A Vancouver City Councillor wants to name a street after the late big band leader and “King of Swing” Dal Richards.
The local legend passed away on December 31 at the age of 97. Councillor Melissa De Genova wants to honour his memory and is putting forth the motion in a City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 19.
“He certainly was instrumental in Vancouver as a musician in the genre of big band and swing, and he made a number of contributions to our city’s arts, culture, and music,” De Genova told Vancity Buzz.
Richards would have performed at his 80th New Year’s Eve this year if he was able to. De Genova said he’s given back to Vancouver in numerous ways, including playing free venues and events for the public’s enjoyment.
“He’s given back to the community by making sure the next generation knows about the genre of swing, big band, and certainly helped young artists.”
“So in many ways, I think Dal’s contribution to the city of Vancouver should be recognized,” she said.
De Genova said it doesn’t necessarily have to be a street – she’s open to the idea of naming an entertainment-oriented plaza after Richards as well. She said Richards was a family friend and his wife said it was one of his wishes to have a street named after him.
“Even in his nineties, he had the spirit of someone much younger than him,” said De Genova.
“He took the time to mentor young people and I really want the next generation to know Dal Richards.”
When asked where she would like the street to be located and a timeline for the project, De Genova said she wants to leave that up to the city and Richards’ family to decide.
“I’d like to make sure [his family] is involved and that whatever places are considered and chosen really do speak to having some connection to Dal Richards.”
De Genova is confident her motion will pass in the meeting on Tuesday and is hoping the non-partisan proposal will unite the council.