Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

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The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Founded 1887
Type Advocacy group
Focus Business advocacy
Area served
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Method Media attention, direct-appeal campaigns, political lobbying
Website The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is a non-profit organization with a mission "to work in the enlightened interest of our members to promote, enhance and facilitate the development of the region as a Pacific centre for trade, commerce and travel."[1] It serves Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in a fashion similar to the Board of Trade or Chamber of Commerce, and currently stands as the largest, most active, and most engaged business organization in Western Canada [according to whom?].

Mission statement and basic principles[edit]

OUR PURPOSE is to support sustainable prosperity throughout the Greater Vancouver region.

OUR VISION is to be an active, innovative, trusted, credible business organization, known for influencing decision-makers, and educating, connecting with, and engaging our communities.

OUR MISSION is to provide leadership, information and connections, and public policy support that help ensure the Greater Vancouver region is competitive and the preferred Pacific Gateway for trade, commerce, and travel.

WE ARE informed, respectful, principled, collaborative, and professional.

Role in Local Governance[edit]

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been vested by federal and provincial governments with the power to select board members for a number of local governance bodies and institutions. The Board of Trade selects one of the five members of the Screening Panel that shortlists candidates for TransLink's Board of Directors[2] and is also involved in selecting directors for Port Metro Vancouver[3] and the Vancouver Airport Authority.[4]


The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade was established on 22 September 1887, to help rebuild after the Great Vancouver Fire destroyed the city. 31 men - composed of merchants, lumbermen, bankers and manufacturers - founded the Board of Trade to "protect the interests of merchants, traders and manufacturers, to advance the trade of the area and to promote the advancement and general prosperity of Vancouver." In addition to lower taxes, early lobbying efforts pushed for the construction of schools, a land registry office, a court house, a submarine communications cable to Australia (completed in 1902) and the establishment of mail delivery.[5]

By 1952, the Board had grown to ten bureaus and ten standing committees which worked on campaigns, exhibitions, luncheons, educational products, endorsements and representations to all levels of government on behalf of the business community.

In 1983, the Board became a member of the World Trade Centers Association and in 1986 moved into the Vancouver World Trade Centre[6] office complex at Canada Place. It hosted the General Assembly of the World Trade Centers Association the same year.

In 1990 the Board launched its Federal Debt Clock, a 1,500 lb (680 kg), 15 ft (4.6 m) by 10 ft (3.0 m) computerized calculator that tracked the rise in government debt.[7] At the time, Canada's $363 billion debt was climbing at a rate of $53,300 per minute.[8] In 1998, Finance Minister Paul Martin hit the gong and stopped the clock at a special Board of Trade luncheon. The board's debt clock stopped just shy of $600 billion.[8]

In more recent years, The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade was one of the leading voices to support Vancouver's bid for the 2010 Olympic Games – hosting workshops and forums to promote the bid, and even flying in a pre-bid countdown clock to Canada Place by helicopter. The Board also successfully lobbied for a revote of the Translink mayors' council to save the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver rapid transit line – known today as the SkyTrain's Canada Line, and was a founding member of the Fair Tax Coalition, which helped the city to approve a one-per-cent reduction in business property taxes.


Year Milestone
1887 Businessmen agreed to form a Board of Trade to rebuild Vancouver after the Great Fire of 1886.
1888 City mayor David Oppenheimer becomes president of The Vancouver Board of Trade. The organization sends a list of objectives to the provincial secretary, demanding facilities and services for Vancouver.
1902 An undersea cable was laid from Vancouver to Sydney after The Board of Trade lobbied for a communications link between Western Canada and Australia. Campaigns continued for a steamer service from Seattle to Alaska via Vancouver and a railway into the Kootenays.
1914 Membership rose to 1,000. The Board persuaded the federal government to dredge the First Narrows for shipping, lobbied for a new city hall and post office, and helped establish Daylight Saving Time.
1926 Established a Faculty of Commerce at the University of British Columbia.
1926 Grew to 10 “bureaus” and 10 standing committees to lobby all levels of government. Campaigned on freight rates, for the Trans-Canada Highway and for a large city airport.
1935 T.S. Dixon, then Board of Trade president, worked with the BC Medical Association and chaired the first meeting to found a cancer institute — the British Columbia Cancer Foundation.
1960s Predicted conventions and tourism would be a major industry in North America, campaigned for a metro transit authority and monitored regional transportation.
1983 Joined the World Trade Centers Association, linking to 300 trade centres across the globe.
1986 Moved into the World Trade Centre and hosted the General Assembly of the World Trade Centers Association. Proposed establishing Canada's first local airport authority.
1990 Wendy McDonald, CM, OBC launched the federal debt clock and became the first woman chair. Led a mission to Ottawa and Washington, DC, to lobby for fast border lanes resulting in B.C.'s PACE lanes followed by CANPASS.
1992 The Board and Volunteer Vancouver co-founded the Leadership Vancouver Society. Thanks to The Board, the federal cabinet approved the YVR Airport Authority.
1998 Then finance minister Paul Martin stopped The Board's Debt Clock with a balanced budget.
1999 Introduced the Leaders of Tomorrow Mentorship Program.
2001 Launched Spirit of Vancouver® to revitalize community spirit and save the fireworks.
2002 An Olympic Countdown Clock was lowered by helicopter in Canada Place to support the bid for the 2010 Winter Games.
2003 Released a Report on Property Crime in Vancouver and hosted workshops and forums promoting the 2010 Winter Olympics bid, which was won.
2004 Hosted the inaugural meeting of the Greater Vancouver Chambers Roundtable, for all surrounding chambers of commerce to introduce plan for the Olympic Games. The Board formed a coalition and successfully demanded a re-vote by the 2005 TransLink board to save the Richmond-Airport-Vancouver (RAV) rapid transit line, originally voted down.
2005 Construction started on the saved Richmond Airport-Vancouver (RAV) line. The Board hosted the inaugural B.C. Economic Forum and the 2,100-delegate Hong Kong-Guangdong Business Forum in Canada.
2006 As a founding member of the Fair Tax Coalition, The Board played a lead role in achieving a one-per-cent reduction in business property taxes, bringing the total tax reduction to 10.2 per cent. The Board released its landmark report, Reforming the Canadian Health Care System and launched the Company of Young Professionals (CYP) program.
2007 Won the best new membership recruitment category in the World Chambers Competition 2007 at the 5th World Chambers Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. Work with the Vancouver Fair Tax Coalition froze business property taxes at 2006 levels.
2008 City of Vancouver councillors approved a one-per-cent shift per year in property taxes for the next five years; initiated the Con Air program to return of out-of-province criminals; the provincial government eliminated capital tax on financial institutions and the Women's Leadership Circle® program was launched.
2009 An anti-crime mission met leading politicians in Ottawa and Statistics Canada recognized police-reported crime alone should not define “the national crime rate.” The Metro Roundtable for municipalities was founded. The Board welcomed the first Canada Line train to Waterfront station and was officially thanked for saving it. The Rix Center for Corporate Citizenship & Engaged Leadership was founded by Chair Dr. Don Rix, CM, OBC and presented its inaugural engaged citizenship awards. The Board struck the Health, Wellness and Well-Being Task Force and hosted a Health Care Forum for 150 leaders.
2010 Another one-per-cent shift per year in Vancouver property tax reductions for businesses equated to an estimated $43 million savings per year for business. The Board released a follow-up Kids ‘N Crime Economic Report and launched its redesigned website at
2011 The Board released reform recommendations in its report, The Joint Pursuit of Value and participated in an economic impact study on the Hornby St. separated bike lane to improve future consultation processes. The Board also joined the Smart Tax Alliance in support of retaining the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), and launched its first Aboriginal Opportunities Forum. In August, The Board of Trade announced the appointment of Iain Black as its new president and CEO.
2012 The Board released a landmark report entitled Psychologically Healthy Workplaces: Improving Bottom Line Results and Employee Psychological Well-Being at the Canadian Mental Health Association's Bottom Line Conference. The Board also hosted the second annual Aboriginal Opportunities Forum, an expert panel on the U.S. economy, and a luncheon event with Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson, which drew more than 1,400 to the Vancouver Convention Centre. Chair Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia led an urban economic mission to London, England and Milan, Italy. Following a comprehensive multi-year review process, a refreshed set of bylaws were passed at The Board's 125th AGM, reflecting best practices in association governance. In addition, incoming chair Ken Martin announced the formation of a new policy council, which will support more policy initiatives and reinstate a strong voice for Vancouver's business community.
2016 On March 3, after nearly 130 years of dedicated service to businesses across the region, the organization has adopted a new logo and name — the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.[9]


As the premier speakers' platform in Western Canada, The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade hosts more than 150 events each year with more than 75 of those featuring inspiring business leaders, renowned dignitaries and other influential people from around the world. The Board hosts 50 members-only exclusive events every year, including 30 complimentary events, most of which are specifically designed as networking opportunities:

Networking Roundtables and Members' Orientations - gives new members a chance to learn the benefits of networking, and an overview of The Board of Trade's services. Roundtables are exclusive events where members can present their products and services to at least 30 different contacts – a great opportunity to build their network.

Members' Receptions - allow Greater Vancouver Board of Trade members to network in a casual and fun environment.

Business After Business™ - Held semi-annually, this popular trade show provides members with an opportunity to network, showcase products and services, and sample the culinary delights of the host venue.


The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade runs a variety of programs, including many symposiums, exclusive networking events and community fundraisers, in addition to programs like The Spirit of Vancouver, Leaders of Tomorrow and the Company of Young Professionals.

Spirit of Vancouver[edit]

Spirit of Vancouver seeks to promote Metro Vancouver as a great place to "live, work, play, invest, and visit". Founded during an economic down-turn in 2001, Spirit of Vancouver uses public relations efforts and public events to "celebrate quality events", "local success" and generally raise community morale.

Leaders of Tomorrow[edit]

Leaders of Tomorrow is a mentorship program, created by The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.[10] The program selects 100 students in their final year from accredited Lower Mainland post-secondary educational institutions and nurtures their talents and abilities to inspire them to become successful leaders. LOT introduces students to the business world and facilitates their development through the four pillars of mentorship, networking, leadership and volunteerism. Students attend skill-building events and receive personal mentoring to prepare them for a smooth transition into the workforce. In addition, LOT participants volunteer with policy and program-related committees to develop an awareness of current issues that impact local businesses and the community.

Company of Young Professionals[edit]

The Company of Young Professionals (CYP) is a leadership development program designed for young professionals under the age of 32. Members can attend Board of Trade events at discounted rates and can be involved in the program for up to three years.[11] Members get the opportunity for both professional and personal development through attending hot-topic events, opening doors to meeting with prominent business leaders, and fostering leadership through engagement. Members experience extensive community involvement with key issues within The Board's many committees and task forces. CYP runs an optional Engaged Leadership Certificate Program and awards credits for completing specific requirements in the areas of leadership, connectorship and volunteerism. For more information, visit

Women's Leadership Circle[edit]

The Women's Leadership Circle (WLC) is a professional network established to provide support for women in the business community. By deliving programs, speakers, topics and other events, the WLC empowers women to engage the community and the Board of Trade.[12] Members enjoy special speaker and workshop events, are invited to join exclusive roundtable discussions with major visiting speakers, and can join a WLC table hosted by a WLC advisory council member at major Board of Trade events.

Pacific Economic Forum[edit]

The Pacific Economic Forum brings world leaders together for speakers, seminars and conferences discussing globalization, interdependence and service to humanity.[13]

Miscellaneous facts[edit]

  • Over 80% of the members of The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade are small business owners.
  • The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has over 5,800 members.
  • The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade publishes a monthly newspaper, Sounding Board, which reports on policy issues and membership news, and has an estimated total readership of 30,000.[14]
  • The Board does not receive funding from the government. It is funded by membership fees and by its speaker luncheons, seminars and other events.[15]

Current chair[edit]

Anne Giardini,O.C.,Q.C., Chancellor, Simon Fraser University.[16]


Chair Period
David Oppenheimer 1887–1888
Ebenezer Vining Bodwell 1889
Richard Henry Alexander 1889–1890
John Hendry 1891
G. E. Berteaux and William Ferriman Salsbury 1892
J. C. Keith 1893
G. R. Major 1894
Henry Ogle Bell-Irving 1895–1896
William Godfrey 1897–1898
Charles Edward Tisdall, MLA (Mayor) 1899
Frederick Buscombe (Mayor) 1900
F. F. Burns 1901
William Harold Malkin (Mayor) 1902
H. T. Lockyer 1903
H. McDowell 1904
A. B. Erskine 1905 & 1912
R. P. McLennan 1906
W. J. McMillan 1907
E. H. Heaps 1908
H. A. Stone 1909
Ewing Buchan 1910
A. G. McCandless 1911
Hon. Francis Lovett Carter-Cotton 1913
Jonathan Rogers 1914–1915
Nicol Thompson 1916
B. W. Greer 1917
P. G. Shallcross 1918
Chris Spencer 1919
W. J. Blake Wilson 1920
P. D. Malkin 1921
R. Kerr Houlgate 1922
J. B. Thomson 1923
J. K. Macrea, QC 1924
Melville Dollar 1925
F. E. Burke 1926
Robert McKee 1927
T. S. Dixon 1928 & 1935
Hon. William Culham Woodward 1929
R. D. Williams 1930
Mayne D. Hamilton 1931
Harold Brown 1932
H. R. MacMillan 1933
George Kidd 1934
J. Y. McCarter 1936
Walter M. Carson 1937
John Whittle 1938
G. Lyall Fraser 1939
H. R. Cottingham 1940
C. E. Anstie 1941
B. O. Moxon 1942
Hon. S. S. McKeen 1943
T. C. Clarke 1944
Charles A. Cotterell 1945
W. J. Borrie 1946
Thos. Braidwood 1947
H. T. Mitchell 1948
T. G. Norris, QC 1949
Col. W. G. Swan 1950
Ralph D. Baker 1951
Hon. H. H. Stevens 1952
Ralph C. Pybus 1953
G. W. G. McConachie 1954
Howard N. Walters 1955
W. H. Raikes 1956
Brenton S. Brown 1957
David Kinnear 1958
A. H. Cater 1959
R. G. Miller 1960
E. L. Harrison 1961
D. T. Braidwood 1962
W. M. Anderson, CA 1963
Edward Benson 1964
Ralph T. Cunningham 1965
Sydney W. Welsh 1966
William G. Leithead 1967
J. N. Hyland 1968
G. R. Dawson 1969
Edward Disher 1970
Hon. W. M. Hamilton 1971
J. L. Dampier 1972
Alan F. Campney 1973
Hon. Henry Pybus Bell-Irving, OC, DSO, OBE, OBC, ED, CD 1974
D. G. McGill 1975
C. L. Goddard 1976
D. R. Fraser 1977
D. C. Selman 1978
A. H. Hart, QC 1979–180
W. R. Wyman 1980–81
M. E. Nesmith 1982–83
A. M. Fowlis 1984–85
Arthur S. Hara, OC 1985–86
G. P. Clarke 1986–87
R. E. Kadlec 1987–88
P. H. Hebb 1988–89
L. I. Bell, OBC 1989–90
W. B. McDonald, CM 1990–91
R. T. Stewart 1991–92
David G. McLean, OBC 1992–93
Iain J. Harris 1993–94
George F. Gaffney 1994
Jill Bodkin 1994–95
Wayne A. Nygren 1995–96
Brandt C. Louie 1996–97
Robert A. Fairweather 1997–98
A. Allan Skidmore 1998–99
T. Richard Turner 1999–2000
Harri Jansson 2000–01
Carole Taylor, OC 2001–02
Peter Legge 2002–03
Jeff Dowle 2003–04
Graeme A.G. Stamp 2004–05
Dan Muzyka 2005–06
Frank Borowicz, Q.C. 2006–07
Henry K.S. Lee 2007–08
D. B. Rix, CM, OBC 2008–09
Sue Paish, Q.C. 2009–10
Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, O.B.C. 2011–12
Ken Martin 2012–13
Elio Luongo 2013–14
Janet Austin, O.B.C. 2014–15
Tim Manning, O.B.C. 2015–16
Robin Silvester, ICD.D 2016–17

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act". British Columbia laws. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Letters Patent" (PDF). Port Metro Vancouver. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "YVR Board of Directors". Vancouver Airport Authority. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "404 - Page Not Found". Vancouver Board of Trade. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. 
  6. ^ "World Trade Centre, Vancouver". Archived from the original on 27 December 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "The History of Metropolitan Vancouver - 1990 Chronology". Vancouver History. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Debt Clock Facts". Vancouver Board of Trade. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Chair's Message: Introducing our new name and logo". Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Leaders of Tomorrow". Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "About CYP". The Company of Young Professionals. Archived from the original on 21 April 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Women's Leadership Circle". Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Pacific Economic Forum". Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "404 - Page Not Found". Vancouver Board of Trade. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Sounding Board". Vancouver Board of Trade. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  16. ^ "Directors and Governors". The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°17′19″N 123°06′40″W / 49.288635°N 123.111119°W / 49.288635; -123.111119