David See-Chai Lam

David See-Chai Lam, banker, land developer, philanthropist, lieutenant-governor of BC (born at Hong Kong 2 Sept 1923; died at Vancouver 22 Nov 2010). Lam travelled widely as a successful Hong Kong banker, stopping once in Vancouver. Although thirty years away, the impending transfer of Hong Kong to China prompted Lam to uproot and re-establish his family in a stable country well in advance of the transfer. He chose to emigrate in 1967 and selected Vancouver as his family's new home, having been awed by the city's great beauty. He soon got a job selling real estate and, once settled, began developing properties in Vancouver using Hong Kong money as investment capital.

Lam became one of Vancouver's leading land developers and was instrumental in bringing Hong Kong investors to Vancouver. In a short 15 years he had amassed a fortune of over $100 million. He believed Vancouver to be an Asian-Pacific city and made great efforts to extend Vancouver's influence throughout the Pacific Rim, cementing economic ties between Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and other major Asian centres. Lam was a firm believer in the power of immigration as an economic tool and felt the responsibility to enhance his adopted community.

Upon his retirement in 1983 he established the David and Dorothy Lam Foundation as a means to help contribute to the community, donating millions of dollars a year to worthwhile causes in Vancouver, including the Sun Yat-Sen gardens, UBC, Simon Fraser U, hospitals and the Asian-Pacific Centre, which he helped found. Lam was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1988, the same year that he was appointed lieutenant-governor of BC, a position he held until 1995. He was the first person of Asian ancestry to hold a vice-regal post in Canada.