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Town Talk: Fishing tourney raises $800,000 for Canucks Autism Network


Canucks Autism Network co-founder Paolo Aquilini and CEO Britt Andersen flanked winger Jake Virtanen before the Fishing For Kids tourney reportedly raised $800,00O with Virtanen hooking the prize fish.


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SPECIAL TEAM: Some Vancouver Canucks team members, owners, officials and supporters flew to Haida Gwaii’s West Coast Fishing Lodge recently and reportedly raised $800,000 for the Canucks Autism Network. The 14th annual Fishing For Kids tournament began with an Old West-style reception at Pacific Gateway Hotel where participants met 2019 “champion child” Christian Stoll, 13, who accompanied them.


Garth and Anne Stoll’s son Christian, 13, who has autism, joined Fishing For Kids participants in Hadia Gwaii as the $800,000 tournament’s “champion child.”

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The 31.11-pound champion salmon was caught by Canucks winger Jake Virtanen who, after all, is trained to put things in the net. The fish was promptly released and, according to the tradition of winners returning their prizes, only Virtanen’s $200,000 went into the pot.


Adler University board chair Joy MacPhail joined Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin Realty at a dinner where graduate Udo Erasmus donated $500,000.

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GOOD U TURN: Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin spoke warmly about Adler University at a dinner atop Bob Rennie’s Wing Sang Building. The private institution, which grants postgraduate degrees in counselling psychology, social justice, public policy and the like, was spun off from a 1952-founded Chicago original in 1979. The varsity’s “culture and direction are shaped by “diversity, pluralism, inclusion … and gender and economic equality,” Austin said. As well, “Students, faculty and administration are fortunate to participate in a learning culture … (that) not only values real-life community engagement but requires it.”

Austin’s remarks cheered Adler board chair Joy MacPhail who holds the same role with ICBC. MacPhail also co-owns the OUTtv network with husband and movie producer James Shavick. Fortifying his approval with hard cash, 1988 Adler grad Udo Erasmus, who founded and heads the Udo’s Choice health supplements firm, donated $500,000 to his alma mater.


Ready to leave for Rome in July, Consul general Massimiliano Iacchini and wife Sara attended the Italian Cultural Centre’s national-day festivities.

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Laura Boldrini, the former president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, was welcomed by Italian Cultural Centre executive director Joan D’Angola Kluge.

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ROAD TO ROME: Local community members filled the Italian Cultural Centre hall for National Day celebrations that included ample food and ballroom dancing to Italy’s visiting Orchestra Casadai. The event was a figurative last waltz for Consul General Massimiliano Iacchini and wife Sara. After four “very enriching” years, they’ll leave in July for 24 months in Rome before his next posting. He was congratulated by Italy’s former Chamber of Deputies president Laura Boldrini, who had earlier addressed Women Deliver conference delegates here.


Admiring a low-slung Alfa Romeo roadster at an earlier Italian Cultural Centre event, Ezio Bortolussi recently built Western Canada’s tallest tower.

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Bidding the Iacchinis farewell, city-based Newway Concrete Forming president Ezio Bortolussi recently completed the Stantec tower in Edmonton’s Ice District that, at 251 metres, is the tallest west of Toronto.


Abigail Rintoul, five, is enrolled at Montessori-themed Little Kitchen Academy where she expects to expand upon her existing cookie-baking skills.

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STOVE TOTS: Brian and Felicity Curin opened a school for three-to-teens at 10th-off-Dunbar recently. Their Montessori-themed Little Kitchen Academy teaches culinary skills, mostly in five three-hour sessions costing $300 to $375. The event was a second educational launch in the neighbourhood for co-president-COO Felicity Curin’s family. Her father, Clive Austin, was private West Point Grey Academy’s founding headmaster. Little Kitchen co-president-CEO Brian Curin founded such chain retailers as Cold Stone Creamery and Flip Flop Stores. He rebounded from a heart attack at age 38 and now chairs the Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon.


Executive Group principal Salim Sayani and wife Farah opened the Exchange hotel’s Hydra Café & Bar that features a public-art terrazzo floor.

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LOOKING UP: Getting high in a bar is one thing. But what if the bar itself is high, with a ceiling 18 metres above a swirling-patterned Italian terrazzo floor that is a bonafide piece of public art? Such is the case at the 9,000-square-foot Hydra café and bar in the EXchange Hotel. That 202-room hotel occupies the 1929-built Vancouver Stock Exchange building where speculative securities were pumped sky-high one day and sank basement-low the next. North Vancouver-born Executive Hotels & Resorts principal Salim Sayani, who opened Hydra, owns the nearby Soleil hotel, 11 others in Canada and three in the U.S. His 72-room SeaSide Hotel and spa will open imminently in the Lower Lonsdale district where wife Farah recently chaired a $1.2-million gala for Lions Gate Hospital.


Dr. Dan Renouf attended Hanna Molnar’s at-home reception for those supporting B.C. Cancer’s vision for a pancreatic cancer rapid-access clinic

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UNENDED JOURNEY: As a girl seeking refuge from Russia’s advancing Red Army, Hanna Hoyos-Molnar walked across Hungary and Austria “with everything I owned in a little bag.” Today, she hopes fellow Canadians will put pancreatic cancer behind them. At her Shaughnessy home recently, Hoyos-Molnar hosted a reception to support the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s participation in a rapid-access clinic for pancreatic-cancer patients. Of the 700 Canadians diagnosed annually, many have Stage IV ailments that cannot be cured. Screening methodology for early onset has yet to be found. Still, Pancreas Centre B.C. co-director Dr. Dan Renouf, who addressed reception guests, believes that success will come “in five to 10 years.”

ANMORE BEFORE: That recent rambunctious party wasn’t the first celebratory event to be held on Anmore acreage. Late Greenpeace co-founder-president Bob Hunter, who resided there, drew an equally large crowd — but no helicopters or exotic cars — to his 50th-birthday party in 1991. As one buckskin-jacketed, guitar-toting greybeard ambled past, Hunter said: “Y’know, we used to be out saving the planet, and now we’re trying to hang on to our hair and our teeth.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While vying with Pinocchio in a nose-growing contest, certain global leaders may recall a predecessor with a curious moustache and haircut who proclaimed that ordinary folk accept big lies as readily as small ones.

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