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.
L M N
For Mayors of Vancouver,
Leon Johnson Ladner Lawyer, MP b. Nov. 29,
1884, Ladner, B.C.; d. April 12, 1978, Vancouver. His father Thomas
and uncle William founded Ladner. After BA (1907), LL.B (U.
of T, 1909), admitted to bar in 1910. In 1912, began his Vancouver
law practice. A founder of UBC convocation (1912). Founder of Ladner,
Downs, one of Vancouver's largest law firms. Liberal Conservative
MP, Vancouver South (1921-30). UBC senator (1955-61). In 1957, elected
to UBC's board of governors. Reappointed in 1963; retired in 1966.
Honorary lecturer, faculty of law. Donated Ladner Carillon and Clock
Tower to UBC in honor of B.C. pioneers. LL.D (UBC, 1967). Active
in Conservative party.
Thomas Ellis Ladner Farmer, salmon canner
b. Sept. 8, 1837, Trenant Park, Cornwall, Eng.; d. April 24, 1922,
Vancouver. Came to B.C. in 1858. In 1868, with brother William Ladner,
was first to preempt land on site of Ladner, eventually owning 485
hectares. A successful farmer and pioneer salmon canner at Ladner's
Landing (later Ladner). Owner of Delta Canning. Moved to Vancouver
William Henry Ladner Farmer b. Nov. 28, 1826,
Trenant Park, Cornwall, Eng.; d. Nov. 1, 1907, Ladner, B.C. Came
to B.C. on May 15, 1858 on steamer Brother Jonathan, arriving May
30 at Fort Langley by skiff to avoid custom duties at mouth of Fraser
River. Left Langley for Hope on June 1, 1858, to work as miner and
trader. Appointed customs agent and government officer. First Mainland
constable. Ran a pack train to the Interior to 1865. In 1868, built
a large home, Frogmore, at Ladner's Landing (later Ladner), to farm
and raise stock. In 1872, named justice of the peace. First reeve
of Delta (1880). His daughter, Delta Mary, was the first white baby
born in Ladner.
Arthur Laing Politician b. Sept. 9, 1904,
Eburne, B.C.; d. Feb. 13, 1975, Vancouver. Elected first Lib. MP
for Vancouver South (June 1949) after two attempts. In 1953, resigned
from federal office to become B.C. Liberal leader; elected MLA.
Retired in 1959, then ran again federally in June 1962. One of only
two B.C. members in Lester Pearson's cabinet after 1962 election.
As head of Indian affairs, he occasionally raised the ire of Native
bands. After the 1968 election, he was transferred to public works.
On his 70th birthday, the bridge between South Vancouver and Sea
Island was named in his honor by Pierre Trudeau.
Lily J. Laverock Theatre impresario, reporter
b. Edinburgh, Scotland; d. Dec. 2, 1969, Duncan, B.C., at 89. First
woman to graduate in moral philosophy from McGill. First woman reporter
in Vancouver with the World. Two years later, assigned women's editor
of News-Advertiser. In 1909, founded Vancouver branch of Canadian
Women's Press Club. An avid arts supporter, she promoted her first
Celebrity Concert in 1921, brought in world-famed performers like
Kreisler, Heifetz, Melba, Gigli, Pablo Casals, packed the Denman
Arena auditorium with acts like the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
and Belgian Royal Symphonic Band. WWII ended her impresario efforts.
"Her pen was ever ready in the cause of women's suffrage."
John Lawson West Vancouver's first permanent
white settler b. April 15, 1860, Cheltenham, Ont.; d. March 8, 1954,
Vancouver. Arrived in B.C. in 1887. After 21 years as a railroad
worker, bought property in W. Vancouver area in 1903. Planted holly
trees by "burn" (stream), coining the name Hollyburn.
Second reeve of West Vancouver (1913). Developed ferry service to
Vancouver (1909) aboard the 35-foot launch, West Vancouver. The
Seafoam, a 60-footer, replaced it. Established first school at Capilano,
was first postmaster and telephone agent. "The history of West
Vancouver is the history of John Lawson." In 1939, his daughter,
Gertrude, a teacher, was one of the first women in B.C. to obtain
Ronald Bick Lee (born Yat Yee Lee) Businessman,
community leader b. 1892, Ong Sum Village, Toisan, Guangdong Province,
China; d. Dec. 22, 1994, Vancouver. Arrived in Victoria at 17; worked
as a dishwasher. In 1914, returned to China to marry Gin King Choon
from a nearby village. From 1916, worked at White Lunch on Hastings
and Castle Hotel on Granville. In 1921, founded Foo Hung Co., a
leading importer of Asian goods. Active in politics and a philanthropist.
Chairman, Vancouver Chinese Public School; president, Lee's Benevolent
of Canada; chair, Lee's Association of North America. Charter member,
Vancouver Chinatown Lion's Club. His son, Robert H. Lee, a UBC graduate,
developer and philanthropist served as UBC chancellor, June 25,
1993 to June 25, 1996.
Wallis Walter Lefeaux Barrister, socialist
b. Sept. 19, 1881, London, Eng.; d. Nov. 24, 1972, West Vancouver.
After clerking in England, arrived in Canada in 1901. Worked as
fur trader, grocer, real estate agent. In 1912, he ran in the Comox
riding for the Socialist Party of Canada (SCP), but lost. In 1918,
became a lawyer and defended objectors to military training. In
1919, defended the worker leaders of Winnipeg Strike. "Offered
classes in economics in which Das Kapital was taught." An original
CCF member, elected CCF president for three consecutive terms. In
1936, visited Europe and Asia, including Moscow. MLA, Vancouver
Center (1941-45). Declined requests to run for a federal seat.
John Matthew Lefevre Surgeon, businessman
b. Oct. 12, 1853, Brockville or Belleville, Ont.; d. Sept. 15, 1906,
Vancouver. Graduate of McGill (1879); later studied with Sir William
Osler. Came to Vancouver with wife Lily Lefevre in 1886, as surgeon
general, CPR's Pacific Division. The couple crossed the Rockies
by rail before the division's official opening. Member of first
city council (1886); alderman (1887-89). In 1888, built the Empire
Building (603 W. Hastings), site of his original cottage. With William
Farrell (see bio), co-founded B.C. Electric Railway, and Burrard
Inlet and New Westminster Telephone (later B.C. Telephone).
Lily Alice Lefevre (née Cooke) Poet,
hostess, philanthropist b. April 5, 1853, Kingston, Ont.; d. Oct.
17, 1938, Vancouver. As a girl, won a medal for best descriptive
poem of a Montreal carnival. Wrote many of her "loveliest verses"
about Vancouver. Married J.M. Lefevre in 1883. Organized first Imperial
Order of Daughters of the Empire in Vancouver on Edward VII's coronation,
Aug. 9, 1902. A founder of the Vancouver Art Gallery; active member,
Canadian Authors' Association. The Lefevre's home, Langaravine (6101
N.W. Marine), was a social centre for more than 50 years. In 1934,
presented a $5,000 scholarship and gold medal to UBC in her husband's
memory. Biblio: The Lions' Gate (1895; republished in 1936 to celebrate
Vancouver's jubilee) and A Garden by the Sea.
Harry Farnham Germain Letson Soldier b. Sept.
26, 1896, Vancouver; d. April 11, 1992, Ottawa, Ont. First graduate
of mechanical engineering at UBC. Won Belgian Military Cross (1917).
From 1923-36, member of UBC's mechanical and electrical engineering
department. Between wars, served with Vancouver's Duke of Connaught's
Own 13th Armored Regiment, COTC at UBC and 23rd Infantry Brigade.
Named commander in 1927. In WWII, held posts as Canadian military
attache and commander of Canadian Army staff in Washington, DC,
and adjutant-general in Ottawa. In 1944, donated 150,000 engineering
books and periodicals to UBC. LL.D (UBC, 1945). In 1949, as the
Governor General's secretary, named honorary lieutenant-colonel.
Sherwood Lett Judge b. Aug. 1, 1895, Iroquois,
Ont.; d. July 24, 1964, Vancouver. After distinguished service in
both world wars, named first Canadian representative (1954-55) on
International Control Commission to oversee the ceasefire and disengagement
of French forces in North Vietnam and the country's political stabilization.
Chief justice of B.C. (1955-64). In 1963, ruled expropriation of
a private company, B.C. Electric, by the provincial government's
B.C. Hydro and Power Authority, to be illegal. The province was
forced to pay far more to acquire B.C. Electric. LL.D (UBC, 1945).
Larry Lillo Theatre director
b. Sept. 20, 1946, Kinuso, Alta.; d. June 2, 1993, Vancouver. Attended
Royal Roads Military College (NS); BA (St. Francis Xavier). Studied
at U. of Washington, then in New York City. Received MA in directing
(UBC). Co-founder, director and actor with Tamahnous Theatre (1971-81).
Freelance theatre director, 1981-85. Artistic director, Grand Theatre,
London, Ont. (1986), and Vancouver Playhouse (1988). Under his leadership,
Playhouse subscriptions rose from 5,800 (1988) to nearly 12,000
(1992/93). Winner of a Jessie (Vancouver) and Dora (Toronto) for
A Lie of the Mind. Directed and developed many new Canadian plays.
His partner, John Moffat (d. May 16, 1995, Vancouver, at 39) was
an award-winning actor.
John Linn Stonemason b. July 12, 1821, Corstorphine
near Edinburgh, Scotland; d. April 18, 1876, Lynn Valley, B.C. One
of Colonel Moody's sappers (Royal Engineers), he came to B.C. in
1859 to build the Cariboo Road. After the unit was disbanded in
1863, the officers returned to England. Most of the men, including
Linn, remained in B.C. An original pioneer of Sapperton. On Feb.
10, 1871, he received a 150-acre Crown military grant and settled
with wife and six children at the mouth of Lynn Creek, a misspelling
of his name. "A strapping Scottish stonemason."
Marianne Linnell Civic leader b. 1914, Calgary,
Alta.; d. June 6, 1990, Vancouver. A Vancouver NPA alderman, first
elected in 1961, she served five terms to 1974. The only woman member
of Canada's Centennial Commission. Chair of many committees from
the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to sewers. In 1963, as chair of B.C.
Aviation Council, she banned backyard burning. Director and columnist,
The Sun's Edith Adams' Cottage. Rejected SC and ran for PC MLA (Vancouver-Point
Grey, 1972) but was defeated by Garde Gardom. PC spokesperson for
small business, municipal affairs and "that forgotten individual,
the housewife." Described as "more rare steak than asparagus
Dorothy Livesay (b. October 12, 1909 in Winnipeg,
Manitoba, d. December 29, 1996 in Victoria) She published 25 volumes
of poetry and prose; founding member of the League of Canadian Poets;
an annual B.C. book prize for poetry is named in her honour. Awards
include: Jardine Memorial Prize (1929); Governor General's Literary
Award for poetry (1944 and 1947); Lorne Pierce Medal (1947); Queen's
Canada Medal (1977); Order of Canada (1978); Officer of the Order
of Canada (1987); Order of British Columbia (1992), also many honourary
degrees. (Grace Darney) See this
Mary Livingstone (born Sadie Marks) Radio
performer b. c. 1906-09, Seattle, Wash.; d. June 30, 1983, Hollywood,
Calif. Lived in Vancouver as a child. Her father, David Marks, was
a founder and president of Schara Tzedeck synagogue (1917-). Met
Benny Kubelsky (Jack Benny), a vaudeville performer, at a Passover
seder at her family's home, Ferrara Court (504 E. Hastings) in 1922.
Met him again in 1926 while working at The May Co. in Los Angeles;
they married in 1927. Played his wisecracking partner for 21 years
on his radio show.
Eudora Lochead Pioneer store owner, poet d.
Feb. 2, 1937, North Vancouver. Her (estranged) husband, James, was
a logging contractor. She opened Hastings Grove Store, the first
general store in the area, on Curtis in Burnaby in 1911. Above the
store, she ran a rooming house with 20 bedrooms (tents outside housed
the overflow); the dining room sat 60 boarders. Two cousins, Marion
and Emma, and son William (d. WWI) assisted. Concerts were held
fortnightly with Eudora playing the violin. Her next store, in an
area now called Lochdale, opened in 1913 at Sperling and Hastings,
with a post office added March 1, 1914. A poet, her best-known work
Would Life Be Worth Living was published in the newspaper.
Alexander Russell Lord Educator b. June 27,
1885, Merigomish, NS; d. Sept. 18, 1961, Vancouver. Attended Queen's
(BA, 1910). Principal of Kelowna Elem. (to 1916), then school inspector
for Prince Rupert/Peace River districts, Okanagan and Vancouver.
Joined Vancouver Normal School (1924-50), retiring as principal.
Special lecturer, College of Education (1950-58). Member, UBC senate
(1936-50). LL.D (UBC, 1948). President, Canadian Educational Association
(1948-49) and Children's Aid Society. Educational advisor to the
UN. Awarded Fergusson Memorial Award (1950) for "outstanding
contribution to education in B.C." LL.D (UBC, Queens). An elementary
school is named for him.
Malcolm (Clarence Malcolm) Lowry Novelist
b. July 28, 1909, New Brighton, Eng.; d. June 27, 1957, Ripe, Eng.
Lived in a shack at Dollarton, on the north shore of Burrard Inlet
(1940-54), where he finished his master work, Under the Volcano,
and worked on other books published posthumously. Under the Volcano
is considered one of the great books of modern literature. He also
wrote October Ferry to Gabriola, Dark as the Grave Where My Friend
Is Laid, Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place.
Pat (Patricia Louise) Lowther Poet b. July
29, 1935, Vancouver; d. Sept. 24, 1975, Vancouver. A respected poet,
she wrote four books of poetry. Elected co-chair of League of Canadian
Poets (1974) and to B.C. Arts Council. Her disappearance in 1975
led to a conviction of murder by her husband Roy. The League of
Canadian Poets presents an annual prize named for her. Biblio: The
Difficult Flowering, The Age of the Bird, Milk Stone, A Stone Diary.
Teddy (Thadeous Sylvester) Lyons BCER conductor
b. c. 1889, Portage La Prairie, Man.; d. Feb. 27, 1955, Vancouver
at 68. Came to Vancouver as a boy. At 14, left school and worked
at odd jobs. In 1910, hired as a BCER conductor. Served for 40 years,
39 as a "spieler" announcing Vancouver highlights aboard
Observation Car #124. In all, toured more than 580,000 miles around
the city. In 1944, a wartime manpower and electric shortage caused
BCER to halt operations for one summer. The tour, which sometimes
included animal acts, ended September 1950; Teddy retired in 1951.
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