WORK IN PROGRESS
From resource giants to tech triumphs, we chart the evolution of B.C. business over the past 45 years
1970: In the '70s, B.C. gets two new sports franchises: the Vancouver Canucks (entering the NHL in 1970) and the Vancouver Whitecaps (originally of the North American Soccer League, in 1974, and, since 2011, Major League Soccer). Both teams fare better than the NBA'S ill-fated Vancouver Grizzlies, who crash and burn 25 years later. 1971: Outdoor gear icon Mountain Equipment Co-op launches in Vancouver with six members and $65 in operating capital. Today, it's the epitome of B.C.'S active-lifestyle cult, with more than 4.5 million members and retail stores across Canada. Lifetime memberships still sell for just $5.
1974: B.C. gets its first socialist government in 1973, and true to form, NDP premier Dave Barrett quickly finds ways to influence the provincial economy. Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, launched in 1974, remains one of Barrett's lasting legacies—untouched by successive right-wing regimes. 1975: As Whistler Mountain grows in popularity, the provincial government creates Canada's first resort municipality and begins building a village on the table between Whistler and then-undeveloped Blackcomb Mountain. The Aussies have been squatting there ever since. 1979: Geophysicist Geoffrey Ballard– a fervent believer that the internal combustion engine's days are numbered–launches Ballard Research to help develop proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Almost 40 years on, Ballard Power Systems Inc. is selling its fuel cells to a variety of industries, annual revenue remains under $100 million–and internal combustion survives.