photo submitted

City man continues to build the legacy of famous Alberta Rotarian

Dr. Bob Lampard has long had a fascination with James Davidson

A Red Deer man continues to work to solidify the legacy of a remarkable Alberta man whose influence was and is felt in many ways today.

Dr. Bob Lampard has long had a fascination with James Davidson – a very dedicated Rotarian who worked tirelessly in serving several communities and the Rotarian cause at large.

To that end, The James Wheeler Davidson Collection on the Origins and Early Development of Japanese Rule in Taiwan is just one current title in a series of books that will ultimately be written about him, said Lampard.

First in the series is The Life and Times of James and Lillian Davidson in Rotary International, for which Lampard wrote an introduction.

“The Red Deer connection is that he gave the opening speech – the charter night speech – here in Red Deer to form the Rotary Club in 1920,” he said. “His story, his life and his contributions also need to be restated, re-visited and resurrected so that his place in history is described and defined,” said Lampard, who was also part of a landmark trek up Mt. Davidson which is located near the edge of the Canadian Rockies.

“You can see it from Red Deer,” he said with a smile. “If you know where to look, you can see it.”

The mountain, located about nine miles north of Lake Minnewanka, had been named after Davidson, but his name hadn’t been put on the maps. “So when we discovered the date and the time that that was supposed to happen, the ‘names’ people in Ottawa found their error and immediately put it on the map.”

Lampard promptly organized a first ascent back in 2003.

About 24 Rotarians and friends took part in that milestone journey. They even conducted a Rotary meeting at the top, he added.

When he passed away in 1933, folks wanted there to be some form of recognition for what he had done.

The idea of naming a mountain after him surfaced, so they went through the hoops, but through an error, the naming of the peak just didn’t officially take place as planned. “In the process, they didn’t follow through 100 per cent accurately.”

When Lampard eventually inquired where Mt. Davidson was exactly, he was told there were three in B.C. but none in Alberta.

Thanks to his pointing this out, it was eventually officially named, and Lampard and his fellow Rotarians made that trek up the mountain for what proved a very meaningful experience.

“The resurrection of Davidson’s story starts in Red Deer with my discovery during the 75th anniversary of the Rotary Club that the Red Deer club was charted by a chap by the name of Davidson,” explains Lampard, who has described the visionary as a man who loved to travel and who was truly adventurous.

“He had an usually high level of human and geographic curiosity. He sought to understand the local cultures whether it was the Inuit of Greenland or the Aboriginals of Taiwan.”

Davidson, a successful and prolific businessman as well, was originally from the U.S. but came to Canada around 1905. He first settled in Winnipeg but later relocated to Calgary.

“He joined the Rotary Club in 1912 just after it was formed,” said Lampard. But perhaps his most impactful contribution was to come. Davidson would go on to be involved in the chartering of Rotary Clubs globally during a trek around the world from 1928 to 1931.

“He was a man of peace – that was the motivation that (inspired) him to go on that trip,” said Lampard.

“He was deemed to be a Japanese sympathizer, but in actual fact he was a man of peace. He was there promoting peace as he had been in 1895 promoting peace.

“In some ways, Davidson represents perhaps the epitome of (Rotary’s) promotion of peace and good will,” he said.

“He would promote fellowship by making friends,” added Lampard, who has been traveling to all of the Rotary Clubs that Davidson formed which number about 23. These journeys will all be detailed in a book one day as well, he said.

Lampard not only has an avid interest in local history, but he continues to contribute to its preservation as well.

Last year, he made a special donation of treasured volumes to the University of Lethbridge – with a specific personal connection to the institution.

He donated more than 6,700 volumes from his own private collection.

They are now housed in the Dr. Dorothy Lampard Reading Room at the University of Lethbridge – particularly meaningful as she (Bob’s aunt) had joined the newly-formed University 50 years ago as a founding faculty member and senator.

Bob’s collection includes a complete series of the Champlain Historical Society publications, many volumes of the Hudson’s Bay Record Society and many seminal primary narratives of the exploration of the Canadian Arctic.

Just Posted

‘Thriller’ charity event runs Oct. 27th at the Sheraton

Proceeds to support Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital and Pound it Hip Hop

Red Deer Rebels take the game against Kootenay Ice 4-3 in overtime

Defenseman Alexander Alexeyev scores winning goal 75 seconds into overtime

It’s been a strong start for Red Deer’s newest hockey team

Red Deer Senior AA Rustlers coming off back-to-back wins

Innisfail RCMP investigate serious collision west of Innisfail

One of the passengers was taken by STARS air ambulance to the hospital

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read