I was invited by the Vancouver Historical Society to give the keynote speech at its Incorporation Day luncheon yesterday. The annual lunch celebrates the anniversary of Vancouver's official creation on April 6, 1886.
My remarks were based on my book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver published by ArsenalPulp Press. Taylor, known to all as LD, was the city's longest-serving mayor. Anytime between 1910 and 1934 he was more likely than not to have been in office. As I told the audience, it would be as if today's mayor, Gregor Robertson, had been first elected while Expo 86 was going on.
I spoke about Taylor's three near-death experiences and what they said about his character. In July 1928 he walking into a spinning airplane propeller which fractured his skull. (The surgeon said that if he'd been an inch taller he'd be dead.) A year later he went on a wilderness river adventure with his son -- he was 72 at the time -- and almost drowned. And in July 1931 he came down with a mysterious illness that laid him low for almost a year, unable to walk or even sign his name.
On each occasion he bounced back. There was no keeping LD down. He was the energizer bunny of Vancouver politics.
Of course Taylor suffered many, many political near-death experiences. To learn about those, you'll have to pick up a copy of my book.
Putting modesty aside I should add that the Historical Society very kindly presented me with an Award of Merit "for his significant contributions to the history of Vancouver and British Columbia through his prolific writing".