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Gerhard Sixta

January 17, 1935

October 24, 2023

Gerhard Sixta, a distinguished member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, passed away peacefully in the presence of his loved ones on October 24, 2023. Despite facing numerous challenges in his early life, Gerhard lived a meaningful and rewarding existence, leaving a lasting impact on the cities he resided in and the people who cherished him. Born in Vienna in 1935, his childhood was overshadowed by the effects of war. However, under the guidance of his mother and grandfather, he pursued education and developed a deep admiration for nature.

After completing his degree in architecture at the Technical University of Vienna, Gerhard was granted a Fulbright Scholarship, which led him to pursue a post-graduate degree in Urban Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Overcoming the obstacles he encountered, he excelled in his studies and later contributed to various architectural projects in Eastern Canada. Notably, he served as the project architect for the Grand Theatre du Quebec and the EXPO 67 stadium in Montreal.

Driven by a yearning for adventure, Gerhard eventually relocated to the Vancouver area. In 1970, he authored the book “Urban Structure,” presenting his visionary concept of “metro towns” to enable Vancouver’s expected population expansion. His innovative ideas were embraced by the City of Burnaby, resulting in the creation of the first “MetroTown” and subsequent developments in the Brentwood area. Additionally, Gerhard held prominent positions, such as Director of Planning for the city of Surrey, and later became the Municipal Administrator for Tofino in the 1990s, where he played a pivotal role in establishing the foundations for the town’s transformation into a world-class travel destination.

Gerhard possessed a diverse range of talents and interests, truly embodying a renaissance spirit. Apart from establishing an architectural school and teaching at UBC, he was an avid ski instructor, an active member of the Sea Kayak Association of BC, and an accomplished horseback rider. His passion for fishing led him to captain a commercial fishing boat, while his love for mountain hikes found expression in his well-worn lederhosen. Retirement allowed him to explore his enthusiasm for cycling through the picturesque Alps. He was also recognized for his skills as a ballroom dancer, cook, and artist. Gerhard’s organized nature was apparent in his exceptional packing and storage systems, surpassing even the standards set by Marie Kondo.

Being a proud and loving father and grandfather, Gerhard also acted as a mentor and father figure to many others. Known for his wise counsel on topics ranging from culinary delights to the convergence of science and religion, he touched the lives of numerous individuals. Gerhard leaves behind a vast circle of friends from all walks of life, and although his departure brings moments of both joy and sorrow, he would urge everyone to focus on the happiness he experienced throughout his long and fulfilling life. His final spoken word was “happy.”

Gerhard is survived by his devoted wife Christine Sixta, his children Marcus Sixta (Serey Sinn) and Claudia Sixta, as well as his four grandchildren, Austin, Isabella, Amarah, and Bodhi, in addition to six step-grandchildren. A funeral mass in memory of Gerhard will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help on November 3, 2023, commencing at 11:00am, with a viewing available from 10:00am. Furthermore, a reception will follow at The Vancouver Club, beginning at 1:30pm. All acquaintances of Gerhard are warmly invited to attend these events as a tribute to his life and accomplishments.

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