Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, a prominent early Vancouverite, was born at Port of Spain, Trinidad. Arriving in Vancouver after surviving a shipwreck, Fortes held a number of jobs, but was best known as a swimming instructor and unpaid lifeguard in English Bay. Over a decade later, he was appointed the city’s first official lifeguard. In 1986 he was named Citizen of the Century by the Vancouver Historical Society.
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