Our Friend Joe

Our Friend Joe

The Joe Fortes Story

Book - 2012
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When a young black man named Seraphim Joe Fortes arrived in Vancouver in 1885, with little to his name, no one could possibly have suspected that one hundred years later he would be voted Citizen of the Century. Our Friend Joe is the first biography of the West Indian sailor who became a local legend, saving lives and teaching three generations of Vancouver children how to swim. Joes rise to fame began in Liverpool, when a midnight race across the Mersey River with fellow members of the Secret Daredevil Club established his reputation as a swimmer of extraordinary talent. In the years ahead, he would sail around Cape Horn, shine shoes, tend bars, and rescue a mother and child from the Great Vancouver Fire. On a chance rowboat ride, he would find his perfect place in English Bay, where the untold story truly begins to evolve. In 1900, after years of volunteering, Joe was officially hired by the City of Vancouver as lifeguard, swimming instructor and special constable of English Bay beach. Colourful, often poignant details chronicle Joes many adventures both on and off shore, along with his deeply personal relationship with the people of Vancouver. On February 7, 1922, after decades of Joes exemplary service, thousands of mourners lined Vancouver streets to bid farewell to their friend Joe. His legacy continues today, with one of Vancouvers libraries named after him. Part of the proceeds from this biography are being donated to the Lifesaving Society/SociŽtŽ de Sauvetage du Canada.



SCB Distributors
Literary Nonfiction. African American Studies. Biography. When a young black man named Seraphim "Joe" Fortes arrived in Vancouver in 1885, with little to his name, no one could have possibly suspected that one hundred years later he would be voted "Citizen of the Century." OUR FRIEND JOE is the first biography of the West Indian sailor who became a local legend, saving dozens of lives and teaching three generations of Vancouver children how to swim. On a chance rowboat ride not far from the city, he would find his "perfect place" in English Bay, where the untold story truly begins. In 1900, after years of volunteering, Joe was officially hired by the City as lifeguard, swimming instructor and special constable of English Bay beach. Colorful, often poignant details chronicle Joe's many adventures both on and off shore, his genuine rapport with citizens of all ages and his deeply personal relationship with one Vancouver family. On February 7, 1922, thousands of mourners lined Vancouver's streets to bid farewell to "our friend Joe." His legacy continues today, with one of Vancouver's libraries named after him. Part of the proceeds from this biography are being donated to the Lifesaving Society/Société du Sauvetage, Canada's national organization for lifeguarding and water safety expertise.

Publisher: Vancouver [B.C.] : Ronsdale Press, c2012
Description: x, 180 p. : ill., facsimiles, map ; 23 cm
ISBN: 9781553801467
1553801466
Branch Call Number: 797.20092 For
Additional Contributors: Rogers, Barbara 1936-

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