David Lam

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The Honourable
David See-chai Lam
25th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
September 9, 1988 – April 21, 1995
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralJeanne Sauvé
Ray Hnatyshyn
Roméo LeBlanc
PremierBill Vander Zalm
Rita Johnston
Mike Harcourt
Preceded byRobert Gordon Rogers
Succeeded byGarde Gardom
Personal details
Born(1923-07-25)July 25, 1923[1]
Hong Kong
DiedNovember 22, 2010(2010-11-22) (aged 87)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canada
Dorothy Lam
(m. 1954; her death 1997)
Alma materLingnan University
Temple University

David See-chai Lam, OC CVO OBC (traditional Chinese: 林思齊; simplified Chinese: 林思齐; pinyin: Lín Sīqí; July 25, 1923 – November 22, 2010) was a Hong Kong-born Canadian real estate entrepreneur, politician, and philanthropist.[3] From 1988 to 1995, Lam was the 25th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, and he was the first Chinese Canadian to be appointed as a vice-regal in Canada. He was known for his charitable efforts, donating millions of dollars and leveraging millions more to support educational institutions and activities in Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States.[4]

Early life[edit]

David See-chai Lam was born in Hong Kong on July 25, 1923; he was the second oldest of nine children of Lam Chi Fung, a Hong Kong coal importer and distributor, and Chan Chik-Ting Lam.[3] When David turned 18, his plans to attend university were sidelined by World War II. During the war, he worked in the administration of the family’s coal business, and his life was often at risk. Among the close calls, David was bombed at a dock, chased by pirates, and opted not to board a ship that was later torpedoed.[3][5] Understanding the danger, Chi Fung decided it was time for David to undertake his university studies.[6]

In 1947, Lam earned a degree in economics from Lingnan University in Hong Kong.[3] He developed fluency in five languages, and earned an MBA degree from Temple University in the United States.[3] He returned to Hong Kong in 1949 and began a successful career in his family's banking business at Ka Wah Bank.[3] While dancing at a ball, Lam met his future wife, Dorothy. They dated for two years, and married in the fall of 1954.[3][7] Together they had three daughters: Deborah, Daphne, and Doreen.[1][2][3] After working as a banker for 18 years, Lam and his family immigrated to Vancouver in 1967.[2][8]


Lam became a prominent real estate entrepreneur in Vancouver, and was a leading proponent of many groundbreaking real estate development ventures. He is also noted for being a leading philanthropist. He founded the Floribunda Philanthropic Society, and the David & Dorothy Lam Foundation. He donated substantial funds to cultural projects in his adopted province and country. He served as Chairman of Hong Kong Baptist College, trustee of the Chancellor's Circle at the University of British Columbia, which later awarded him an honorary degree, and was a benefactor to the David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. In 1986, he helped found the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival.

Lieutenant Governor[edit]

In 1988 Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, on the advice of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, appointed him lieutenant governor. Lam represented the Crown during the term of three Premiers: William Vander Zalm, Rita Johnston, and Michael Harcourt.

He formally ended the practice of lieutenant governors wearing the Windsor uniform. This practice was reinstated by Lieutenant Governor Steven Point.

Lam was Canada's second non-white lieutenant governor (the first being Lincoln Alexander of Ontario) and was the first Asian Canadian as well as the first Chinese Canadian lieutenant governor.



Lam died on November 22, 2010 from prostate cancer at the age of 87.[10] He was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Dorothy, who died in 1997, while survived by three children and seven grandchildren.[1][2]



  1. ^ a b c d Todd, Douglas; Sinoski, Kelly (November 22, 2010). "David Lam obituary". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Hume, Mark (November 22, 2010). "Lam, Canada's first ethnic Chinese L-G dies, age 87". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "David See-Chai Lam". Canadian Christian Leaders. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Walls, Jan (November 24, 2010). "Tribute to Dr. David See-Chai Lam". Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Roy, Reginald (1997). David Lam: A Biography. Douglas and McIntyre. pp. 36–39. ISBN 978-1553656852.
  6. ^ Roy, p. 30
  7. ^ Roy, p. 71
  8. ^ Woolman, Jessica (December 23, 2010). "The Honourable David See-Chai Lam". University of British Columbia Library. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  9. ^ "David Lam Park". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Former B.C. lieutenant-governor David Lam dies". CBC News. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  11. ^ Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume I), Ottawa, 1999

External links[edit]