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Interview with Merrill M. Gordon by Rod Fowler March 19, 1990 - Track 7

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/oralhistory478
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the interview is about Merrill Gordon’s political career and his volunteer work with Cliff Avenue soccer, the Burnaby Mental Health Association, the library board, and the New Vista Society. He talks about his association with Alan Emmott and the founding of the Better Burnaby Commi…
Date Range
1956-1990
Length
00:07:05
  1 Audio     1 Image  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the interview is about Merrill Gordon’s political career and his volunteer work with Cliff Avenue soccer, the Burnaby Mental Health Association, the library board, and the New Vista Society. He talks about his association with Alan Emmott and the founding of the Better Burnaby Committee (BBC), his election to Burnaby Council in 1972 with BVA, and his membership in and work for the federal NDP
Date Range
1956-1990
Photo Info
Burnaby Alderman Merrill Gordon (second from right) following a candidates' meeting, 1973. Item no. 480-263
Length
00:07:05
Name
Emmott, Alan H
Subject
Persons - Volunteers
Officials - Aldermen and Councillors
Interviewer
Fowler, Rod
Interview Date
March 19, 1990
Scope and Content
Recording is of an interview with Merrill Gordon, conducted by Rod Fowler.Gordon Merrill was one of eleven participants interviewed as part of the SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee's oral history series titled, "Voices of Burnaby". The interview is about Merrill Gordon’s childhood in the Depression, including his story about the family’s difficult trek to Burnaby from Alberta; his education, teachers and first volunteer activities at Grandview High School; his career at Fleck Brothers and the start of his own company Blaze Industries and later work in India; and his many volunteer activities in Burnaby. He describes how he started the Cliff Avenue United Football Club, the soccer club's subsequent growth and development, some of the people involved, and the founding of the youth soccer exchange. He also describes his work on the Parks Board and in the arts community, including the 1987 arts centre referendum, and involvement with the Burnaby Mountain Preservation Society (1988- ), and mentions his work for other groups including the New Vista Society, library board, and Burnaby Mental Health Committee. He also talks about his political career with the Better Burnaby Committee and Burnaby Voters Association, resulting in his 1972 election to Burnaby’s 1973 council. To view “Narrow By” terms for each track expand this description and see “Notes”.
Biographical Notes
Merrill M. Gordon was born in Saskatchewan in 1929 to parents farming north of North Battleford. After a fifth year of crop failure the family of four left the farm in 1934 to join relatives living near the corner of Union and Sperling in Burnaby. With little resources the family adapted as well as possible in the Depression years, moving often in the East Vancouver/North Burnaby area in an attempt to better their situation. Merrill’s father obtained work at sawmills including Kapoor’s Sawmill at Barnet, walking to work over Burnaby Mountain. After attending numerous public schools, Merrill Gordon eventually spent three years at Templeton School and then completed his education at Grandview High School of Commerce, majoring in accounting and commercial law. He worked a few years at Canadian Industries Ltd., then joined Fleck Brothers. In 1965 Merrill Gordon and his wife started their own company Blaze Industries of Canada that manufactured wood burning fireplaces, selling the company to AB Electrolux in 1980. After a short retirement, Merrill Gordon went back to work in 1981 for a company manufacturing solar panels, one project taking him and his wife intermittently to India over a four year period. Merrill Gordon helped found the political group Better Burnaby Committee, later the Burnaby Voters Association, with Alan Emmott and Bill Lewarne, ran for Burnaby Municipal Council and served one year as councillor in 1973. Merrill Gordon is well known for his over 40 years of volunteer work in Burnaby, particularly as founder in 1956 and director of the Cliff Avenue United Football Club, one of the largest soccer clubs in BC. He was also the founder of Burnaby Youth Soccer and the first youth soccer exchange with Washington State. His other volunteer work includes library trustee, Parks Commissioner (1987-1992), Director of New Vista Home for Seniors, Chair of campaign raising funds for building Shadbolt Arts Centre, and Chair of the Burnaby Mental Health Committee. In 1988 Merrill Gordon, Betty Gordon, Dean Lamont and several others formed the Burnaby Mountain Preservation Society, which advocated for the return of unused land to Burnaby from SFU and the subsequent creation of Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area. Merrill Gordon and Elizabeth Balfour (nee Leitch) (1926-2012) married in 1953 and had two children.
Total Tracks
11
Total Length
1:31:44
Other Tracks
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Interviewee Name
Gordon, Merrill
Interview Location
unknown
Interviewer Bio
Rod Fowler returned to university as a mature student in the 1980s after working about twenty years in the field of economics and computerization in business in England, Europe and Western Canada. He graduated with a BA from SFU in both History and Sociology in 1987, his MA degree in Geography in 1989, and his PhD in Cultural Geography at SFU. He taught courses in Geography, Sociology, History and Canadian Studies at several Lower Mainland colleges, before becoming a full time member of the Geography Department at Kwantlen University College.
Collection/Fonds
SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee fonds
Series
Centennial Oral History project series
Item No.
MSS187-020_Track_7
Transcript Available
Transcript available
Media Type
Sound Recording
Web Notes
Interviews were digitized in 2015 allowing them to be accessible on Heritage Burnaby. The digitization project was initiated by the Community Heritage Commission with support from City of Burnaby Council.
Audio Tracks

Track seven of interview with Merrill Gordon

Images
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Interview with Maureen Olofson by Kathy Bossort October 14, 2015 - Track 7

https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/oralhistory575
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the interview is about Maureen Olofson’s volunteer activities with the Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association and Dania Homes Society, which includes giving talks to seniors about Burnaby Mountain parks. She also talks about kinds of accessible activities that people can do on Burna…
Date Range
2000-2015
Length
0:05:09
  1 Audio  
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Summary
This portion of the interview is about Maureen Olofson’s volunteer activities with the Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association and Dania Homes Society, which includes giving talks to seniors about Burnaby Mountain parks. She also talks about kinds of accessible activities that people can do on Burnaby Mountain.
Date Range
2000-2015
Length
0:05:09
Name
Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area
Swedish Canadian Rest Home and Manor
Dania Home
Subject
Recreational Activities
Geographic Features - Parks
Persons - Volunteers
Persons - Seniors
Geographic Access
Burnaby - Burnaby Mountain
Interviewer
Bossort, Kathy
Interview Date
October 14, 2015
Scope and Content
Recording is of an interview with Maureen Olofson conducted by Kathy Bossort. Maureen Olofson was one of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about Maureen Olofson’s memories of growing up on her parent’s Burnaby Mountain mink ranch between 1942 and 1950 and about the operation of the farm. She also talks about her parents’ history, her teaching career, and her thoughts about the beauty and value of Burnaby Mountain’s natural area.
Biographical Notes
Maureen Olofson was born 1938 in Glote, Harjedalen, Sweden, to Axel (1906-1998) and Kerstin Margareta (1906-1980). Axel and Kerstin Olofson, who had separately immigrated to Canada in 1928 and 1913 respectively, married in Canada and then returned to Sweden where Maureen was born. They moved to Burnaby in 1942 with their daughters Maureen and Anita Lea, and bought land and a mink ranch on Burnaby Mountain with their partners Gus Skofteby and Karin Ericksson (Kerstin’s sister). The GAK Fur Farm, located in the old Hastings Grove subdivision on 4th Avenue near Curtis Street, was one of the largest mink ranches in BC, an award winning operation with over 1200 mink animals. In 1950 the partners sold the land and the Olofson family moved to rented homes on Sperling Avenue. In 1952 Axel sold the last of his minks and opened a sporting goods store on Hastings Street. In 1954 the family moved to North Vancouver where Axel Olofson reestablished his sports business. Maureen attended Sperling Avenue School from Gr. 1 to Gr. 8 and Burnaby North High School to Gr. 11, completing school in North Vancouver, before going to UBC where she trained as a teacher. She returned to Burnaby in 1977 to teach, retiring in 1997. She is a volunteer with the Swedish Canadian Rest Home Association and the Dania Homes Society. Maureen continues to enjoy activities on Burnaby Mountain and works toward preserving the natural beauty of the mountain.
Total Tracks
8
Total Length
1:19:04
Other Tracks
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Interviewee Name
Olofson, B. Maureen
Interview Location
Maureen Olofson's home in Burnaby
Interviewer Bio
Kathy Bossort is a retired archivist living in Ladner, BC. She worked at the Delta Museum and Archives after graduating from SLAIS (UBC) in 2001 with Masters degrees in library science and archival studies. Kathy grew up in Calgary, Alberta, and, prior to this career change, she lived in the West Kootenays, earning her living as a cook for BC tourist lodges and work camps. She continues to be interested in oral histories as a way to fill the gaps in the written record and bring richer meaning to history.
Collection/Fonds
Community Heritage Commission Special Projects fonds
Series
Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project series
Item No.
MSS196-004_Track_7
Media Type
Sound Recording
Audio Tracks

Track seven of interview with Maureen Olofson

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