Yitkon Ho

1893 -

Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts (Diploma 1929)
Alpine Club
Tyee Ski Runners' Club
American Esperanto Society

From 1929 graduating class photo

Yitkon Ho was born near Canton, in China, and came to Canada in 1911, age 18. He worked in a Chinese grocery store, and then opened his own tailoring business.

He took up mountain climbing around 1920, becoming the first climber to ascend Mount Garibaldi solo, and climbed the Lions many times, among other mountains.

He was a founding student at the VSDAA in 1925, and the only Asian member of its first graduating class in 1929. In 1925 he was living at 310 Union Street, in 1927 at 317 Union Street, and in 1929 at 438 Main Street. After graduation Ho basically dropped out of sight in the Vancouver art world, and there is no trace, so far, of his exhibiting any artwork after graduating.

1929 Graduating Class

The visitor's book of the B.C. Art League, on file at the City of Vancouver Archives, has a number of signatures by Ho, visiting their exhibitions in November 1927, January, April, July and October 1928, and February and April 1929. On April 6 1929 he visited with Chow Choy.

There is a smattering of correspondence between the artist and A.S. Grigsby on file at the Vancouver Art Gallery Archives, regarding the possibility of Ho putting work into a show, per below, probably referring to the 1932 PASOVAS exhibition. Number 8, West Pender Street, was known as the narrowest building in the world.

Room 1 - 8 W. Pender
Vancouver City
August 6, 1932

Mr. A.S. Grigsby
Vancouver Art Gallery
Dear Sir:

   I received your favour and an exhibition entry form on the 4th inst. with many thanks. I very glad that, But I not yet get any picture of my work at present. Now I try to sketch some days. Soon I correspondence to you again for what classification of picture on hand.

Yours truly,
Yitkon Ho

The 1938 and 1940 City Directories list "Ho, Yet Kon prop Yukon Uniform r 19 E Pender" making "aprons and uniforms" at the same address.

1942 newspaper clipping

The 1942 clipping indicates that he had been "climbing ... for some ... 22 years" but living here for at least 30 years. It also mentions the writer talking to Ho in his "tailor shop." The 1942 article also noted that Ho had learned Esperanto. Two issues of the American Esperanto Magazine from 1946 and 1950 list Ho as a member of the American Esperanto Society. The 1946 issue had a line item about Ho written in Esperanto, noting that he had traveled "across the continent" to attend the annual Congress. The 1950 issue showed a photograph of Ho posing with other attendees at the 40th EANA Congress in Portageville, New York, July 7 - 10, 1950.

1946 Esperanto journal photograph

1946 Esperanto journal article

In 1947 Ho was retired as a tailor, living at 252 West Broadway, making mountain climbing expeditions to Garibaldi, Golden, Banff, and Vancouver Island, and had recently taken up ice skating.

A 1954 clipping has him still up on the mountains. Later still, a 1975 clipping notes that he is deceased.

BC Vital Statistics has no information on Ho as of January 2024.



Vancouver School of Art - The Early Years, 1925 - 1939, by E. Theodore Lindberg
      1980 Sept. 15 - Oct 15, The Inaugural Exhibition of the Charles H. Scott Gallery; no ISBN
      Exhibition catalogue, 36 pages; instructor & student work illustrated in colour and b&w
      Includes Introduction by Robin Mayer; historical survey, list of paintings, bibligraphy.

First Class - Four Graduates From The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts
      1987, Letia Richardson; The Floating Curatorial Gallery at Women in Focus
      Exhibition catalogue; ISBN 0-921823-03-7
      Includes survey essay of women artists in Vancouver.

List of Students and Graduates 1925 - 1950.


"One of the most familiar sights to week-end skiers on Grouse, Hollyburn and Seymour Mountain for the past two decades is Yitkon Ho. He is one of the very few Chinese skiers in Vancouver, and probably the best known. ... (continues) "
      From "Ski Heil: Clever People" by Don Tyrell
      Vancouver Province, April 10 1942

" ... kaj Yitkon Ho de Vancouver, nia tre satata cina samideano kiu vojagis trans la tutan kontinenton por ceesti la kongreson."
      From "Esperantistoj De Kanado"
      American Esperantist, September-October 1946 issue, Volume 61 numbers 9-10.

"The name is Yitkon Ho. Believed to be the first man to scale 8787 foot Mt. Garibaldi alone, he's an unassuming 54 year old city Chinese. To prove he reached the top, he brought back a picture taken from the peak. ... (continues)"
      From "Mt. Garibaldi Scaled by Lone City Chinese"
      Vancouver Province, August 13 (?) 1947

"Veteran ski mountaineer Yitkon Ho was back on Seymour for the weekend and among the crowd on the upper and better portions of the mountain."
      From "Ski Heil: Skiers Take to Hills In Town, on Mountains" by Don Tyrell
      Vancouver Sun, January 19 1954

"During these periods we were deluged by prints, trips to China-town and fortunately through a Chinese Boy, Yitkon Ho, Chinese food."
      From unpublished address by Fred Amess n.d.
      Painting in Canada: A History, J. Russell Harper, U of Toronto Press, 1966

" ... and Yitkon Ho, deceased."
      From "Monument to Principal"
      Vancouver Province, August 1 1975