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Vander Zalm was born in Noordwykerhout, Holland in 1934. In 1947, his family moved to the Fraser Valley, where he completed high school and sold flower bulbs following graduation. In 1956, he purchased a nursery business, and subsequently developed a Richmond theme park known as Fantasy Garden World.
Vander Zalm’s political career began in 1965, when he served as a Surrey city councilor. He held this position until 1968, and subsequently served as Surrey mayor between 1969 and 1975. Vander Zalm transitioned to political politics in 1975 when he was elected as the Social Credit MLA for Surrey. Between 1975 and 1978, he served as Minister of Human Resources, a position that was followed by an assignment as the Minister of Municipal Affairs from 1978 to 1982. Following that, he served as Minister of Education from 1982 to 1983 before temporarily stepping back from the political arena. However, he returned in 1986 and was elected leader of the Social Credit party. One month later he was elected to the office of Premier, a position that he held until his 1991 resignation over the Fantasy Garden investment scandal. In 1998, he made a brief return to political life as the president of the Reform Party of British Columbia, but the party soon faded from the public spotlight, and Vander Zalm once again stepped back from politics.
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Created by: Dennis Duffy.
Central Name Authority Files.
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “Bill Vander Zalm (1978-1982). Accessed from http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/history/bios_stories/vander_zalm_bill.htm on July 12, 2017.
The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Wilhelmus Nichollaas Theodore Marie Vander Zalm.” Accessed from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/wilhelmus-nicholaas-theodore-marie-vander-zalm/ on July 12, 2017.