The B.C. Lions made Ken Arkell’s 90th birthday one to remember.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) club named Arkell, a former longtime Vernon resident, its latest Heart of a Lion winner on his birthday Sunday, Dec. 6.
The Heart of a Lion program recognizes British Columbians whose notable efforts make a positive impact.
Arkell suited up for the Lions as a lineman in 1956 and 1957 (and also played for the Ottawa Rough Riders), yet that’s far from the only impressive note on his resume.
After starting out in law enforcement, being accepted to medical school and spending 30 years as a judge on various levels of provincial courts, Arkell certainly has the Heart of a Lion.
He left his family farm in Southern Ontario and decided to join the RCMP. It was the Mounties that first brought Arkell to British Columbia, where he was first posted in Ocean Falls, a small central B.C. community that was policed entirely by boat.
He then moved to New Westminster and primarily worked prison escort duty between B.C. Penitentiary, Okalla Prison Farm and B.C. Supreme Court.
It was while he was still playing football when he started studying law at UBC, noting that Friday and Monday games made it hard to get to class and keep up with fellow students.
Arkell got his degree and headed north to Dawson Creek to begin practising law. A few years later, he was appointed Provincial Court District Judge for the Peace River Region.
During his time as Associate Chief Judge of the British Columbia Provincial Court, Arkell authored the new Provincial Court Act in 1975 which would establish new rules in regards to salaries, pensions, security of tenure and administrative independence, all based on his own research.
Arkell moved to Vernon and finished his career by serving on the Supreme Court of British Columbia from 1990-99 in Vernon and Kelowna. Since his retirement, he has enjoyed time with his wife of 60 years, Olivia, his children and grandchildren.
The Arkells live in Kelowna.