When a young black man named Seraphim "Joe" Fortes arrived in Vancouver in 1885, with little to his name, no one could possibly have suspected that one hundred years later he would be voted "Citizen of the Century". This is the first biography of the West Indian sailor who became a local legend, saving lives and teaching three generations of Vancouver children how to swim. Joe's rise to fame began in Liverpool, when a midnight race across the Mersey River with fellow members of the Secret Daredevil Club established his reputation as a swimmer of extraordinary talent. In the years ahead, he would sail around Cape Horn, shine shoes, tend bars, and rescue a mother and child from the Great Vancouver Fire. On a chance rowboat ride, he would find his "perfect place" in English Bay, where the untold story truly begins to evolve. In 1900, after years of volunteering, Joe was officially hired by the City of Vancouver as lifeguard, swimming instructor and special constable of English Bay beach. Colourful, often poignant details chronicle Joe's many adventures both on and off shore, along with his deeply personal relationship with the people of Vancouver. On 7 February 1922, after decades of Joe's exemplary service, thousands of mourners lined Vancouver streets to bid farewell to their friend Joe. His legacy continues today, with one of Vancouver's libraries named after him. Part of the proceeds from this biography are being donated to the Lifesaving Society/Societe de Sauvetage du Canada.