|Born into German nobility, the leisure-loving von Alvensleben arrived in Vancouver in 1904 virtually penniless.|
Von Alvensleben eventually set up shop on Granville under the name Alvensleben Finance and General Investment Co. He was a mysterious and flamboyant addition to a then sleepy Vancouver Stock Exchange when he bought one of the first seats on the fledgling exchange. Rumoured to be Kaiser Wilhelm’s man in North America, he turned his European charm into a flood of money from financiers in both Vancouver and Europe. Von Alvensleben’s first promotion was a company drilling for oil in the Athabasca tar sands, and he was soon backing timber, fishing and coal mining companies.
With an impeccable promoter's timing, he made a fortune in Vancouver between 1908 and 1912.