In the spring of 1911, Alan J. Ayres and his son Tom start the Ayres Varnish Company in Vancouver. It’s a humble beginning. The warehouse is a three square-metre cooking shed and the office is just as small. There is no electricity or plumbing. Office lighting is provided by two stable lanterns, and the only water on-site is rainwater caught in large barrels. The city of Vancouver is in the early stages as well with just 137,000 residents.