The Toy family has been a prominent business leader in Hope for over five decades.
James Wo Chang immigrated to Manitoba at the age of 15 from China with virtually no schooling. Determined to earn an education, he moved west after finishing high school to work at a pulp and paper mill in B.C. Mastering English and French as second and third languages, he was able to enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program at the University of British Columbia. Upon graduation in 1961, James moved to Hope as a staff pharmacist at Scott’s Pharmacy and eventually purchased the store. It wasn’t until his son Galen graduated as a pharmacist from UBC in 1991 and partnered with his father that they renamed the store Toy’s Pharmacy.
All three of James’ children have followed in his footsteps. However, Galen said he never actively encouraged them to pursue a career in pharmacy.
“I think all three of us had an aptitude for science and a specific interest in health science,” he said. “Just watching dad in his daily duties here at the store, you just saw how he enjoyed the work and what he was doing as a member of the health care team in town and how rewarding that was for him.”
James’ daughters Malaine and Junine graduated with pharmacy degrees from UBC in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Junine now works as a clinical pharmacist in the John Ruedy Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Galen is the only sibling still living in Hope.
“I knew that I always wanted to practice in a small town because in the larger centres, it’s more difficult to know your patients,” he said. “I was genuinely interested in learning who my patients were and doing everything to serve them. I’m now serving patients that are in some cases four generations of families at one time.”
Giving back to the community is a value that’s been passed down through the generations. Outside of the pharmacy, James was involved with the Rotary Club, golf club, curling club and hospital board. Galen also currently serves at the curling club president.
The Toy’s recently provided a $150,000 pledge towards the new Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences building at UBC. In recognition of their contributions to the profession, a seminar room has been named on behalf of the family.
“I wanted dad to be honoured in some way,” said Galen. “I thought what better place to do it than at the university where it all started.”