3 generations of Vancouver bus drivers toast great-grandfather's 100th in vintage bus

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3 generations of Vancouver bus drivers toast great-grandfather's 100th in vintage bus

For his 100th birthday, John Harlow's family wanted to give him a ride down memory lane, literally.

They rented a 1964 G.M.C. for the former bus driver to do a Sunday morning tour through some of his life's most pivotal stops around Metro Vancouver.

It was a vehicle Harlow was familiar with.

"I drove trolleys, I drove G.M.C.'s, I drove everything there was to drive," he said.

Vancouver city buses have special meaning for the Harlow family, three generations have entered the profession including his son, David, and grand-daughter, Michelle Fullard.

"I'd call us bus royalty," she laughed.

For the special occasion, the family turned the outside of the centenarian's bungalow  — a home he's lived in since he built it in 1950 — into a vintage bus stop complete with a wooden sign.

During the ride, Harlow toured his old bus routes in East Vancouver. 

He stopped at St.Thomas Anglican Church on E. 41st Avenue where he got married in 1940. That led to four children, 23 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Then, they visited Sea Island where Harlow started off working as a driver for Boeing during the Second World War.

In 1945, he began his 34-year career with what is now known as the Coast Mountain Bus Company.

"He did better than we thought," said David. "He stayed awake for the whole trip. It was four hours."

When asked for his advice for young drivers, Harlow was honest with his wisdom.

"I don't think I'd recommend it, " he said with a chuckle. "It's a tough racket."

With files from Doug Kerr