Happy Birthday, British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun proclaims today. Today British Columbia is officially 150 years old. Sincere congratulations to all in B.C. as they commemorate this important anniversary. It is an incredibly beautiful and resource-rich land.
The Sun salutes some of this city’s oldest companies that have adapted and grown with B.C. The oldest is The Oppenheimer Group, which is as old as the Province. In 1858, four Oppenheimer brothers followed the gold rush to British Columbia and founded Oppenheimer Bros. & Co. in Victoria, to provide food and supplies to thousands of fortune seekers.
They are now one of North America’s top fresh produce companies bringing in and delivering over 100 varieties of produce from more than 20 different countries. The business is managed by a team of professionals located in over a dozen offices throughout North and South America.
The multibillion-dollar H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd. started in 1903 and now has flowered into an energetic family business. Today, Brandt Louie, the grandson of the founder, heads a $4-billion empire, employing 8,000 people in four different businesses: food wholesaling, the IGA food chain, London Drugs and an import-export division.
Vancouver’s most famous chocolate company, Purdy’s, has also been around for more than 100 years. It began in 1907, when Richard Carmen Purdy began selling chocolates he made in his own kitchen from his Robson Street store. He quickly attracted a loyal following from chocolate lovers who passed on their taste for Purdy’s Chocolates from generation to generation.
These three are only a small fraction of the companies that have prospered and grown throughout British Columbia’s 150 year history. With the 2010 Olympics the future is certainly even more promising.
- British Columbia: Spirit of the People by Jean Barman
- Lonely Planet British Columbia, 3rd Edition (Regional Guide) by Ryan Ver Berkmoes
- The West beyond the West: A History of British Columbia by Jean Barman
- British Columbia Wine Country by John Schreiner
- Insight Pocket Guide British Columbia Vancouver
- British Columbia and Vancouver: Growth of the City