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Fred Hume (1892 - 1967)

Former Mayor of Vancouver, Hockey Hall of Fame

Friendly Fred: The $1.00 A Year Man.

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 Columbia.

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 Canada.

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."