THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 497
THE HONOURABLE MARION J. ALLAN
By the Honourable Mary Ellen Boyd, the Honourable Bruce Preston and
Mark Weintraub, Q.C.
THE EARLY YEARS
Marion spent her first seven years in Mevagissey, then a quaint fishing
village in Cornwall, England, now a tourist mecca where chip butties vie
with clotted cream teas. She started school when she was five and skipped
grade 2. When she was seven, her parents immigrated to Canada where she
spent the next two years in Montreal, Regina and Winnipeg before landing
in Vancouver. From mid-grade 10 to graduation, she attended St. Ann’s
Academy, a convent boarding school in New Westminster, where she
received more demerits than any student in the history of the school.
She went to UBC where she earned a B.A. in 1967 and to the University
of Alberta where she received an M.A. in international relations in 1970.
After having two babies in 1970 and 1972, she recognized that full-time
domesticity was not her calling and she arrived at UBC’s law school at the
“mature” age of 28.
On the first day, in her first class, her contracts professor, Ray Herbert
(known as “the Bullet”), called the roll alphabetically—“Marion Allan, is it
‘Mrs.’ or ‘Miss’?” She replied: “It’s ‘Ms.’” “Oh no it’s not!” Herbert replied.
“Mary Southin, who is the best woman lawyer in the province, says there is
no such being as a ‘Ms.’ and that is the full answer. Is it ‘Mrs.’ or ‘Miss’?” “Neither,”
Marion replied nervously, “It’s ‘Ms.’” In her second class, the professor
began to call the roll: “Mr. Allan.” Marion replied: “I’m Marion Allan.” The
professor snapped back: “Marion is a man’s name.” Marion: “Well, my name
is Marion and I am not a man.” So began law school for Marion.