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West Vancouver memorial scholarship honours Keen Lau and his dog Loki

The pair died in a tragic drowning accident in West Van's Cypress Creek last year
Keen Lau and his dog Loki embrace on a hike overlooking West Vancouver. | Lisa Park

When Keen Lau was in high school, his dream was to become a marine biologist.

Now, a new memorial scholarship will help other aspiring graduates from West Vancouver schools reach that goal.

The Keen and Loki Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund has been set up to honour Lau and his Labrador retriever, who both lost their lives in a tragic drowning accident in Cypress Creek last May.

Each year, the scholarship will be awarded to a high school graduate who plans to study marine biology or veterinary medicine.

Lau had a profound love of animals, and could even talk to them, says widow Lisa Park.

That ability extended to interpreting Loki’s vocabulary of barks.

“I can’t understand dog words, but he understands right away, like, ‘Oh, that means Loki is hungry,’” Park said, breaking into laughter.

Other qualities sought in the scholarship’s recipient include volunteering at the community and/or school level, as well as achievement in sports – skiing, cycling and swimming in particular.

Over the years, Lau had volunteered with BC Mountain Foundation, B.C. Children’s Hospital and the HSBC-sponsored First Nations Youth Rugby Clinic. He also ran for a West Vancouver council seat in the 2022 municipal election, where he garnered more than 2,700 votes but did not win.

Park also highlighted the love that she and Lau shared for children.

“I’m a teacher, Keen and I tried to have a baby, and unfortunately we had two miscarriages,” she said. “He loved kids. I loved kids.

“We talked about how giving back to the community is really important – that’s why he ran for council…. So I was thinking, ‘What can I do to do have people remember Keen in the community?’”

Park is funding the scholarship’s first year herself, but is working with the West Vancouver Foundation to set up a fund so that the scholarship can continue to go out to students many years into the future.

On April 30 at 10 a.m., Park is extending an open invitation to the Keen Lau Fitness Circuit in Ambleside, which is nearing completion after West Vancouver council put the project forward last year.