BC Heritage Week is here! We thought it would be interesting to bring up a moment in New West’s history from over thirty years ago. Those of you reading this who are over forty, may remember when Michael Jackson performed at BC Place in Vancouver during his Victory Tour in 1984. But did you know he also paid a visit to the Royal City?
The King of Pop in the Royal City
Mr. Jackson’s impromptu visit was facilitated by the police chief of the time, Mr. Jack Fordham. Fordham learned Michael was a big soccer fan, and contacted his publicists, telling them the police department ran a soccer school. Following Michael’s performance in Vancouver, members of the New Westminster police force were deployed to his hotel, and escorted his car back to the Royal City.
This was not a high profile public event. Very few residents of New West knew the visit was even happening. One of the officer in attendance is quoted saying “You wouldn’t have known he was there, that was one of the prerequisites.”
Bestowing an Honour
Michael was even given a Badge 49 during his visit. He became an honorary member of the New West police department. Additionally, He was presented with a full on police uniform, badge, caps and ID card, as well as soccer jerseys and paraphernalia. In return, Jackson donated a signed soccer ball, and during the visit, he and all the police wore matching sunglasses. Jackson was not a “demanding diva,” as some would expect of someone so famous. On the contrary, those quoted during Jackson’s visit agreed he was a kind, humble man who did not demand fuss or attention.
It was an exciting moment for the Royal City. One of the world’s biggest pop stars of the time paying City Hall a visit. This occurrence was at the height of Jackson’s fame. Just two years after the now cult classic “Thriller” was released. It was a brush with greatness. Those who got the pleasure of being there surely will not forget their afternoon with the King of Pop.