By Constance Brissenden
With additional research by Larry Loyie
The History of Metropolitan
Vancouver Hall of Fame represents nearly 500 of the thousands of
people who have contributed to the history of the lower mainland
of BC. They come from all walks of life, all cultural backgrounds
and all occupations. All of the Hall of Famers are now deceased,
and we are proud to include a brief record of their accomplishments
here. For the first time, Metropolitan Vancouver has a biographical
directory that includes many individuals from communities overlooked
in the past.
If you have suggestions for inclusion (remember
the person must be deceased), please contact us HERE.
F G H
For Mayors of Vancouver,
Chris Gage (born Christian Geisinger) Jazz
pianist, composer b. Dec. 12, 1927, Regina, Sask.; d. Dec. 27, 1964,
North Vancouver. At 4, stood on tiptoes to play family pump organ;
at 6, played Regina radio; at 11, performed all-nighters with adult
band; at 14, had his own six-piece band. Came to Vancouver at 17.
Played CBC radio, over 100 TV appearances, Vancouver clubs and with
Louis Armstrong. Arrested for drunkenness, harassment of ex-wife;
died of barbiturate overdose. "Peter Pan, rushing headlong
toward disaster." Chris Gage Memorial Award established by
Bob Smith Scholarship Fund (1990).
Walter H. Gage Mathematics professor, UBC
president b. March 5, 1905, South Vancouver; d. Oct. 3, 1978, Vancouver.
Educated at Tecumseh Elem. and John Oliver HS; UBC (BA, 1921-25;
MA, 1926); graduate studies in math (U. of Chicago; California Institute
of Technology). A scholar and revered instructor, he taught from
1927-33 at Victoria College, a UBC affiliate, then at UBC until
1978. Won UBC's 1953 Great Trekker Award and 1968 Master Teacher
award. LL.D (UBC, 1958). Sixth president of UBC (1969-75). Order
of Canada, 1971. Retired in 1975.
R. Harry Gale Mayor of Vancouver, 1918-21,
1937 See Mayors of Vancouver.
James F. Garden Mayor of Vancouver, 1898-1900
See Mayors of Vancouver.
Mae Garnett Senior court reporter b. c. 1875,
London, Ont.; d. May 26, 1984, West Vancouver. Moved to Winnipeg
in early 1900s as CPR public relations officer, transferring to
the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. One of the first female general
news reporters in Western Canada, writing for the Albertan, Edmonton
Bulletin and Vancouver News-Herald, joining the Sun in 1930. In
1962, retired as senior court reporter covering B.C. Supreme Court
and county courts. One of the first women to get a mortgage from
Central Mortgage and Housing. "Known for championing women's
rights at least two generations before the rise of the women's movement."
Dan George (birth name: Teswahno) Actor, writer
b. July 24, 1899, North Vancouver; d. Sept. 12, 1981, Vancouver.
Longshoreman and logger. In 1959, began acting career (TV, stage,
Hollywood films). Appeared in first production of The Ecstasy of
Rita Joe by George Ryga (1967). Films included Little Big Man (1970)
(Oscar nomination) and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1975). Chief of Squamish
Band (1951-63), he embodied the dignified elder. Biblio: My Heart
Soars (1974), My Spirit Soars (1982).
Bruno Gerussi Actor b. May 7, 1928, Medicine
Hat, Alta.; d. Nov. 21, 1995, Vancouver. Raised in New Westminster.
Attended Banff School of Fine Arts before joining the Stratford
Festival Theatre in 1954. A leading Shakespearean actor in the 1950s.
Host of his own CBC radio show for four years, and later hosted
CBC's Celebrity Cooks. Performed for 18 years in The Beachcombers,
CBC's popular TV series, as gruff Nick Adonidas, a log salvager
on the B.C. coast. His last public performance was in the play Breaking
Legs, at the Vancouver Arts Club (1994).
Gordon (James Gordon) Gibson Sr. Lumberman
b. Nov. 28, 1904, Goldbottom Creek, Yukon Territory; d. July 18,
1986, West Vancouver. Left school at 12 to work in fishing and logging.
Nicknamed "The Bull" as a young man. In 1939, with father
W.F. Gibson and three brothers, started three logging companies.
From 1948-52, owned or participated in many related businesses.
Lib. MLA (Lillooet, 1952); later elected in North Vancouver. Led
a stormy political career, once accusing Premier W.A.C. Bennett
of thinking he was God. A Macmillan Bloedel shareholder and director,
he opposed expansion in mid-1960s. Biblio: Bull of the Woods.
Rachel Goldbloom Philanthropist b. c. 1865,
New York; d. April 1931. Married William Goldbloom in 1882 and moved
from New York to Fort Garry. Nell, their daughter, was the first
Jewish girl born in Winnipeg. In the mid-1900s, they moved to Vancouver;
their home at 540 Burrard became the centre of Jewish community
life, with almost every Jewish organization of that time said to
have started there. The Hadassah's second Vancouver chapter was
named for her during her lifetime. A "one-woman philanthropic
organization." Biblio: Pioneers, Pedlars, and Prayer Shawls
by Cyril E. Leonoff.
William Grafton Bowen Island pioneer b. Feb
6, 1868, London, Eng.; d. Dec. 9, 1957, West Vancouver. Came to
Vancouver with two brothers in 1885. One of Bowen Island's first
settlers, preempting 640 acres at $1 an acre. Farming on Bowen was
difficult but salmon was abundant. Boiled cod, shark and dogfish
livers on the beach in a 60-gallon sugar kettle to extract the valuable
oil. Also sold game to the Hotel Vancouver. About 1887, launched
first Howe Sound ferry service with a four-ton sloop. From 1917-34,
worked as a janitor. Bowen's Grafton Lake and Grafton Bay are named
Granstrom Athlete, Queen of the Polar Bears, b. September
28, 1911, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia; d. April 14, 2004, Vancouver.
Blind, she developed her athletic skills in the 1950s. After a car
accident in the 1970s doctors told her she would always need a wheelchair,
but she began her own rehab program, walking, then jogging, then
running, first competing in Blind Sports Competition, then against
sighted athletes. She raced until 2001 with Paul Hoeberigs who ran
behind, tethered by a cord, calling out directions. The holder of
12 unchallenged world records, Ivy was a Sports B.C. Athlete of
the Year (1982), inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame (2001)
and made a Member of the Order of Canada (1989). She participated
in the annual English Bay Polar Bear Swim for 76 years. (Richard
Walter Henry Grassie Jeweller b. Jan. 22,
1861, Seaforth, Ont.; d. April 3, 1941, Vancouver. Educated in Seaforth,
he entered the jewelry business there. In 1882 moved to Port Arthur,
Ont. Arrived in Port Moody in July 1886, coming to Vancouver by
boat. Erected wooden building on Cordova; later moved to lower Cambie
Street. Five years later, moved business to final site on Cambie,
north of Hastings. His store was particularly favored by railway
Dal (Albert Edward) Grauer President, B.C.
Electric Railway b. Jan. 21, 1906, Sea Island, B.C.; d. July 28,
1961, Vancouver. Sixth son of pioneer John (Jacob) Grauer (b. 1861;
d. 1936). Attended King Edward HS; UBC (BA, Economics, 1925); PhD
(Berkeley); Rhodes Scholar (1927); BA (Oxford). As a young professor
and head of social sciences at U. of T, he assisted Bank of Canada
and Rowell-Sirois Commission. Appointed secretary, BCER (1939).
Later, as president, took the company (now B.C. Hydro) through major
expansion. Chairman, Vancouver General Hospital; president, Vancouver
Symphony Society; member of Gordon Commission. UBC chancellor (1957);
LL.D (UBC, 1958). His daughter is artist Sherry Grauer.
Walter Edward Graveley Pioneer realtor b.
Aug. 7, 1854, Cobourg, Ont.; d. June 30, 1939, Vancouver. Came west
from Cobourg in 1883, moving to Gastown (1885). His real estate
business profited from the 1912 boom. Purchased a lot at Oyster
Bay (Carrall and Cordova) for business premises when CPR was extended
from Port Moody to Vancouver. A founder of the Royal Vancouver Yacht
Club in 1903, he owned many yachts and won "scores of trophies."
His ashes were scattered over English Bay.
Sam Greer Farmer b. 1843, Northern Ire.; d.
April 6, 1925, Vancouver. In 1882, "Gritty" preempted
160 acres at Kitsilano Beach (popularly known as Greer Beach), part
of 6,000 acres given by B.C. to the CPR in 1884. In 1887, New Westminster
sheriff Thomas Armstrong tried to remove Gritty, his wife and six
children. Gritty shot several times, hitting the sheriff and his
deputy. After a second posse arrived, he gave himself up and his
farm was razed. In 1891, convicted by Judge Begbie of wounding a
sheriff, he served a term in the New Westminster jail where he often
ate lunch on the beach. His daughter Jessie Hall was a leading Vancouver
Peter Greyell White Rock builder b. Ont.;
d. June 1, 1919, White Rock. A local resident, he built a 50-room,
four-storey hotel in White Rock in the east end of the settlement.
It opened July 1, 1912, with a lunch for 300 guests. He also built
the first bakery and tea room. The hotel was sold in 1913 and renamed
The Tourist Hotel. Later, as the White Rock Hotel, it hosted concerts
and local talent to mid-October 1977 when it was torn down for development.
Greyell died from a fall while building a pier restaurant.
John Grove Lighthouse keeper b. 1864, London,
Eng.; d. March 21, 1935, Vancouver. Served as lighthouse keeper
at Prospect Point, later at Brockton Point (1895-1930). From 1888,
lived in a cottage on the rocks until the station was electrified
in January 1926. One of the lowest paid workers in Vancouver, he
received $25 per month but his station was coveted for its free
housing and use of two acres in Stanley Park. To make extra money,
Grove ran a lemonade stand for tourists until the park board complained
and it was closed down.
Frank Armathwaite Griffiths Radio and TV station
owner, sportsman b. Dec. 17, 1916, Burnaby; d. April 7, 1994, Vancouver.
A professional accountant, he bought CKNW in 1956 and made it the
cornerstone of a broadcasting empire. Formed Western Broadcasting
(later Western International Communications), which included radio
and TV cable services. From 1974, owner of the Vancouver Canucks.
Member of Hockey Hall of Fame; Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
Helena Rose Gutteridge Suffragette b. c. 1880,
London, Eng.; d. Oct. 3, 1960, Vancouver. "Feminist, trade
unionist, tailor, socialist, politician." Immigrated to B.C.
in 1911. Organized B.C. Women's Suffrage League. Her interest in
the working class woman led to trade union activities. Soon took
a leading role on Vancouver Trades and Labor Council. Joined the
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). In 1937, she was elected
Vancouver's first woman alderman.
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