Fleecing the Lambs? The Founding and Early Years of the Vancouver Stock Exchange
Given the contentious and sometimes colorful role that the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) played in the economic development of British Columbia, the lack of scholarly attention to the history of the exchange is somewhat surprising. The most widely referenced contribution dedicated solely to the history of the VSE, Fleecing the lamb: the inside story of the Vancouver Stock Exchange, is largely devoid of references and contains numerous historical inaccuracies about the founding and early years of the exchange this paper aims to dispel. Employing an array of primary and secondary sources, this paper provides the first scholarly examination of events leading to the founding of the VSE in 1907. An explicit connection is made between the business leaders and social elite of Vancouver with the founding members of the VSE. The evolution of exchange membership is examined and a speculative bubble in entrance fees that peaked at the end of 1910 is detailed. Finally, common misperceptions about the role of the remarkable promoter, Alvo von Alvensleben, in the early years of the VSE are addressed.