This Week in History: 1914 The head of the Dominion Trust Company shoots himself, just before the company collapses
This week, Toronto’s Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust announced it has purchased one of Vancouver’s best-known heritage structures, the Dominion Building.
It’s probably sheer coincidence, but the purchase was announced on Oct. 12, the 107th anniversary of the suicide of a man whose company built it.
“Sudden and tragic was the death of Mr. William R. Arnold, managing director of the Dominion Trust Company of this city,” the Vancouver World reported on Oct. 13, 1914. “It was while handling a shotgun, which he had recently used on a hunting expedition, that Mr. Arnold was shot in the heart. He died a few moments later.”
At an inquest Oct. 14, a doctor said Arnold’s “heart was practically shot to ribbons” from the blast, which had come from “quite close to the body when it had exploded.”
That might be. But many people believed he had killed himself, because Dominion Trust was on the verge of collapse.
On Oct. 27, The Province reported a petition to the B.C. Supreme Court asked to “wind up” the company.
The petition stated that since Arnold’s death on Oct. 12, “cheques of (Dominion Trust) depositors had been dishonoured and its depositors refused payment, and that (Dominion Trust) had failed to pay over moneys collected from mortgages.”
The following day, the chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court appointed a “provisional liquidator” to look into separate allegations that the company “has carried its business in a negligent and un-businesslike manner.”
On Dec. 10, the Province reported that the provisional liquidator, C.R. Drayton, had found “about five millions of dollars have vanished into thin air.”