by George S.K. Lee

The Association was formally registered as "LEE'S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION" under the Society Act in the province of British Columbia on December 29, 1954, as submitted by 8 directors from Vancouver and 1 director from Victoria.  On January 9, 1982, a board meeting was held at Biltmore Hotel in Vancouver to discuss amending the by-laws of the Association.  Ten months later, a. resolution was purportedly approved by the membership on November 20 to amend the by-laws, thereby changing its name to "LEE’S BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA".  However, no record can be found to support this claim. Nonetheless, the amendment was filed and registered with Victoria on May 16, 1983.  In an annual general meeting held on January 31, 1999, the members overwhelmingly passed a resolution to amend Articles 29(c) and 29(d).  Two months later, the board of directors, including 11 of the current 15 out-of-town directors, met in Vancouver and approved a resolution calling for the implementation of the amendment in 2003.  Accordingly, the amendment was duly registered under the Society Act on August 5, 1999.  However, at a board meeting held on March 23, 2002, in Victoria, several directors led by Philip Lee and David Lee attempted to introduce a motion to have the implementation delayed for a further four years until 2007, contrary to the motion passed in 1999, part of which stated "Any further debate within this four-year period shall be taken up at an AGM."  It was ruled out of order by the president, James Lee. This led to a series of litigation currently before the courts.  The Association's assets consist of a rental property located on 828 & 830 S.W. Marine Dr. and its own building on 313 E. Pender St., both of which are in Vancouver.

 

In 1952, 75 individuals, all having the surname of "LEE", including 70 of them from Vancouver, and 5 from Victoria, together with the Lee's Benevolent Association and the Lee's Benevolent Association of Vancouver, had loaned a total of $85,000.00 to complete the purchase of Vanport Hotel, a 4-storey structure located at the corner of Main St. and Georgia St. in Vancouver.  In order to repay the individual loans, a "Hundred-share Club" was formed the following year to solicit funds from all the Lees across Canada.  As a result, a total of $80,000.00 was raised from 110 Lees in Vancouver and 75 Lees in other regions, along with the Lee's Benevolent Association, the Lee's Benevolent Association of Vancouver, and the Lee's Association of Montreal.  The breakdown of funds raised according to cities is as follows:

 

Lee's Benevolent Association - 16.25 %
Vancouver - 65.30 %
Victoria - 12.38 %
Other cities in B.C. - 3.38 %
Calgary - 1.25 %
Other cities in Canada - 1.44 %

 

In 1963, in an effort to expand its real estate holding, the Association started a campaign to solicit donations to purchase three stores adjacent to Vanport Hotel. A total of $47,144.43 was raised from the Lees across Canada to cover the purchase price of $30,600.00 and related expenses. The breakdown of donations received according to cities is as follows:
Vancouver - 29.0 %
Victoria - 11.3 %
Toronto - 10.2 %
Calgary - 7.0 %
Winnipeg - 5.0 %
Montreal - 19.0 %
Edmonton - 4.5 %
Sudbury - 2.0 %
Kingston - 5.0 %
Other cities - 3.0 %
U.S. cities - 4.0 %

 

After a second campaign to solicit donations in order to construct its own building failed to materialize in the latter part of 1963, the Association eventually sold the Vanport Hotel, which had a frontage of 75 feet and the three stores, each of which had a frontage of 25 feet for the sum of $1,750,000.00 in 1986/87.  The sale proceeds were used to pay off the mortgage on its own building on 313 E. Pender St. and a big portion of the purchase price of $1,750,000.00 for the rental property on S.W. Marine Dr.  Contract for the purchase was signed on November 5, 1987, and the deal completed on January 8, 1988.  The Association became debt-free in February, 2001, when the outstanding mortgage of $300,000.00 was finally paid off in one lump sum.