922 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
der between British Columbia and Yukon. Walter’s father (also named Walter)
was the chief of the provincial police force before the provincial RCMP
was formed and then the warden at Oakalla Prison. The senior Walter Owen
had a deep sense of fairness, the rule of law and public service, and he cared
deeply about the institutions that he oversaw and the inmates whose wellbeing
he felt responsible for. He inspired and encouraged two of his five
children, Walter and Milton, to pursue careers in law. The younger Walter
was a prominent member of the young British Columbia legal community,
a founder of Campney, Owen, Murphy & Owen (with his brother Milton)
and later of Owen Bird. He went on to become Lieutenant-Governor of the
province. Among his four children were Phillip Owen, Vancouver’s longtime
mayor, and Daphne Owen (later Daphne Francis).
Neither Daphne nor Amy’s father, Michael Francis, had a legal career.
Daphne was one of the pioneering intensive care nurses in Vancouver.
Michael is a chartered accountant. In addition to his business career,
Michael has had a lifelong interest and involvement in the arts community
in Vancouver, including as longtime chair of the Vancouver Film Festival.
Amy has her parents’ voracious appetites for literature and their inclination
for community service.
Despite Amy’s family’s roots, neither Daphne nor Michael particularly
encouraged Amy to think about a legal career. Daphne encouraged Amy’s
childhood love of animals. At one point, when Amy had a particularly beautiful
pair of Burmese cats, Daphne encouraged her to breed and sell kittens.
The scheme led to the Francis household growing to include eleven cats,
three dogs and three kids at one point! Michael held her to stringent
accounting for her revenues and expenses.
As a child, Amy was known to be full of imagination and very creative.
The family photo albums are filled with pictures of young Amy in costume,
regardless of the occasion and whether anyone else was dressed up or not.
Amy attended high school at Lord Byng Secondary in Vancouver, and
then at Brentwood College on Vancouver Island for her last two years. She
participated in theatre in high school. After graduation, Michael encouraged
her to pursue acting school. Instead, she completed a degree in English
literature, first at McGill and then at UBC.
Amy took a year after completing her B.A. to travel. She travelled in
Europe and ended up in Israel working on a kibbutz. There, she objected to
her initial work assignment in the laundry, on the grounds that the assignment
was based in gender stereotyping. She was reassigned to harvest
bananas with a machete, which she promptly deployed against her own leg.
She still has both the scar and her love of travel.