“If I Could Turn Back Time” Campaign for Ray

Canadian clock master, Raymond Lee Saunders, made the world famous Vancouver Gastown Steam Clock in 1977. Known by his friends and family as, “Father Time”, this well known 79-year-old now needs your help.

On Thursday, September 12th, while working on a clock in Trenant Park Square in Delta, BC, Ray fell 15ft off a ladder, suffering grave injuries. He is currently being treated at Vancouver General Hospital for a fractured pelvis, a broken vertebra (L1), three cracked ribs, a nicked spleen and iliac artery, and a badly dislocated and fractured left shoulder.  He had a cranial contusion requiring 10 stitches, his elbow has 5 stitches and while in Emergency he required three units of blood.

Ray underwent three separate surgical procedures:  One immediate vascular surgery to repair the bleed in his iliac artery and spleen, one to start the repair of his shoulder, and finally, an 8-hour surgery to plate, pin and stabilize his pelvis and spine. He spent five days on the trauma ward of VGH, and only close family members had visiting permission. 

Gastown’s Steam Clock is enjoyed by millions of people every year, but Ray has never received royalties from any of the millions of photos, album covers, t-shirts and other things displaying the images of his most famous clock.  Although the clock is his Trademarked image he has never pursued copyright infringement of the image of the clock by any of the hundreds of products with its likeness. He has also spent tens of thousands of his own money and time on this and other clocks, without compensation, for the love of providing Landmark clocks for the enjoyment of the public. 


Ray will be recuperating from this accident for about six months - to a year - if no complications develop. This is a new reality for him and he will have to delegate his work load, adapt his living and working space, including multiple therapies and support as he progresses in his healing. 

His monthly expenses are currently in the range of $4000 per month, which includes rent for his apartment, workshop and storage, food, necessities, medicine and utilities, insurance and car payments. 

Doctors foresee that if all goes well Ray might be able to go home in three months’ time - if his apartment can be modified.  This means installing a stair lift, bed rail, shower rails, shower chair and the purchase of a few pieces of adapted furniture (specialized bed, reclining chair etc). 

The goal is to raise $100,000, in the hopes that Ray’s expenses will be covered for the year, and for the adaptations to his apartment to be made. His long-term goal is to “return to making my metal art”.  He also hopes to return to managing the clock projects he has contracts on,however this may not be possible with limited mobility. 

Still working full time at 79:

Ray maintains many other clocks around Vancouver and throughout BC, especially during the daylight savings time change-over.  Because of his major accident he will not be able to fulfill his contracts and will have to hire people to do this work for him. He has built over 250 clocks in his career, with a total of 7 Steam Clocks: several in the Lower Mainland, as well as one in Australia, one in Indianapolis and two in Japan.

Ray is a kind and generous man who has been involved heavily in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, plus the Lions Club and Young Men’s Adventure Weekend charities, and previously with the Gastown Business Improvement Society.  He has also been a selfless provider to many needy people in his life, from the artists and street people who live in the Gastown area, to friends and family. He continues to be charitable - to a fault - to many people in his life, with now a detrimental financial effect to his own.

Ray was unable to save money for retirement, instead he continued working and ultimately pushing himself to do public projects to maintain a living into his late 70’s. We would like to give him the gift of a worry-free retirement, one where he does not feel compelled to get up on ladders to make a living and pay his bills.

Ray Saunders has contributed a huge amount to the City of Vancouver in his landmark public clocks. Other companies have benefited and still benefit from using his Trademarked image.  We think it is fitting that he gets the true payback of his tireless years of work: the gift of time.

His children describe him well: “Dad has always been a giver, first and foremost, from his charity work to leaving a lasting legacy, at personal cost, to the world through his creations and clocks. He has been a selfless ambassador of this city for decades.  Income was never a concern as he always had things in the pipeline to cover his cost of living and his generous giving. Now he needs some help as much as he will hate to admit it.” -Jim, Marion, Julia, Kate, Stevan. 

Message from organizer:

My name is Pascale-Sara, and I have known Ray and have been a part of his extended family for the last ten years. I will be helping Ray manage the GoFundMe finances, and the necessary mobility adaptation projects until he gets home. All the money generously donated will be carefully tracked, as I will be responsible for ensuring that his monthly bills are all paid until he is able to  do so himself. 

Thank you for sharing this campaign 




Donations ()

    • $25 
    • 15 d
  • Bruce Whetstone 
    • $15 
    • 15 d
  • Carol Lynn 
    • $20 
    • 15 d
  • Adam Abrams 
    • $15 
    • 16 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
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James Lee Saunders 
Burnaby, BC
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