A Vancouver time travelogue brought to you by Past Tense.
Bob Bouchette was the Vancouver Sun’s most popular journalist in the 1930s. His colleague at the paper, Pierre Berton, described Bouchette as an iconoclast for things like interviewing the loser of a boxing match while other reporters scrambled to get a sound bite from the winner. A bartender at Bouchette’s watering hole, now called Funky Winkerbean’s, remembers being told not to wake Bouchette if he saw him snoozing at the bar because “he was writing a column.” The bartender remembers one story of Bouchette swimming across Burrard Inlet to his West Van home with a bottle of rum tied around his neck.
In 1934 Bouchette went undercover in the relief camps for the unemployed. The result was a six-part series of articles that gave his readers a glimpse into the abysmal conditions in the camps and thus helped raise public sympathy for the plight of the unemployed.