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From Bill’s bucolic environs, a love of field sports emerged at an early
age. He enjoyed hunting and fishing in the rich and lush lands and rivers
of the Chilliwack region of his youth. These experiences, and his sense of
place, gave him the skill to adapt to changing circumstances of the country
as it entered the Second World War in 1939.
Exquisitely practical and gifted with a restless and curious intellect, Bill
would have succeeded in any age. As a man of his time, he grasped the
breadth of his country and the scope the changes the 20th century were
bringing to British Columbia. His sense of time and geography was reflected
in his willingness to travel and work as a judge throughout the province’s
many towns, villages, cities and especially undeveloped regions.
Bill’s independence and spirit for exploration were shown at an early age
when his father was hospitalized at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. As
there was no Trans-Canada Highway, travel to Vancouver was a much more
difficult task than it is today. Somehow, Bill, age 9, hitchhiked to Vancouver
alone and found his way through the city to his father’s bedside, much to
the astonishment of his parents.
As a teenager Bill worked away the summers logging near Powell River.
One summer his foot was crushed by a log and he was dispatched to driving
logging trucks instead of working with a saw. Those summers made Bill
realize the grit needed for logging and for living in rural British Columbia.
This work informed his broader appreciation of the rigour required daily of
British Columbians to develop the province and to thrive as individuals. His
logging experience gave him insight into the strengths and failings of the
human condition. For instance, when judging a personal injury trial involving
a logging truck, his experience revealed the truth in the case. Bill surprised
both counsel and the parties by his uncanny and insightful
knowledge of the logging industry, and more particularly the operation of
logging trucks and the skills required to operate them.
Bill graduated from Chilliwack Senior Secondary School in 1949. He distinguished
himself as a letterman in basketball, scholarship and school
community spirit. His love of sport remained and he excelled in tennis and
golf. Although he had an opportunity to pursue a professional golfing career
in the United States, his love of country and an interest in the law prevailed,
and Bill pursued a law degree at UBC.
The Royal Canadian Air Force provided further opportunities in the
1950s as Bill entered university. He obtained the rank of cadet wing commander
while pursuing his law degree. In 1955, he obtained his LL.B. and
The law firm of Wilson & Company had been established in Chilliwack
in 1937 and took on a very keen, young Bill Davies. In 1956 he joined the