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Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1950-2002
Collection/Fonds
Doreen Lawson Fonds
Description Level
Fonds
Physical Description
18 cm of textual records + approx. 1000 photographs
Storage Location
MSS071
Photo catalogue 605
Photo catalogue 618
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records created and received by Doreen Lawson during her career as Parks Commissioner (1965-1971), Burnaby City Council member (1972-1985, 1990-1999) and environmental advocate following her retirement from Council in 1999. Records include election campaign materials, congratulat…
Repository
City of Burnaby Archives
Date
1950-2002
Collection/Fonds
Doreen Lawson Fonds
Physical Description
18 cm of textual records + approx. 1000 photographs
Description Level
Fonds
Storage Location
MSS071
Photo catalogue 605
Photo catalogue 618
Accession Number
2003-30
2015-15
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records created and received by Doreen Lawson during her career as Parks Commissioner (1965-1971), Burnaby City Council member (1972-1985, 1990-1999) and environmental advocate following her retirement from Council in 1999. Records include election campaign materials, congratulatory letters and correspondence, community speeches and slideshow presentations regarding the conservation of Burnaby Lake, the administrative papers of the Burnaby Centennial Rhododendron and Spring Flower Show Society, and photographs of Burnaby waterways and wildlife.
History/Biography
Doreen Anne Fowler Lawson was born July 8, 1928 to Eva Barnhill and Leonard Fowler. Her parents met in Alberta but decided to move to Vancouver where they got married and Doreen was born. The family moved to the north side of Claude Avenue in Burnaby when Doreen was a few months old. In 1931 they moved to a house with an acre of land directly across the street from their first house.
When Doreen was six her family moved to Collingwood, Vancouver, near where her father grew up. This is where her brother Ron was born. The family moved again to County Line in Langley Prairie in 1944 which is where Doreen met Edward Lawson, her future husband. Soon after, they moved to a seven acre plot in Burquitlam. Ed and Doreen Lawson’s eldest daughter Linda was born in 1954. Their second daughter Wendy was born in 1959 and their youngest Lisa was born in 1961. They lived in the Brentwood area, where all three daughters attended Brentwood Elementary School. Linda went on to Alpha Secondary School.
In 1945 Doreen began her first of several office jobs, and in the early 1950s she became the first woman to be elected into a vice-president position within the BC Trade Union Congress (now the BC Federation of Labour).
Doreen Lawson had a long and prolific political career, starting as Parks Commissioner in 1965; serving as its chair from 1969 to 1971. She was instrumental in the selection and promotion of the rhododendron as the official flower of Burnaby in 1966. In 1971 she was elected to Burnaby City Council and in 1972 Doreen proposed that Council take action to declare Burnaby Lake a wildlife sanctuary. After a ten year campaign, she was able to convince Council to declare the park “a nature conservation area.” She put forward a policy of preservation for creeks and streams, as well as a proposal to preserve trees in subdivisions, both of which were adopted by Council. Doreen continued to serve on Council until 1985, during which time she initiated and chaired the Burnaby Information Committee which designed the present Burnaby logo (and official flower pins) and established the “Information Burnaby Newsletter. In 1979 Doreen Lawson won Vancouver Natural History Society’s “Frank Sanford Award”.
In 1984 she was elected the first woman president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Doreen ran as a BC Liberal Party candidate in the new Federal Riding of Burnaby in 1979 and from 1985 to 1987 she served as the Executive Director of the British Columbia Liberal Party. As the B.C. Liberal Party Executive Director, her major responsibility was to work with both the Federal and Provincial Associations in implementing riding organizations and fundraising programs in preparation for election time. In the 1980s Doreen was an active guest lecturer at Burnaby Elementary and High Schools as well as the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Doreen was active in a variety of community clubs and organizations including; the Burnaby Library Board, Greater Vancouver Spinners and Weavers Guild and Vancouver Natural History Society. She was an executive member of the Burnaby-New Westminster Canada Summer Games, the Burnaby Division of the United Way, Information Burnaby Committee and the Brentwood Parent Teachers Association as well as serving as the President of the Burnaby Voter’s Association from 1988-1990.
In 1990 Doreen was elected back to Burnaby Council and put forward the rejuvenation of Burnaby Lake which she saw completed before her final year on Council in 1999. Doreen continued to be a strong environmental advocate for the protection and rejuvenation of Burnaby Lake after she retired from council.
Doreen Lawson died October 11, 2003.
Media Type
Textual Record
Photograph
Creator
Doreen Lawson
Notes
Title based on contents of fonds
Less detail
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