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list price: $21.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
published: March 2012
ISBN:9781553801467
publisher: Ronsdale Press

Our Friend Joe

The Joe Fortes Story

by Lisa Anne Smith & Barbara Rogers

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5 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $21.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
published: March 2012
ISBN:9781553801467
publisher: Ronsdale Press
Description

When a young black man named Seraphim "Joe" Fortes arrived in Vancouver in 1885, with little to his name, no one could have possibly suspected that one hundred years later he would be voted "Citizen of the Century." Our Friend Joe is the first biography of the West Indian sailor who became a local legend, saving dozens of lives and teaching three generations of Vancouver children how to swim. On a chance rowboat ride not far from the city, he would find his "perfect place" in English Bay, where the untold story truly begins. In 1900, after years of volunteering, Joe was officially hired by the City as lifeguard, swimming instructor and special constable of English Bay beach. Colourful, often poignant details chronicle Joe's many adventures both on and off shore, his genuine rapport with citizens of all ages and his deeply personal relationship with one Vancouver family. On February 7, 1922, thousands of mourners lined Vancouver's streets to bid farewell to "our friend Joe." His legacy continues today, with one of Vancouver's libraries named after him. Part of the proceeds from this biography are being donated to the Lifesaving Society/Société du Sauvetage, Canada's national organization for lifeguarding and water safety expertise.

Contributor Notes

Lisa Anne Smith is an education docent at the Museum of Vancouver and a curator for the Old Hastings Mill Store Museum (the oldest building in Vancouver). She has published a children's book about the RCMP ship the St. Roch. She lives with her husband and two children in Vancouver. Barbara Rogers has spent many years doing family history research as a volunteer archivist for the B.C. Genealogical Society and has compiled four books for them. Presently at work on a biography of Simon Fraser, she has contributed articles on his life to numerous reference works. She lives in Vancouver.

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Association of Book Publishers of BC
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Our Friend Joe: The Joe Fortes Story

Joe Fortes was voted “Citizen of the Century” by the people of Vancouver. This West Indian sailor was the stuff of which legends are made. He arrived in Vancouver in 1885 and soon he discovered English Bay. He never left. After years of volunteering there as a life guard, he was hired in 1900 as Vancouver’s first life guard, swimming instructor and special constable. He saved hundreds of people’s lives and taught thousands of children how to swim. When Joe died in 1922, he was given a civic funeral. Our Friend Joe details the life of this extraordinary man.

Smith self-published a children’s book on the St. Roch as a fundraiser to preserve the ship. She is an education docent at the Museum of Vancouver. Rogers has written four books for the BC Genealogical Society.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

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