The History of Metropolitan Vancouver's

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.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

For Mayors of Vancouver, click here.


Harvey Hadden Millionaire, philanthropist b. Eng.; d. February 1931, London, Eng. A wealthy Englishman, he first visited Vancouver in 1891, becoming a major property owner before 1913. Said to have made more than $1 million on his real estate holdings. Owned Birk's site (Hastings and Granville). Bought 160 acres in Capilano Canyon, sight unseen from architect S.M. Eveleigh. Built Hadden Hall (1903), "a sort of Garden of Eden in the forest" (now Capilano Golf and Country Club). Hadden Park at Kitsilano Beach was donated in 1928 but not dedicated until 1952. In his will, he bequeathed $500,000 to Vancouver parks. In 1957, parks at Georgia, Adanac, Woodland and McLean were purchased with his bequest.

William Hailstone One of the "Three Greenhorns" b. May 18, 1830, Bridlington, Eng.; d. July 12, 1912, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Eng. He and partners Sam Brighouse and John Morton, dubbed the "Three Greenhorns," were the first European settlers to preempt a Crown grant of Lot 185 in what is now the West End of Vancouver. The price for the 550 acres was 114 pounds 11 shillings 8 pence. Returned to England before 1894.

Jessie Columbia Hall (née Greer) Philanthropist b. 1872, Jack-of-Clubs Creek, B.C.; d. June 22, 1949, Vancouver. Daughter of Sam Greer; first white child born in the Cariboo. In 1893, married James Z. Hall, Vancouver's first notary public and first volunteer soldier. In 1908, built Kitsilano's Killarney mansion and entertained high society. Volunteer with the Children's Aid Society, Vancouver Welfare Federation, Women's Auxiliary of Christ Church and others. During WWI, provided supplies for a French field hospital. First woman to serve as a member of a Vancouver jury. President, Burrard Women's Conservative Club (1931) and Victorian Order of Nurses. First past grand factor of Post No. 1, Native Daughters of B.C. Received Vancouver's Good Citizen Award (1934).

Ida Halpern (née Ruhdorfer) Musicologist b. July 17, 1910, Vienna, Austria; d. Feb. 7, 1987, Vancouver. Immigrated with chemist husband Georg to Vancouver in 1939. A force on the local music scene, she was the first person to study the music of West Coast Indians. Produced four albums of First Nations' songs. Director of the Academy of Music. Province music critic (1952-57). Member, Order of Canada (1978).

Eric Werge Hamber Executive, lieutenant-governor b. April 21, 1880, Winnipeg, Man.; d. Jan. 10, 1960, Vancouver. Star rower as a young man. Came to Vancouver as manager, Dominion Bank (1907). Married Aldyen Irene Hendry, daughter of John Hendry in 1912. A captain in the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Worked for B.C. Mills, Timber and Trading; appointed president in 1916. B.C. lieutenant-governor (May 1, 1936-41); LL.D (UBC, 1939); UBC chancellor (1944-51). The Hambers were prominent in society philanthropic circles. Eric Hamber HS named for him.

Alfred St. George Hamersley Vancouver's first solicitor, soldier b. Oct. 8, 1848, Oxfordshire, Eng.; d. Feb. 25, 1929 Bournemouth, Eng. Educated at Marlborough, Woolwich. Played in first rugger international in 1871 and four times internationally for England. Called to the bar in 1873. Practised law in New Zealand, arriving in Vancouver in 1888. Legal advisor to Vancouver City Corporation and CPR. Active in local business and athletics. Sold some Mt. Pleasant property to fellow Freemason, poet Rudyard Kipling. In 1906, returned to Rycot, Eng., and was elected Lib. MP (1910-18). Commanded a battery (1917) and a heavy artillery group.

Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton Surveyor, city councillor b. Sept. 20, 1852, Penetanguishene, Ont.; d. Feb. 11, 1941, Toronto, Ont. As CPR land commissioner and surveyor, established Prairie townsites and surveyed Canada/US border. Arrived in Vancouver in 1883. Surveyed and named Vancouver streets. In 1885, surveyed CPR grant from English Bay to Hastings St. Resurveyed "Liverpool" (West End) after the Great Fire of June 13, 1886. As Vancouver city councillor (1886-87), proposed Stanley Park and laid out its perimeter. A noted amateur photographer. Hamilton St. was named for (and by) him.

Ellen Harris Radio broadcaster b. 1904, Winnipeg, Man.; d. June 15, 1967, Vancouver. Came to Vancouver in 1930. From 1920s onward, active in children's theatre. A prominent radio broadcaster with Morning Visit, a CBC women's show (1944-52). In early 1950s, involved in CBC school broadcasts. President, Vancouver Ballet Society; chair, building committee of UBC's International House. Public relations officer for BCAA and Health Centre for Children for many years. From the 1950s, active in Vancouver Zonta Club and International Zonta Club.

Lawren Stewart Harris Painter b. Oct. 23, 1885, Brantford, Ont.; d. Jan. 29, 1970, Vancouver. Member of famed Group of Seven painters (1920-31). Moved to Vancouver in 1940 and lived here until his death. One of Canada's greatest painters of the 20th century. LL.D (UBC, 1946).

Frank (Francis) E. Harrison Postmaster b. Feb. 1, 1861, Stratford, Ont.; d. July 5, 1934, Vancouver. First worked in the Ontario postal service (1876), later Railway Mail Service (RMS). Calgary's acting postmaster during the Riel Rebellion (1885). On the day of Riel's capture, he returned to RMS. In 1889, came to B.C. on special duty; opened the Mainland's first RMS office. When the Vancouver Post Office was placed on a city basis (. 7, 1895), he was assistant postmaster under Jonathan Miller. Passed over as postmaster when R.G. Macpherson, an ex-MP and outsider, was appointed. After 25 years as assistant postmaster, finally succeeded Macpherson on Jan. 10, 1920. Retired in 1928.

John Hart Premier, financier b. March 31, 1879, Mohill, Ire.; d. April 7, 1957, Victoria. Founded Gillespie, Hart and Co. in 1909. Elected Lib. MLA (Victoria, 1916) and was never defeated. Finance minister (1917-49) except for business reasons in years 1924 and 1933. In December 1941, elected Liberal premier of a coalition government, a position held until he retired in 1947. Established B.C. Power Commission and began building highways, including the Hart Highway from Prince George to Dawson Creek. LL.D (UBC, 1947).

Frank William Hart Theatre entrepreneur b. June 1, 1856, Rock Island or Galesburg, Ill.; d. May 4, 1935, Prince Rupert, B.C. Hart's Swedish family immigrated from the US. In Dec. 1887, he built Vancouver's first theatre, Hart's Opera House on Carrall St., presenting amateur shows, touring companies, variety and vaudeville. Dubbed "the skating rink," the 15 metre by 40 metre arena housed 800 theatregoers or 250 roller skaters. When the Imperial Opera House opened (April 1889), Hart's closed. The building became a furniture warehouse. By 1912 Hart moved to Prince Rupert, selling furniture.

Uncle Billy (William George) Hassell Children's program announcer b. 1893, Bath, Eng.; d. Dec. 14, 1966, Vancouver. Moved to Vancouver in 1919 after serving as wireless operator in Royal Navy. In 1922, founded CHLS, one of the first radio stations on the coast (renamed CKCD and run by the Daily Province). In 1941, CKCD merged with CKWX. First Canadian newscaster to sign off with his own name; possibly the first to make a singing radio commercial. Known as Uncle Billy on his kid's program, Squareshooters. In 1946, retired to breed collies in Langley, B.C., becoming one of the world's top collie breeders. Biography: The Hassells of Early Radio by Alan D. Hassell.

Arthur Helps Radio pioneer b. Nov. 5, 1912, Toronto, Ont.; d. April 4, 1995, Surrey, B.C. Director and host of ground-breaking radio show Town Meeting in Canada. An Armed Forces veteran, he was inspired by a similar US broadcast. In 1947, engineered a dual broadcast with the show's US counterpart, with an audience estimated at eight million. A conciliator, he drafted a resolution to invite veterans from Commonwealth countries to celebrate Remembrance Day at the Newton Legion. This led to some Legion members denying the entrance of Sikh veterans wearing turbans. In spite of this setback, Arthur continued to forge ties with his Sikh counterparts. His efforts inspired a successful community building workshop that included legion members and Sikh locals.

John Hendry Lumberman b. Jan. 20, 1843, Gloucester County, NB; d. July 17, 1916, Vancouver. Arrived in B.C. in September 1872, later working in a Seabeck, Wash., sawmill. By 1874, as foreman of Moodyville mill, he rebuilt it after a fire. Opened a sash and door factory in Nanaimo, B.C., later in New Westminster (1876). Built Kaslo & Slocan Railway, and Vancouver, Westminster & Yukon Railway. In 1878, elected to New Westminster city council. Elected mayor but quit after six months due to conflict of interest over his railway projects. In 1889/90, bought Hastings Mill, renaming it B.C. Mills, Timber and Trading. By 1914 its was the oldest and largest company of its kind in the northwest with 2,000 employees, shipping doors, sashes and blinds. John Hendry Park is named for him.

Julia Willmothe Henshaw Botanist, novelist b. 1869, Durham, Eng.; d. Nov. 18, 1937, Caulfeild, West Vancouver. She followed in her naturalist father's footsteps, photographing mountain wildflowers. Settled in Vancouver c. 1887 with husband Charles Grant Henshaw, son of United Empire Loyalists. Editor of the Province and Vancouver Sun columnist. An internationally known novelist; Hypnotized (1898) was called Book of the Year. The prominent couple drove the first car across the Rockies (1914). She wrote several important plant studies, including Mountain Wildflowers of Canada (1906) and The Wild Flowers of B.C. (1908). Won Croix De Guerre as ambulance driver in France during WWI.

Stanley E. Higgs Anglican minister b. 1904, Warwickshire, Eng.; d. April 16, 1983, Vancouver. Served overseas with Royal Canadian Corp of Chaplains (1941-46) and 14 years in the Cariboo. Assisted at Christ Church Cathedral, then served as rector of St. Michael's (May 30, 1949-60). In 1957, he charged that general manager Cedric Tallis of the Vancouver Mounties would be in contempt of law if he pursued Sunday ball games. Track judge at the British Empire Games, Vancouver (1954), and in April 1958, in Cardiff, Wales. From 1960-68, chaplain of Haney Correctional Institute; in September 1968, named executive head of Vancouver's Central City Mission. Retired in April 1974 after 47 years of service.

Harry Mackenzie Hilker Haberdasher, impresario b. c. 1880, Bruce County, Ont.; d. March 26, 1969. With son, Gordon (John Gordon) Hilker (b. Sept. 19, 1913, Vancouver; d. April 28, 1991, North Vancouver), formed Vancouver's first concert agency, Hilker Attractions. From 1936-50, imported more than 1,000 performers including Yehudi Menuhin, Paul Robeson, Isaac Stern. In 1946, Gordon erected the continent's biggest stage at Stanley Park's Brockton Oval for Vancouver's Diamond Jubilee. "The city, brave as only the frightened can be, agreed to his ideas." The company went bankrupt on Sept. 26, 1950. Gordon was later artistic director, Vancouver Festival (1961-67) and director, Expo 67 World Festival of Entertainment.

Georgina Hill (Lady Reid) Women's advocate b. Nova Scotia. Wife of Sir John Watt Reid (m. 1863), she was a founder and first president of the Vancouver Council of Women (1894). The original group of 16 women was dedicated to "further the application of the Golden Rule to Society, Custom and Law." One of its first campaigns was for total government control of the importation of opium, processed in local factories. The Reids built Fairview House (1151 W. 8th), in 1894 and lived there to 1898 (now a designated heritage building). John Reid, director general of the Royal Navy Medical Department (1880), was knighted in 1882. In 1901, he returned to England as honorary physician to King Edward VII.

Charles Hill-Tout Ethnologist b. Sept. 28, 1858, Buckland, Eng.; d. June 30, 1944, Vancouver. Came to Canada in 1880s, arriving in Vancouver in 1890. He surveyed and wrote on the famous Marpole Midden. Acting principal of Dr. Whetlam's College before founding his own school, Buckland College. Settled in Fraser Valley. A devoted amateur anthropologist, he focused on the Salish Indians of B.C. Elected to RSC (1913), later president of its anthropological section. His field reports were collected as The Salish People by Ralph Maud (1978). Asked by the CPR to name a new subdivision in Vancouver, he suggested Kitsilano, a modification of the name of the chiefs of the Squamish Band. Biblio: The Native Races of British North America: the Far West (1907) by Charles Hill-Tout.

Cap (Gerald) Hobbis Bicycle store owner b. Aug. 1, 1918, Vermilion, Alta; d. Aug. 25, 1995, New Westminster. Traded a bunch of old magazines in 1932 for his first bicycle. He repaired it in his basement and sold it to his first customer, Fred Bramley, for $10. After working in a cedar mill, opened first Cap's Bicycle store in New Westminster in 1940. At first, he sold everything from baby carriages to bicycles. With his two brothers and later their sons, established 11 more stores and a museum of unusual bicycles. The family's collection of antique and comic bikes was a crowd-pleaser in the annual PNE parade from 1947.

Oliver M. Hocking Hotelier In 1858, in partnership with Fred Houston, he built the Brighton Hotel at what is now the foor of Windermere St., with a floating wharf for bathers. Three stages stopped daily, and a coachman announced arrivals with a bugle blast. Mill workers and loggers used the wharf en route to mills along Burrard Inlet. On March 1, 1866, he was appointed deputy collector of customs at Burrard Inlet, making it possible for captains to fill out their papers without walking through the woods to New Westminster. In March 1869, the partners sold the hotel to Maxie Michaud.

Reinhart (or Reinhard) Hoffmeister Electrical engineer b. 1866, Wellington County, Ont.; d. July 9, 1948, Vancouver. The "Pioneer of Power" came to Vancouver in 1888 with dynamo castings from his own design and set up the city's first electrical shop (Davie and Howe). At 22, built the first dynamo (electric generator) to power the False Creek mill. Installed electrical plants at B.C. Sugar Refinery, Trail Smelter and original Hotel Vancouver. Patented designs for an electrical gold mining machine and a combined brake and foot rest for bicycles. Converted to electric power the presses of the newspapers which merged into the Vancouver Sun.

William Matthew Holden Realtor and builder b. Feb. 7, 1872, Sterling, Ont.; d. June 1, 1947, Vancouver. Brought up on a farm, later a salesman. Lived in B.C. after 1898. Manager, Federal Life Insurance (Western Canada); worked as an independent realtor and general finance broker (1905-12). In 1912 became a finance broker. His extensive city realty dealings led the press to write that "he made Granville Street." Purchased terminal lands on False Creek for Great Northern Railway. Built "the magnificent Holden Building" on E. Hastings in 1911, leased by city council (1929-36) as temporary City Hall.

William Holmes Pioneer settler b. Jan. 4, 1813, Killkenegh, Ire.; d. Sept. 10, 1907, Sapperton, B.C. Holder of the first certificate of title to land in B.C., dated March 5, 1860 (Lot 1 in Block 1). One of Burnaby area's earliest settlers, he built on the banks of the Brunette River close to today's North Rd. His property was located in the area between Sapperton St. and North Rd, from Holmes to Rochester. He named the Brunette River because of its dark brown water, the colored by peat near the river's source.

Joseph Attwood Reynolds Homer High Sheriff b. Aug. 1827, Barrington, NS; d. Sept. 20, 1886, New Westminster. Came to B.C. in 1858 via San Francisco and became one of the first sawmill owners in New Westminster. In 1860, elected to first New Westminster city council. Signed petition to the Colonial office from the Hope Convention (1861) for a separate Mainland government. From 1864-66, represented New Westminster in the Crown Colony of B.C.'s first legislative council. As High Sheriff (1866), read the Royal proclamation of Nov. 19, 1866 uniting the two Crown colonies. PC MP, New Westminster (1882). After incorporation of City of Vancouver (April 6, 1886), elected first MP but died after six months.

Tomekichi Homma Civil rights activist b. June 6, 1865, Onigoshi-mura, Chiba-ken, Japan; d. Oct. 28, 1945, Slocan, B.C. In May 1899, with Tadaichi Nagao, he began contracting laborers to the CNR. Fished the Fraser from 1892, at first in an open Columbia boat. Organized Steveston Japanese fisherman's union (1899); first chair. Started first Japanese newspaper in Vancouver. In 1893, he tried unsuccessfully to have his name added to the voter's list. By 1939, paralysed from a stroke, he lived in Sherman, a small cannery in West Vancouver. Moved to Slocan internment camp with wife, Matsu (d. Jan. 7, 1951). An elementary school in Richmond is named for him.

James Welton Horne Land investor, politician b. Nov. 3, 1853, Toronto, Ont.; d. Feb. 21, 1922, Vancouver. A successful Manitoba businessman before moving to Coal Harbour in March 1885. Invested in real estate, profiting when CPR approached. As founder of B.C. Electric Railway, he developed the street railway and interurban between New Westminster and Vancouver. Elected to Vancouver city council (1888); in the 1889/90 council election, he received the largest vote cast in all three years. PC MLA, Vancouver (1890-94). Chairman of Board of Park Commissioners for six years.

Frederick William Howay (born Howie) Judge, historian b. Nov. 25, 1867, London, Ont.; d. Oct. 4, 1943, New Westminster. His father moved to B.C. in 1869; joined by wife and three children in 1870. Frederick practised law, becoming a county court judge (1907-37). Wrote books and articles establishing him as the leading B.C. historian of his generation. President, Art, Historical and Scientific Association of Vancouver (1910-15). Member, Historic Sites and Monuments Board Canada (1923-43). UBC senator (1915-42). Biblio: British Columbia From Earliest Times to the Present (1914), the standard history of B.C. into the 1950s.

Josias Charles Hughes Mt. Hermon Masonic Lodge founder b. May 5, 1843, Omeme, Upper Canada; d. Nov. 8, 1886, New Westminster. On Sept. 21, 1861, at 18, sworn in as poll clerk in Peterborough, Ont. Came to B.C. in 1862, joined lumber firm of Moody, Dietz and Nelson as a clerk. Elected MLA (1871). Returned to New Westminster as government collector, soon appointed B.C. government agent. A founder of Mt. Hermon Lodge (1869); he was the first Right Worshipful Master (. 15, 1869). Elected lodge honary life member on Sept. 6, 1884 and to the office of Senior Grand Warden in 1886, but did not live to complete his term of office.

Fred J. Hume Mayor of New Westminster, then mayor of Vancouver, 1951-58 See Mayors of Vancouver.

Bishan Kaur Hundal Sikh woman pioneer b. India; d. 1937, Vancouver. Because of unfair immigration laws, Bishan's son Hakim came to Canada alone around 1910, but returned four times to visit his wife. On her death, he attempted to bring his mother and his four sons to Canada. Bishan left India to devote her life to raising her grandsons. The family was detained at the Hong Kong Sikh Temple (1911-13) waiting for permission to enter Canada. After their arrival in Vancouver, they lived in a house Hakim built in Point Grey. Hakim worked for Indian independence and encouraged his children to integrate with Canadian society; his sons were prominent rugby players, competing in tournaments against Canadian teams. They attended Magee HS, UBC and U. of Washington and "made every attempt to fit in with the dominant culture." Hakim's son Iqbal was an aeronautical engineer.

Chung Hung Sculptor b. Feb. 8, 1946, Canton, China; d. July 21, 1994, Vancouver. Studied civic engineering in Hong Kong before immigrating to Canada in 1969. In 1973, graduated in sculpture at Vancouver School of Art. Specialized in monumental public steel sculptures, including Gate to the North-West Passage (Vanier Park) and Steam Columns (938 Howe) and co-creator, Goddess of Democracy (UBC, 1991). Permanent sculptures in Canada, Hong Kong, Spain. Received Dal Grauer Memorial Award (1974); won eight competition-awarded sculptures and commissions. Promoted awareness of Chinese artists in Vancouver.

Bruce (William Bruce) Hutchison Journalist b. June 5, 1901, Prescott, Ont.; d. Sept. 14, 1992, Victoria. Began lifelong career in journalism as sports reporter for The Victoria Times in 1918. Worked for Vancouver newspapers and Winnipeg Free Press 1927-50). LL.D (UBC, 1950). Editor, The Victoria Times (1950-63); editor, Vancouver Sun (1963 to retirement). A leading political reporter in Canada. The author of 15 books, he won three Governor General awards. Appointed to Privy Council. Coined "Lotusland" to describe B.C.

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