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Robert William Prittie

Mayor of Burnaby: 1969-1973
Councillor: 1959-1962
Awarded Status of Freeman: February 13, 1978 (Presentation Made April 14, 1978)

Freemen - Robert Prittie

In 1991, a new branch of the Burnaby Public Library was opened and named after former Mayor, Robert “Bob” William Prittie. At the gathering held to commemorate this event, Bob declared” “I’m glad it’s not the Bob Prittie Memorial Library.” It was this sense of humour and good will that Bob brought to all his public endeavours and one of the reasons he was honoured by the city in 1991 with the naming of the new library and even earlier, in 1978, when he was awarded the title of “Freeman of the Municipality.”

Born in North Vancouver on December 5, 1919, Bob was one of four boys born to Wilmot Prittie and Mary Adair. Bob was an industrious youth who left school early to work in a department store warehouse. At the outbreak of World War Two, Bob enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force and spent the duration of the war serving on the ground in Canada at the Patricia Bay Air Force Base and the No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School in Manitoba. In 1945, Bob was discharged from the air force with the rank of sergeant.

After the war, Bob spent a few years working in Ottawa as a foreign-service officer, but he returned to Burnaby in 1950 and took up a teaching position and in 1959, he was elected to serve as a member of the municipal Council. This was just the first step in what would become an illustrious political career for Bob as he left the municipal Council at the end of his term in 1962 to serve as Member of Parliament for the Burnaby-Richmond riding. He held that office until 1968.

In January 1969, Bob first took office as Mayor of Burnaby and in that capacity served on the GVRD as a Director for a number of years. In May of 1973, Bob decided to resign as Mayor of Burnaby in order to take up a position as Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and in 1975 he was appointed as the Minister of Municipal Affairs – a post he held for a short time. Bob retired to Victoria after his tenure as Minister, but he left an enduring legacy for the citizens of Burnaby as a champion of schools, libraries and parks and recreation programs. His status as Freeman and the naming of the library in his honour are testament to his record of service and dedication to the community and its citizens.

Robert Prittie died on January 14, 2002.

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