Ivan Ackery was born Ivor Frederick Wilson Ackery in Bristol, England in 1899. He attended the Duke of York Military School in Dover, before leaving school at 14 to go to work. On October 14th, 1914, he left Liverpool to make the journey to Canada, which was sponsored by his mother, who had already been living in Canada for several years.
A year after arriving and working as an elevator operator and bellboy at the Grosvenor Hotel, he went into the Vancouver Army Recruiting office and lied about his age. He was accepted as a recruit for the 102nd Canadian Expeditionary Forces Battalion on Christmas Eve, 1915. However, he was discharged less than a year later when his age was discovered, on September 18, 1916.
He returned to Vancouver and to work as an elevator operator at the Hudson's Bay Store, although this only lasted a few short months. On November 29th, he enlisted a second time, and got away with lying about his age. He joined up with the 143rd Battalion, and proceeded to fight at Vimy Ridge. One of the lucky ones who returned, Ivan came back to Canada in July, 1919.
After a number of other odd jobs in Vancouver, Ivan began working as an Usher at the Capitol Theatre in Calgary, a new theatre that had been opened by Famous Players. He managed several theatres in Vancouver and Victoria before he became the manager of the Orpheum Theatre in 1935, where he continued to work until his forced retirement at age 65.
Ivan was a friend of Alex Philip's, and spent a great deal of time visiting Rainbow Lodge. A small article in "Box Office" from September 7th, 1940 mentions that Ivan had just returned from his favourite vacation spot, Rainbow Lodge. His friendship with Alex is evidenced in the fact that in 1933 Canada's first "talkie," based on Alex's novel "The Crimson Paradise," enjoyed a debut run at the Capitol Theatre in Victoria due to Ivan's promotional efforts.