Burnaby Rotarian Reginald Millway has been an avid member of our club since 1962. Reg played a significant role in the development of Burnaby Village where we meet each Friday at Noon, as well as many other places in our great city. Please read his autobiography below.

( Thanks to Past President Augustus Cruickshank for bringing this story to our attention.)


REGINALD E. MILLWAY - Autobiography

I was born at Milton Regis in the County of Kent, England on 20th December 1915. Following graduation from grammar school and LondonUniversity - via Regent Street Polytechnic, I applied for and was appointed to the Air Ministry Technical Division to assist in the development of inspection schedules for airborne electronic equipment. This was in 1937 and I remained in that capacity throughout World War II. A hearing impairment prevented me from joining the services, but I joined the Home Guard and spent time on fire bomb patrol in central London. With the German Air Force concentrating on the fire bombing of London this was not an easy or safe task.

After the war, I felt that Canada offered better opportunities than Britain, so I decided to bring the family with me to the Lower Mainland which offered an English style climate. We left Britain in March 1948 on the last voyage of the Acquitania to Halifax and took a parlour car in a C.N. Train right across the country to New Westminster. We took up residence in South Burnaby and have lived in this city continuously since then.

It took me 2 or 3 years to establish my own business and get involved in local activities.


History of the United Flower Growers Cooperative

Toward the end of the 1950's Nells Forsell of Forsell's Greenhouses approached me to see if I was interested in designing, producing, and installing an experimental Dutch Auction Clock System. He gathered a group of Greenhouse operators, about two dozen florist buyers and rented a warehouse on Heatley Street in Vancouver. The system was installed with two dozen push buttons and a rotating clock and the greenhouse owners were extremely pleased with the results of the sales of their flowers.

The association was formed and property was purchased on Malkin Avenue and a 250 seat arena was built. A complete Dutch auction system was imported from Holland and I installed it for them. It was not long before they saw the need for larger premises, and I helped them assemble property at Roseberry and Marine Way in cooperation with the Director of Planning. A large auditorium was built there and I helped them design, manufacture and install a complete electronic system. Modifications and additions have occurred along the way to the point that it is handling millions of dollars worth of flowers annually and it is the largest operation of its kind in Canada.

My original experimental system is displayed on their wall and I still keep in touch with the General Manager.

I was in regular contact with the Vancouver Sun columnist Barry Mather who with Fraser Wilson and Blyth Eagles were responsible for the formation of the Burnaby Historical Society. I was an early member and its president for 2 or 3 terms. Blythe Eagles and I went to Loughborough, England, on behalf of the Society to locate and clean up the site of Robert Burnaby's grave.

My wife was developing Robert Burnaby's family tree and in the process had made many contacts with prominent citizens of the Loughborough area, many of whom my wife and I met on this visit and formed lasting friendships, including the executive controller of the area, who introduced us to the Mayor and Council who treated us to a formal lunch. This formed the groundwork for a close relationship which our Mayor Bill Lewarne formerly developed as a SisterCity relationship in 1985.

I was on the committee that acquired the property and organised the establishment of the BurnabyVillageMuseum.

I had ideas of getting involved in local politics and ran in the Burnaby elections of 1957. I was not elected and Alan Emmot was then first elected Reeve. He wondered whether I wished to pursue a political career or whether I would like to take on the chairmanship of the Zoning Board of Appeal (as it then was). I took over as chairman and remained continuously so for the next 35 years.

I joined the Rotary Club of Burnaby in 1962. I was president in 1969 and have remained a member now for 44 years.

Until my wife's stroke in 1991, we made regular visits to Britain and always visited Loughborough to maintain contact with all our friends there.

R. E. Millway

5th December 2006