GRANVILLE ISLAND, British Columbia, August 26, 2005 — In recognition of his vision for transforming industrial land located in the heart of Vancouver into the bustling community of Granville Island, a park was dedicated today in memory of the late Honourable Ron Basford, Vancouver Centre's first elected Member of Parliament.
The dedication was made by the Honourable Hedy Fry, PC, MP for Vancouver Centre and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration with a Special Emphasis on Foreign Credentials, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing.
"The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the national treasure that is Granville Island," said Dr. Fry. "We are pleased to dedicate the Ron Basford Park to the spirit and vision of this remarkable man, who spearheaded the transformation of a decaying industrial space into an urban oasis and model community."
Ron Basford was known as "Mr. Granville Island" for his support of the Granville Island redevelopment. The redevelopment was initiated by the federal government in 1972 to create, foster and maintain a unique urban oasis in the heart of Vancouver. In the same year, the administration, management and control of the revitalization of Granville Island was transferred to Canada Mortgage and Housing Ccorporation (CMHC), as CMHC was already deeply involved in an innovative housing development in the area and it had experience in urban renewal and the skilled resources necessary to carry out the challenge.
As Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Basford oversaw legislation to protect consumers. As Minister of State for Urban Affairs he furthered the development of affordable housing. In the role of Minister of Justice and that of Attorney General, he led the fight to abolish capital punishment, advocated equal pay for equal work, and authored Canada's first Human Rights Act that cleared the way for our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Since 1983, Granville Island has been financially self-sustaining. Funding for capital improvements and operations is covered by revenues from its tenants, which are from the public, private and non-profit sectors. As directed by Treasury Board in March 1988, CMHC developed a plan for the capital improvements to the Island and has set up an ongoing capital funding reserve.
For further information, please contact:
Manager Public Affairs and Programming
Granville Island Office
Cell: (604) 812-3471