Mayor George Hillier

1913-1914

George Hillier was born in Eastwood, Ontario on January 17, 1855 to George Hillier and Bessie Mckever. The second of seven children, George married Elizabeth Robinson and first came west in 1882 where he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a Station Agent at various locations. Their first child, George was born in the CPR station at Whitewood, Saskatchewan on July 22, 1884. Margaret Helen their second was born in Blandford, Ontario in 1886 and Victoria, their last child was born in Virden, Manitoba in 1892. George was also station agent at Calgary and Cranbrook.

The family arrived in Ladysmith in 1906 when George was transferred as station agent and took up residence above the railway station following H.T. Porter, the first agent and F.W. Pelkey, the second. He was to remain in this position until his retirement from the CPR in 1923.

George Hillier held the position of mayor of Ladysmith in 1913 and 1914. Unfortunately this was also the time of the notorious and violent Miners Strike which started in 1912. In his book, Dunsmuir’s Dream, Richard Goodacre relates Mayor Hillier sending the following telegram to the provincial Attorney General; “Situation out of control of city police suggest Provincial Police take over city and maintaining order.”

Like many of his cohorts, Hillier must have prospered while employed by the CPR. The landmark Hillier Block in Ladysmith is named after him.

Following his father, George Junior also entered into the employ of the Canadian Pacific Railway. From 1900 to 1914 he weighed cars at Fernie and was a train dispatcher at Regina among other posts. He eventually rose to the position of Supervisor of Transportation, CPR in Vancouver before retiring on February 1, 1943. Unfortunately he was to enjoy only two years of retirement before his demise in Vancouver on July 3, 1945 just short of his 61st birthday. His spouse was Mabel Beatrice (Chapman).

Victoria married Edgar Johnston in Victoria on October 3, 1914. She was to pass away in Saanich on October 19, 1971 at the age of 79 outliving her husband, Edgar. Peggy Lovick is their daughter.

Margaret Helen, or Peg as she was known, remained single and has been described as being beloved of every man, woman and child in Ladysmith, having a cheery word for everyone. She passed away in Victoria on September 11, 1972 at 86 years of age.

George Hillier passed away at the Jubilee Hospital in Victoria on June 30, 1929 at 72 years of age and is interred in the Royal Oak Cemetery in that city.