Milton Wong granted Freedom of the City award by Vancouver city council

Businessman and humanitarian Milton Wong is the recipient of the city's highest honour.

Today, the City of Vancouver issued a statement announcing that Wong has received the Freedom of the City award.

“Milton Wong is highly deserving of this recognition for his tremendous contributions to Vancouver,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a city news release. “His leadership, generosity and dedication have touched the lives of so many citizens and he’s truly an inspiration to us all.”

Wong, who was born and raised in Vancouver, is suffering from cancer and was unavailable for comment.

He founded the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival, played a pivotal role in the creation of Science World, and has raised funds for the Salvation Army, Red Cross, B.C. Cancer Agency, and YMCA.

Wong, a former chancellor of Simon Fraser University, provided a significant donation to move SFU's School for Contemporary Arts to the Woodward’s complex downtown. He created the Laurier Institution, which educates people about the economic and social implications of diversity, and he's on the board of the Trudeau Foundation.

Wong achieved fame in the business world in the 1980s as a money manager, and eventually sold his investment firm to a bank. He has been a member of several corporate boards, including Rio Tinto Alcan, Seaspan Corp., and Day4Energy Inc.

Wong is the second Vancouver resident of Asian descent to be awarded the Freedom of the City. Former lieutenant-governor David Lam received this honour in 1993.

Four others have received the award in the past decade: former mayor Art Phillips (2010), orchestra leader Dal Richards (2005), former prime minister Kim Campbell (2002), and architect Arthur Erickson (2002).

The Freedom of the City is only granted with the unanimous consent of council. Wong can now be called a Freeman of the City of Vancouver. Recipients receive a framed scroll, the Freedom Medal, and a decal that lets them park for free at city meters.

Related article: Let's change the name of Dunsmuir Street to Milton Wong Boulevard

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Standing Water BA LLD MBA
And what does that make all of you who aren't freemen of the city of Vancouver?

Answer: Bondmen of the city of Vancouver.

Enjoy your slavery!
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bumper
this is as meaningful as naming a DAY after someone.
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Rob Kwon
Robertson is simply pandering to the biggest ethnic group in Vancouver before election time. Since Indo-Canadians comprise the second largest ethnic group, watch Robertson bestow accolades on some one from that community before the November elections. While he's at it he better not forget the pride community and other pronouncements and city hall handouts.

The system is dysfunctional with politicians, who are suppose to be public servants, having the latitude of kings and emperors to tax and spend and make all sorts of proclamations. Perhaps we can have a "Milton Wong" bike lane along the middle of Georgia Street. I know my grandmother at least would be pleasantly surprised.
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james green
This idea and mention that Wong is the first Chinese person to receive this award is repulsive.
Again, forget the race and emphasis the character.
As to Wong so what? He has enough public attention to last a life time.
The real heroes in this city are the people who put up with this dunce we have for a mayor sucking up to various groups to get their community's votes. It was the Filipinos, now the Chinese. Who's next.
For the first time I believe this guy can lose the next election because his true character or lack of it is coming out.
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Farid Rohani
The unanimous vote of the council is required to receive this award. The award is to recognize the contributions of an individual to the citizens of Vancouver and the fact that his contributions have benefited the city. Any other mayor , or council would have done this as it is a true example of what the award should represent.
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james green
Oh come on. Mr. Wong needs free parking and an award. Not.
He is a great man and great men do not need plumes to make them feel like great men.
Like someone said Gregor is pandering to a voting community and it is so transparent it hurts.
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Farid Rohani
Mr Green, is there anyone that is not part of an ethnic or voting community? So no matter what, if we use your logic, the Mayor would have been wrong.
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East Van Arts
This is a great honour for Milton, earned over a lifetime of good work, good heart, and good result. It would appear the critics here are entirely unaware of the innumerable good deeds, large and small, he has achieved.

I agree that Milton's race is utterly irrelevant. What counts is that he is a very good Canadian, and a great human asset to the people of Vancouver.

At a time in Milton's health when he needs the reciprocal gift of love and support, this is a very small 'thank-you' indeed. Council was correct to award it, as are we to applaud it.
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james green
My logic is that we need to stop attaching race when great people do great things. First black president, first Chinese to...first Aboriginal to..
Do we announce first white person when great white people do something great? No!!!!!!!
Your sarcastic comment that misses the point is noted.
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Standing Water
"This is a great honour for Milton, earned over a lifetime of good work, good heart, and good result."

So you think freedom is earned, rather than inherent? You are only free once the Corporate Collective deems you free? Sounds pretty sick to me.
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