Which George is That?

Posted by Daniel on Jun 9, 2009

Vancouver historian Chuck Davis writes:

Many years ago I used to give slide-illustrated talks to Vancouver school kids on the history of the city. At the first school I went to there were about 100 kids gathered in the gymnasium, students from Grades 4, 5 and 6 together. One of the slides I showed depicted the statue of George Vancouver on the north side of city hall.

I told the kids: “There’s Vancouver’s city hall. Who can tell me the name of that man?” And back came a roar of a hundred voices: “George Washington!”

I cracked up. That was one of the funniest things I had ever heard. But it happened at the next school. And the next. And the next. Of the 48 or 49 schools I spoke at, precisely one group answered correctly. I’ve forgotten now which school it was, but it was obviously one that paid attention to local history!

The eight-foot-statue, carved by Charles Marega, was unveiled August 20, 1936 by the visiting Lord Mayor of London, Sir Percy Vincent. Sir Percy also presented a civic mace to the city. It’s still there. Among the other gifts he brought: “ . . . a sprig from a tree in the orchard where a falling apple gave Isaac Newton the idea that led to his theory of gravity.” Hmm. Wonder where that sprig is today?