One hundred years ago today (December 14th), the public, the city’s VIP, and the media gathered to celebrate and mark the end of the Chief Constable Rufus Chamberlin’s illustrious career.
No one at the time expected the news that Chief Chamberlin was done with the city, and it sounds like no one was overly pleased about it either:
“Around the city news of Chief Chamberlin’s resignation will be heard with great surprise. He has been
an official whose work has been so uniformly successful that the possibility of his dropping out, or
leaving Vancouver, has been neither suggested nor considered.”
– Vancouver Daily Province Nov. 16, 1912
Rufus G. Chamberlin arrived in Vancouver in 1907 specifically to take over position of Chief Constable from Chief Chisolm. Before his arrival, Chamberlin lived in Ottawa where he was an inspector with the Dominion Police – Canada’s Secret Service.
He did good things in Vancouver, taking steps to professionalize the department and to advance their techniques. He was the Chief at the helm when Lurancy Harris and Minnie Millar were hired as Canada’s first female police officers. Five years was enough, though, and he left to take a position at the Canadian Pacific Railway service under Sir Thomas Shaugnessyin Montreal.
Vancouver’s media personalities felt the need to shower Chief Chamberlin with compliments about his service, and what says “compliment shower” like a letter burned into leather? Turns out it was a great decision, because the letter has stood the test of time, in almost perfect condition today.
The letter was generously donated to the Vancouver Police Museum by the Chamberlin family last week so that it would be in our collection on it’s 100th anniversary.
It will take some time to assess the letter, make sure it’s well framed, and you can expect to see it up in the Museum sometime in the new year!