The King of the Cowboys


From inauspicious beginnings, Peter Martens was starting to build a reputation for getting things done.  By 1947, that reputation carried him to an electrician’s assignment at Tahsis, BC, a small lumber town on the north-west coast of Vancouver Island.  imageHe was saving his pennies, at this point he knew he’d need some formal training if he was going to advance in the trade. 

He also knew that he wanted to change his name.  His last name, Martens, sounded very German and Germans weren’t hugely popular right after the Second World War.  He chose his new last name from a popular western song by Wilf Carter; Pete Knight, King of the Cowboys.


The newly minted “Peter Knight” returned to Vancouver in 1948 for a year of schooling and electrical certification, then spent 1949-50 as the plant electrician at McCleary and Weston in South Vancouver.

In 1951, Peter was working for a Navy contractor, handling part of a re-wiring of two ships of the Canadian Navy at Esquimalt, BC (near Victoria).  This jobsite might have been a touch overstaffed and, possibly also, a bit under-supervised.  One co-worker was so convinced that he could do nothing on the job and still get paid for it that he endeavoured to spend an entire day walking around the shipyard while carrying a hammer.  Doing nothing, mind you, just carrying a hammer.  That sort of thing catches up with you though, and it did for this “labourer” who was shortly invited to do his labouring elsewhere.  Reputation is everything in jobs and contracts and in business.