Chuck Davis, 2010

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Photo: Vancouver Sun.

Chuck Davis, 1935 – 2010

Chuck Davis loved facts. An amateur historian, he frequented archives and libraries, where he mined documents and yellowed newspaper clippings for nuggets of information.

He had an anecdote for every occasion. In the fall of 2010, shortly
after he received a diagnosis of untreatable lung cancer, he made a public announcement about his illness, asking for help to complete this book. Afterward, he told reporters about one of his recent finds: A century earlier the city acquired the first mechanized ambulance in the Dominion. The crew proudly took it on a tour of the downtown, during which it struck and killed a pedestrian. The absurdity of that tragedy struck him as humorous, and one could not help but admire a man whose appreciation of the macabre was undiminished in the face of his own death sentence.

Over the years he produced 17 books, including an unreleased history of the Orpheum Theatre. His most financially successful book was Turn On to Canada, a Grade 3 textbook.

The writer Daniel Wood recounts Davis being surprised and overcome by the tributes that came his way in his nal days. Touched by the honours he was afforded, he said to his wife, Edna, of his impending death, “I should have done this sooner!” Typical Chuck.

View the entire Metro Vancouver History 365 Series HERE.

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