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Richard Bolton

Recipient of Gold Key Award (June 23, 1959)

Freemen - Richard Bolton 

Richard “Dick” Bolton was born in the shipbuilding and coal mining town of Sunderland in Northern England on April 20, 1886.  Educated in the strict Church of England school, Dick graduated as an “A” student and spent time as an apprentice in an accounting office before deciding to emigrate to Canada to join his brother who had settled in British Columbia in 1904.

Shortly after arriving in BC in 1911, Dick gained employment in the Treasurer’s Department of the Municipality of Burnaby and he quickly was given a promotion to the position of Municipal Treasurer – a post he held throughout the next three decades.

In 1919, Dick was granted a leave of absence for three months and returned to England to marry Mary Gertrude Hern.  While honeymooning in the English Lake District, Dick learned that a large portion of the Lake District had just been added as a park site as a result of a bequest by naturalist and children’s author, Beatrix Potter.  This legacy left a lasting impression on Dick, and he returned to Burnaby with an urgent desire to see that adequate park sites were set aside in Burnaby. He became a driving force behind the decision to dedicate the top of Burnaby Mountain as parkland./p>

During the turmoil of the economic crisis of the 1930s, Dick remained as the chief financial officer of the city and attempted to create programs that would provide as much relief work as possible.  Even after the Provincial Commission stepped in to take over the governance of Burnaby, Dick remained in his post, even serving as Acting Commissioner from 1940-1942. Throughout these war years, Dick was also appointed as a Justice of the Peace and served as the head of the Burnaby War Loan Committee.

In 1951, after 40 years with the city, Dick decided to retire.  An article in the Province newspaper at the time observed the following about this dedicated public servant: “ Mr. Bolton immersed himself in Burnaby’s affairs. His interests in the municipality’s welfare went far beyond the boundaries of his office.  In a thousand ways he worked to promote Burnaby, to improve it, to stretch tax dollars as far as they would go to give ratepayers the best value for their money.”

On June 23, 1959, the Municipality of Burnaby formally recognized Dick’s contributions by presenting him with the Gold Key award for his long and excellent service to the community.

Richard Bolton died on November 16, 1962.

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