Fred Hume was born in New Westminster on May 2, 1892. His grandfather and grandmother were among this area’s first settlers having arrived in New Westminster from Scotland in early 1859.
At age 13, Fred was forced to leave school in order to work to support his mother and siblings after the sudden death of his father. It would not take long, however, for him to display a flair for sport and an entrepreneurial spirit. He played field lacrosse for New Westminster and at the same time started his own electrical company known as Hume and Rumble Ltd. He and his company not only founded BC’s second radio station (later becoming CJOR), but his enterprise ultimately became Western Canada’s largest electrical contractor.
During the 1930s, Fred, known for his business acumen and generosity, became involved in politics and was elected alderman and later mayor of New Westminster. At the same time he become owner of two of B.C.’s highest profile pre-World War II sport franchises—in fact Canadian champions—the New Westminster Salmonbellies of lacrosse and the New Westminster Royals of soccer.
The decade of the 1950s was the decade of Fred Hume as Vancouver’s mayor and premier sportsman. Everyone knew the name Fred Hume. As mayor of Vancouver (he served for eight years at one dollar per year) he was responsible for bringing to Vancouver the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1954 and its first Grey Cup football game in 1955. He also helped bring the Mounties baseball franchise to Vancouver in 1956 and is remembered as having donated both his interest and money to local organizations and athletes. Rugby’s Buzz Moore and weightlifter Doug Hepburn—both BC Sports Hall of Famers—are examples of those who remember his generosity.
Always the sportsman—he was famous for his fishing exploits—he turned his attention during the 1950s to hockey, owning and personally financing the New Westminster Royals of the professional Western Hockey League. The Royals were a small market, yet competitive team with a special rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks, although a team without the benefit of a working agreement with an NHL organization.
In 1962 at the age of 70, Fred turned his efforts toward gaining an NHL franchise for the city of Vancouver. He reached into his own pocket to keep afloat the Canucks WHL franchise from 1962 to 1966 and also prepared to put up the money for a new arena—the Pacific Coliseum. It was through his vision and persistence that the Coliseum was built, paving the way for an NHL franchise for Vancouver.
On February 17, 1967 at age 74, Fred Hume succumbed to Parkinsion’s Disease from which he suffered during the last years of his life. Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and Greater Vancouver Hall of Fame, it was remembered by Rev. Cunningham at Hume’s service before 2000 people that “the story of his life from humble circumstances to positions of great responsibility is more amazing in that through it all he never lost the common touch.”
Written and researched by Fred Hume Jr. for the BC Sports Hall of Fame.