Erwin Swangard was born in Germany and emigrated to Canada in 1930. By profession he is one of Canada’s best known and most widely travelled journalists.
Early in his career as a freelance sports reporter, he returned to Germany to cover the 1936 Olympic Games for the Vancouver Sun and the Toronto Globe. He was foreign editor for the Vancouver Province for a five year period and during a seven-year span with the Vancouver Sun, beginning in 1951, Erwin Swangard served as Sports, City, Assistant Managing, and Night Editor until his appointment as Managing Editor in March, 1959.
One of his enduring achievements was his founding of the Tournament of Soccer Champions, a championship gala involving juvenile soccer. The tournament became a phenomenal stimulant to the game in British Columbia. It has grown from about 1,000 boys playing on 70 teams to 33,000 boys and girls on 2,500 teams.
Erwin Swangard has always been a staunch supporter of athletic endeavours in British Columbia and nationally, including the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver in 1954, the first ever Grey Cup Final held outside Toronto in 1955 and as one of the seven founders of the B.C. Lions Football Club. He raised almost $1 million to build an athletic stadium in Burnaby’s Central Park which on its opening in the spring of 1969 was named Swangard Stadium.
He was appointed a Director of the Pacific National Exhibition in October, 1976, was elected its President in January 1977, positions which he held for some 13 consecutive years.
During that time, he turned the PNE from a simple agricultural fair into one based on a variety of themes and with an international dimension. It is now one of the foremost annual exhibitions in the country.
His service with a variety of community organizations and as a Rotarian earned him the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Award in 1987. In January, 1989, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.