#Straight50: Vancouver-Fairview NDP MLA George Heyman recalls the first edition of the Georgia Straight

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      As the Georgia Straight approaches its 50th birthday on May 5, 2017, we're reaching out to various people to hear their memories about the newspaper.

      George Heyman is the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Fairview and a former executive director of the Sierra Club of B.C.

      But back in 1967, he was a teenager who needed a roof over his head in Vancouver.

      At the time, Heyman was a budding poet and he befriended Dan McLeod, who was also a poet.

      McLeod was also in the process of launching the Georgia Straight with other young environmentalists and peace activists in advance of what became known as the Summer of Love.

      "I was actually staying at his apartment when I needed a place to stay," Heyman recalled. "He was staying up all night working with others to get the very first edition of the Georgia Straight together."

      The NDP MLA said that he had a minor involvement with the first issue.

      Heyman was preparing to go to Montreal after his first year of university. McLeod told him that he had a friend there who would probably distribute 50 copies of the debut issue.

      According to Heyman, McLeod asked if he would be prepared to take them in his backpack. Heyman obliged and he has maintained his friendship with the man who was in Montreal.

      "I am happy now to be able to look back on playing a small role in the start of the Georgia Straight, which has become an institution," Heyman said.

      Later on, Heyman edited writing that appeared in the Georgia Straight.

      "I and a good friend of mine had worked together on a couple of different writing magazines," he recalled. "Dan liked them and offered us the opportunity to do them as special supplements to the Georgia Straight."

      Heyman said that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a great deal of collaboration between artists who practised in different genres. He said musicians, painters, and writers often came together on projects.

      "It was a very exciting time," Heyman said. "I'm not saying it isn't now [but] it was a different city then. People were creating very exciting cultural experiments here in Vancouver."