October 13, 2022

Vancouver Civic Election 1974 & The Case of Mr. Peanut For Mayor

The Vancouver Sun’s John Mackie has written about performance artist Vincent Trasov running for Mayor in 1974. 

Vancouver’s Mr. Peanut did not speak, but he did dance, and was seen as the fourth mayoral candidate in the 1974 election.

At that time municipal elections were every 2 years. For 1974 Art Phillips with TEAM would become Mayor, with Councillor George Puil with the NPA losing his run for  mayor while that party increased its council seats from one to four. Lawyer Harry Rankin sat as an independent councillor.

Mr. Peanut  did not speak, but would do a twenty second tap dance and had his emissary, John Mitchell speak for him. Mr. Peanut ran on a platform that nearly five decades later looks surprisingly progressive: subsidized mass transit, a voucher system for higher education, and free umbrellas and rubber boots at all libraries during inclement weather.


You can take a look at the Youtube video below to see Mr. Peanut interrupt a Mayoral panel discussion starting at 13:00. George Puil is seen in a debate with  Art Phillips  and NDP Mayoral Candidate Brian Campbell.  Mr. Puil can be seen complaining about the “barricading of west end streets”. (Actually it is called  traffic calming. ) George Puil also wanted to know why Granville Mall had become a transit mall without having a mall of stores, but he does argue for apartments in the downtown area.

Mr. Peanut also interrupts CTV commentator coverage of the election and did garner over 2,600 votes. The mayor, Art Phillips won with over 37,000 votes. You can see Mr. Peanut pre-empting the stage about 17:40 in the video below.Here is the slate of people elected in 1974 as Councillors (called Aldermen in that time)

And here is who was on Council from 1974  to 1976 : Mayor Art Phillips, and Councillors  H.S. Bird,  F.K. Bowers,  Helen Boyce,  A.R. Cowie,  Michael Harcourt , Warnett Kennedy,  Darlene Marzari,  Harry Rankin,  Ed Sweeney, and  John Volrich.

The running of Mr. Peanut, as an art statement or not, infuriated many politicians and was one of the reasons that more signatures are now required when filing to run for Vancouver elected positions.

Mr. Peanut never got the last word, as he never spoke. But Mr. Trasov who still lives in Vancouver and in Brentwood Bay told John Mackie “It was a 20-day performance. The platform of the Peanut Party was P for performance, E for Elegance, A for art, N for nonsense, U for uniqueness and T for talent.”

It’s all pretty classic.


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