Peter Allard was of mixed French Canadian and English-Scottish ancestry. The Allards came from Poitiers, France, to New France in the 1680s, while his mother's family, the Dallamores (Peter's maternal grandfather) came from St. Helena and South Africa via Somersetshire, England at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and the Ritchies, Macdonalds, and Camerons came to Canada from around Stirling and Edinburgh, Scotland, in about 1900.
Peter and his twin brother, Charles Richard Allard, were born in Boston in 1946, the sons of Dr. Charles Alexander Allard (1919-1991), a Canadian doctor who was then completing his post doctoral degree in surgery at the Lahey Clinic in Boston. Their mother was Effie ("Betty") Cameron Allard (nee Dallamore), and their older brother and sister were John Cameron (Cam) and Judith Frances ("Judy"). The family moved to Montreal in 1947 and to Edmonton a year later, where Dr. Allard became Chief of Surgery at the Edmonton General Hospital. In 1951, his parents separated and his mother, with her four children, moved to Vancouver. Peter was educated at Queen Elizabeth School and Lord Byng, where he was active in the drama class. He and his twin brother were also active in the Boy Scouts.
Meanwhile Dr. Allard, in addition to a full time surgeon's role, became involved in finance and business. Among his interests were the oil sands, methanol, petroleum development, radio, television, car dealerships, sports franchises (the Edmonton Oilers), jet aviation, construction, land development, insurance, trust companies, and banking (the Bank of Alberta, which later merged with the Canadian Western Bank).
Peter attended law school at UBC from 1968-71. Among the professors he remembered were Leon Getz, George Curtis, Tony Shepherd, Jerome Atrens, Michael Jackson, Bertie MacClean, and Jim McIntyre. Among his friends were the feisty Roger Cardinal of Victoria (of French Canadian ancestry), Allan Rogers, who became a legislative drafter in Victoria, Rolando Wiebel of Geneva, Switzerland (LLM), and Rocco Bonzanigo (LLM) of Lugano, Switzerland. His twin brother Charles (Chuck) Allard graduated a year after him at UBC, and his niece Wendy King followed in 1994. Of his two half siblings, Tony Allard and Cathy Roozen (nee Allard), Tony graduated from Law at the University of Alberta in the 1980s.
Dr. Allard had wanted both Peter and his twin brother to work in Edmonton, for law firms that he did business with, but in the end, Chuck returned to Edmonton while Peter stayed in Vancouver and articled and practiced for the Law Firm of Barbeau, McKercher, Collingwood, and Hanna, with Jacques Barbeau as his mentor. He built up his own client base and soon formed Allard & Company in 1976, which specialized in property law. He had two partners, and several other lawyers and articling students from time to time, and headed the firm for twenty years. He recalls the dedicated and incredible help of many top-notch secretaries and administrators over those years, especially Phyllis Glassock for the first five years and then the outstanding service of his assistant and friend, Dennie Flynn.
Following his father's death in 1991, Peter started the Highbury Foundation. He became a non-practicing lawyer in December 1993, selling his interest in his law firm to his two remaining law partners. From that time, Peter was active in managing investments and assisting philanthropically, both through the Highbury Foundation and on his own account, including grants and investments for clinical research through several organizations.
Mr. Allard's $30 million gift to UBC in 2015, the largest gift ever to a Canadian law school, marked a transformational moment in the law school's history. He chose to make this investment to enable students to pursue a profession that strives to create a more just society. This historic donation will enable the Faculty to achieve global recognition for the strength of its programs and bring unprecedented benefits to students and faculty - both now and in the future.
Other projects that Mr. Allard has championed through his earlier gift of $11.86 million include the construction of Allard Hall, the creation of the law school's History Project, and the launch of the Allard Prize for International Integrity. Established in 2012 at the University of British Columbia, and funded by donations from Mr. Peter A. Allard, Q.C., the CAD $100,000 Allard Prize for International Integrity is awarded biennially to an individual, movement or organization that has demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption or protecting human rights, especially through promoting transparency, accountability, and the Rule of Law. The Allard Prize was launched in 2012 and became independent of the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia on June 21, 2019.
Mr. Allard's efforts reflected a defining characteristic of UBC law graduates: a commitment to the pursuit of justice. Like others before him and the generations that follow, Mr. Allard sought to inspire and provoke, to persuade and persevere, and to pursue justice at the local and international levels. UBC is proud to recognize Mr. Allard's inspiring example to future generations through the law school and building that bear his name: the Peter A. Allard School of Law and Allard Hall.
For more, listen to the Allard Law History Project interview with Peter Allard.