On Remembrance Day 1930, the flagstaff and cairn to the memory of the Grandview lads who had fallen in the First War were dedicated in Grandview Park by Archbishop DePencier.
The memorial had been the idea of Catherine Bufton who, with her husband Hubert, ran the very popular Bufton’s Florists on the Drive. She had made the war memorial the primary project of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Chamber of Commerce for several years and her efforts had finally paid off.
Thousands turned out for the dedication. Mayor Malkin gave a brief but “stirring” speech and massed choirs sang “O Canada”, “For All The Saints” and “O God Our Help In Ages Past.” Finally, the solemn ceremony was completed with two minutes’ silence.
Hubert Bufton organized Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Park for several years thereafter. When the Grandview Branch of the Canadian Legion was formed in 1945, they took over responsibility.
[See King 2011, p.28; Province and Sun, 11/11/1930; and News Herald 1/7/38]
In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought I’d write a short piece on one of the most dynamic women ever to grace Grandview and Commercial Drive.
Catherine Bufton (nee Drake) was born in Gloucester, England, in 1881. She emigrated to Manitoba where she met and married Hubert Bufton. After Hubert’s service in World War One, the couple moved to Vancouver in 1919. Hubert had been seriously injured during the war and during recuperation, he and Catherine learned floral basket weaving. They put this to use by opening Bufton Florists at 1520 Commercial in 1923, living in an apartment upstairs. The company would be a fixture on the Drive until 1982.
In the late 1920s, Catherine pushed the Grandview Chamber of Commerce to create a Women’s Auxillary branch of the Chamber and she became the Auxillary’s first President. The Auxillary’s first project, devised and organized by Mrs. Bufton, was the War Memorial in Grandview Park which was dedicated in November 1930. Their next project was the creation of the Grandview Lawn Bowling Association’s greens which took over Victoria Park and the building of a large clubhouse on the Salsbury side of the park. It was opened for the first season in the spring of 1933. Catherine Bufton helped persuaded the necessary authorities to make this a works relief project and many local artisans suffering in the Depression received useful paychecks while preparing the ground.
Catherine and Hubert had been founding members of the CCF in the early 1930s, and in the 1937 Provincial election, Catherine ran unsuccessfully for the Reconstruction Party. They were also active in veterans’ issues and helped lead Victory Bond fundraising during the Second World War.
When Hubert died in 1944, Catherine continued with the business, being joined by their son Frank. However, in early 1950 she retired to her new home and garden in West Vancouver. She returned briefly when Bufton’s Florists moved to the new Bentholme Building on the corner of First and Commercial, but spent much of her retirement traveling the world with her daughter. She died in West Vancouver in May 1967.
The image is taken from the Highland Echo of May 27, 1937.