Longtime Vancouver politician George Puil has died

George Puil, a long-time Vancouver politician, has died.  (CBC Archives - image credit)
George Puil, a long-time Vancouver politician, has died. (CBC Archives - image credit)

Vancouver's longest consecutive-serving city councillor George Puil died earlier this week. He was in his 90s.

Puil was a parks board commissioner for over a decade before he became a city councillor in 1976, a job he maintained for 26 years and 11 terms. He was a member of the NPA (Non Partisan Association).

He was also founding chair of TransLink and served as chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Puil was also a teacher at Kitsilano Secondary School for 35 years.

His name may ring a bell for those who lived in Vancouver during the 2001 bus strike, which lasted 123 days.

Many people focused their wrath on Puil, who was the chair of TransLink and a sitting councillor at the time. A load of manure was dumped on the front lawn of his home.

Vancouver Coun. Mike Klassen tweeted the news of Puil's passing and praised his commitment to public service.

"It's said he deliberately kept his home phone [number] published in the white pages and spent countless evenings speaking to constituents," Klassen said.

But Puil was more than a politician — he was also a celebrated athlete. In 1994, he was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. He led the 1949 UBC Thunderbirds football team in scoring. At the end of the season, he joined the rugby team, where he once again excelled.

In 2017, he was inducted into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame for his accomplishments with the Thunderbirds.

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said in a statement that Canadian flags at municipal buildings will be lowered to half-mast in honour of Puil.

"I, along with all of my colleagues on Vancouver City Council, are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of George Puil," his statement reads.

"George had an unparalleled dedication to this City."

"Few residents have made as meaningful of a contribution to this city as George Puil. His love for Vancouver and his years of selfless, dedicated service act as an inspiration for us all."