Who was Ty Watson? Many residents of Ty Watson House and their family members ask this very question. Through the eyes of France (last name withheld by request), we get a glimpse of the man - a retired pharmacist who so generously bequeathed his magnificent home to the community.
France met Ty Watson through his sister, Sadie (Sarah), when she was in Fir Park Village while France was employed there. One day their conversation turned to the stock market and Sadie exclaimed that France must meet her brother, Ty, who knew a lot about the stock market since he had been studying it for years. Sadie introduced Ty and France and an investing partnership was born.
Ty, acting as mentor, helped France to form a stock market club. “He didn’t attend every meeting,” France says, “but he was frequently our guest speaker. A very gentle, sweet man, he generously shared his knowledge, his charts and his time with us whenever we needed his expertise. He was very soft-spoken and exceedingly humble.
I often met with him in his home on Stirling and Second Avenue to learn more about the stock market. I would walk up those front steps, turn left into the living room and sit with Ty at the table by the window… just as it is set up today. By this time, Ty had very poor eyesight and he needed a lot of natural light and a magnifying glass to read his charts. One wall of the living room was lined with books, stacked nearly to the ceiling. The rest of the walls were covered in pictures and stock market charts.
I never met his wife, Virginia, who was reportedly very shy, but I could hear her working in the kitchen behind the closed door that separates the living room from the kitchen to this day.”
Ty was born in Port Alberni in 1907 to Anthony and Sarah Watson. His father, a blacksmith, worked with Hayes mines. When Hayes Mines closed, Mr. Hayes apparently owed Mr. Watson a sizable sum. To settle the debt, Mr. Hayes gave Mr. Watson the rights to the buildings at the Hayes mine site. Mr. Watson dismantled the buildings and used the timber to build the Watson Block on Argyle and the current ‘Ty Watson House’ (completed in 1913). Ty lived in the home from 1913 until his death in 1994.
Ty grew up to be first a teacher at Calgary and Eighth Avenue Elementary Schools and then trained as a pharmacist. He retired as proprietor of Watson Drug Store on Third Avenue. All the while, in his adult years, he became an expert in the stock market.
With his beloved Virginia predeceasing him in 1990, and having no children, Ty bequeathed his home and a trust fund to the Alberni Clayoquot Continuing Care Society. The Ty Watson Home Foundation was formed in 1995 and a decision was made to offer the house to the Alberni Valley Hospice Society for use as the palliative care facility it is today.