Polish born Louis Gold (b.1853) arrived at Granville (Gastown) by tugboat via the USA in 1872. The next year he was joined by his wife, Emma, and their child, Eddie. The Golds rented premises from “Gassy Jack” Deighton (for whom Gastown was named), and operated a general merchandise-grocery store on Water Street. Gold was a short man, but reportedly a man of great gusto. He earned the nickname “Leaping” Louis by springing into the air during a brawl, “swinging his fist mightily and landing with his full weight on his opponent’s chin.”
Such a feat was apparently enough to win the respect of local loggers, longshoremen, and sailors whose attitude towards Jews was not always free of prejudice. Emma was a businesswoman and by 1882 she established the West End Grocery and Royal City Boot and Shoe stores on Columbia Street, New Westminster.
After the Great Fire of June 1886 destroyed their Vancouver store, the family built the 100-room Gold House, a “strictly first class” hostelry on Water Street. ( see picture above) In 1877 Gold bought 65 hectares along the North Arm Waggon Road in South Vancouver [just north of the cemetery’s boundary at 31st], leaving him land rich but cash poor. In 1914, Louis’s son Eddie was elected councillor in South Vancouver and became Reeve the following year. An outspoken, controversial figure, Eddie instituted cost-cuttingmeasures by suspending the clerk and other civic employees, and hectic council meetings became an attraction, where “chairs were used as weapons of offence and defense.”