By Constance Brissenden (unless otherwise noted)
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.
D E F
For Mayors of Vancouver,
Annie Charlotte Dalton Poet b. Dec. 9, 1865,
Birkby (Huddersfield), Eng.; d. Jan. 12, 1938, Vancouver. Arrived
in B.C. in 1904 from Huddersfield with husband Willie Dalton (married
1891). Her home was a meeting place for writers and readers. President,
Vancouver Poetry Club; executive member, Lower Mainland Branch Canadian
Authors' Association and Dominion Council. Left partially deaf by
a childhood illness, she was known as "The Poet Laureate of
the Deaf" for her work on their behalf. Member, Order of the
British Empire, the only woman poet honored at the time (1935).
Biblio: The Marriage of Music; Flame and Adventure; Lilies and Leopards.
Taraknath Das Community spokesperson b. Bengal,
India. A radical Bengali nationalist, he tried to gain community
support for the Indian independent movement. Established Hindustani
Association in Vancouver in 1907. In 1908, published Free Hindustan,
the first South Asian publication in Canada, and one of the first
in North America.
Josephine A. Dauphinee
Special education pioneer, women's activist b. Nov. 15, 1875, Liverpool,
NS; d. Dec. 6, 1977, Vancouver. In 1908, when she arrived in New
Westminster to work for her uncle Dr. G.E. Drew, she was a trained
nurse and teacher. After training in Seattle, she taught at Central
HS and was soon supervisor of special classes for mentally challenged
children. Travelled across the US, observing teaching methods. By
her retirement (1941), the number of special classes had grown to
27. A founder of the Vancouver Business and Professional Women's
Club (1922); president (1928-29). Helped establish Canadian Federation
of Business and Professional Women's Clubs in 1930; president, 1932-35.
John Davidson Botanist, conservationist b.
Aug. 6, 1878, Aberdeen, Scotland; d. Feb. 10, 1970, Vancouver. Son
of a cabinet maker, he was hired as a boy in U. of Aberdeen's botany
department. By 29, he was in charge of its botanical museum. In
1908, lack of formal education and class blocked his way to an assistant
professorship. After a near-fatal flu/pneumonia attack (1909), advised
to move to "more merciful" climate. Chose Vancouver, leaving
April 1911. Hired by H.E. Young; soon named provincial botanist.
Started gardens at Essondale (now Riverview) and UBC. "Botany
John" joined UBC (1912); botany instructor and professor (1916-48).
Founder, Vancouver Natural History Society (1918). Biblio: The Vancouver
Natural History Society, 1918-1933 by Jim Peacock.
Davies (b. July 26, 1920, Salt Lake City, UT - d. Mar. 27, 2002,
Victoria, BC) actress, director, writer. Mary
on The Carson Family CBC radio serial 1947-65 and other
radio and TV roles through 1984. Original member, Totem and Everyman
Theatres, early professional troupes; directed and appeared with
Edward Everett Horton, Charles Coburn, Theresa Wright, Uta Hagen,
Craig Stevens et al. Staged Tobacco Road (1953) despite court injunction;
acquitted after world-publicized trial. Best Director, 1955 Dominion
Drama Festival, with UBC Alumni production, The Crucible. Notable
stage roles incl. Julius Caesar, The Seagull, Oh Dad, Poor Dad ...,
(Playhouse), Agnes of God (Arts Club). Librettist, Jean Coulthards
The Pines of Emily Carr (1969). First recipient, Jessie
Richardson Award (lifetime achievement), Sam Payne Award (developing
young talent); charter member, BC Entertainment Hall of Fame (Starwalk).
John Sullivan Deas Pioneer fish packer/canner,
black entrepreneur b. South Carolina, probably Charleston, c. 1838;
d. July 22, 1880, Portland, Ore. Trained as a tinsmith. Searched
for gold in California. In 1862, moved to Victoria. Ran a business
in Yale (1866-68) during the gold rush, then returned to Victoria.
By 1871, began canning Fraser salmon for Captain Edward Stamp. On
Stamp's death, Deas continued canning, and in April 1873, preempted
Deas Island and built his own cannery. He was the top canner until
1877. That same year, wife Fanny bought a rooming house in Portland,
Ore. Deas sold out and joined her. Died at 42, leaving wife and
Fred Deeley Sr. Motorcycle dealer b. 1881,
Bromsgrove, Eng.; d. May 9, 1970, Vancouver. After 10 years in business
in England, he first visited B.C. in 1913, representing the Birmingham
Small Arms, manufacturer of BSA motorcycles. Bought out BSA and
opened Fred Deeley Ltd. (1914) in a 12'-wide store at 1075 Granville.
In 1916 acquired Harley-Davidson franchise, becoming its second
oldest dealership. By 1925 he owned a motorcycle shop, bicycle shop,
and one of Canada's larger car dealerships. Company included son
Fred Jr. and grandson Trev (b. 1920) of Trev Deeley Motorcycles.
Biography: Motorcycle Millionaire, by Trev Deeley.
"Gassy Jack" (John) Deighton Innkeeper
b. 1830, Hull, Eng.; d. May 29, 1875, Gastown. At 14, went to sea,
eventually arriving on the West Coast. First opened the Globe Saloon
in New Westminster. When it failed, he canoed with his Native wife
(m. 1863) to Burrard Inlet, Sept. 29, 1867, and opened a saloon.
When his wife died, he married her niece Madeline (birth name Qua-hail-ya
or Qwahalia, d. Aug. 10, 1948 at age 90, buried in the Squamish
Reserve Cemetery). A year later, his son Richard Mason was born
but died soon after Gassy Jack's death at age of 45. Madeline was
disinherited, and later married a Squamish man. Gassy Jack's voluble
personality is said to have prompted his nickname.
Arthur William Delamont Band leader b. Jan.
23, 1892, Hereford, Eng.; d. Sept. 11, 1982, Vancouver. As a youth,
active in the Salvation Army Band in Moose Jaw, Sask., with father
and four brothers. Survivor of 1914 sinking of Empress of Ireland
in St. Lawrence. Came to Vancouver in 1922. Played trumpet at Pantages
vaudeville theatre. For five decades, from January 1928, "Mr.
D" conducted the Kitsilano Boys Band. Won first place in the
Toronto Exposition (1931); performed at Chicago's Century of Progress
Exposition and NY World's Fair (1939). Long-time PNE performers.
"Raised the status of youth bands to an art." Received
Vancouver's Good Citizen Award (1946).
Adam Urias dePencier Anglican priest b. Feb.
9, 1866, Burritts Rapids, Ont.; d. May 30, 1949, Vancouver. Ordained
1890. Obtained BA, Trinity U. (Toronto, 1895). After various posts
in other provinces, accepted rectorship of St. Paul's, Vancouver.
Elected Bishop of New Westminster in June 1910. In 1911, U. of Trinity
College awarded him DD (honoris causa). Chaplain in WWI, later Archbishop
of New Westminster (1925-40) and Metropolitan. President, Anglican
Theological College. On Nov. 12, 1918, received Order of the British
Empire from King George V. Original member of UBC senate. LL.D (UBC,
Allard de Ridder VSO conductor b. 1887, Dordrecht,
Holland; d. May 1966, Vancouver. Received music education in Holland
and Cologne Conservatory. Guest conductor in Arnhem, The Hague and
Amsterdam. Conductor of Amsterdam's National Opera and Boston Symphony
Orchestra. First VSO conductor (1930). Put up his $3,000 life savings
to cover musician's wages for first concert. Left California to
become a citizen of Vancouver. In 1941, joined Hart House String
Quartet (Toronto). Taught at Royal Conservatory of Music before
founding Ottawa Philharmonic Orchestra in 1944. Retired in Vancouver
Alexander Campbell Des Brisay Chief justice
b. 1888, Winnipeg, Man.; d. Nov. 30, 1963, Vancouver. Elected president,
Vancouver Bar Association (1941); treasurer, B.C. Law Society (1953-55);
chief justice of B.C. Court of Appeal (1958). Head of one-man royal
commission on workmen's compensation (1962). When he died, he had
produced 6,000 pages of transcripts for the as-yet unfinished enquiry.
His wife, Ella Helen, died the following morning (Dec. 1, 1963,
Vancouver) of a heart attack. LL.D (UBC, 1959).
Dett (Claude P.) Dettloff Photographer b. 1899,
Chippewa Falls, Wisc.; d. July 18, 1978, Vancouver. Started career
with Minneapolis Journal in 1923. Worked 11 years with Winnipeg
Tribune. Joined Vancouver Daily Province (1936), becoming chief
photographer. Wait for Me, Daddy, his memorable WWII photo of a
boy running after his marching dad, was shot Oct. 1, 1940 as the
New Westminster brigade went overseas. Photo appeared Oct. 2, 1940
in Vancouver Daily Province. Named one of 10 best pictures of the
1940s by Life Magazine. The unposed shot was taken at 9 metres with
a 3 1/4 by 4 1/4 Speed Graphic and a 13.5 C.M. Zeiss lens. Exposure
was 1/200 of a second at F.8, using Agfa film.
Harry (Henry Torkington) Devine Photographer
b. July 28, 1865, Manchester, Eng.; d. Dec. 17, 1938, Vancouver.
His father, John Devine, was the first city auditor. Harry started
his career in Brandon, Man., (1884) in partnership with J.A. Brock
(1885). Moved to Vancouver (1886). The work of Brock & Co. has
been called the "visual legends" of Vancouver. After the
Great Fire of 1886, he photographed the first city council and first
police department in front of a tent. His partnership with Brock
ended in 1887. He worked again as a photographer from 1895-1897
when he ended his photography career.
Dick Diespecker, radio announcer, producer,
writer, poet and newspaper columnist, was born Richard Alan Diespecker
March 1, 1907 in Adstock, Buckinghamshire, Eng. He came to Vancouver
in 1927, the same year he began his newspaper career with The
Vancouver Star. In 1936 he joined CJOR and began to write radio
dramas. In 1940 he joined an artillery unit, later became a radio
liaison officer. His Prayer for Victory, written in a Montreal
hotel room in 1942, was aired on radio networks throughout the western
world. His first book of poems, Two Furious Oceans, was published
in 1944. In 1947 he won the Beaver Award for distinguished
service to Canadian radio. The next year he won the Columbus
Award for the three-part radio documentary Destination Palestine.
Diespecker wrote more than 400 radio plays for CJOR, CBC, BBC and
the South African Broadcasting Corp. He was a columnist with the
Vancouver Star, the News-Herald and the Victoria
Colonist, and wrote a popular column on radio for the Province.
His 1950 novel Elizabeth told of the life of a pioneer woman.
Another novel, Rebound, appeared in 1953.
See an interesting description of that Vancouver-based novel here.
In 1958 Diespecker moved to San Francisco to join a public relations
firm, and in 1964 became an American citizen. He died, aged 65,
on February 11, 1973 in San Francisco.
Ira Dilworth Scholar, broadcaster b. March
25, 1894, High Bluff, Man.; d. Nov. 23, 1962, Vancouver. Came to
Okanagan as a boy. From 1915-34, taught English at Victoria HS;
principal (1926). A poetry expert, he was a popular UBC associate
professor of English (1934-38). From 1938-40, directed Bach Choir.
First president, Vancouver Community Arts Council (1945), the first
of its kind in North America. From 1938 onward, rose in CBC ranks
to director of all CBC English networks (1956). A special friend
of Emily Carr, he encouraged her to write books. LL.D (UBC, 1948).
William Carey Ditmars First car buyer b. Nov.
12, 1865, St. Catherines, Ont.; d. Dec. 7, 1960, Vancouver. Arrived
in Vancouver from Toronto early in 1891; worked as accountant for
John Doty Engine. Moved back to Toronto (1894-97), then joined a
new Vancouver bridge building firm, Armstrong & Morrison. In
1903, became a full partner, building Granville, Cambie and Fraser
street bridges. Laid substructure for Lions Gate Bridge (1937).
President, Vancouver Granite, supplying granite facing for bridge
piers. In February 1899, bought a tiller-steered Stanley Steamer
for partner W.H. Armstrong, the first car in Canada. Cost f.o.b.
Vancouver was approx. $1,000. Received Vancouver's Good Citizen
Joseph Dixon Carpenter b. Oct. 2, 1860, Cumberland
County, Eng.; d. Sept. 15, 1926, Vancouver. Opened his first shop
in a basement on Seymour with partner Richard Lyte. In 1894, with
new partner George Murray, established Dixon and Murray, a pioneer
West End fixture store and manufacturer. Fire destroyed the building
in 1907; in 1908, the firm relocated to 1052 Eveleigh, a three-story
building torn down in the early 1960s, eventually moving to 925
Odlin Rd in Richmond. They equipped most of Vancouver's palatial
homes. President of Carpenter's Union (1889).
Charles (Carl Gottfried) Doering Brewer b.
Jan. 10, 1856, Leipzig, Germany; d. April 15, 1927, Vancouver. Educated
in Germany as a machinist. Established Doering & Marstrand Brewery
in Mt. Pleasant, later sold to Vancouver Breweries. Alderman, Ward
6 (1890-91). His Mt. Pleasant home was the first built south of
False Creek after the 1886 Great Fire. His saloon, Stag & Pheasant,
was on Water St. Later years spent with second wife, Mary Ann Joan
Gerrie Reid (b. Sept. 8, 1860, Scotland; d. Sept. 1, 1940, Duncan,
B.C.), a noted horsewoman, at their Hat Creek cattle ranch in the
Robert Dollar Steamship lines president b.
1844, Falkirk, Scotland; d. May 16, 1932, San Rafael, Calif. Came
to Eastern Canada at 14; by 19, was an experienced lumberjack. Moved
to California (1888) and bought Newsboy, the first in a shipping
empire of over 100 vessels. In 1902, made first China trip. In 1912,
established Canadian Robert Dollar Co. in Vancouver to run the fleet
of Dollar Steamship Line of California. Timber stands, bought from
the B.C. government, supplied his sawmill on Burrard Inlet. The
Dollar flag, a white dollar sign on a red background, was known
worldwide. "Pacific's Grand Old Man."
Charles S. Douglas Mayor of Vancouver, 1909
See Mayors of Vancouver.
Violet Alice Dryvynsyde
Educator, author b. Nov. 4, 1899, Port Fairy, Australia; d. Oct.
29, 1969, Vancouver. Came to Vancouver with family in 1930. After
husband's death in 1940, founded the private Athlone School for
Boys with six students. By 1969, the school at 49th and Arbutus
had 230 students. In 1952, her novel Provoke the Silent Dust won
third prize in a literary competition sponsored by the Australian
government. The novel's plot involved a pioneering girl who went
to Australia determined to avenge slights on her character by English
society by raising a strong family.
Wilson Duff Anthropologist b. March 23, 1925,
Vancouver; d. Aug. 8, 1976, Vancouver. His entire career centered
on the study of Northwest Coast Indians. Educated at UBC (BA, 1949),
U. of Washington (MA, 1951). Curator of anthropology at provincial
museum (1950-65). Moved to Vancouver to teach and research at UBC
department of anthropology and sociology. Founding member of the
B.C. Museum Association. Helped preserve the last remaining totem
poles at Kitwancool and villages in Queen Charlotte Islands in the
1950s. Wrote The Indian History of British Columbia and Arts of
the Raven: Masterworks by the Northwest Coast Indians. Biblio: The
World is as Sharp as a Knife, An Anthology in Honor of Wilson Duff,
edited by Donald N. Abbott.
Charles Trott Dunbar Pioneer real estate developer
b. 1861, Rhode Island; d. April 15, 1927, Vancouver. A general agent
for Union Land Co. of St. Paul, Minn., he arrived in Vancouver in
1888. Promoted development of Dunbar Heights, "selling like
hotcakes" in 1906. As a marketing device, he gave away 1907
calendars. In 1909, planned a logging railway to his timber limits
on the Mamquam River near Squamish. On Feb. 3, 1910, won approval
of B.C. legislature to incorporate The Port Moody, Indian Arm &
Northern Railway. By 1911, 100 men were employed grading the CPR
line from Port Moody to the north side of Burrard Inlet opposite
Barnet, along his proposed route.
Nora M. Duncan Poet b. c. 1883, Vermont, Clarina,
County Limerick, Ire.; d. May 31, 1946, aboard a CPR train near
Moose Jaw, Sask. Came to London, Ont. as child with father, the
Reverend Preceptor Alfred Dann. Educated at Bishop Strachan School,
Toronto. After marriage to Wallace Craig Duncan at London, Ont.
in June 1908, she spent a number of years on the prairies before
coming to Vancouver. Wrote two books of poems Down to the Sea and
Rainbow Reveries. Organizer of the radio program The Lyric West.
Bill (Wilfred John) Duthie Bookseller b. April
8, 1920, Weston, Ont.; d. April 7, 1984, Vancouver. Came to Vancouver
in 1952 as the first regional book representative on the West Coast.
Opened Duthie Books in 1957. An innovator, he dedicated an entire
floor to paperback books, a marketing move unprecedented at the
time. He was especially encouraging to emerging Canadian writers.
The Bill Duthie Memorial Lecture is delivered annually at the Vancouver
International Writers Festival.
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