Billionaire businessman Jim Pattison and housing advocate Judy Graves will never have to pay for a parking meter again in Vancouver.
That's because tonight, they were each granted Freedom of the City, which is the highest honour granted by the City of Vancouver.
In addition to receiving a free decal offering lifetime parking privileges on city streets, they have their names inscribed in the Book of Freedoms.
According to the city website, they can be each be called Freeman of the City of Vancouver, though Graves might prefer the term "Freewoman".
Pattison chairs the Jim Pattison Group, which employs more than 35,000 people in a range of industries, including groceries, motor-vehicle sales, a coal-export terminal, forestry, media, signs, periodical distribution, and entertainment.
He's been a big donor to B.C. hospitals in recent years, notably with a $20 miillion gift to Vancouver General Hospital, $5 million to Surrey Memorial Hospital, $5 million to Lions Gate Hospital, and $5 million to the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria. Pattison was also president and CEO of Expo 86.
Graves has retired from the City of Vancouver, where she spent more than three decades helping find housing and shelter for the homeless. It often involved venturing into some of the most dangerous areas of the city.
Since Vision Vancouver won control of the city in the 2008 election, it has granted this honour to three other residents, all of whom are now deceased: former councillor Jim Green, businessman and philanthropist Milton Wong, and former mayor and financier Art Phillips.
Other honourees in the past have included architect Arthur Erickson, businessman and philanthropist Joe Segal, former prime minister Kim Campbell, writer George Woodcock, former lieutenant governor David Lam, former city councillor May Brown, wheelchair athlete Rick Hanson, artists Jack Shadbolt and Bill Reid, businessman and philanthropist Morris Wosk, former chief justice Nathan Nemetz, and lawyer and former judge Tom Berger.
The complete list is available here.