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.

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For Mayors of Vancouver, click here.


Mary Pack Arthritis campaigner b. Oct. 9, 1904, Ampthill, Eng.; d. May 11, 1992, Vancouver. The "angel of mobility" devoted her life to arthritis and rheumatism care and research. A teacher of physically handicapped children for the Vancouver School Board. In 1945, dismayed by lack of services, she started the B.C. Spastic Society which led to the B.C. Division of the Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society (uary 1948) of which she was executive secretary. Received Queen's Coronation Medal (1953), Post No. 2 Native Sons of B.C. Good Citizen Award (1956), Order of Canada, LL.D (UBC, 1974). In 1990, the Mary Pack-Arthritis Society Chair in Rheumatology was established at UBC.

Peter Basil Pantages Polar Bear Club founder b. Nov. 15, 1901, Andros, Greece; d. May 4, 1971, Hawaii. Ran the Peter Pan Cafe with his three brothers from the early 1920s. Founder (1920) and director (for 51 years) of the Polar Bear swimming club, promoting New Year's Day outdoor swimming. Member, Canadian Restaurant Association. An ardent fisherman; member of Canadian Wildlife Association and Royal Lifeguard Association. He swam every day, no matter where he travelled. Son Basil remains president of the Polar Bear Club.

Lorne Parton Journalist b. May 23, 1931, New Westminster; d. Jan. 26, 1995, Vancouver. After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he joined the Province as a reporter and columnist (1952-89) until he suffered a major stroke. A sensitive writer with a broad knowledge of cars, planes, the film industry and Vancouver's power elite, he was noted for his careful use of language. A peer of fellow journalists Jack Wasserman, Jack Webster, Allan Fotheringham and Pierre Berton, "he moved with ease among politicians and paupers." Remembered for his rapier wit. Married to journalist Nicole Parton (1974-95).

Frank Alexis Patrick Hockey player, builder b. Dec. 21, 1885, Ottawa, Ont.; d. June 29, 1960, Vancouver. Moved to Nelson, B.C., with family in 1909. With brother Lester, he brought professional hockey to the West Coast. The brothers built the first two artificial ice rinks in Canada. See entries for Lester Patrick and Lynn Patrick. Inducted in B.C. Sports Hall of Fame (1966) and Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Lester (Curtis Lester) Patrick Hockey player, builder b. Dec. 30, 1883, Drummondville, Que., d. June 1, 1960, Victoria. With brother Frank Patrick, he brought professional hockey to the West Coast, constructed indoor ice rinks and developed NHL rules, including unrestricted passing in the central zone, the blue line, and the penalty shot. Conceived the play-off series. Continued to influence NHL hockey as manager of New York Rangers (1926-39) and as coach in 1946. Inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame (1966) and Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Lynn (Joseph Lynn) Patrick Hockey player b. Feb. 3, 1912, Victoria; d. Jan. 26, 1980, St. Louis, Miss. Member of 1933 Canadian Championship basketball team, the Victoria Blue Ribbons. In 1934, signed with Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In the first game, he set a season's record with 68 yard touchdown reception. In 1943, joined New York Rangers, coached by father Lester Patrick, scoring 13 goals in his first season. During 10 years with the Rangers, he scored 145 goals, 190 assists in 455 games. Twice led the team in scoring and played with them to a 1940 Stanley Cup win. Coached and managed the Boston Bruins (1950-55). General manager, St. Louis Blues (1967), taking team to Stanley Cup play-offs in their first three seasons. Retired in 1977 as vice president, St. Louis Hockey Club. Inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame (1968).

Duff (Thomas Dufferin) Pattullo Premier b. Jan. 19, 1873, Woodstock, Ont.; d. March 29, 1956, Victoria. Headed west as a young man. Worked in Dawson City government in 1897, later buying real estate. In 1908, moved to Prince Rupert. Elected Lib. MLA (1916), serving for 12 years as minister of lands responsible for forestry. Leader of the Opposition (1928-33). Said to be the most significant of B.C. premiers, he was in office from 1933-41. Unsuccessfully tried to reform the capitalist system in struggles with the federal government. Biblio: Duff Pattullo of British Columbia by Robin Fisher.

Charlie Pawlett Band leader b. 1902, Nanaimo, B.C.; d. Aug. 21, 1981, Vancouver. Began playing trumpet and violin in Vancouver clubs in 1920s; from 1936-39, as Commodore Ballroom band leader, his shows were broadcast on CJOR radio. The weekly music program opened with "And now Charlie Pawlett plays for you." Played in RCAF band during WWII. Played at The Strand Theatre, Howden's Ballroom, Arcadian Ballroom and Narrow's Supper Club. Playing with Jackie Borne in Peter Pan Ballroom, he retired at 68 years of age.

Torchy (William John) Peden Cyclist b. April 16, 1905, Victoria; d. Jan. 26, 1980, Northbrook, Ill. A "flame-haired youth that led the pack like a torch," he was famed during the Depression as "a six-day immortal" bicycle racer, winning Vancouver's first such event in 1931. With brother James Douglas Peden, won races across North America, setting a world record of 38 victories that lasted 28 years. Brother Ernie and cousin Rusty also raced. A crowd pleaser, he received a gold-plated bicycle in honor of his years aboard his CCM Flyer. Inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame (1966) and Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Dr. Peter (Peter William Jepson-Young) AIDS diarist b. June 8, 1957, New Westminster; d. Nov. 15, 1992, Vancouver. A medical doctor, he began a weekly diary of his AIDS illness on the CBC evening news in Sept. 1990. Until his death, he continued to educate viewers, becoming Canada's leading HIV/AIDS spokesperson. The documentary of these diaries, The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter, won many awards including an Academy Award nomination. The Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation (Box 63635, Capilano P.O., North Vancouver, B.C. V7P 1S3) continues his work to create a care centre for people with HIV/AIDS. Biblio: Affirmation: The AIDS Odyssey of Dr. Peter by Daniel Gawthrop.

Parm (Richard Parmater) Pettipiece Labor union organizer, printer b. 1875, Ont.; d. Jan. 10, 1960, Vancouver. Calgary's first newsboy, he began his printing career in 1890. In 1894, appointed editor and printer of South Edmonton News. In 1896, began a Revelstoke weekly but soon sold it and started the Lardeau Eagle in Ferguson, B.C. Came to Vancouver in 1901, joined Vancouver Province (1903-54). Editor, B.C. Federationist, a labor publication (1912-20). Served several terms on city council. A director of Vancouver General Hospital for 27 years. Four-term president, International Typographical Union, founded in 1897.

Florence Paterson Actress b. Nov. 3, 1927, St. John's, Nfld; d. July 23, 1995, Vancouver. A child actor in radio skits written by her father. Performed in amateur theatre in St. John's, winning five best actress awards. Began acting professionally at 44 with Halifax's Neptune Theatre, playing memorable roles such as Mary Mercer in Leaving Home and "the missus" in John and the Missus. Starred in the CBC series Backstretch and in Little Women opposite Susan Sarandon. In 1989, Flo and husband John moved to Vancouver to be near family. Her last Vancouver role was in Mother Miracle (Arts Club, 1994). Received Arts Council Life Achievement Award. "One was always astonished by the honesty, the humor, the intensity and humanity she invested in every character she played."

Joe Philliponi (born Filippone) Nightclub owner b. Jan. 1, 1913, S Italy; d. Sept. 18, 1983, Vancouver. Came to Vancouver in early 1930s and started Eagle-Time Delivery Systems (1934), later acquiring taxi cabs. Opened The Penthouse dinner club in 1945 at 1019 Seymour. Presented big names like Sammy Davis Jr. and George Burns. On Dec. 31, 1975, the club was closed by the vice squad; in 1977, he was charged with living off prostitution but the conviction was quashed. His business licence was withdrawn but re-approved by City council in 1979. His murder in 1983 was linked to a robbery attempt. Some 800 "Supreme Court justices, businessmen and dancers" attended his funeral. The Penthouse is now managed by nephew Danny Filippone.

Elmore Philpott Journalist, MP b. May 1, 1896, Toronto, Ont.; d. Dec. 9, 1964, Penticton, B.C. A Vancouver Sun columnist (1943-61). Educated in Ontario, excelling in athletics. Crippled in WWI, he received the Military Cross. In 1922, entered journalism and also married. Writer and associate editor, Toronto Globe, for five years. Lost bids for provincial seat in West Hamilton, Ont. (1931, 1935). After brief involvement with CCF, returned to Liberal party. Moved to B.C. (1937). Wrote in Victoria, then joined The Vancouver Sun (1943). Much travelled, he was an expert on China. In 1953, elected MP (Vancouver South); defeated in 1957. Continued writing for The Sun to 1961.

Thomas Plimley Pioneer auto dealer b. 1871, Walsall, Eng.; d. 1929, Victoria. Started a bicycle business in Victoria in 1893, the year he arrived from England. Sold the first car in Victoria, a tiller-steered Oldsmobile, in 1901. His wife Rhoda was the first woman driver in Victoria. Sold the Swift, Coventry, Humber, Rover, two-cylinder Buick and air-cooled Franklin. Plimley Motors on Howe was one of B.C.'s largest dealerships. His eldest son, Horace (Thomas Horace) Plimley (b. March 5, 1895, Victoria; d. March 21, 1985, Vancouver) opened a British car dealership in Vancouver (1936). From 1957-86, grandson Basil (b. June 21, 1924, Victoria) was one of the few third generation executives of a B.C. business. The Plimley companies closed in 1991, after 98 years.

Barney Potts Entertainer b. April 25, 1910, Hargate, Eng.; d. Feb. 6, 1993, Vancouver. Led bands in the 1930s in Vancouver nightspots such as Alma Academy, Happyland, Cinderella Ballroom, Quadra Club, Mandarin Gardens, Odyssey Room and The Narrows. Performed in musicals in 1940s. Spent 12 years with Theatre Under the Stars. Accompanied by wife, singer Thora Anders (b. Sept. 12, 1913, Victoria), he played radio and TV (such as a Juliette special with Robert Goulet), nightclubs and concert halls. Album: Barney Potts, Live—Just Barely, released in 1980. Inducted into Orpheum Theatre's Entertainment Hall of Fame (1990).

Israel Wood Powell Surgeon, politician b. April 27, 1836, Port Colburne, Ont.; d. Feb. 25, 1915, Victoria. Graduated in medicine (McGill, 1860). In 1862, moved to Colony of Vancouver Island; MLA (1863). In 1865, set up system of free public schools. Supported union of the colonies of Vancouver Island and B.C.; also entry of B.C. into Confederation, an unpopular stand that lost him the 1866 election. First Masonic Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of B.C. which opened Dec. 26, 1871 in Vancouver. Superintendent, Indian affairs (1872-90). Passed B.C. Medical Act (1886). In 1887, assisted in birth of Simon Fraser Tolmie, first B.C.-born premier. In 1890, created act to open UBC; appointed first chancellor. Named Vancouver streets for provinces from Columbia to Prince Edward. Donated site of first Vancouver City Hall. Vancouver's Powell St. and Powell River named for him.

Bill (William Arthur) Pritchard Labor activist b. 1889, Salford, Eng., of Welsh parentage; d. Oct. 24, 1982, Los Angeles, Calif. Came to Vancouver in May 1911. Head, Vancouver Longshoremen's Union; executive member, Vancouver Trades and Labor Council; member, Socialist Party of Canada; organizer of One Big Union. After speaking at the Winnipeg Strike on June 12, 1919, he was arrested, found guilty of seditious conspiracy (March 28, 1920) and spent a year in jail. "His speech to the jury was a famous illustration of working-class oratory." Reeve of Burnaby (1930-32); president, Union of B.C. Municipalities. Ran as CCF MLA (1933) and PC MLA (1937) but lost both times, then worked as a baker. A musician, he organized youth orchestras, choirs and operatic productions.

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