Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rudyard Kipling: Vancouver Real Estate Speculator

Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors in the Province of British Columbia 1890 - 1920

Page 33 of 217
One of the most prolific writers of the day did a little speculating when he passed through Vancouver in 1889.  Rudyard Kipling, though still nostalgic for the India he had just left, and mindful of Vancouver's importance in the Imperial world, was advised to buy a lot - presumably sight unseen.  His words have already been used in describing the boomtown that was Vancouver, but in this context they are so apt that I have no hesitation in requoting them: -

"And I took it as easily as a man buys a piece of tobacco.  Mivoici(sp), owner of some four hundred well-developed pines, a few thousand tons of granite, scattered in blocks ... and a sprinkling of earth.  That's a town lot in Vancouver.  You or your agent hold it till property rises, then sell out and buy more land further out of town and repeat the process.  I do not quite see how this helps the growth of a town ... but it is the very essence of speculation, so it must be alright.  But I wish there were fewer pines and rather less granite on my ground."5 (From Sea to Sea and other sketches. Rudyard Kiplings. 1908.)

Kipling does not say how much he made on his investment; but he did manage to catch 70 trout at Harrison Hot Springs, and was most gratified to note that the spittoons in his delightful comfortable hotel were unused.

Google Search:  From Sea to Sea and other sketches. Rudyard Kipling. 1908.

Vancouver Archives:

First in the Field,The Pioneer Years of Garden, Hermon and Burwell

Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors in the Province of British Columbia 1890 - 1920

Rudyard Kipling in Vancouver

It’s not widely known, but three or four chunks of land in Metropolitan Vancouver were once owned by the famous English writer, Rudyard Kipling.
When Kipling first visited Vancouver in June 1889, (during a tour of North America), he was, at 23, just beginning to be famous. When next he came around in April 1892, he was very much more well-known. (And 15 years after that, on his third visit, October 5, 1907, he was the most famous author in the world.)
In a travel reminiscence called From Sea to Sea, Kipling wrote about his brief visit here in 1889, and how he came to own a piece of the city.   SNIP

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