Vancouver Pescaderos Dive Club

Passing of a Vancouver Pescaderos Dive Club Legend

For any of you who had the pleasure of knowing Cort MacKenzie – he has passed away - age 93.  He was a legend in the Club.

For those who didn’t know him –he was an amazing person and you will see by reading below.

Cort MacKenzie


MACKENZIE, Cortlandt John Gordon
M.D., C.M., D.P.H., F.R.C.P.C., F.R.S.H
September 6, 1920 - May 16, 2013

Born and raised in Toronto. Only child of Henry J. G. Mackenzie and Marjorie née Campbell. Graduated Upper Canada College. Naval officer in the Battle of the Atlantic; corvette captain by war's end. Married Jean, daughter of Lt.-Col. William Barker VC, on January 6, 1945. M.D. in 1951 from Queen's University Kingston. That year moved to B.C. and became a GP in private practice. In 1954 began a career with the Ministry of Health: first as Director of the Peace River Health Unit, later of the West Kootenay, Selkirk, and Central Vancouver Island units.


Joined UBC faculty in 1963. Acting Chairman of the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology in 1969, Head of the Department from 1973 to 1980.

The CJG Mackenzie Prize for Excellence in Teaching was named in his honour by his former department (now called SPPH). President and a leading light of the Family Planning Association of B.C., and Director and Vice-President of the Family Planning Federation of Canada from 1970-1974. Played an active role in environmental health issues in B.C. and elsewhere.

A member of the Pollution Control Board of B.C. from 1967 and its chairman from 1977 to 1982. Chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Use of Pesticides and Herbicides, 1972 - 1975. Headed the Task Force on Arsenic in Yellowknife 1977-1979. In 1986 received the Canadian Public Health Association's highest honour, the R.D. Defries Award. Extensive consultation and teaching overseas, including Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Australia and the Cook Islands. Professor at the University of Papua New Guinea for two academic years. His avocations were many, including organizing Unitarian Fellowships, hobby farming with horses, cider making, and wooden boat building. He devoted his retirement to nature conservation and animal welfare causes. He and Jean became vegans for ethical and health reasons. 

He retired from playing polo only to take up scuba, and continued diving until well into old age. This experience and his nautical background helped make him a passionate defender of the marine environment, and he was a founder and chairman of The Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society (CMEPS).

He remained sharp and engaged until the very end. He is survived, and sorely missed, by his son David and his children, Mary, Henry, and Rob; by his son Ian and his partner Andrew; by his son Alec and his wife Marlene. Memorial at end of June. 

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Cort Mackenzie


Don Hughes


Jim Willoughby

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