Just as the Chinese Freemason-owned building at the corner of Pender and Columbia stands as a Chinatown bedrock, so too does the life of Harry Con. The building is where Con and wife Lily operated their small souvenir store and Chinatown’s first Canada Post Office, but his contribution extended beyond their busy shop. Born in Coquitlam in 1922, Con served as a translator for Force 136 during World War II.
When he returned from the war, he volunteered tirelessly with the Chinese Freemasons, the Chinese Benevolent Association, Strathcona Property Owners’ and Tenants’ Association, the Canadian Citizenship Court, and the federal Liberal party. Con was honoured with many awards during his lifetime, including the Order of Canada in 1982.