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Man who twice swam the length of B.C.’s longest river named to Fraser River Hall of Fame

Nov. 9 gala event to honour Fin Donnelly
Fin Donnelly talks about his “Spirit of the Salmon” swim in old video posted to YouTube.

The man who twice swam the length of B.C.’s longest river is this year’s inductee into the Fraser River Hall of Fame.

An induction ceremony for Fin Donnelly is planned for the night of Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Fraser River Discovery Centre, located on Quayside Drive in New Westminster.

Details about the gala are posted to

A bio notes that from 1990 to 2000, Donnelly made 14 “environmental marathon swims, covering more than 3,200 kilometres in B.C.’s rivers, lakes and ocean,” including twice swimming the 1,375-kilometre length of the Fraser River in 1995 and 2000 “to draw attention to the declining health of these water bodies and to encourage communities to engage in environmental advocacy.”

(Story continues below old video about Donnelly’s swim)

Donnelly is the founder of Rivershed Society of British Columbia and co-founder of Fraser Watershed Initiative.

In politics for nearly two decades, Donnelly is currently the MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, and serves as the Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Since 1995, he has spoken to more than 60,000 people in hundreds of B.C. schools and communities about sustainable living,” a bio notes. “In 1991, Fin was honoured by the Squamish Nation with the name Iyim Yewyews, which means strong swimmer in the animal world or Orca.”

All proceeds of the Fraser River Hall of Fame support the discovery centre’s educational and public programming. Tickets range in price from $20 (“online celebration only”) to $150 (“online celebration and charcuterie for two”). An in-person ticket is $125.

As of Oct. 19, $4,000 of the $20,000 goal has been raised.

Since 1991, Fraser River Hall of Fame inductees have included Chick & Marilyn Stewart, Bill Sauder, Wendy Grant, Fraser Surrey Docks, City of New Westminster and Pacific Custom Log Sorting Inc., among others.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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