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Alan Lowe in his downtown office, November 17, 2011
Alan Lowe is a well-known Victoria architect. He served as Mayor of Victoria from 1999-2008, the first person of Asian heritage to do so.
Born in Victoria in 1961, Alan Lowe’s paternal and maternal grandfathers came to Canada in the early 1900s. They returned to China to marry but because of the discriminatory immigration laws it was very difficult to bring their families back to Canada. Thus Alan Lowe’s parents were only able to come to Canada in 1957. His grandfather, Lowe Sai worked at the cement quarry on Todd Inlet in the early 1900s along with Sikh and First Nations workers. Now part of Butchart Gardens, the story of the toil of these early years has been captured by David Gray in his 2011 film, Beyond the Garden’s Wall.
Alan Lowe’s family lived in Chinatown for the first three years of his life, later moving to North Park and Gordon Head. He attended George Jay, Central School and Vic High but returned regularly to Chinatown with his family where they would frequent the Embassy Café. His parents were members of the Hook Sing Tong society. After graduation he attended the University of Manitoba and went on to earn a Masters degree in architecture from the University of Oregon. He won election as a Victoria city councilor for the first time in 1990 and became mayor at the age of 38.