End of an era as Allen Garr writes his final column for Vancouver Courier

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      One of the Vancouver's best-known columnists is hanging up his keyboard—at least when it comes to writing for a weekly community paper.

      Allen Garr has filed his final column to the Vancouver Courier after submitting articles for 19 years.

      Over that time, he has seen four mayors come and go, as well as many more councillors, school trustees, and park commissioners.

      "I have been most fortunate to work with some great journalists and editors at the Courier over the past 19 years and even more fortunate to have you as readers," he wrote in a farewell message today. "I’ve got a book project I’ve neglected for far too long that I must get back to."

      His final column focused on the relationship between low voter turnout and Vancouver's at-large political system.

      Garr has never been a member of a political party, and his columns often carried a softly progressive air.

      In recent years, he became increasingly critical of Vision Vancouver's sometimes less-than-democratic approach to civic governance.

      In the distant past, he was president of the Vancouver Resource Society, which provided housing for people with severe disabilities.

      He also spent two terms on the board of Vancity and is now a self-professed "governance freak", which has sometimes been reflected in his writing.

      Allen Garr and his long-time partner, Joan Andersen, participated in the 2013 Walk for Reconciliation, which was sponsored by Vancity.
      Charlie Smith

      Garr continues pursuing his passion for governance as the chair of the Portland Hotel Society. Like the old VRS, it provides homes to those who are hard to house in the private rental market.

      He was forced to retire as a journalism instructor at Langara College when he turned 65—before the law was changed abolishing mandatory retirement.

      He's also been a talk-show host on CKNW, a national labour reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and a legislative columnist for the Province newspaper.

      In the mid 1980s, Garr wrote a hard-hitting book called Tough Guy: Bill Bennett and the Taking of British Columbia.

      The long-time journalist remains active, swimming three times a week, spending enormous amounts of time looking after his bee hives, and writing for other publications.