April 6, 2021

A Moment, An Image: Vancouver in 1987

This image is a who’s who in Vancouver from 1987. It is the result of a “casting call” to politicians, news media, sports figures, rock stars and well known Vancouverites to come together for a photo that was used in AIDS awareness campaigns. This image was photographed by Howard Fry, and was posted on the Sentimental Vancouver Facebook page.

I contacted Dr. John Blatherwick who was the Medical Health Officer of Vancouver in the 1980’s and 1990’s and who was instrumental in co-ordinating services and getting researched information out about AIDS. He was also one of the people  involved in sending out invites to a host of Vancouver personalities to have their photo taken.

The AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) epidemic was raging through Vancouver at this time. Without the development of drugs to treat symptoms and stop the disease’s advance many people got ill. Many died.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s  it was estimated that more than 60,000 people who were HIV positive (human immunodeficiency virus) lived in Canada and  more than 20 percent of those people lived in British Columbia.  AIDS Vancouver was formed in 1983 to support people with HIV diagnoses, and provided free services and education to lower the incidence of the disease.

That did not stop fear and  misinformation about the disease, and photographer Howard Fry captured this image to make talking about AIDs more mainstream.

So who is in the photo?

That’s Dr. John Blatherwick behind Senator Pat Carney with Toni Onley to his right.  I believe that is newscaster Deborah Hope with her baby. There’s a youngish Gordon Price in behind broadcaster Jack Webster on the right.

There is also Harvey Southam, Libby Davies, a youthful  Gordon Campbell, Susan Mendelson, Bruce Allen, Jackson Davies, Bill Good, Denny Boyd, Laurier LaPierre, former Premier Dave Barrett, hockey star Stan Smyl.

There is Bobby Lenarduzzi, Joy Metcalfe,  Carol Taylor,  Jane McDougall,  Pia Shandel and Joanna Pirod. Darby Mills with  the Headpins is in the photo and Paul Hyde with the Payola$. Businessman and philanthropist Tong Louie is behind Gordon Campbell with actor Jackson Davies  in the back of the photo.

See someone you recognize? Please add in the names in the comments below.


Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. I write simply to thank you for your many articles that are contributions to Price Tags. You seem to be a ‘resident correspondent’ / journalist and bring diverse and always-interesting topics into the minds of us readers. Thank you for sharing your planning a social commentary (such as by reminding us of this Who’s Who of 1987), inclusive planning perspectives, and good energy!

Subscribe to Viewpoint Vancouver

Get breaking news and fresh views, direct to your inbox.

Join 7,303 other subscribers

Show your Support

Check our Patreon page for stylish coffee mugs, private city tours, and more – or, make a one-time or recurring donation. Thank you for helping shape this place we love.

Popular Articles

See All

All Articles