster Royals hockey club - led to
his purchase in 1962 of the Vancouver Canucks from the Pacific National Exhibition
for an estimated $175,000.00.
His operating loss's for the club for the first three years were estimated at
$125,000.00. He sold the Canucks in November 1965, to a syndicate headed by an
old friend, Cyrus McLean, chairman of the board of B.C. Telephone Company.
Hume was appointed a Freeman of the City of Vancouver in January 1964, in recognition
of his public service. He endeared himself to the Vancouver voters when he had
to battle city council to get permission to work for a dollar a year.
They also knew him as the man with the red rose in the buttonhole of his jacket
- he made it a mayoral badge, and the hook nose profile of a cigar store Indian.
He had the impulsive generosity of a Kentucky colonel, and the charm and friendliness
of a Dale Carnegie.
An observer once remarked that Hume possessed " a sort of village sincerity
which put the big town in his palms ". This image won him such nicknames
as "Friendly Fred", "The Charming Mayor", and "Vancouver's
Nicest Mayor". Hume didn't mind the titles, he once told a reporter: " well
I suppose they have to call me something."
Vancouver saw many changes during Hume's term as Mayor, new bridge's on Granville
Street and Oak Street, a new police station, public library, and Empire Stadium.
During his years in politics, he fought off pressures to run for provincial and
federal offices, and to accept an appointment as Lieutenant-Govenor of British
Hume's charm contributed to the almost rags to riches story of his life. He quit
school early and began working in the classical way, selling newspapers. He later
worked in a variety of jobs, store clerk, fisherman, teamster, millworker, fireman,
and telephone lineman.
It was while working as a telephone lineman that he pulled the switch that made
him an employer instead of employee. He was listening in on a line when he overheard
telephone officials talking about transferring him to Victoria. It was this impending
threat of being transferred that made the young married man with two children,
quit his job with B.C.Telephone Company.
With a tool kit and fifty dollars cash he set up a small electrical repair business
with his brother in New Westminster. Soon the brothers opened up a retail electrical
store that quickly became the largest electrical contracting firm in Western
It was an up hill struggle at first. Hume started one of the first radio stations
in B.C. - partially to sell radio sets, then a comparative novelty. The station
was CFXC in New Westminster, and it was here that the future mayor of New Westminster
and Vancouver acted as a joint owner, manager, and disc jockey. The station was
not a profitable venture, one of the evident disadvantages being that it had
no commercials. Finally the owners sold it and today it has evolved into CJOR.
Hume entered politics in 1924 and won an Aldermanic seat in New Westminster.
He was never defeated at the polls and served nine years as an Alderman, then
nine years as Mayor of New West- minster.
In 1942 he dropped out of politics and moved to West Vancouver where the pressures
began from friends who wanted him to run in other electoral races. In 1950, he
finally agreed to run for Mayor of Vancouver and defeated incumbent mayor Charles
Thompson a member of Melrose Lodge No. 67.
Throughout his life, Fred Hume lived up to a statement he made in a brief campaign
speech when he first sought political office: "My name is Fred Hume, and
I am an honest man."