It’s unlikely that Dal Grauer will ever join family members (Rudy, charter, and Carl, 1970) in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. It’s not that he wasn’t good – actually, he was outstanding in the field game – it’s just that he didn’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that would take ten or more people a lifetime to do.
Versatility is probably the best description of his power-packed 55 years.
Born in 1906 on the family’s Sea Island farm, Dal graduated from the University of B.C. with first-class honours in economics and the Rhodes Scholarship for the year. He was just 19. Next came his PhD in economics from the University of California (Berkeley).
Was there time for sports and studies? Obviously! Dal was good enough to make the Canadian Lacrosse Team that competed in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Also, while earning a degree in jurisprudence, he played on the Oxford University lacrosse squad.
But his crammed schedule pushed lacrosse aside. Called to the bar in 1930, Dal spurned a law practice and, instead, joined the University of Toronto’s economics department as a lecturer. By 1937 (he was just 31), Dal became the youngest full professor in Canada as well as the Head of the University’s Social Sciences Department. During the subsequent two years, he authored numerous reports on public health, labour, housing and social insurance for the Rowell-Sirois Commission on Dominion Provincial Relations and studied Canada’s taxation system for the Bank of Canada.
But the urge to taste new challenges put him on the move again in 1939. He joined the B.C. Electric Company, helping build it into one of the most successful private utility companies on the continent. Seven years later, at the age of 40, he was president and chair of the Board of BCE.
Was there spare time? Not likely! He was also director of companies such as Sun Life Assurance, the Royal Bank, Montreal Trust and MacMillan Bloedel, and served the community as Chair of the Vancouver General Hospital, President of the Vancouver Symphony Society, and Chancellor of the University of B.C.
In 1957, he was named Canadian Businessman of the Year and, a year later, was awarded the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.