About the Book
In her younger days in New York, Pansy May worked in houses of ill repute and was in trouble with the law frequently. She found her way to Vancouver in 1905 and continued in the illegal liquor and prostitution trade.
She married her second husband in 1909 and they moved to the remote Cape Scott area on northern Vancouver Island. There she opened a “blind pig’s inn” which served liquor and ladies to passing fishermen.
After separating from her husband, she returned to Vancouver to run several illegal liquor and prostitution operations out of hotels and road houses.
In the early 1920s, during the US prohibition on alcohol, she moved to an isolated southwest corner of Tsawwassen, right next to the Treaty of Washington monument on the border with Point Roberts, Washington. She opened a “lodge” or as Provincial Police Constable Warren “Slim” Cameron described, “A place of entertainment where you could get anything you wanted. You could bring a woman or if you didn’t have one she’d get you one”.
From this border location she catered to Point Roberts fishermen and cannery workers. With a cable and tram system which ran from her house down the cliff to Tsawwassen Beach, she transported liquor to rum runners waiting in boats just offshore.
She eventually retired and stayed in Tsawwassen. She burned down a neighbour's house several times because they dared build too close to her. In her 80s, she chased robbers off with a gun and made headlines across Canada.
The authors have documented the story of “Pistol-packing Pansy” and her survival in what was then very much a man’s world.
Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen are long-time Tsawwassen residents and local history buffs. They enjoy meeting over coffee and exchanging tales of the treasured childhood experiences each had while growing up in Tsawwassen. Colourful stories about early Delta residents, written by Edgar Dunning among others, tweaked their interest in the history of Tsawwassen and Boundary Bay. Pansy May was mentioned in several articles and as they researched her story, the more intrigued they became. Hers is one tale they just had to share.