Records consist of papers created and collected by Robert Prittie, former Mayor of Burnaby. Records include photographs of Mayor Prittie during official City functions as well as the textual records that he created and collected during his political career, including election materials. Also includ…
Records consist of papers created and collected by Robert Prittie, former Mayor of Burnaby. Records include photographs of Mayor Prittie during official City functions as well as the textual records that he created and collected during his political career, including election materials. Also included are photographic postcards of Burnaby as well as pamphlets related to various groups and organizations.
Born in North Vancouver on December 5, 1919, Robert “Bob” William Prittie was the first of four sons born to Wilmot Prittie and Mary Adair. As a child, his health was weaker than younger brothers Bill, Eric and Halford, as he suffered from Polio and asthma. Bob was an industrious youth who left school early to work in a department store warehouse. At the outbreak of World War Two, Bob enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force and spent the duration of the war serving on the ground in Canada at the Patricia Bay Air Force Base and the No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School in Manitoba, completing his high school education through correspondence courses.
While at the Patricia Bay Air Force Base, he met pre-school teacher Grace King of Sidney, Vancouver Island. By 1940 they were married and soon after, had their first son, Robert King.
In 1945, Bob was discharged from the air force with the rank of sergeant and entered the University of British Columbia, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in history. After the war, Bob spent a few years working in Ottawa as a foreign-service officer, but he returned to UBC in 1949, receiving a diploma in education (post-graduate studies at Laval University and Western Washington State College).
Robert returned to Burnaby in 1950 following the tragic death of their son. Robert immediately began teaching. Over the next thirteen years, he taught at Sperling Avenue School, McPherson Park Junior High School, Burnaby South High School and Burnaby North High School. He and Grace went on to have three more children; Heather in 1951, Bruce in 1953 and Ian in 1955.
In 1959 he was elected to serve as a member of the municipal Council, re-elected and serving until the end of his term in 1962 when he left to serve as Member of Parliament for the Burnaby-Richmond riding. He held that office until 1968.
In January 1969, Bob first took office as Mayor of Burnaby and in that capacity served on the GVRD as a Director for a number of years. In May of 1973, Bob decided to resign as Mayor of Burnaby in order to take up a position as Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and in 1975 he was appointed as the Minister of Municipal Affairs – a post he held for a short time. After his tenure as Minister, Robert retired from public life and he and his second wife Isobel Pothecary moved to Victoria. Isobel had three children from a previous marriage; Alan, Deirdre and Fiona.
Robert Prittie left an enduring legacy for the citizens of Burnaby as a champion of schools, libraries and parks and recreation programs. In 1978 he was awarded the title of "Freeman of the Municipality" and in 1991 a new branch of the Burnaby Public Library was opened and named after him, His status as Freeman and the naming of the library in his honour are testament to his record of service and dedication to the community and its citizens.
Robert Prittie died on January 14, 2002.