Cyril E. Leonoff, a professional engineer, contributed the text for a lavish collection of photos by B.C.'s pre-eminent photographer for the first half of the century, Leonard Frank, an industrial photographer who documented the rise of British Columbia.

Born in Germany in 1870, Leonard Frank was the son of a photographer. At age 22, he went to the California gold fields and gravitated north to Port Alberni where he managed a general store. Following his move to Vancouver in 1917, he became the most successful commercial photographer in the city, documenting the growth of vibrant industries. From 1920 until his death in 1944, Frank was the official Dominion of Canada photographer on the West Coast. He also documented the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II for the B.C. Security Commission, generating the impression that the confiscation of property and the evacuation and forced incarceration of thousands was orderly and humane. Including a biography of Frank, Leonoff's coffee table book won numerous awards including the City of Vancouver Heritage Award and a B.C. Historical Association Award. He released a follow-up volume of 20th century B.C. photography in 1997.

Leonoff's first book was a pictorial history of Jews in B.C. and the Yukon. He also wrote a 1994 corporate history of the engineering firm Klohn Leonoff Ltd. of which he has long been a partner. The book outlines Klohn Leonoff's participation in megaprojects such as the Kemano-Kitimat power and smelter development, pulp mill complexes, development of the Peace River hydroelectric complex, commencement of open-pit minings and tailings disposal sites. The company was founded by Charles F. Ripley in 1951. Leonoff, an engineer by profession, has been active with the Jewish Historical Society, Vancouver Historical Society and Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee. He was born in Winnipeg in February of 1925 and arrived in New Westminster in 1949. He has received two Vancouver Heritage Awards, a Vancouver Historical Society award, a B.C. Historical Society certificate of merit, an Canadian Historical Association award of merit, a Bumbershoot Limited Edition design award, a B.C. Professional Engineers Community Service Award and a National Council of Jewish Women of Canada Award in the Arts and Humanities.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Bridges of Light: Otto Landauer of Leonard Frank Photos, 1945-1980 b
A Dedicated Team: Klohn Leonoff Consulting Engineers, 1951-1991
Pioneer Jews of British Columbia
Pioneers, Pedlars, and Prayer Shawls. The Jewish Communities in British Columbia and the Yukon
The Rise of Jewish Life and Religion in British Columbia, 1858-1948


Pioneers, Peddlars and Prayer Shawls: The Jewish Communities in B.C. and the Yukon (Sono Nis, 1978)
The Jewish Farmers of Western Canada (Western States Jewish History, 1984)
An Enterprising Life: Leonard Frank Photographs 1895-1944 (Talonbooks, 1990)
A Dedicated Team: Klohn Leonoff Consulting Engineers 1951-1991 (BiTech Publishers, 1994)
Bridges of Light: Otto Landauer of Leonard Frank Photos 1945-1980 (Talonbooks, 1997)
Pioneer Jews of British Columbia (Western States Jewish History & The Scribe, 2005). Co-author.
The Rise of Jewish Life and Religion in British Columbia, 1858-1948 (The Scribe, The Journal of the Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia, 2008).

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2008] "Photography" "Classic" "Jewish"