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Posts Tagged "Talk"

14Jun

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

by admin


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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7Jun

Town Talk: Former U.S. ambassador now advocates for all Canadians

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FRIENDS IN DEED: In Bob Rennie’s Chinatown office-art museum recently, 2014-2017 U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and wife Vicki released a jointly written memoir of their time here. Titled The Art of Diplomacy, Strengthening the Canada-U.S. Relationship in Times of Uncertainty, the book reflects their personal friendship with and support of Democrat former president and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama. Diplomats represent their own country’s interests above all, of course. Still, alternately authored chapters in the Heymans’ “love letter to Canada, our neighbour and best friend” show them contributing to fellowship and culture far beyond Washington’s remit and Ottawa’s political and diplomatic precincts.

Their resolve “to build bridges, not walls” resulted in a bike lane replacing post-9/11 concrete barriers at the ambassadorial residence, Lornado. They also filled the house with art, presented many eminent artists, hosted scores of public events, sparkplugged a visit by Obama, and installed honey bees who, with their queen, departed soon after they did. Conversing with and learning from ordinary folk, the Heymans criss-crossed Canada. That included days spent in Arctic-shore Tuktoyaktuk, Labrador’s Mary’s Harbour and even more remote Battle Harbour. When it came time to leave Canada, though, the news came, deplorably, in a New York Times article rather than a single word from the Trump transition team. “Vicki and I now consider ourselves citizen ambassadors for the Canada-U.S. relationship,” Heyman wrote. “We are private citizens working to make a difference.” Supporting that intent, they and Rennie donated all proceeds from their book sales to The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a- Reader campaign.


Accompanied by daughter Ali in a simulated 1955 Chevrolet, Jen Rainnie chaired a gala to raise $900,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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Hweely Lim, Kirsten Maxwell and Lucia Kwong surrounded multi-charity $5-million benefactor Sylvia Chen at the Heart of Gold gala.

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MISS CANADIAN PIE: Jen Rainnie drove her Chevy to the levee, but it sure wasn’t dry. In fact, the levee — more specifically the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and Yukon’s 14th-annual Heart of Gold gala — reportedly generated $900,000 and change. Meanwhile, the Chevy that second-time gala chair Rainnie seemingly drove was actually a full-scale Styrofoam sculpture of the front end of a 1955 model. That was an epic year as a new-for-Chevrolet V-8 engine promised high performance. Rainnie, foundation chair Irene Chanin, board chair Brian Curin and all involved doubtless hope the gala will spur a similar result. That would include supporting an automated external defibrillator program planned to double the survival rate of those experiencing cardiac arrest.


Paul Armstrong heads the Crazy8s Film Society Andrew Williamson founded in 1999 and that received an outstanding-achievement Leo award.

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PICTURE PERFECT: Directors Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaai Edenshaw’s Edge of the Knife (Sgaawaay K’unna) cut through other nominees at the recent Leo Awards gala for B.C.’s film and television productions and personnel. It was named best motion picture, and Haig-Brown and Edenshaw received best-direction Leos. Director Menhaj Huda’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance was named best TV movie.


Walter Daroshin and wife Tina walked the red carpet at the local movie industry’s Leo Awards gala he has headed since its second running in 1997.

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Staged by the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of B.C., the event is nostalgic for chair Walter Daroshin. That’s because a feature film he’d executive produced, The War Between Us, won the 1996 debut running’s top award. Daroshin signed on as Leos president in 1997. Two years later, Andrew Williamson founded the Crazy8s Film Society that won this year’s outstanding-achievement Leo. Long headed by Paul Armstrong, its juried contestants shoot, edit and deliver short but sometimes superb movies in eight days.


Twins Sam and Kailey Spear made the short horror film Alien: Ore at Britannia Mine to commemorate the Alien feature film’s 40th anniversary.

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QUADS: One Crazy8’s production was written and directed by Bowen Island-raised twins Kailey and Sam Spear, and filmed by two more twins, Graham and Nelson Talbot. Nominated for six Leos, it has a robot nanny violently attack a mother regarding the care of her daughter. Keeping up the jollity, the Spears and Talbots made the short horror flick Alien: Ore in the Britannia mine. It’s the only Canadian picture among 20th Century Fox’s commissions to commemorate the original Alien’s 40th anniversary.


Tim Roddick accompanied entrepreneur-wife Madeleine Shaw at a plate-smashing benefit for the United Girls of The World Society she founded.

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SMASH BASH: You could wait for a Greek wedding to break plates. Or you could pay $20 for a plate emblazoned with the word for something you dislike — homophobia, perfectionism, say — and sling it against a wall. Attendees did that when multi-entrepreneur Madeleine Shaw fronted a fundraiser for the United Girls of the World Society she founded. The organization aids parents and caregivers “that assist in supporting adolescent girls’ development of personal empowerment, healthy peer relationships, self-esteem and body positivity.” Shaw’s accompanying husband, Tim Roddick, was newly met in 1996 when this column reported her launching a women’s apparel firm. “He had a girlfriend, and I was having unwholesome thoughts about him,” Shaw recalled. “But one thing led to another.” They married in 2001 — without smashed crockery.


City-based movie producer Tex Antonucci’s name was a consequence of animator-father Danny’s reverence for famed film cartoon creator Tex Avery.

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IN A NAME: Tex Antonucci, who co-produced the Leo Awards’ best-movie-nominated Indian Horse, was named to commemorate legendary cartoon animator Tex Avery. Antonucci’s father Danny made the cult classic Lupo The Butcher (Google it). His Ed, Edd n Eddy was possibly the last TV series to employ Walt Disney and Avery’s hand-painted-cell technique rather than computer animation. At least Danny didn’t name his son for a beloved Avery character: Bugs, Daffy, Elmer, Porky, etc.


Danny Antonucci’s TV series Ed, Edd n Eddy may have been the last one produced by hand-painted cells before digital technology triumphed.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Th-th-th-that’s all, folks.

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31May

Town Talk: B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inducts Sedins and many others

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Backed by a blow-up of Duomo di Milano cathedral, Ross Bonetti increased the La Dolce Vita flavour of his Italianate Livingspace store’s expansion party by straddling his two classic Vespa scooters.


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CHAMPS NIGHT: Chaired by Michelle Collens and Tewanee Joseph, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s recent gala was replete with memories. It couldn’t be otherwise with inductees like the 1968 New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse team, 1975 NFL Super Bowl winner Roy Gerela and 1977 Vancouver Whitecaps coach Tony Waiters. Also inducted were 17-season Vancouver Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin.


B.C. Sports Hall of Fame inductees Henrik and Daniel Sedin were 21 when they served wine at a Canuck Place children’s hospice benefit in 2002.

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When seen in this column in 2002, the twins displayed deft passing skills. Not with the puck but with bottles of wine that then-Canucks GM and former part-time bartender Brian Burke had them serve at a benefit for Canuck Place children’s hospice. Back at the gala, rugby-star inductee Kelly McCallum heard honorary co-chair Marvin Storrow call her sport “a game of skill, not for me.” Then again, 1934-born Storrow does play hard, skilful tennis four times weekly.


Portrayed at age four with twin James, former MP, cabinet minister and senator Pat Carney will be inducted into the Order of British Columbia on June 28.

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MORE TWINS: Shanghai-born siblings Jim and Pat Carney shared an 84th birthday May 26. They’ll celebrate again June 28 at Pat’s induction into the Order of British Columbia. The honour likely acknowledges her years as an MP, cabinet minister, senator and best-selling author rather than early-career slogging as a Vancouver Sun reporter.


Departing Vancouver Art Gallery director Kathleen Bartels welcomed Rogers Group Funds chair Phil Lind to a reception for film and television producers.

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MILES AHEAD: At the Polygon Gallery, Rogers Group of Funds chair Phil Lind presented a $5,000 emerging-artist prize to movie maker Jessica Johnson. It recognized her Scotland-set 14-minute documentary, Hazel Isle. Lind also fronted a reception for regional film and television producers on Vancouver Art Gallery’s rooftop patio. No one present, especially departing VAG director Kathleen Bartels, quibbled with his assertion that “Vancouver has the best artists in Canada — by 10 miles.”

SPACEMAN: The Armoury district’s free-standing Livingspace store always had room aplenty for swish European furniture. There’s even more now that building owner Ross Bonetti has expanded the fifth floor to accommodate specific-brand showrooms. As usual, Bonetti pulled out all the stops — and his two La Dolce Vita-style Italian Vespa scooters — for a recent relaunch party. He rides the mint-condition 1969 and 1971 Sprint models around town, but not astride both as he demonstrated with them parked. Ever the showman, perhaps he’ll master Ben Hur-style riding for his next event.


With a Dina Goldstein work behind them, sponsor Matthew Halse and Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation head Scott Elliott saw an art auction raise $185,000.

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Angela Grossmann’s mixed media work, Farm Boy, struck the right note at a Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation event where it fetched $9,500 at auction.

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PICTURES FOR PETER: Eighteen artists, from Thomas Anfield to Elizabeth Zvonar, didn’t stint when donating works for live auction at the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation’s recent Art For Life event. Twenty-four others gave to its silent auction. With supporters filling Pender Street’s The Permanent hall, foundation executive director Scott Elliott reported $185,000 being raised.


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s Opioid Ovoid Humanoid sculpture seems to come alive beside his painting in the Macaulay & Co. Fine Art gallery.

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TRANSFORMER TODAY: Imagine the wonderment of coastal longhouse dwellers when performers manipulated carved-cedar masks so that the creatures they depicted seemed alive. Something similar pertains at Sarah Macaulay’s First-off-Scotia gallery where long-established artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s first sculpture is displayed. The mask-headed work echoes figures in Yuxweluptun’s large paintings that fetch over $100,000. Step in front, though, and the mask becomes a confusion of multicoloured pieces. The spooky change represents “the process of what drugs do, and this can happen to you,” said Yuxweluptun, who named the $45,000 sculpture Opioid Ovoid Humanoid. There’ll be four more, he added.


Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko had geo-strategist Parag Khanna (centre) address a $100,000 gala audience. Photo: Malcolm Parry.

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SUMMER WINNERS: The 11-day Indian Summer Festival will begin with its usual Roundhouse Community Centre party July 4. Revving up for that, organizers Sirish Rao and Laura Byspalko staged an Odlum Brown-sponsored banquet that reportedly raised $100,000 with the slogan: The Future Is Asian. That’s the title of a new book by geo-strategist Parag Khanna, who addressed attendees. His assertion is supported by the multinational Standard Chartered Bank’s 2017-to-2030 projection for global economies. It foresees China’s GDP rising to $64.2 trillion, India’s to $46.3 trillion and the U.S.A.’s to $31 trillion. Meanwhile, Canada, France and the U.K. lose their global top-10 positions.


Beverley Robinson, Sonja Chopty, Margaret McFaul and Renata Hofer ringed “termite taxi” owner Tevie Smith at a memorial for promoter Harry Moll.

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ROUNDER BOUT: Old-time Howe Street flickered again on Hornby Street recently. That was when Neil Aisenstat opened Hy’s Encore restaurant’s upper room to those attending a wake for 1988 Promoter of The Year Harry Moll who died at age 83 on April 25. Although most old Vancouver Stock Exchange habitués arrived on foot, Tevie Smith pulled up in his somewhat symbolic “termite taxi,” a junk-festooned 1947 Chrysler “woody” sedan with 300,000 miles on the clock and two rescue dogs on its duct-taped seats. As for the chi-chi era, wake attendees Sonja Chopty, Renata Hofer (who flew in from Zurich), Margaret McFaul and Beverley Robinson recalled partying in the Moll-launched Sneaky Pete’s, Charlie Brown’s and Sugar Daddy’s nightclubs. Moll’s 1994-divorced wife Suzy was unavoidably out of town but still speaks warmly of him.

THE DRILL: Regarding the old stock exchange’s freebooting mining promotions, a contemporary of Moll’s once said: “Sometimes we drill the ground, and sometimes we drill the sky.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Canadians and Americans wrangling over the North Pole’s ownership might recall that cheeky London journalists long ago determined principal-resident Santa Claus’s citizenship. A bewhiskered, overstuffed fellow who feasts on cookies and works one day a year would be a fellow Brit, they said.

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11May

Town Talk: Gallery gala benefits Lions Gate Hospital just up the road

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Farah Sayani chaired and Lions Gate Hospital Foundation chair Pierre Lebel aided a gala at the North Vancouver waterfront Polygon Gallery that reportedly netted $1.2 million for new-technology services.


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HOSPITAL AID: It’s hard to beat the cross-harbour view from the Polygon Gallery at the foot of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue.

But those who gathered there recently were figuratively looking the other way and 15 blocks up the hill to Lions Gate Hospital. Chaired by Farah Sayani, a 19th-annual event reportedly netted close to $1.2 million to support new-technology services at a hospital that recently completed a $100-million medical-and-surgical campaign. Ian Telfer and wife Nancy Burke represented the event’s published title sponsor, Goldcorp Inc., which was acquired by Newmont Mining Corp. recently to become Newmont Goldcorp. Perhaps relieved by events, Goldcorp chair Telfer looked a decade younger, as Burke always does.


Nancy Burke and long-time Goldcorp chair Ian Telfer represented the previously sold firm as the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation gala’s title sponsor.

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TOASTING SISTERS: It takes chutzpah to stage alcohol-themed events in high-performance-car showrooms. But Cheryl Nakamoto and Cam and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice wine tasting and auction in Asgar Verji’s Weissach Porsche showroom reportedly added $84,000 to a 12-year total nearing $900,000. This recent sum will elevate 42 girls from Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s 137 wait-list, said executive director Hanne Madsen. She’s also pleased to launch Big Sisters’ Career Camp program for 36 girls in Grades 10 to 12 to spend a two-overnight July weekend readying for university at her Simon Fraser alma mater. Madsen, meanwhile, fancied a 1963 Porsche 356 coupe that would have cost her $100,000-plus.


Cam McNeill, Cheryl Nakamoto and Sarah McNeill’s Grape Juice event reportedly benefitted Big Sisters of Lower Mainland to the tune of $84,000.

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Big Sisters of Lower Mainland’s Hanne Madsen figured a $100,000-range 1963 Porsche 356 coupe would be an engaging alternative to her Honda Odyssey.

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TOUGH TIMES REVISITED: Williams Lake sisters Jeeti, Kira and Salakshan Poonin’s childhood years of sexual abuse are a quarter century behind them. Now residing in Vancouver, they had the courage to recount youthful anguish, along with challenges to the legal system and non-protecting parents, in director Baljit Sangra’s 85-minute movie Because We are Girls. Encouraging other women to not stay silent about abuse, it opened the recent DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver as part of the Justice Forum series.


Jeeti, Salakshana and Kira Poonin backed Baljit Sangra whose Because We Are Girls documentary revealed their quarter-century-past sexual abuse.

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CHOCS AWAY: Caren McSherry’s Hastings-off-Clark Gourmet Warehouse filled up recently with folks munching on chocolate in order to help children who seldom get that chance. That was when Firefighter of The Year Justin Mulcahy and Vancouver Firefighter Charities executive director James Docherty staged a contest between seven chocolatiers ranging from Christopher Bonzon to Thomas Haas. Mentored by Daniel Capadouca, Okanagan College’s Jalayne Jones won, and the event reportedly raised $21,000 for Snacks For Kids, Project Chef and the Strathcona Community Centre Backpack Program.


Dotty Kanke and Caren McSherry tempted firefighter Justin Mulcahy when the Chocolate Challenge event benefited children deprived of foodstuffs.

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LIONS’ PRIDE: The Vancouver Chinatown Lions Club celebrated its 65th anniversary at Keefer Street’s Floata restaurant recently. Close to 700 banqueters, including club president David Mao and event committee and three-time Lion of the Year chair Syrus Lee, saw non-member Richard K. Wong receive the organization’s Medal of Merit. Hong Kong-born former banker Wong was cited for “promoting intrinsic Canadian ideals of diversity, harmony and inclusion.” He continues to be involved in dozens of community and charitable endeavours. Wife Grace is feted for public service, too, not least as the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. community-service agency’s former chair. The Wongs also attended the club’s flag-raising ceremony on a newly installed pole in the adjacent Memorial Square. Possibly more delighted was 97-year-old former Master Warrant Officer George Chow, who fought with Canadian troops at the June 6, 1944 Normandy landing and the liberation of Holland. His many medals include that of the French Legion of Honour. Still, Victoria-born Chow’s long ambition was to see the Canadian flag fly over Vancouver’s Chinatown. Objective realized.


Former S.U.C.C.E.S.S. service agency chair Grace Wong saw the Chinatown Lions Club honor husband George’s countless community works.

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Consul General of China Tong Xiaoling congratulated George Chow, 97, who fought at the 1944 Normandy landings and then for the liberation of Holland.

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TRUTH TO TELL: Chinatown Lions Club board member and accounting firm principal Hebron Shyng expressed an amusing but pertinent opinion of the Canadian Revenue Agency: “I’d like to thank the CRA, without whose incomprehensible regulations I wouldn’t have a job.”

SLOW SPEEDSTERS: Most of the 250 police-escorted cars nose-to-tailing to Whistler in the recent Diamond Rally would have cost well over $100,000. Still, along with Luxury and Supercar Weekend and other related events, the rally has been money in the bank for Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia. With collector-enthusiast Robbie Dixon, they have enjoined owners of cars that can exceed posted speeds three times over to putter along rural blacktop and benefit various charities as an option to startling pedestrians by razzing around downtown streets.


Diamond Rally organizers Craig Stowe and Nadia Iadisernia saw this Mercedes-Benz AMG GTR and 250 other exotics prepare for a Whistler roundtrip.

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CHERRY CHEERY: Linda Poole celebrated another Cherry Blossom Festival by staging Sakura Night in the Stanley Park Pavilion. Seven restaurants, from Benkei Ramen to Zen, served Japanese-themed cuisine, and five beer and wine purveyors helped attendees wash it down. Among the latter, Stanley Park Brewing general manager Doug Devlin said that the firm’s long-gestating restaurant-brew pub should open in the park’s 2016-closed Fish House premises by mid-June. Ten location-only beers will be served alongside the firm’s six existing one, Devlin said. The 260-seat restaurant will be managed by Andre Bourque and Ryan Moreno’s Surrey-based Joseph Richard Group as the first Vancouver operation in their Richmond-to-Chilliwack chain.


Linda Poole, who stages the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Sakura Night, always counts on be-gowned friend Daphne Crocetti to fly in from Switzerland.

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Plying beer at a Cherry Blossom Festival event, Neesha Hothi and Doug Devlin said Stanley Park Brewing’s brew-pub reopening of the Fish House is nigh.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While Queen Victoria might finally be amused to have a great-great-great-great-great-grandson named Archie, his great-grandma, Queen Elizabeth, would doubtless welcome a Betty.

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19Apr

Town Talk: Style show made big hair even bigger

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HATS OFF: Nobody expected Easter bonnets, fascinators or headgear of any kind when the Show It Off extravaganza filled the Vancouver Playh­­ouse recently. Hair alone was the attraction, and Avant Garde salon owner Jon Paul Holt and dancer-choreographer producer Viktoria Langton showcased plenty of it when the male and female show benefited B.C. Children’s Hospital. Stylist from the UK, across Canada and hereabouts created confections that, in most cases, were frothed up on models attired in the Playboy rather than Easter bunny manner.


Dee Daniels will return from her and Denzal Sinclaire’s U.S. tour to sing at Motown Meltdown’s benefit for Seva Canada’s eyesight-restoration efforts.

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HIGH FLYERS: Early aviators gained surprising extra height by flying at top speed and jerking back the joystick. They called it the zoom climb. A century later in 2008, one-time television wunderkind Moses Znaimer applied the term to half-century-old folk able to elevate their lifestyles. Among now-77-year-old Znaimer’s related enterprises, Zoomer trade shows feature travel, financial, cannabis and health-and-wellness exhibitors. Entertainers, too.


Joy TV’s CARPe diem show host-producer Carmen Ruiz y Laza greeted Motown Meltdown’s Bill Semple and Kendra Sprinkling at the Zoomer Show.

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The recent Zoomer show here saw Kendra Sprinkling produce a version of the 17th annual Motown Meltdown concert that will play the Commodore Ballroom April 27. Its beneficiary, Seva Canada, restores eyesight to thousands of global patients annually. One concert singer, Dee Daniels, will zoom home from her and Denzal Sinclaire’s touring tribute to the late Nat King Cole and daughter Natalie.


Vancouver Sun Sun Run columnist Lynn Kanuka and editor-in-chief Harold Munro welcomed guests at a reception preceding the 35th annual event.

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FEET FEATS: Olympic bronze medallist Lynn Kanuka’s columns helped prepare Vancouver Sun reader for last weekend’s 35th annual Sun Run. She and run co-founders Doug and Diane Clement were acknowledged at a reception where Sun editor-in-chief Harold Munro noted that the 10k event’s earlier participants had covered the equivalent of 10 times around the world. Kanuka’s 2019 columns revealed that her training world extends northward to Burns Lake and New Aiyansh beyond Terrace. With three other regions, they’re part of her 10-year-old effort by which Indigenous leaders develop running and walking programs. Regarding such communities’ elders, “Their health has changed,” Kanuka said. “Their blood pressure has gone down.” So have blood-sugar and cholesterol levels, “One has even lost 100 pounds,” she whistled.

DO GO: Although tough by foot, the few B.C. residents following remote, spectacular Highway 37 north from New Aiyansh to the Alaska Highway should relish every one of its 750 kilometres.


Some wonder whether the brotherly love Jason Kenney had for Charlie Wu in 2015 will extend to other Vancouver residents now that he’s Alberta premier.

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KENNEY, CAN HE? During 2015 TaiwanFest celebrations here, then-federal immigration minister Jason Kenney called festival manager and former University of San Francisco fellow student Charlie Wu “my Chinese brother with different mothers.” Let’s see if such familial regard for B.C. residents will continue.


Monica Soprovich, Tanya Perchall, Rebecca Bond and Carey Smith ringed host Zahra Salisbury at the Hotel Georgia’s Reflections terrace reopening.

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SKY TIME: Springtime sees the Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s substantially open-air Reflection terrace reopen formally. Rain made the recent event rather more al drencho than fresco. But with one area permanently covered and some others tented, attendees stayed dry and, given the enhanced intimacy, possibly more reflective. They were hosted by Zahra Salisbury, whose brother Azim Jamal and uncle Joe Moosa founded Pacific Reach Properties that paid $145 million for the then-90-year-old hotel in 2017.

UP PARRYSCOPE: One block west on Georgia Street, the Depression-delayed Fairmont Hotel Vancouver will celebrate its 80th birthday on May 9.


Seen partying at his architecture firm’s old Gastown premises, keg-surrounded Michael Green literally raised the bar with an Armoury district move.

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GREEN PARTIERS: Free drinks and a high-volume deejay would fill any Friday-night joint to the rafters. So it was when A-grade party giver and wood-structure-tower advocate Michael Green celebrated his self-named architecture firm’s move to Armoury-district space formerly occupied by Emily Carr University students. Despite a new climbing wall, Green’s guests didn’t actually reach the joint’s near-10-metre-high rafters.


Kelsey Kushneryk and Lindsay Owen alternate between piloting a Twin Otter and a rebuilt and re-engined DC3 aircraft between Arctic and Antarctic bases.

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Still, two among them routinely reach higher altitudes in places quieter, colder and far more dangerous than False Creek shores. Former rodeo roper-funeral director Kelsey Kushneryk and partner Lindsay Owen are 4,000- and 5,000-hour pilots who have spent six seasons flying for Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air in Antarctica and the Canadian Arctic. Owen hit the news in 2017 as first officer aboard a Twin Otter that sped 14,000 km from Alberta to rescue two sick workers in ‑­­60 C temperature from near the blizzard-whipped South Pole. She and Kushneryk also pilot an 80-year-old DC-3 airliner that, like the same-age axe with four new heads and six new handles, has likely had every part replaced and turbine engines installed.


Vancouver International Centre for Asian Art interim head Yun-Jou Chang and president April Liu fronted 20th-anniversary celebrations at the Imperial.

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A-PLUS: Now ensconced on Keefer Street with a 30-year lease, the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, aka Centre A, celebrated its 20th anniversary recently. President April Liu and interim executive director Yun Jou Chang welcomed centre founder Hank Bull and guests to the Main-off-Hastings Imperial where Chinese-language kung-fu movies once were screened. Las Vegas-born Liu is a Chinese art historian and Museum of Anthropology public-programs curator. Belgium-born, Taiwan-and-Prince-Rupert-raised Chang is vice-president of the pan-Asian Cinevolution Media Arts Society. As well as encouraging beginning artists, the centre “strives to activate contemporary art’s vital role in building and understanding the long and dynamic Asia-Canada relationship.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While Chinese genetic scientists transfer human brain cells to monkeys, the reverse process may have been perfected in London, Ottawa and Washington, DC.

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12Apr

Town Talk: BMW showroom gala supports pancreatic cancer research

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BEEMER TEAMING: BMW dealer Brian Jessel and managing partner Jim Murray cleared all but one vehicle from their Boundary-off-Lougheed new-car showroom to stage the 14th annual Cabriolet gala. Previous runnings reportedly raised $2 million. Staged by Diana Zoppa and sponsored by ZLC Financial chairman-CEO Garry Zlotnik, the recent one benefited Pancreatic Cancer Canada by netting some $525,000. The sole car left standing beside a spotlit stage and dining tables reflected the ever-more-elegant gala’s name. It was a just-introduced BMW M850i Cabriolet tagged at $145,000. Figuratively donning his dealer hat, Jessel compared it to a certain $350,000 British sportster, “But this is a nicer car.” As for other BMW introductions, half-year Cabo San Lucas resident Jessel said: “We’ve got a lot of new product coming this year. I won’t have to marry for money after all.”


Elektra Women’s Choir conductor and co-founder Morna Edmundson welcomed operatic soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian to a benefit banquet at the Sutton Place hotel where she sang works by Berlioz, Bevan and Schubert.

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BETTER WORLD: Operatic soprano and graduate biomedical engineer Isabel Bayrakdarian sang at the Elektra Women’s Choir’s recent benefit-banquet in the Sutton Place hotel. Elektra honorary patron Bayrakdarian also performed at the choir’s 30th anniversary concert in 2017. At the hotel, co-founder Morna Edmundson conducted the 53-voice ensemble as she did in January at East Hastings Street’s Oscar’s Pub. That Elektra Uncorked fundraiser followed the release of Elektra’s 15th album, Silent Night. No repertoire stick-in-the-muds, the choristers are heard prominently on Gibsons-based progressive-metal musician Devin Townsend’s Empath album that released March 29 to seven-figure YouTube hits. Such musical genre-bending aside, few would dispute Schubert’s An Die Musik that Bayrakdarian sang to Elektra patrons: “You, lovely art, in how many gloomy hours of experiencing the turmoil of life have you ignited love in my heart and transported me to a better world?”


City singer Amanda Wood accompanied an ovarian cancer fundraiser’s fashion-show models with an energetic rendition of Alicia Keys’s Girl On Fire.

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Anna Wallner, Marousa Dumaresq and Kristi Brinkley modelled Chikas, Sundress and Riana garments at the Love Her benefit for Ovarian Cancer Canada.

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Okanagan Crush Pad owner Christine Coletta brought wine to and accompanied cousin Lisa Konishi at a $225,000 Ovarian Cancer Canada benefit.

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OVARIAN OVATION: With Franci Stratton chairing for the third time, the recent Love Her gala reportedly raised $225,000 for Ovarian Cancer Canada. The lunchtime event included a fashion show by West Vancouver retailer Marilyn Diligenti-Smith. Local volunteer models hit the catwalk as singer Amanda Wood belted out Girl On Fire. Ovarian cancer, however, is a murderous fire that researchers and practitioners yearn to put out while striving to discover how its starts. Back at the gala, attendees applauded when an annual award commemorating business and community leader Virginia Greene went to Christine Coletta and cousin Lisa Konishi who have jointly lost eight friends and family members to ovarian cancer. More cheerfully, Coletta donated and served much wine from her 45,000-cases-a-year Okanagan Crush Pad operation.


His artist in residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden now over, Paul Wong will publish a book based on 700 letters to his late mother.

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PAUL’S LETTERS: Paul Wong’s year-long artist in residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden ended with a reception at his Keefer Street studio. Fifty-five arts-related tenants reportedly pay $2 a square foot to occupy the building’s lower, third and fourth floors. A Korean restaurant and Scotiabank branch are conveniently located at street level. Meanwhile, Wong’s now-concluded exhibition of 700 letters to late mother Suk Fong has received a reply. The Canada Council for the Arts reportedly offered $54,500 to fund a related book. “We’re trying to get the money as soon as possible in case there’s been a mistake,” Wong cracked while admitting, “It was more than I asked for.”


With one of her works to open the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Baljit Sangra hopes to make a feature about Canadian South Asians in the 1970s.

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POST PAST: B.C.’s early 20th-century South Asian pioneers were the subjects of a recent Vancouver Sun article. Now, moviemaker Baljit Sangra wants to portray their second- and third-generation descendants. To open the DOXA Documentary Film Festival May 3, Sangra’s 85-minute Because We Are Girls examines three Williams Lake sisters who concealed their shared sexual abuse for almost 25 years. She hopes that her next, and bigger, project will be a feature-film drama. “I would love to do a coming-of-age narrative of South Asians growing up in the 1970s,” Sangra said. “The fashion, the music, what they thought.” That might cost $5 million. Let’s hope she raises it.


Former mayor, former premier, cannabis firm principal Mike Harcourt received Simon Fraser University’s President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award.

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NEW LEAF: Simon Fraser University chief Andrew Petter presented the President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award to Mike Harcourt recently. The latter’s merits aside, the Four Seasons Hotel ceremony echoed Petter having been in 1991-96 NDP premier Harcourt’s cabinet. No such gender or partisan links occurred in 2010 when the honour went to Petter’s decade-later successor as B.C. Liberal finance minister, Carole Taylor. Her co-awardee, since-deceased husband Art Phillips, was Harcourt’s predecessor-but-one as Vancouver mayor. Soon after her award, Taylor was named chancellor of SFU where, vis-à-vis president Petter, she said: “My job is to protect him.” In his early 20s, lawyer Harcourt counselled Kitsilano-based Cool-Aid youth social services’ clients, some of whom were jailed for possessing marijuana joints. Today, he chairs Lumby-based True Leaf that plans to produce 2,500 kg of cannabis annually.


Andrew Petter made an SFU president’s award to Mike Harcourt as he had done in 2010 to the university’s then-pending chancellor, Carole Taylor.

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DOWN PARRYSCOPE: A century ago, satirist Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary contained: “Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” Also: “Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.” Finally: “Liberty: One of imagination’s most precious possessions.”

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5Apr

Town Talk: Gotham Steakhouse turns 20

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Hy’s of Canada president-CEO Neil Aisenstat and COO Megan Buckley welcomed guests to Gotham’s 20th-anniversary celebrations as Buckley did when the steakhouse opened on the site of an earlier Bible store.


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HOLY BEEFSTEAKS, BATMAN: Just as she did in 1999, Hy’s of Canada COO Megan Buckley welcomed guests to the Gotham steakhouse’s recent anniversary celebration, this one the 20th. As wall-to-wall invitees enjoyed abundant drinks and food, Hy’s president-CEO Neil Aisenstat cracked: “We can still give it away.” They can sell it, too, and have done since 1955 when Neil’s late father, Hy Aisenstat, launched the self-named chain in Calgary. Our Hornby-off-Dunsmuir Hy’s Encore has served 60-day, dry-aged rib steaks and other prime cuts since 1962.


Musicbiz partners Sam Feldman and Bruce Allen flanked singer Sarah Maclachlan during a debut event at Gotham in which Allen had a financial interest.

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Three blocks away at Gotham, fine-weather patrons enjoy an open-to-the-heavens patio where a Bible store once stood. Its succeeding steak house adopted the Gotham nickname that author Washington Irving coined for New York in 1807. Irving’s inspiration was an ancient English village where the name reflected its beginnings as a “home of goats.” In a tactic worth retesting today, that small community’s 13th-century residents reputedly outfoxed tax collectors by simulating insanity. Here, though, Gotham patrons must keep their wits about them when negotiating a curving stairway to the basement washrooms, especially after a few beverages. When one distinguished-looking man’s possibly overcautious descent resulted in a usually embarrassing personal accident, he nonchalantly announced: “Well, this is a black suit, so nobody’ll know.” What fellow diners upstairs would have known is that such deception was never needed for Gotham’s high-calibre fare and service.


Macdonald Development Corp’s John Macdonald attended the Gotham event while father Rob caddied for other son Stuart in the PGA Tour Series-China.

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FORE: Macdonald Development Corp. vice-president John Macdonald attended the Gotham anniversary. Hardly surprising, as the group his father Rob Macdonald founded owns the property and the adjoining St. Regis Hotel and is an equal partner in the restaurant. Among MDC’s current Canadian and U.S. projects, the Lakestone development encompasses 1,300 speculation-tax-free units near Okanagan Golf Club’s Bear and Quail courses. Missing the Gotham elbow-bender, Macdonald Sr. was at Chongqing’s Poly Golf Course where he caddied for younger son Stuart in the PGA Tour Series-China.


Oliver Young’s 1927 Triumph 500 TT should pale beside his restoring 1930 Bentley Speed Six car like one that outraced a cross-France express train.

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SUCH A KICK: Spring sunshine awakens hibernating motorcycles. Although few riders may be in their nineties, some bikes are. Among them, restorer-collector Oliver Young’s 1927 Triumph 500 TT could hit its present age in miles per hour when new and deftly tuned. Young wouldn’t repeat that, but he is readying a four-wheeled British road-burner. His 1930 Bentley Speed Six is a stablemate of one that raced the Blue Train from Cannes and, despite a Channel-ferry crossing, was in London before the crack express reached Calais.


After retrieving thousands of global plants to propagate at his nursery, Dan Hinkley was astonished by city sculptor Marie Khouri’s bronze tree trunks.

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TREES BY MARIE: Local nurseries will soon face an onslaught of folk seeking familiar and new plants for their yards, verandas, window boxes and pots. Meanwhile, having searched the world for the thousands of species he’s propagated in Washington state, celebrated plantsman Dan Hinkley found an unexpected one here. While he and landscape architect-UBC teacher Ron Rule toured Robert and Marie Khouri’s garden, Hinkley was entranced by bronze-looking tree trunks among the greenery. In fact, they were genuine bronze artworks sculpted by Mme. Khouri. “I must have some of these,” Hinkley said for the umpteenth time during his five-decade career.


Teetotaller James Walton and Michelle Mackay showed equipment he made for his Storm Brewing operation along with one of the beers produced there.

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BOTTOMS UP: The Sun reported March 5 that increasing property taxes may force many craft breweries from East Vancouver. Meanwhile, 100 such producers will serve 300 beers and ciders when the 10th annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week opens May 31. Attendees may toast teetotalling former mushroom farmer James Walton, who founded Storm Brewing in 1994, welded together some fermentation tanks and literally got craft-beer’s pot boiling.


With plans mooted to double out-of-hospital cardiac-arrest survival, Kevin Eastwood recalled Sonja Bennett helping save his life on an L.A. sidewalk.

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BACK TO LIFE: Cardiac arrests reportedly kill 40,000 Canadians annually. Eighty-five per cent of arrests occur outside hospitals, with nine out of 10 dying. At its annual gala May 31, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada will campaign to double that 10 per cent survival rate by 2029. Heartening news for city moviemaker Kevin Eastwood, who was 36 when felled on an L.A. sidewalk. Calling 911, actress-friend Sonja Bennett was guided to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation until defibrillator-equipped paramedics arrived. Several of survivor Eastwood’s friends then took CPR training. Good for them, and maybe you.


Robert Lee’s photo of him with a 1992 hotel development had a friend crack: “You were just starting to make money then, and now you’re printing it.”

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BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS: Bob Lee was profiled in The Sun March 30 for convincing fellow UBC governors to launch residential and commercial developments that generated $1.6 billion. Rather like a self-deprecatory comedian, UBC commerce grad Lee told them: “I’m not really an academic person, but I do know a little bit about real estate.” Likewise, when former city mayor Tom Campbell pooh-poohed his opening bids for a 260-unit tower, golfer Lee deadpanned: “The pressure made me shoot 30 above my usual high 80s.” Offered the Ernst & Young accounting firm’s Entrepreneur of The Year Award, Lee cracked: “I thought they were calling to ask me about raising money.” Even at his retirement-tribute dinner, where then-premier Gordon Campbell said: “You and I all know that Bob isn’t going anywhere,” Lee promptly replied: “Thank you for coming. I’m leaving now.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: The Revised Ottawa Dictionary defines “principle” only as money.

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22Feb

Town Talk: Chinese community raises $4.1 M for Children’s Hospital

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ANOTHER RECORD: First-time co-chairs Carman Chan, Isabel Hsieh and Pao Yao Koo hit a home run when the Chinese community’s 24th annual For Children We Care gala reportedly raised a record $4.1 million. That will go toward a $14-million campaign for relocating the development-and-rehabilitation Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to the B.C. Children’s Hospital’s main campus.


Carman Chan, Isabel Hsieh and Pao Yao Koo chaired a Versailles-themed gala to reportedly raise $4.1 million for the Sunny Hill Centre for Children.

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Last year’s event brought in close to $$3.4 million, which exceeded 2017’s by $836,000. Contrasting the hospital’s fiscal prudence, the gala’s theme was Versailles, the extravagant palace and estate that helped bankrupt 18th-century France and send King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette to the guillotine. Conductor Ken Hsieh and the Metropolitan Orchestra entertained gala-goers with music from Parisian Jacques Offenbach’s 1858 Orpheus In The Underworld that also enlivens the cancan dance. Happily, the gala’s fundraising co-chairs proved that they could-could and did-did.


Third-time For Children We Care gala presenter Ben Yeung saw Open Road dealer Christian Chia display a $500,000 Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV.

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FOR PAINT JOBS WE CARE: Open Road auto dealer Christian Chia showed a $500,000-range Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV at the For Children We Care gala. Viewers included the event’s third-time presenter, Peterson development firm executive chair-CEO Ben Yeung. Few buyers of the off-road-capable Cullinan would likely subject its flawless, porcelain-like surface to damage along bush-and-rock-flanked trails. Ditto when parking by night in certain DTES zones, including one where developer-to-be Yeung located his fresh-from-varsity dental practice.


Hometown Star recipient Jim Pattison was feted by Premier John Horgan but hasn’t hire him to a top job as he did a predecessor, Glen Clark.

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STARRED: Local self-made billionaire Jim Pattison and entertainers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have received Hometown Stars from the Canada Walk of Fame organization. The local ceremony followed a flossier one in Toronto where Paul Anka and investments supremo Warren Buffett serenaded Pattison with Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Rogan and Goldberg were lauded here by fellow walk-of-famer Howie Mandel. Also by teacher Mike Keenlyside from Point Grey Secondary where their stars will be embedded. Of their alma mater, “Everybody needs to know that Seth was a dropout and didn’t graduate,” Goldberg cracked.


Entertainers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg received Canada Walk of Fame stars that will be embedded at their Point Grey Secondary alma mater.

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Howie Mandel and chef-restaurateur Vikram Vij attended a ceremony for city-raised billionaire Jim Pattison and entertainers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg.

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When John Oliver Secondary grad and legendary toiler Pattison was asked if he really ought to be at work during daylight, he replied: “The answer is: Yes.” As for working for Pattison as former NDP premier Glen Clark does, successor John Horgan said: “I’ve got a job right now, but that’s an option.” That option would doubtless pay more than his current $205,400.16 salary. Meanwhile, Horgan and others might heed Pattison’s words: “Do the little things well and the big things will follow.”


Long-time Bella Bella resident Ian McAllister directed and Seaspan principal Kyle Washington executive-produced the Great Bear Rainforest Imax film.

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BEAR FACTS: Another billionaire hit town recently. That was Seaspan Marine Corp. head Dennis Washington whose US$6-billion-range net worth is close to Pattison’s but whose 332-foot yacht Atessa IV overpowers the latter’s 150-foot Nova Spirit. Washington arrived for the premiere of Great Bear Rainforest, an Imax movie executive-produced by his son and Seaspan ULC executive chair, Kyle. Its director, Ian McAllister, met the younger Washington three years ago at a luncheon for the Pacific Wild Foundation that McAllister co-founded. Rather than conventional digital shooting, three-decade Bella Bella resident McAllister argued for Imax’s costlier 70mm film system that promises worldwide access to young audiences. The picture’s own young characters include Mercedes Robinson, who lives in 350-population Klemtu and retrieves DNA from trees where bears scratch themselves. Of her debut movie role, Robinson said: “You can get a lot of information from bears … who are guardians of the eco-system and have the ability to make it thrive and make the land more healthy.” When grown up, “I hope to provide information to the younger generation so that they protect the (bears’) territory and save it from those taking it from them.”


B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation CEO Genesa Greening and board chair Karim Kassam fronted a $300,000 fundraiser for chronic-disease diagnosis.

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NEED FOR SPEED: B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation president-CEO Genesa Greening and board chair Karim Kassam reported $300,000 was raised at the recent Illuminations luncheon. That’s where guests were illuminated regarding thousands of women plagued by slow-to-diagnose health concerns. A tenfold increase in research funding is said to be needed to address complex chronic diseases that are up to nine times likelier to affect women than men.


Aide de camp and former Vancouver police inspector, Bob Usui, escorted Lieutenant-Governor Jane Austin at a B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation fundraiser.

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MEADOW MONEY: Attending the luncheon, the B.C. lieutenant-governor and former Women’s Hospital Foundation board member, Janet Austin, called the hospital’s researchers “some of the best in the world.” Then, pointing to retired Vancouver police inspector Bob Usui, who is one of her 35 ceremonial aides de camp, she told guests: “People think he is the lieutenant-governor, not me.” Her joke likely reminded some of an earlier LG, David Lam, who claimed that children sometimes misheard his title as “left-handed governor.” As for research-funding, Austin sounded in tune with rancher-predecessor Judith Guichon by saying: “Money is like manure — no good if it isn’t spread.”


Gillian Siddall was installed as president and vice-chancellor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s still-new False Creek Flats campus.

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NEW CARR: Bonhomie, not money, was spread on Great Northern Way recently with Gillian Siddall’s induction as Emily Carr University of Art and Design’s second president and vice-chancellor.  She succeeds 22-year incumbent Ron Burnett who oversaw the much-enlarged academy’s move from Granville Island.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Day or, for humans taking a mouthful, World Sword Swallowers Day.

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31Jan

‘There’s a stigma’: First responders gather in B.C. to talk trauma

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Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, January 31, 2019 1:28PM PST

VANCOUVER – Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence.

Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is the norm initially prevented him from reaching out.

“I knew something was wrong right after that call,” he said of the August 2017 incident when an American man died and three others were injured as a bus rolled into a crowd of tourists, pinning at least two people beneath the vehicle.

Gauthier said it wasn’t the most horrific situation he’d encountered, but it was the one that broke him emotionally.

Over and over again, he would relive the scene of people taking cellphone video of the crash scene as police dealt with a hoard of visitors near a busy cruise-ship terminal and convention centre. Gauthier’s family life began to unravel and he felt helpless.

“When you don’t have control of your mind and when you can’t block those thoughts then you feel like you’re losing control and it’s an incredibly distressing feeling,” he said. “I’m still dealing with it a year and a half later but I’m certainly managing it.”

Gauthier finally realized that as a supervisor he had to set an example for the rest of his crew at a Vancouver fire hall so colleagues who had also been at the scene and others like it could feel free to talk about their struggles in a job that required them to soldier on day after day.

“There’s a stigma and we’re trying to break that down,” he said as he prepared to share his experience and gradual return to work at a conference of first responders meeting in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday and Friday.

About 350 people including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, dispatchers as well as their unions and associations are taking part in the event that will feature Gauthier and others in jobs where trauma is part of the job but talking about its impact is not.

Gauthier said he wondered if he’d have to prove himself all over again if he took time off, if he’d put the “brotherhood and sisterhood” of his job at risk.

“Part of my healing, part of my therapy, is talking about it,” he said, adding he got counselling. When he returned to work after five months he didn’t initially go out on calls, worked shorter days and slowly exposed himself to the rigours of the job, including driving past the accident scene that led to his breakdown.

WorkSafeBC, the provincial workers’ health and safety agency, brought together a committee of 14 first responder agencies that organized the conference.

Trudi Rondou, senior manager of industry and labour services for WorksafeBC, said the goal is to work toward dismantling the stigma of mental illness suffered by those who focus on protecting public safety but often need help themselves to cope with extraordinary stress.

The key to getting that help is a commitment from employers to put prevention, peer-support and return-to-work programs in place, she said.

“We did some research among first responders and that was one thing we clearly heard, that this has to be a culture change and we need to make sure our leaders are invested in this, not only with their words but with the budget and action behind it.”

Otherwise, the costs range from low productivity, a high number of sick days and the potential for long-term disability from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rondou said.

Last year, the British Columbia government amended legislation allowing first responders including emergency medical assistants, firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers to make WorkSafeBC claims for compensation and health-care support if they’d been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, without having to prove it was related to their work.

Greg Anderson, dean of applied research at the Justice Institute of B.C., said most provinces have similar legislation, but coverage for first-responder jobs varies.

In Nova Scotia, for example, emergency-room nurses are included in so-called presumptive legislation while some provinces have coverage for post-traumatic stress injury and others only accept claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, Anderson said.

Federal first responders, including employees of the RCMP, the Correctional Service of Canada and those in enforcement roles for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are not covered by presumptive legislation.


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11Jan

Town Talk: Revisiting folk from 2009 who helped bring about today

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2009 began somewhat in reverse to 2019. Back then, newly inaugurated Barack Obama occupied the White House and signs of a severe economic recession were declining. Here in B.C., gang violence increased dramatically just as we celebrated being assigned the 2010 Winter Olympics. Principal bidder Jack Poole would die before those low-snow games began. Famed architect Arthur Erickson perished, too, as would two of the 35 folk (and one fast ferry) portrayed on this page. Still, they and the 33 others revisited from 2009 columns contributed in still-evident ways to the character of the province we cherish.


Nanaimo-born singer-pianist Diana Krall had friend Sir Elton John join a benefit concert for Vancouver General Hospital’s Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant program in memory of her mother Adella who succumbed to multiple myeloma in 2002.

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Gwen Point accompanied husband Steven, B.C.’s first Aboriginal lieutenant governor, at the 64th-annual Garrison Military Ball that no longer entailed the presentation of serving or retired warriors’ debutante daughters.

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Restaurateur chefs Rob Feenie, Tojo Hidekazu, Michel Jacob, Pino Posteraro and Thomas Haas participated in the Senza Frontiere dinner that benefitted the Chef’s Table Society’s bursary and scholarship programs.

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Nimisha Mukerji and Philip Lyall premiered their 65_Red Roses documentary about cystic fibrosis patient Eva Markvoort who, despite a double-lung transplant, would die in 2010 but still spur medical-research fundraising.

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Kasi Lubin and Shauna Hardy Mishaw kicked off the eighth-annual Whistler Film Festival they’d founded with a $30,000 fundraising and that, under Hardy Mishaw, has become a fixture that bow screens 90 international movies.

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Cognoscenti already knew that one way to get vehicles like this 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Coupe into Pebble Beach concourse d’elegance contention was to have them restored by RX Autoworks’ Mike Taylor and Ian Davey.

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Graduate student Hong Zhu was the first to take up residency when Prospero International Realty Inc. chair Bob Lee opened the 81-room MBA House at the University of B.C.’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School of Business.

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Recently retired from the National Ballet where fellow principal dancer Karen Kain called her “the iron butterfly,” Chan Hon Goh prepared to lead the Goh Ballet company that parents Choo Chat Goh and Lin Yee Goh founded.

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With four PuSh International Arts Festivals behind him, founder Norman Armour prepared to welcome 30,000 ticket buyers to a 21-show season and to continue doing so until his retirement from a much-grown event in 2018.

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One year after the institution he headed became Emily Carr University of Art + Design, president Ron Burnett told students that up to 96 percent of them could expect to “become what you imagine, from an artists to an entrepreneur.”

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B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation Crystal Ball committee member Sherry Doman welcomed friend and 20-times ball supporter Indra Sangha who, though now terminally ill with ever-spreading cancers, said: “I had to come.”

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Rev. Mpho Tutu heard then-nine-year-old pianist Jeffrey Luo play Mozart and Chopin airs at a benefit for her archbishop-father’s Desmond Tutu Charitable Foundation and the Dali Lama Centre for Peace and Education.

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Having starred in the multi-Genies-winning The Necessities of Life, star Natar Ungalaaq flew from Igloolik, Nunavut for a screening attended by director Benoit Pilon’s former classmate, city-based filmmaker Lynne Stopkewich.

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Michaela Morris and Michelle Bouffard’s now-dissolved House Wine Enterprises firm was a go-to for many seeking wine know-how and especially those with 2,000-bottle cellars that needed supervision and enhancement.

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Concord Pacific chief Terry Hui and Westbank Projects Corp’s Ian Gillespie were already big-time developers when they checked what architect Walter Francl had done for Bob Rennie’s 97-year-old Wing Sang Building.

Malcolm Parry /

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Ask A Woman event-planning co-principal Tammy Preast lifted 14-year-old Casey at a gala-benefit for the Love On A Leash firm she founded that would later raise funds for such organizations as the Dhana Metta Rescue Society.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


Brent Comber rescued water-borne forest debris to carve imposing artworks and Obakki clothing firm principal Treana Peake raised funds to construct water wells and permanent schools for those living without either in South Sudan.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


On the last day of the year, a marine-transport vessel carried away a Pacificat fast ferry, one of three that failed to meet operational and economic demands and that, after long mothballing, were sold for pennies on the dollar.

Malcolm Parry /

PNG


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