Lines of work in BC, 1860 and beyond

By Robyn Smith         September 5, 2011 12:55 pm

In 1860 in B.C., there was plenty of work for a wainwright, prospector or a quarryman. A hundred years later, sod farmers, stenographers and “product testers” filled the payroll sheets.

What else were British Columbians doing for money in those years? WorkSafeBC has compiled a list of typical occupations in each decade of B.C.’s history since 1850, as part of Line of Work,an installation at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

Here are some of The Tyee’s favourites:

1880: Engine driver, wreckmaster, stoker, crimper, boilermaker, schoolmarm, gang knife, ash cleaner, shunter, section gang, stock breeder, journeyman, can maker, tinsmith, brakeman, fish boss, slimer, filler.

1930: Extension ranger, courier, training officer, station manager, repairman, projectionist, rag cutter, entomologist, tile setter, box bander, liquor maker, musician, copy editor, street sweeper, fruit picker, finisher, pruner, scientific illustrator, well driller, sheeter, powerhouse mechanic, harvest hand, statistician, field operator, labour organizer, conveyor cleaner, health inspector, journalist.

1980: Data processor, forklift operator, casino dealer, trash collector, sales agent, hardware engineer, long haul driver, computer programmer, jumbo drill operator, cad draftsperson, advertising artist, internal auditor, office manager, concrete finisher, executive assistant, real-estate agent, seasonal worker, regional manager, casting agent, leasing coordinator, speech therapist, talkshow host, securities analyst, flight attendant, labour consultant, travel agent, forest technician, snowmobile assembler, chore hand, ski-list operator, videographer, art critic, immigration agent, instrument engineer, fitness instructor, computer saw tender, gaffer, electric arc welder.

The entire list can be found here.

Robyn Smith reports for The Tyee.

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