City of Vancouver names plaza after late Filipino community pillar Mel Tobias

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  • The city council of Vancouver has approved the naming of a plaza after Mel Tobias, a respected pillar in the Filipino community who passed away last year.

    The Mel Tobias Plaza is one of 15 civic places that council named after prominent Vancouver residents in a meeting on September 19.

    A city staff report recalled that Tobias was born in 1939 in the Philippines, spent many years in Hong Kong, and in 1993 settled in Vancouver.

    “As a writer and radio host, Mr. Tobias chronicled the challenges and achievements of his community in Canada and inspired countless Filipino-Canadians to celebrate their unique and multi-faceted culture. He also championed causes that sought to uplift newcomers, live-in caregivers, immigrant youth, and women leaders,” according to the staff report.

    The Mel Tobias Plaza is on the southwest corner of Kingsway and Joyce Street. The spot is currently called the Collingwood Clock Tower Garden.
    Tobias passed away on October 7, 2017.

    Tobias has written for various local and international publications, including Living Today, the former lifestyle magazine of the ReyFort Media Group.

    As chief writer and editor of Living Today, Tobias celebrated the many positive attributes and achievements of Filipino Canadians, both individually and collectively.

    Tobias has been based in Vancouver since 1933 after moving to Canada from Hong Kong, where he had a successful career in public relations and journalism.

    Friends remember Tobias for being a kind-hearted soul, and a mentor to many.

    Tobias was passionate about the arts, and was a lover of film, theatre, and music.

    Commemoration at each of the 15 sites will take the form of signs and/or an explanatory plaque, as appropriate.

    Plazas will receive, if needed, minor upgrades or maintenance to improve their appearance.

    Installations and any upgrades to the plazas are anticipated to be in place by the end of 2019.

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