Recording is of an interview with Dr. Leonard Evenden and Dr. Allen Seager conducted by Kathy Bossort. Leonard Evenden and Allen Seager were two of 23 participants interviewed as part of the Community Heritage Commission’s Burnaby Mountain Oral History Project. The interview is mainly about aspects of Simon Fraser University’s history that is related to its site on Burnaby Mountain, as told by two retired SFU professors, Dr. Evenden of the Geography Department and Dr. Seager of the Department of History. The interview ranges over campus access and housing issues created by the isolated mountain site; the relationship of the university to the local community and the dispute over land ownership and control with the City of Burnaby; SFU’s environmental stewardship; the development of UniverCity; and the future of parkland in the conservation area on Burnaby Mountain.
Dr. Leonard J. Evenden was born 1937 in Beijing, China, to parents and Salvation Army missionaries Leonard Evenden and Elsie Pearl March. Dr. Evenden attended McMaster University (B.A. 1960), University of Georgia (M.A. 1962) and University of Edinburgh (Ph.D. 1970). He was appointed to Simon Fraser University’s Department of Geography in 1966, shortly after SFU opened in the fall of 1965, and retired in 2002. Dr. Evenden’s research has focused on Canadian urban geography. He edited a collection of essays about Burnaby titled “Suburb of Happy Homes: Burnaby centennial themes” (1995), and directed “Voices of Burnaby”, an SFU/Burnaby Centennial Committee oral history project (1992). Dr. Evenden is married with three children.
Dr. Allen Seager was born 1953 in Montreal, Quebec, to parents C.F.B. Seager and Evelyn DeGex Chesam. Dr. Seager is a retired Simon Fraser University professor, being a member of SFU’s Department of History from 1981 to 2014, and has current links with SFU as an instructor for Continuing Studies. His research interests include history of Canada and Western Canada, and labour and working class history, particularly in the coal mining and railway industries. Dr. Seager moved to Burnaby and the Montecito area in 1981 where he continues to live and enjoy the hiking trails on Burnaby Mountain and the amenities at SFU. Dr. Seager is a member of the Burnaby North NDP, and has volunteered with Scouts Canada and the Burnaby Centennial Committee.
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.