The other day I met retired Province arts writer Lee Bachus. I had never seen him before and I had no idea what he looked like. The shortish man with owl glasses and an almost permanent whimsical smile jarred me into thinking of all the talented writers who have worked for our local newspapers and how most have been forgotten. And once they have been forgotten I could assert that they never existed. And this is more so when there are few online archives where these writers can be found. In our modern 21st century era if you cannot be found on Google you do not exist.
When I first arrived in Canada I came from the tradition of appreciating very good editorial cartoonists in Mexico City newspapers. My favourite was Abel Quezada who worked for the daily Excelsior. Not too known is the fact that Quezada also managed to illustrate more than 11 New Yorker covers.
I had no idea what a salmon derby was nor did I understand how or why the Vancouver Sun sponsored this event. But I do remember seeing the wonderful cartoon illustrations by Len Norris on the subject in the 70s and early 80s and I was hooked by his humour. I was astounded to find out (driving one day by the lower road to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal) the Tiddlycove indeed did exist. It was thrilling to be assigned by Western Living (I am not sure) to photograph Len Norris a few years before he died in 1997. By then he lived in a senior community in White Rock. I was not surprised that he had a white picket fence surrounding his property. I asked him to wear a hat much like the one he would draw on his unlucky fishermen.
Of the Vancouver Sun Salmon Derby there is not much information. Did it exist? Did it stop being an annual event when the salmon stocks were depleted? The important thing as we remember the events of this past year is to remember some of the others that helped shape the Vancouver we live in today. And one important contributor to our city was certainly Len Norris.
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