Nanaimo's early boosters
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Audio recording of Christine Meutzner's May 1994 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about Nanaimo's early "boosters" - a group of community-minded businessmen and property owners who at the end of the 19th century put a lot of effort into bettering the city. Through her examination of data from the 1891 census, Meutzner learned that there was a small group of commercial elite living in Nanaimo at the turn of the century. These men, who also were significant land owners, were very interested in transforming the city into a modern, attractive place to live. Meutzner profiles several of these boosters, including: Andrew Haslam, John Mahrer, John Hilbert, Richard Nightingale, and John Pawson. Through their work on the city council and through their participation on community boards and committees, the boosters not only attempted to physically improve the city by building sidewalks and arranging other civic improvements, but they also attempted to legislate the morality of the city by enacting bylaws to suppress gambling, drunkenness, fighting, and other behaviours they disapproved of. Meutzner ends her talk by sharing her experience with using technology to pull together material and information found in the records of the Nanaimo Community Archives.