John J. Park was born in Tilly Keira, Lonmay, Scotland on September 30, 1880. He first went to sea in December 1897 as an apprentice on the bark Inverurie. After four and a half years Park sailed his last voyage on her as Third Mate. He then went on to obtain his First Mate and Second Mate's certificates and sail on the bark Inversnaid, sister ship to Inverurie. Park then returned home and obtained his Master Square Rigged Foreign Going Certificate #03703. In 1906 he joined Blue Funnel Line, arriving in British Columbia as officer on the liner Titan. In 1909 he left Blue Funnel to join the Union Steamship Company where he served as Master of the Capilano in 1910 and in 1911, the Venture, for five years. Park then joined Griffiths (Coastwise Steamship and Barge Co.) as Master of the Turret Crown stationed on the BC - Alaska route. In 1919, he returned to the deep sea as Master of the War Cavalry. During this time, Park met and married his wife, Kate Mary Park (b. 1885, d. 1970).
In August 1921, John Park was appointed Pilot in the BC Pilots Ltd. In 1942, due to a shortage of deep sea masters, Park was asked by the Royal Canadian Navy and British Ministry of Shipping to command the Ocean Venus, transporting her from Union Bay, B.C. to Halifax, via Panama Canal. On May 3, 1942, the Ocean Venus was torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Florida by a German submarine U-564, with a loss of 5 crew members. For his war services, Park received a special citation from Winston Churchill.
Park retired as Senior Pilot on September 30, 1948 after twenty-eight years with the B.C. Pilotage Service. For many of those years he was chosen to pilot to berth the big liners Niagra and Aorangi and the famous Princess vessels that sailed in and out of Vancouver. After his retirement, Park continued to work - conducting trial runs on B.C. Ferries built at Burrard Dry Dock.
John Park passed away on November 29, 1980 at the age of 100.
Records in this fonds consist of personal papers and correspondence related to Captain John Park's maritime career as a vessel Master and marine Pilot in the B.C. Coast Pilotage Authority. Also included are immigration papers for his wife Kate Park; family photographs; a guest book from the Park household; notice of awards received by Park while in the Merchant Navy during World War II; and notebooks used to record navigation calculations. Records in this fonds have been arranged into three series.
Records were arranged by Archivist based on subject of the materials. Original order of records was not clear as materials were loosely packed into a box.
Photographs of Captain John Park may also be found in the VMM Union Steamship Collection - Photo Series, Box 7.