About the Vancouver Bar Association

Serving the Vancouver legal community since 1892.

Our History

The Vancouver Bar Association was founded on June 14, 1892. This date is noted by Alfred Watts, QC in his book History of the Legal Profession in British Columbia, 1869- 1984. In his report to the Annual Meeting on December 5, 1962, VBA President Frank H. Bonnell, QC notes the same date, and goes on to mention that the first Chairman was Mr. J.W. Campbell and there were eighteen charter members at the first meeting (The Advocate, 1962, vol. 20, p. 109).

It appears that several decades later matters were further formalized. In a letter to The Advocate in 1951 (vol. 9, p. 88), VBA Secretary W.H.S. Dixon noted for the profession that: At a meeting of lawyers held on Dec. 3rd, 1912, a Constitution was drafted and adopted and the Association as we know it now was organized. Mr. Dixon went on to set out the presidents of the VBA from 1912 to 1950, a list reproduced (and expanded upon) below.

The VBA was later formed into a society under the Societies Act, adopting a constitution and bylaws reflective of the same objects for which the VBA continues to operate today.

Indeed, some of those objects were clearly present in 1893, if one can judge by the Menu from the Annual Dinner of the VBA for November 16th of that year. The menu was set out in full in The Advocate, 1953, vol. 11, pp. 68 to 69, having been furnished by Mr. J.P. Hampton Bole from the papers of his late father, Judge Bole, the editor of the day going on to note, “It is pleasing to note with what sufficiency and gustatory art our forefathers of the Bar did themselves in the good old days.” Some may comment similarly today, as over one hundred years later the VBA continues to host an Annual Dinner and General Meeting as one of the main events of the Vancouver County social calendar.

The VBA has had an impressive list of Presidents and other officers, whose names are a veritable Who’s Who of the legal profession in the County. The still incomplete list of presidents (we are still compiling names from 1893 to 1912) is set out HERE, though judicial, King’s Counsel, and Queen’s Counsel appointments are not reflected.