Chuck Davis was the voice of Vancouver’s collective memory.
I first heard him on CBC radio when living in Victoria – a very CBC voice, distinctive and intimate, conveyed in a way that radio does best, typically on air to regale us with some anecdote about the city’s past. He was a natural, I guess, because as far as I know, he was never vocally trained.
I think I assumed – because of Chuck Davis – that the people of Vancouver were inordinately aware of and interested in their past. That was only reinforced when I got my first copy of “The Vancouver Book”, an indispensible guide for anyone who was intrigued by both the big story and the small nuances of a place that had been around only slightly longer than the author.
Meeting Chuck in person was as pleasant and as gratifying as hearing him over the waves. He was genuine, in every way.
So now at the moment of his departure, it’s appropriate to say he will be missed. But in truth, his literary voice will be heard for ages to come, even as more storeys are built upon the foundation he laid. But I also hope that maybe the CBC will put together a montage of his broadcasts, so we can hear his literal voice as well. And believe, perhaps, that collectively we might continue to be intrigued about Vancouver’s past – because of Chuck Davis’s commitment and contribution.