Seven playgrounds in Vancouver are in line to get a $4.5 million revamp, with a focus on “fun and challenging” play.
The Vancouver Park Board oversees 160 playgrounds across the city, and city officials say many of them need upgrades as they reach the end of their lifespans.
“We have a large park system that’s city wide,” said Tiina Mack, manager of park development with the park board.
“But we really see in the eastern and northern parts of our city [areas] where we have some aging facilities.”
The park board undertook a city-wide assessment of all the playgrounds in 2015, looking at things like age, condition and the potential for fun the parks have for people of all ages.
“It’s not only play value for the very young, but also for kids of older ages and maybe even for teenagers and adults,” Mack told CBC’s On The Coast.
“There’s nothing like a set of swings for someone of any age to have some fun.”
That’s part of what is behind the $4.5 million price tag: developing natural areas and gardens, protecting the trees in the area, adding additional amenities like seating and accessibility features.
“They become not only play spaces but social spaces,” she said.
The playgrounds slated for renewals are: Ash, Beaconsfield, Cedar Cottage, Charleson, Jones, Kaslo, and Winona parks. Construction is expected to start in the summer or early fall.
Two preschool play areas at Trout Lake and Thunderbird are also in the works. The park board is in conversations about upgrading the playgrounds at Champlain Heights Community Centre and Granville Park.
Replacing playgrounds is a priority for the city, the park board said in a written statement, and 17 playgrounds in Vancouver have been renovated since 2015.
Mack said play is crucial for kids to learn social skills and risk management and be active.
“Not only is it [good for] physical development but also cognitive development,” Mack said.
“We want kids to be able to be creative and use their imaginations.”
The Vancouver Park Board oversees 160 playgrounds across the city and, city officials say, many of them need upgrades as they reach the end of their lifespan. 6:04
The new St. Paul’s Hospital will feature a state of the art hearing loss centre, funded through $12 million in equal $6 million commitments from a Rotary Club foundation and the hospital’s own fundraising arm. PNG
The new St. Paul’s Hospital will feature a state of the art hearing loss centre, funded through $12 million in equal $6 million commitments from a Rotary Club foundation and the hospital’s own fundraising arm.
The Rotary Club of Vancouver has been supporting hearing loss or deafness for three decades. In 1985, it formed the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation to address an unmet need in the philanthropy community. Through bike-a-thons and other events, it has raised over $3.5 million.
But the $6 million pledge is the biggest fundraising challenge for the charity. Jack Zaleski, president of the Rotary’s hearing foundation, said the St. Paul’s endeavour will be separate from the smaller donor bike events.
“We recognize with this opportunity that we can do something truly extraordinary, creating the premier clinic for those afflicted with hearing problems and deafness, a centre where everything will be under one roof.”
Zaleski said the foundation will leave no stone unturned in its mission to raise money. It will approach pharmaceutical companies, technology companies and everyone else involved in supplying services and equipment for the hearing community.
The B.C. Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre will include examination rooms, surgical suites, research space and laboratories. Funds will be earmarked for audiology testing and research, tinnitus and vestibular conditions that often affect balance. Since hearing often affects seniors, the centre will have specialized care for those who, because of age, mobility and geography, are less likely to access specialized hearing care.
“Benefiting thousands of patients provincewide, this funding will help us transform the patient experience …” said Dr. Brian Westerberg, head of the division of otolaryngology at St. Paul’s.
He noted that hearing problems are sometimes linked to other conditions so the new centre will allow for improved interactions and collaborations between doctors and health researchers in numerous areas including neurology, physiotherapy, kinesiology, psychiatry, ophthalmology and gerontology
The existing BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital had 4,629 patient visits from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
Broek Bosma, chief development officer for the St. Paul’s Foundation, characterized the donation pledge by Rotary as a “golden opportunity we did not want to miss.”
St. Paul’s has been the province’s main referral centre for patients with complex ear and hearing problems and it was the first hospital in Canada to offer cochlear implants in 1982. Since then, nearly 800 adult patients have had the revolutionary procedure there. B.C. Children’s Hospital offers the procedure as well to pediatric patients.
BC Hydro is sitting on a surplus of about $2.9 million in its customer crisis fund, leading to calls for the utility to reduce its take from the average customer or provide more money to those in need.
B.C. Liberal Energy Critic Greg Kyllo said if the imbalance continues in the year-old pilot program, it’s time to cut the monthly 25 cent fee in half.
“If the grant requirement or the need in the province is going to remain where it is, they should look at rolling back the contribution level in the fund,” he told CTV News Vancouver from Salmon Arm.
But social agencies who were part of the consultation around the fund in the beginning said it’s more likely that people in need don’t know about the fund and more time is necessary to get the word out.
“If they collect the money, then the program’s got to change to make sure more people are able to be helped,” said Gudrun Langolf of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC.
The customer crisis fund was started in spring 2018 to give people short-term relief when they can’t pay their electricity bills. Customers can apply to get a grant of up to $500 to keep the lights on, and up to $600 if electricity heats their homes.
The public utility took in about 25 cents per customer per month which added up to a revenue of $4.5 million in the year since the program started, BC Hydro confirmed to CTV News.
But the agency only gave out 2,250 grants totalling $850,000.
Administration costs added up around $750,000 – leaving the $2.9 million remaining.
The news will come as a welcome relief to those who suddenly struggle to pay their hydro bills.
Some people who come into Disability Alliance B.C. are often anxious and emotional when they’re suddenly unable to pay their bills, said Shar Saremi, an advocate there.
“I’ve had people crying. I’ve had people who have experienced a loss in the family,” she said. “A lot of the time people are stressed out, anxious, really upset. They are looking for assistance, and they aren’t sure what is available for them.”
She said people are only eligible if their bills are under $1,000, which could be cutting out the people who are most in need. And because the program is in its first year, it could be undersubscribed, she said.
“A lot of people don’t know about the program, don’t know how to apply, or what kind of assistance is out there,” Saremi said.
The fund was established thanks to an order from the B.C. Utilities Commission, the utilities regulator in the province.
The pilot program is going to be examined by the regulator at the end of its first year.
“Any remaining balance in the account at the end of the pilot would be returned to residential ratepayers,” says a BCUC fact sheet. The decision on exactly what to do with the money hasn’t yet been made.
In Manitoba, a similar program is by donation. That program raised about $200,000 from customers and $60,000 in other income. It spent $199,000 on grants to applicants, but lost about $20,000 a year.
In Ontario, private utilities are expected to raise 0.12 per cent of their revenue. Across the province, those utilities gave out about $7.3 million in grants. Any unused funds in one year are rolled over to the following year.
Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Organizers say new federal funding will make this summer’s Pride festivities better than ever — and cement Vancouver’s role as a leading LGBTQ2+ travel destination.
Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie Melanie Joly recently announced $1 million in funding each for Pride events in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto over the next two years.
“It’s not only important for Vancouver Pride to become an international destination,” said Joly, “it’s a very strong message to everyone across the country that they can be themselves and they can feel safe and proud.“
Andrea Arnot, Pride Vancouver’s executive director, says the money will be used to bring back the Davie Street Party, install a licensed patio space and finance inclusivity training for local businesses.
The money will also support long-term projects like events for black, Indigenous, transgender, two-spirit and queer community members and a full accessibility audit of Pride. She says the organization will also look at hosting a powwow for two-spirit members.
“If people don’t see themselves represented at an event, they’re not going to come,” she said. “…. That helps people feel like they’re a part of and that they want to come and attend our event.”
The grant is part of the Canadian Experiences Fund, a $58.5 million investment to diversify and grow Canada’s tourism sector.
Joly says the investment capitalizes on Canada’s status as a destination for LGBTQ2+ tourism, an industry she says is worth as much as $200 billion USD.
“We’re viewed as a safe country to visit with lots of queer activities going on and safer spaces in our city that travellers might not have in their country of origin,” said Arnot.
Vancouver’s Pride Parade, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, was ranked as the 42nd best pride parade in the world by travel website HometoGo.
A 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, a San Francisco-based LGBTQ2+ marketing firm, found Vancouver was the third most-popular destination among gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women in Canada behind Toronto and Montreal.
The company, who partnered with the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and over a dozen other organizations, also found 79 per cent of LGBTQ2+ travellers with no plans to visit the United States were put off by the policies of the Trump administration.
Joly says events like Pride showcase Canada’s diversity and openness — one of many thing she believes will attract more visitors to the country.
“In Canada, you can be you,” said Joly. “And that’s why we can attract the world to come visit us.”
SOS Children’s Village B.C. executive director Douglas Dunn and gala chair Nesrine Jabbour looked forward to a 4.9-hectare Mission site providing up to 30 new houses for foster children and youths to occupy. Malcolm Parry / PNG
CRYSTAL CLEAR: Chairing the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Crystal Ball for the second time, interior designer Jennifer Johnston saw it raise approximately $4 million. That is a substantial increase, if less precisely, over last year’s $2,815,129. The Beedie Group-sponsored 35th-annual event’s theme was unchanged, though. Funds raised will support B.C.’s “84,000 children and youth experiencing mental health issues,” of whom, “70 per cent aren’t getting the care they need,” Johnston said.
Raising four megabucks is now now more or less expected by big-time galas. Still, this Zen-themed event’s attendees witnessed something less achievable. As waidoko drummer Nori Akagi generated rolling thunder, Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos played the four-finger-hole shakuhachi bamboo flute with fluency, tonal frequency and chromatic range that might mentally challenge others striving to do so.
JUSTICE SERVED: At its recent gala The Justice Institute of B.C. Foundation honoured Marvin Storrow with the Anthony P. Pantages QC Award. It recognized the litigator and former gala chair having “made a significant contribution in the field of justice.” The award also symbolically reconnected Storrow to a fellow “east-end yo-yo champion when we were kids.” That was former Supreme Court of Canada justice and past honoree Frank Iacobucci.
Longtime B.C. Sports Hall of Fame trustee Storrow attended the gala following the two or three sets of tennis he plays up to five times weekly. As combative athletically as in the courtroom, he once reported his nose broken four times by sports encounters and twice by “differences of opinion.” Representing JIBC’s 30,000-plus student enrolment, graduates-turned-lifesavers Franjo Gasparovic and Megan Rook received the Heroes & Rescue award. Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia and Sergio Cocchia were cited for community leadership, and the late Douglas Eastwood and Heather Lyle for lifetime achievement.
RING TIME: As for broken noses, the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese and North Burnaby Boxing Club’s 10-bout Night of Fights helped fund those organization’s scholarship and boxing programs. It also benefited the East End Boys Club and Camp Miriam. Italian Cultural Centre catering director Fabio Rasotto all but knocked out 600 attendees with pork spareribs, roast beef, chicken, salmon, pesto pasta, five salads, cold cuts, cheese and Italian pastries. The Angelo Branca Sportsman of the Year award went to local boxer Tommy Boyce, who won 175 of 185 amateur and 17 of 18 pro fights. An earlier recipient, Olympian Manny Sobral, founded and heads the Burnaby club. Calling under-141-pound light welterweight Freya Orr’s split-decision win over Aanika Sehgal, “a barn burner and fight of the night,” Sobral said the latter “feels better about her body image and more confident” after shedding 60 pounds at Surrey’s Savard Boxing Gym.
PUSH TO SHOE: The 15th-anniversary PuSh International Performing Arts Festival got off on the right foot recently. On the left one, too. That’s because board presidents Jessica Bouchard and Mira Oreck fronted a kickoff event for the 15th-annual running at Gastown’s Fluevog shoe store. The two described the Jan. 17-Feb. 3 festival’s 26 staged works as “visionary, genre-bending, multi-disciplined, startling and original.” Somewhat like designer John Fluevog’s shoes, that is. Interim executive director Roxanne Duncan and interim artistic director Joyce Rosario filled in for now-retired and much lauded PuSh founder Norman Armour. They and attendees also acquired shoes, Duncan’s being appropriately theatrical silver glitter “Munster” platforms at a price of $399.
HOTFOOT: Costlier footwear was offered at Aaron Van Pykstra’s bazaar-style charity event in his Autoform dealership’s showroom. Along with artworks, cigars, handbags, watches and suchlike Aleix Dai showed rare sneakers from his Richmond-based Stay Fresh operation. Priced at $3,300, Dai’s red-white-and-black “Off-White” Air Jordans complemented a 1964 Chevrolet Impala V8 convertible that cost US$3,196 (CAD$3,436) new in 1964. According to Van Pykstra, $54,995 would put your clodhoppers on its pedals today.
RIDE DALI RIDE: Howe Street passersby might paraphrase the 1953 novelty song by asking: “How much is that Dali in the window?” They’d be referring to the sculptures, lithographs and other works by late Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali in Susanna Strem’s Challi-Rosso gallery. In fact, a self-portrait in the window recently was by local big-canvas artist Pamela Masik, whose other paintings inside “interpreted classics of the master: Dali.” Somewhat surreally, two topless women pressed their pigment-coated upper bodies against canvases that, on a smaller scale, echoed Masik’s performance-art creations.
FOSTERING GROWTH: SOS Children’s Village B.C. should soon receive a 4.9-hectare site worth $6 million in Mission’s Silverdale area. With the Vancouver Native Housing Society, it plans to house foster children in some 30 dwellings there by 2021. So said executive director Douglas Dunn at a gala that reportedly raised $68,000 with more pending. It was chaired again by financial planner Nesrine Jabbour whose second child is due in February. Thirty-nine youngsters presently occupy the 34-year-old SOS chapter’s 12-house, five-transition-suite Surrey facility, Dunn said. The expansion should please delegates at the organization’s international conference here in May.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Trackside bettors might discount the pleas of jockeys whose horses ran second and third past the post.
Naz Panahi and Devi Sangara co-chaired the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd-annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala that reportedly raised $4 million for an MRI scanner and multi-campus programs. Malcolm Parry / PNG
STARRY HIGH: Hospitals always have the edge when fundraising. So it was when the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s 23rd annual Night of a Thousand Stars gala reportedly raised $4,000 for each star in its title. OK: $4 million. That total delighted multi-time chair Devi Sangara and Naz Panahi, who co-chaired this year after several at-bats with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Ball and Arthritis Research Canada’s annual ARThritis Soirée.
Still, the four megabucks raised were overpowered by last December’s $25 million donation from Gaglardi family members who received the foundation’s Leadership Award at the gala. The night’s proceeds will pay for a new MRI machine and support various programs at the two hospitals, the G.F. Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. It was rewarding to see attending surgeons Marcel Dvorak and John Yee’s whose labours kept me working and, in Yee’s case, alive. Anyone disgruntled by this column now knows who to blame.
FORTUNE COOKING: Newly elected mayor Kennedy Stewart joined diverse attendees at the 11-year-old Vancouver Chinatown Foundation’s Vancouver Chinatown gala. The $1.1 million reportedly raised will benefit the 58 West Hastings social-housing complex. That sum was noteworthy for an event that Carol Lee founded only last year and that was MCed by former B.C. finance minister Carole Taylor and music-biz agent Sam Feldman. Fairmont Hotel Vancouver chefs served dim sum, shrimp har gow, chicken sui mai and smoked maple sablefish to guests, many being devotees of the brisket, chicken, duck and pork at Lee’s year-old and much lauded Chinatown BBQ on East Pender Street.
DOWN PAYMENT: Charity fundraisers seldom make seven figures at their first or even second events as the Vancouver Chinatown gala did. Still, Dreyer Group Mortgages COO Meryll Dreyer was pleased when her debut event for KARES (Kids At Risk Embracing Success) reportedly brought in $50,000 to aid disadvantaged 16-to-24-year-olds. Dreyer hopes to parallel the similar Invis Angels in The Night program where she also had a starter role.
BAA BAA: Fashion-industry professionals and customers celebrated Canadian Wool Week at Gastown’s Secret Location store recently. Before becoming cosy garments, sheep’s wool is washed, dried, oiled, carded, died, glazed and woven, not to mention sheared from sheep twice annually in two-to-eight-kg lots. Giving the event perspective, Butterfly Fibres principal Marianne Iberg brought three-year-old Shetland-breed twin ewes Sweetpea and Thumbelina from her family’s Langley farm. With winter imminent, having their fleeces clipper-ready mightn’t be the sheep’s best prospect. Encouraging for us, though.
SHINING LIGHT: Ryan and Cindy Beedie’s pre-48th-birthday party at Malkin Bowl in 2016 had Huey Lewis and the News entertain 3,000 guests. Lewis’s hit song, Build Me Up, may have suggested a possible birthday present. Ditto Take Me To The Top by Loverboy’s Mike Reno, who sang at a repeat outdoors party this year. The present actually took shape at the couple’s official 50th birthday rock party in the Commodore Ballroom on Sept. 7. It would be $50 million. Not for them, though. That sum would launch the Beedie Luminaries Foundation. According to property-development firm principal Ryan, the foundation will provide scholarships to “bright, driven students from disadvantaged backgrounds … who are smart, but constrained by circumstance.” Some recipients may progress to Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, possibly humming Lewis’s Give Me The Keys.
RED, WHITE AND BLUET: Philippe Tortell, Mark Turin and Margot Young,University of B.C. anthropology, oceanography and law professors, edited and recently released a book titled Memory. It was sparked by post-First World recollections and a 2017 discussion at the varsity’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies that Tortell directs. Accepting that “the essays share an appreciation of the fragility and fluidity of memory,” the editors also note: “Why we forget is just as important as thinking about what we can remember.” French consul general Philippe Sutter, who donated a memorable amount of Château De Fesles wine to the release readings, contrasted attendees’ red and white poppies by adding the cornflower “bluet” with which his nation respects fallen warriors.
EVER REMEMBERED: Margot Young’s father Walter headed the UBC and, later, the University of Victoria’s political science departments. As a wittily perceptive political columnist to Vancouver magazine, when local periodicals had such things, he was politely asked why one monthly opus was a little overdue. “It’s a good reason,” he replied languidly by phone. “I have a brain tumour.” He perished, to widespread dismay, at age 51.
LOVIN’ YOU: Peter Wall, whose institute published the Memory book, will present his own composition while hosting the Wall Ball on Dec. 18. Past events featured live cattle, an ostrich, Santa Claus and miniskirted elves criss-crossing the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre’s glass ceiling while ball-goers dined below. This year, Canadian tenor Richard Margison will perform a “love song” for Vancouver that Wall wrote and frequently warbles.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Where’s Wally Buono? In our hearts.
INSPIRED: As the B.C. Lions readied for a final home game under coach Wally Buono on Nov. 3, no less than four galas kicked off downtown. Unlike the Leos, all were winners. The first, the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s 14th annual Inspiration gala at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, reportedly raised $4.3 million — including two $1-million donations from guests — to support blood cancer research. Tamara Taggart chaired again. She also MC’d with former CTV News at Six co-anchor Mike Killeen. He had to keep mum for two more days about his return to tube and timeslot Nov. 19 to present CBC Vancouver News with Anita Bathe. Jane Hungerford, who chaired the first Inspiration gala and five predecessor events, attended this one with lawyer-husband George. When mononucleosis sidelined him from 1964 Olympics rowing-eights competition, Hungerford joined Roger Jackson in coxless pairs. They promptly won Canada’s sole gold medal.
Rx FOR BCCHF: Down at the Marriott Pinnacle hotel, pharmacist and pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Bob Rai chaired the Night of Miracles gala that reportedly raised $755,000. Robin Dhir, who founded the event in 2009, said its South Asian community attendees have raised $5.4 million and change for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. This year’s gala will help fund the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children Enhancement Initiative, said foundation president CEO Teri Nicholas. As for Rai’s career: “My dream was to be a pilot, but I became a pharmacist.” That may be why he and wife Harpreet named their now 10-month-old first child Amelia.
LOOKING UP: Four rainswept blocks away in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Cystic Fibrosis Canada regional director Sara Hoshooley saw the 65 Roses gala reportedly raise $300,000. Leona Pinsky founded the fundraiser in 2001 when her and husband Max’s infant daughter Rina contracted an ailment that once killed patients by age four. Rina is now a third-year student at the University of Victoria. Attendees were entertained by CF patient Jeremie Saunders, 30, “who had a bad scare last year, so this is my bonus time.” Saunders and friends Brian Stever and Taylor MacGillivary founded an every-Monday podcast “that speaks to anyone with a chronic or terminal ailment,” Saunders said. The surprise? “It’s a comedy show.” It sure is. Hit sickboypodcast.com to confirm that the three “are absolutely determined to break down the stigma associated with illness and disease.” That’s worth living for.
THE GOOD FIGHT: Up at the Rosemont Hotel Georgia, Contemporary Art Gallery president David Brown welcomed guests to a 30th annual auction that raised some $150,000. He also called the long-time event auctioneer, Hank Bull, “encyclopedic, credible and reliable … if he says something is going for a bargain, it is, and you should bid higher without hesitation.” Bidders do heed Bull. At Arts Umbrella’s recent auction, he got $10,000 for a Christos Dikeakos print estimated at $5,300. To secure such largesse, Bull said, “My theory is that bidders should get plenty of protein.” CAG gala-goers must have been duly fortified as Cree artist Joi T. Arcand’s sculpture fetched six times its $250 estimate. With its title, Go Away, formed in Cree symbols, the black-steel work replicated street-fighting brass knuckles, thus adding illegality to its appeal.
AUTHOR ONE: The Whalley teenager-turned-University of Rhode Island teacher Jean Walton revisited North Vancouver’s Maplewood Flats recently to release Mudflat Dreaming. Published by New Star, the book talks about 1970s squatters evicted from the present-day bird sanctuary, as well as residents and activists of North Surrey’s then-neglected Bridgeway community. Also included is the locally shot movie, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, to which some squatter-artists contributed. Walton gives her characters a proletarian gloss while detailing events as you’d expect from a former reporter on the now-defunct Surrey-Delta Messenger.
AUTHOR TWO: 1-800-GOT-JUNK founder Brian Scudamore should profit from his curiously titled debut book, WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key To Success. A Canadian sell-out on Amazon, it documents his sometimes fitful progress from one clapped-out truck to a $300-million enterprise. Scudamore may benefit again when called to haul away now-read copies.
PAGE TURNED: Three years after closing its Robson-at-Howe bookstore, Indigo has reopened two-and-a-bit blocks westward. The two-floor facility includes a Starbucks cafe and counters and shelves loaded with baby clothes, bags, blankets, board games, cameras, candles, earbuds, glasses, lotions, mugs, pillows, record players, robes, soap, spices, tableware, tea and much besides. There are books, too, along with multi-coloured woollen “reading socks” at $34.50 a pair and, for late- night readers, matching hot-water bottles. Such bazaar-style merchandising would have amused the late Bill Duthie, who in 1957 opened the first and best of his peerless bookstores half way between the Indigo outlets. Duthie might have appreciated modern-day Indigo’s glasses for beverages sourced at his era’s across-the-street liquor store, but he’d have lamented the absence of ashtrays.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Live, feel dawn, see sunset glow, love and be loved … in Flanders fields.
The cardiac centre at the new St. Paul’s Hospital will be named the Tong Louie Cardiac Wing in recognition of a $6.5-million donation from the Vancouver family that owns London Drugs, it was announced Tuesday.
Two charities — the London Drugs Foundation and the Tong and Geraldine Louie Family Foundation — are contributing the sum for the new hospital near Main Street and Terminal Avenue. The 124-year old hospital on Burrard Street is to be demolished after construction on the new hospital ends, in 2024 or later.
“As a 115-year-old B.C. owned and operated family company, we are proud of our lengthy history of giving back to the people of this province,” said Brandt Louie, chair of London Drugs Ltd.
“This is a proud moment for our family and we are honoured to be part of the bold, bright future of the new St. Paul’s.”
Louie said in a statement that family matriarch Geraldine Louie received exceptional care at St. Paul’s towards the end of her life and while being treated for congenital heart disease.
The donation will be used for an in-patient wing of the hospital that will be built on the False Creek Flats. The wing will be located close to imaging and diagnostic areas, operating rooms, outpatient clinics, cardiac research labs and medical offices. The design is meant to allow patient treatment and research side-by-side.
Dr. Sean Virani, the physician program director for the Heart Centre, said the donation will help recruit cardiologists and surgeons and expand care for patients. St. Paul’s is the only hospital in B.C. that performs heart transplants. Under pioneering interventional cardiologist Dr. John Webb, it has become world-famous for minimally invasive heart valve surgery.
Construction of the new hospital is not expected to begin for a few years as the City of Vancouver rezoning process is expected to take more than a year and soil remediation will require extensive work.
The B.C. government has not yet announced approval of the more than $1 billion business plan, but numerous announcements from the hospital foundation would suggest the project — first announced by the former Liberal government — will go ahead. Just over a year ago, health minister Adrian Dix said the redevelopment of St. Paul’s on the False Creek flats was one of his priorities.
It is expected the sale of the lands under the existing hospital will fund the construction of the new hospital, to which Jimmy Pattison has already pledged $75 million. While the hospital itself will still be called St. Paul’s, the campus will be called the Jim Pattison Medical Centre.
On Monday night, the foundation held an invitation-only gala event for past and future donors.
Chronology of the site where new St. Paul’s Hospital will be built:
1912-20: False Creek drained to make way for construction of railway lines. A Great Northern Railway station is built on the site, with a Canadian National Railway station, which still stands, built to the south.
1930: Great Northern Railway freight sheds occupy the south end of the site. Businesses along Prior Street include Canadian Junk Co. and a junk storage warehouse.
1956: The site is occupied by Finning Factory and the Great Northern Railway freight shed. Prior Street businesses include the United Fruit Ltd., Canadian Junk and Great West Smelting.
1966: Great Northern Railway is moved and the train station is torn down.
2000: Schroeder Properties and ING Realty Partners purchase the site for $22 million from Trillium Corp., hoping to develop the site for the high-tech and dot-com industries.
2004: A Providence Health Care-affiliated entity buys 18.5 acres from Schroeder Properties and ING Realty Partners for just over $24 million. The entire amount is financed with a bank loan.
2010: Gravel is added to reinforce and level the site for use during the 2010 Olympic Games as a parking lot for the buses that transport people between Vancouver and Whistler.
2010: The B.C. government acknowledges it has paid millions in municipal taxes to hold the site for the future hospital.
2015: Providence Health Care, which manages St. Paul’s Hospital and numerous other Catholic health facilities, announces a new $1.2 billion hospital on the new site and the eventual demolition of the old hospital in the West End.
Karley Rice, Shanni Eckford and Merideth Schutter co-chaired the 14th-annual Gift of Time gala that reportedly raised a record $1.5 million to benefit Canuck Place Children’s Hospice patients and programs. Malcolm Parry / PNG
GIFT INDEED: Chaired by Shanni Eckford, Karley Rice and Merideth Schutter, the 14th annual Gift of Time gala reportedly raised a record $1.5 million for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Its title had special significance for Cherie Ehlert, a support worker at the posAbilities Association of B.C. that serves those with development disabilities. In her case, the gift of time applies to daughter and Canuck Place occupant Charlie, who contracted spinal muscular atrophy at age six months. “She was given three months to live then,” Ehlert recalled. “Now she’s nine, and they have developed treatment for her that they never had before.”
Ehlert well knows Canuck Place’s Detroit-raised medical director and UBC pediatrics clinical professor, Hal Siden, who recalled an odd personal-development practice. It entailed a grandfather teaching him bow-tie knotting, with every error penalized by Siden swallowing a shot of bourbon. The practice likely continued at Siden’s University of Michigan-Ann Arbor alma mater, but not as part of the curriculum.
JINGLE-JANGLE-JINGLE: The Boobyball’s rip-roaring launch last year spurred Speedo swimwear salesperson Kelly Townsend to repeat it. Restaged at the Main-off-Hastings Imperial, the event reportedly raised $48,000 for the Rethink Breast Cancer charity that “responds to the unique needs of young women going through it. Western-attired under-40s yippie-ki-yayed, rode a mechanical bull, watched a Luminesque Dance performance, and doubtless hoped that breast cancer will be vanquished well within those young dancers’ lifetimes.
STREET DREAMS: 50 successful persons are raising at least $15,000 each in order to sleep on concrete pavement on Nov. 15. Covenant House development officer Kim Wing said the Sleep Out: Executive Edition event should raise $900,000 for the organization’s 59-bed crisis program that assists homeless and at-risk youth. At a preamble event hosted by actor TV-host Todd Talbot in Kohler’s Broadway-at-Fir showroom, Wing admitted she’ll catch no shut-eye herself that night: “I’m the security, and its humbling to see executives sleeping outside, knowing that, through the wall, are the youth they are supporting.”
ON A ROLL: Nonchalantly eyeballing a row of important plumbing fixtures at Talbot’s reception, the Covenant House supporter and Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel general manager, Sascha Voth, said: “We’ve got over 1,000 of these Kohler toilets in the hotel.”
STAYIN’ ALIVE: Twenty years ago, Al Arsenault, Toby Hinton and a small group of other Vancouver police officers founded the Odd Squad. With the National Film Board, they documented their on-the-street activities with drug users in a 52-minute movies called Through A Blue Lens. Arsenault retired, Hinton is now a sergeant, and other active and retired coppers have joined Odd Squad Productions. The focus on drug abuse remains, most recently in the Understanding Fentanyl resource guide for every B.C. school. Rather than lecture youths, who die at home more often than on the streets, it hopes to “demonstrate an understanding of (fentanyl’s) danger in our communities.” At a recent fundraising gala, Hinton said a guide and 35-minute video titled Understanding Police Use of Force will follow, co-produced by the Canadian Police Association.
Gala entertainers included the Police Judo Demo Team with Hinton’s black-belt daughter Launa throwing brown-belt member Howie Hoang around. Watching raptly, young girls may have imagined doing the same to their brothers.
ALLEY ECLAT: The HCMA Architecture + Design firm has received a National Urban Design Award for its More Awesome Now Laneway Activation project that does much to enhance shabby downtown alleys.
THAT’S COMMITMENT: Charity gala chairs sometimes serve second or third terms. Then there’s Mary Jane Devine, who retired last year after chairing 13 successive Rockin’ for Research galas to benefit the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. Loverboy band lead guitarist Paul Dean sparkplugged that event in 2000 after his and wife Denise’s son Jake developed Type 1 diabetes. A U.S. gig kept Dean away from the recent Casablanca-themed event and its reported $890,000 haul. Devine accompanied the gala committee’s Carol Hagan, who fronted the event. Pizza Hut Restaurants executive Sheida Shakib-Zadeh was honoured for her employer’s $350,000 contribution to diabetes research. Attendees then dined on chicken salad and grilled beef tenderloin, not pizza.
IN THE SWIM: Glass-walled tanks of possibly hungry fish surrounded those attending Vancouver Aquarium’s recent Toast the Coast fundraiser. The ocean-conservation event’s wine-tasting component likely sharpened guests’ appetites further. Happily, 17 Ocean Wise-certified stations offered such chow as Notch8 chef Will Lew’s scallops with smoked sablefish, birch kabayaki, flamed oyster-tip aioli, pickled wild berries, sea asparagus and nori sand. They went well with Ocean Blu’s Coastal Berry vodka soda that reportedly diverts 25 cents from six-pack sales to ocean and wildlife programs. Peering out at CTV News anchor Sonia Beeksma’s glittering, silver-and-gold mermaid gown, Aquarium tank residents may have silently invited her to join them.
DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Beseeched by a possibly self-serving coalition government to endorse a pig-in-a-poke electoral system, B.C. voters could deliver a poke of their own — in the eye.
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