Canada’s frontier West was never as wild as the American West. But the region still attracted people who lived beyond the boundaries of convention and the confines of the law. One of them was Bill Miner.
In 1904, this soft-spoken American would stage what is considered Canada’s first train robbery. It happened at a railway junction sixty-five kilometres east of Vancouver. Miner and his two accomplices got away with $6,000 in gold dust and $1,000 in cash.
Dubbed “the gentleman bandit” because of his polite demeanour during holdups, Miner was credited with inventing the phrase, “Hands up!”
He had spent more than thirty-five years in American prisons for stagecoach robberies before moving north to B.C. when he was about sixty years old.