This portion of the interview is about Tony Fabian’s story about his first involvement in civic politics when he questioned the cutting in half of Hardwick Park and his learning about the legal status of park dedications. He talks about the value of understanding the geographic history and natural …
This portion of the interview is about Tony Fabian’s story about his first involvement in civic politics when he questioned the cutting in half of Hardwick Park and his learning about the legal status of park dedications. He talks about the value of understanding the geographic history and natural processes of Burnaby landscapes.
Recording is of an interview with Tony Fabian conducted by Kathy Bossort. Tony Fabian was one of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about Tony Fabian’s part in park creation and protection of natural areas in Burnaby, particularly as a member of the Park and Recreation Commission in the 1970s; his childhood and how that contributed to his land ethic; and the history of the uses made of and setting aside parkland on Burnaby Mountain.
Tony S. Fabian was born in 1934 in north Saskatchewan. At less than a year old Tony, along with his siblings, was removed from his family home and eventually placed with an immigrant farm family. As a child he worked on the farm and witnessed what he considered abusive treatment of the land and farm animals. When he was about 12 years old his adoptive family moved to the BC coast where he went on his own, working for a variety of farmers in Richmond and Delta. At 19 he contracted polio, quit farm work, and found work with the telephone company. In 1956 Tony married, and in 1957 he and his wife moved to a home on Hardwick Street in Burnaby where he still lives. Tony entered civic politics in the 1960s when he objected to development on Hardwick Park and became concerned about the destruction of Burnaby’s natural landscapes. He became a life long advocate for preserving natural areas and helped to create large parks in Burnaby on the foreshore of the Fraser River and on Burrard Inlet. He served as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission 1970-1975, is a long time volunteer with the Burnaby Lake Park Association, and continues to stay current on local and regional environmental issues. In 2008 Tony was presented with the City of Burnaby Environment Award for Community Stewardship.
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.