A wooden cross with trees in the background. The cross reads "Stewart Bain Electrocuted Nov 23 1913 Age 24"
Stewart Bain’s cross, photographed by Nancy Josland Dalsin and courtesy of FindAGrave.

A sad Story

A lonely cross tucked in a quiet corner of Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery reveals a sad story. On November 23, 1913, 24-year-old Stewart Bain was electrocuted while working on a power pole at the corner of 32nd Street and Coldstream Avenue, and was killed instantly.

Stewart was born on May 1, 1888, in Nova Scotia; in the 1901 Canadian Census, he is recorded as the adopted son of 78-year-old Ronald McDonald. In 1911, he was boarding in Hants, Nova Scotia, and working as a Blacksmith.

A silver lining

By 1913, he was working as part of a Vancouver Electric Company crew that traveled to Vernon to work for the City.

An inquest after his death determined that he had accidentally come in contact with a live wire while performing his work. His funeral was held 10 days later, and it is said that all electric linemen and groundmen in the city’s employ were in attendance. Although he had only been in Vernon for a few months, Stewart Bain was well-respected, made evident by an outpouring of floral tributes.

This tragedy did have a silver lining, though, as the investigations into the incident led to a tightening of safety protocols for electric workers across the province.

 

To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts!

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives