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.


Phillip Oben Storekeeper b. Nov. 15, 1856, St. Saviours Parish, Jersey Channel, Eng.; d. July 4, 1933, Vancouver. Early settler in the Renfrew-Collingwood area of South Vancouver. Opened the area's first store, close to Central Park. In 1890, cleared the forest of the western section of the West End. Oben St. is named for him.

Edward Faraday Odlum Scientist b. Nov. 27, 1850, Tullamore, Ont.; d. May 4, 1935, Vancouver. Grew up on a farm. Taught in Ontario; president of a "Tokyo" college with 600 students (1886-89). Came to Vancouver, April 15, 1889. Built first electric arc light (used for football games) and first public telephone. An extensive landowner. In 1892, elected Vancouver alderman. From 1903-04, toured Britain lecturing on immigration. Re-elected alderman on return. Recommended that B.C. set aside land for schools. Studied ethnology, botany and geology in central and northern Europe (1905). Author of A History of British Columbia (1906). Supported the British Israelite movement. President, Arts and Science Association of Vancouver. Father of Victor Odlum.

Victor Wentworth Odlum Soldier, publisher b. Oct. 21, 1880, Cobourg, Ont.; d. April 4, 1971, Vancouver. Arrived in Vancouver in 1889 with father, Edward Odlum. Served in the Boer War and WWI. Between wars, worked as a journalist with several newspapers, including the Vancouver Daily Star as editor-in-chief. MLA (1924-28). Star publisher (1924-32). In the late 1930s, served on CBC board. A brigadier-general, he commanded the 2nd Canadian Division (1940-41). Released as high commissioner to Australia and Canada's first ambassador to China (1943-46). Ambassador to Turkey (1947-52). LL.D (UBC, 1954). Publisher (1964) of short-lived Vancouver Times.

Paul L. (Tsunenojo) Okamura Photographer b. Japan. Arrived in Vancouver in 1891, moved to New Westminster. In 1895, he was listed as a professor of drawing at St. Louis College. An artist, he may have began his photography career as an amateur before 1900. Active as an artist, teacher and photographer.

John Oliver Premier b. July 31, 1856, Hartington, Eng.; d. Aug. 17, 1927, Victoria. Moved to Ontario in 1870; to B.C. in 1877 to farm in Delta. After serving in local politics, elected an MLA (1900). Leader of the Opposition, losing his seat in 1909. Re-elected in the sweeping 1916 Liberal victory; appointed minister of agriculture and railways. On Harlan Brewster's death in 1918, "Honest John" became premier until his death. Governed B.C. during the economic stagnation of the early 1920s. Promoted Okanagan orchards. Oliver, B.C., and Vancouver's John Oliver High School are named for him.

David Oppenheimer Mayor of Vancouver, 1888-91 See Mayors of Vancouver.

Isaac (Ike) Cella Oppenheimer Businessman b. 1835, Frankfort-on-the-Rhine, Blieskastel, Bavaria; d. Dec. 21, 1922, Spokane, Wash. Brother and partner of David Oppenheimer. Left Germany in 1848 for US gold fields with brothers Godfrey, Charles and David. In 1856, opened a Yale dry goods business and later another in Barkerville. In the fall of 1885, moved to Vancouver. In 1886, opened a wholesale grocery warehouse in the Oppenheimer Bros. Building (Powell and Columbia), now owned by musician Bryan Adams. It became B.C.'s largest business of its type. Alderman, 1887-89. For many years, the courtly Oppenheimer brothers lived in the old Hotel Vancouver. Left Vancouver in 1901 to travel in Europe and US. Later lived with eldest son, Dr. Sidney Oppenheimer, in Spokane, Wash.

W.R. Owen Mayor of Vancouver, 1924 See Mayors of Vancouver.

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