1904 PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Semi-pro baseball in the lower mainland was no more in 1904 and the amateurs had the spotlight all to themselves. Three teams from Vancouver joined a lone entry from New Westminster to form an inter-city amateur circuit. Home games for the Vancouver teams were played at the Cambie Street grounds and the Powell Street grounds. In spite of the departure of the imported baseballers to compete for local attention, the amateurs failed to grab the focus of the local populous as lacrosse got most of the headlines in the sporting sections of the 1904 Vancouver dailies. Accordingly, newspaper coverage for the Inter-City loop was confined primarily to final scores with little, if any, in the way of game details printed.
Activities on Sunday were increasingly the subject of protest. In 1904, the Vancouver Daily World (September 7) ran a story on a clergymen in Rossland, BC taking aim at baseball games and the shooting range on Sunday.
After nine years' residence in the interior of British Columbia, Rev. George E. Smith, pastor of the Methodist church, says he never saw such rank behavior in any town as was evidenced in Rossland on a recent Sunday, says a dispatch from Rossland to the Nelson Tribune, when the Colville and Trail ball teams were here. Furthermore, he thinks the morals of the community are none too healthy, and that it is high time to call a halt when outsiders are imported "to help us in our iniquity." Seating room was at a premium in the Methodist church that Sunday night despite a steady downfall of rain. Some of the audience had doubtless been attracted by the announcement that the Rev. Mr. Smith would preach on the topic, "The use and abuse of the Sabbath.
Mr. Smith made direct comment on the riflemen who shoot over the ranges and the citizens who arranged and participated in the baseball tournament.
It is not an infrequent thing for us to read in our Tuesday morning paper a report of the records those have made who visited the shooting ranges on the Sabbath, and those who have taken part are not young boys who have torn themselves loose from their mothers' apron strings, and who are now sowing their wild oats in the fruitful fields of British Columbia, but they are men whose respectability on other occasions no one would dare to question, and who would blush if they thought for one moment that their deeds would be known among their former associates. These could be excused if they had dropped into Rossland from some heathen village in Central Africa, but when we find them coming from the centre of civilization, where God is respected, we have a right to ask and look for better conduct than is exemplified. Such gatherings, I have no hesitancy in saying are, from the standpoint of the gospel wrong, and are a direct violation of the laws of our land, and all persons thus assembled should be prosecuted and suffer the penalties provided. Referring to the baseball tournament on the preceding Sunday, Mr. Smith said : "The assembled crowed disturbed both the morning and evening services, which is not only a breach of the laws of the land, but heathenish and selfish." He concluded by sharply criticizing the authorities for permitting such incidents and called upon the members of the congregation to rise in defence of the Sabbath.
Two years later, the Canadian government enacted the Lord's Day Act which prohibited business transactions and thus many sporting and other activities on Sundays. The law remained in effect until 1985.