Do you know these 10 legendary Vancouverites?
Vancouver Sun article includes Yip Sang, Mary Lee Chan, Wong Foon Sien
Check it out at: Vancouver Sun: 10 Legendary Vancouverites
I learned the story about Joe Fortes when I first worked at the Joe Fortes Library when I started as a teenager. I can answer trivia questions that his baptized name was “Seraphim”, and he was one of Vancouver's most beloved life guards of English Bay. Here's a great video of Joe Fortes by Global TV's Mike McCardell.
I am friends with the children of Mary Lee Chan, and descendants of Yip Sang. Mary Lee Chan's story about saving Strathcona neighborhood from Free way Destruction is wonderfully captured in the film documentary “Mary Lee Chan Takes On City Hall“. There is a current campaign to name the newly proposed library in Strathcona neighborhood after Mary Lee Chan: http://buildingopportunities.org/blog/index.php/tag/mary-lee-chan/
Here's a link from historia Chuck Davis' Metropolitan Vancouver http://www.vancouverhistory.ca/archives_strathconaSaved.htm.
Yip Sang was an important figure for the building of CPR Railroad, and Vancouver Chinatown development. The Yip Sang family reunion is also legendary. I contacted descendant Hoy Yip when I started organizing a family reunion for the Rev. Chan family descendants for 99 and 2000. Descendant Steven Wong (on his mother's side) paddles on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. Vancouver Archives has the Yip Sang project online: http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/archives/digitized/Yip_Sang/index.htm
Wong Foon Sien was a pioneer in fighting for the repeal of the Chinese
Excusion Act in 1947, and asking for redress for the Chinese Head Tax.
Here's a good story about Wong Foon Sien, by my friend Larry Wong
Dal Richards at the 2010 Canada Day celebrations at Kitsilano Showboat stage – photo T. Wong
I have known Vancouver-born Dal Richards for the past few years from our roles on Canadian Club Vancouver. I had the honour of being included with Dal for the BC Royal Museum's “The Party”centrepiece display for the 150th anniversary
exhibition – titled Free Spirit: Stories of You, Me and BC – The Party featured 150 British Columbians who’ve helped shape the province. http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/Content_Files/Files/Press%20Room/stories/RBCMNewsletterAugv6.pdf
Nobody born in Scotland?
Lachlan Hamilton, CPR surveyor and alderman might have been of Scottish ancestry, as were many of Vancouver's pioneers, but a google search isn't revealing anything so far. Sam Greer is listed as born in Ireland. Major Skitt Matthews, who started the Vancouver Archives, was born in Wales.
A google search on Alfred Larwill reveals more about the history of Larwill Park, formerly the Cambie street Grounds, and now a parking lot, and the proposed site of a new Vancouver Art Gallery, where the Olympics hosted the Live City Downtown site.
Interesting how 3 of the 10, were evicted (or almost) from their homes: Larwill from the Cambie Street Grounds, Greer from the CPR lands, and Fortes nearly from his shack on English Bay – if not for a blockade of 100 people. His house was moved to the present location of the English Bay bandstand, where a plaque now commemorates Joe Fortes.