September 24, 2015
Paul Myers, owner of Keith Plumbing and Heating Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver recently created a media flurry when he donated $25 million to Lions Gate Hospital Foundation in Vancouver, BC. Myers’ gift, which is the largest single donation made to a hospital foundation by an individual in British Columbia’s history, will support a redevelopment of the Lions Gate Hospital site.
“This is an extraordinarily generous gift from an exceptional person,” said Judy Savage, Lions Gate Hospital Foundation president. “It marks the first step in addressing the challenges from Lions Gate Hospital’s aging infrastructure. This donation is truly representative of the incredibly generous community we have here on the North Shore.”
“I’m just a plumber who worked hard and had some good luck in my life,” said Myers. “When I thought about where I could have the greatest impact, I immediately thought of Lions Gate Hospital. I learned about the impact the Foundation is having and its exciting plans for the future and knew this is where I wanted to make a difference.”
Plans for the redevelopment of the Lions Gate Hospital site have been under discussion for the last five years with more detailed planning involving staff and physicians beginning a couple of years ago.
Myers and his company have a rich history in the North Shore area. Myers has lived in the area for over 78 years. Keith Plumbing and Heating opened its doors in 1911 when the City of North Vancouver was just four years old and on the verge of a building boom. Known as “The City of Houses”, North Vancouver was fertile ground for development and the new residential plumbing contractor expanded as homes on the North Shore became increasingly numerous and sophisticated.
In 1949 the company incorporated as Keith Plumbing and Heating Co. Changing consumption patterns in the early fifties saw the company proactivley add a selection of household appliances to its range of products and services. The company history indicates that “at one point you could walk in to their showroom and purchase a new television set or a state-of-the-art electric stove.”
Myers joined the company in 1954 as a plumbing apprentice. By 1970, the appliances were gone, Keith Plumbing and Heating Co. was doing $350,000 a year in business, Myers owned the company and its tradition of staying on the leading edge continued.
The company has transformed from a residential plumbing contractor to one of BC’s and the Yukon’s largest mechanical contractors employing up to 200 people. Specializing in plumbing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for hospitals, laboratories and major construction projects, Keith Plumbing and Heating Co. has been a partner in projects throughout BC and the Yukon since its inception. Myers also owns Keith Panel Systems and Keith Panel Systems USA Ltd.
A recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vancouver Regional Construction Association, Myers is a former director of the Construction Labour Relations Association of BC (CLR) and the Mechanical Industrial Relations Association (MIRA).
Health care is one area in which Keith Plumbing and Heating has been particularly successful. Contracts include Kamloops Hospital, Royal Jubilee in Victoria and the Hope Centre for mental health. “We have done more hospitals than any other contractor in B.C.” said Myers.
When asked to sum up his reasons for choosing to give so much back to his community, Myer’s answer is simply, “Well, I can’t take it with me.”
In an interview with Global News, an emotional Myers expressed his affection for the North Shore community, and added, “I really do appreciate all of the kind words that have been said, but in my own mind, I’m just a little plumber who worked hard and had good luck.”
In recognition of Myers’ gift, Lions Gate Hospital’s South Acute Tower will be named the Paul Myers Tower. Representative signage will be installed on the west side of the tower by the end of the year and in the meantime, a bio plaque and door signage will be installed at the tower’s 13th Street entrance.