Shoulders of Giants

Our ability to be innovative, to produce something new and incredible to both benefit humanity as a whole and, of course, ourselves depends on role models. In a February 1676 letter, Sir Isaac Newton commented in a letter to his colleague Robert Hooke (to paraphrase): “If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.” It was with this quote in mind I’ve been thinking about what makes BC a great place to live and work.

In the midst of this line of thought, something disturbing struck me: we really don’t celebrate or recognize the people from Vancouver (or BC as a whole) that have made a Big Impact (or are at least known) the world over. Sure, there are articles that celebrate the Canadians who made it big (such as the Financial Times’ “Top 40 under 40”), but usually these heroes no longer live here! Brian Adams may have scored big with his emotional song for the Olympic bid presentation, but it’s not like I’ve seen him strolling down Robson lately.

That got me thinking: who are those people (not just in business, but in other areas as well) that made it big and stayed? I can name a few, off the top of my head: Douglas Coupland, Geoffrey Ballard, David Suzuki, William Gibson.

But who else? Where are our giants?

So here’s what I’d like from the Vancouver crowd out there: name the “big” people in BC, the ones that their name would probably be recognized anywhere, and they’d be recognized as leaders in their fields. The rules of inclusion are simple: they have to be alive and they have to still be living in BC. Submit details on people you can think of using the comment system – who are they, what have they done, why are they important?