The old Vancouver Stock Exchange started in 1907 and was the focus of Western Canada's financial markets. It generated a lot of "stories" and a number of mines. While the trading floor is long gone, some of the characters that floated around Vancouver's financial center live on - some in legend and some in reality. Recently, one of the latter had his story brought up-to-date.
Let's call him Billy, who in the early 1960s was a young and tough street kid who was an enforcer in the loan shark business. In those days punters or promoters desperate for funds - perhaps to meet a margin call - would borrow $5,000 for a week and pay back $6,000. The old "five for six" agreement had to be met, or it was the baseball bat.
Another character in the story, "Brad", was from a prominent Vancouver family and working for an upscale regional brokerage. One morning fate brought these two together in the Garden Restaurant in a fine downtown hotel. Billy was having breakfast with someone and the conversation turned nasty. The other guy abruptly left and a few minutes later burst through the swinging doors with a revolver and ventilated Billy with three shots. Keeping a stiff upper lip, a silent Billy slipped to the floor.
Pandemonium erupted, ambulance attendants and cops arrived, who wanted to cordon off the room. Brad was having none of this and observed that the Eggs Benedict were very good and he wasn't going to leave until he had finished. A detective, by way of conversation while waiting, asked him what he did for a living and Brad said that he was a stock broker. The veteran detective admitted that he did not know much about the business, as he had not served on the fraud squad.
On a nice day this summer at Il Giardino - a real garden restaurant - our table of traders wondered what had become of Billy. The answer was that he was a little over 80 in years and doing well. Late one Friday in the night club part of town, Billy was leaving Hy's and bumped into some young guy who became hostile and said "Watch out old man".
Billy slowly looked him up and down and then with a quick left and right dropped him to the sidewalk, and strolled away.