Born and raised in Vancouver, Tong Louie’s involvement with his community was boundless and his contribution to its welfare exemplary.
After graduating from UBC with a degree in Agriculture in 1938, Tong was offered a position with a fertilizer company, but turned it down in view of his expanding role as a partner in his family’s business, H.Y. Louie Co. Ltd. Under Tong’s guidance, the company progressively expanded, first taking on 47 BC IGA stores in 1965 , then buying nine large supermarkets from Dominion Stores in 1968, and finally purchasing the London Drugs chain of stores.
Dr. Louie was the Director and Vice-Chairman of IGA Canada Ltd., Chairman and Director of MTC Electronic Technologies Co., Director of Western Forest Products Ltd. and a Director of the Royal Bank of Canada. He served on the Board of Directors for The United Way, St. Paul’s Hospital, the Vancouver Symphony, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens, the Canadian Diabetes Association, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon.
Tong Louie was well-known for his generous support of many of the city’s education, health and cultural institutions. He established the London Drugs Scholarship Endowment at UBC, and helped build the Geraldine and Tong Louie Human Performance Centre at the SFU Harbour Centre. Dr. Louie was the first Canadian to be awarded the Golden Heart Community Achievement Award from the Variety Club.
In addition, Tong Louie received many other awards and honours, including the YMCA of Greater Vancouver Outstanding Volunteer Leader Award, the Order of Canada, the Food Industry Association of Canada Knight of the Golden Pencil Award, the Order of British Columbia, and the Brotherhood Interfaith Society Man of the Year Award. He was also twice named BC Entrepreneur of the Year. He was former Head of The Vancouver Board of Trade and the Business Council of BC, and served on UBC’ s Board of Governors. In 1990, Dr. Louie was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UBC for his outstanding achievements in business and community service.
Tong Louie was predeceased by his wife Geraldine.