Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Coast Mental Health seeking nominations for courageous British Columbians

Fred Lee also highlights Opus art, the Lights of Hope campaign and the Bidi Bidi scarf (photos)

CALL FOR COURAGE:  For the past 19 years, Coast Mental Health has been celebrating extraordinary Canadians who not only overcame tremendous illness or adversity, but whose own challenges have inspired them to give selflessly back to others. Joe Roberts was one of those recipients. He overcame issues of addiction and abuse as a young man and, propelled by his 2003 Courage citation, he paid it forward by creating the Push for Change Foundation. Roberts pushed a shopping cart across Canada during a 9,000 kilometre journey to raise awareness and donations to prevent youth homelessness. He set out from St. John's, Nfld., in May of 2016, and returned to Vancouver in September. Roberts, joined by other past award recipients, was at the official launch of the 20th Courage to Come Back Awards, presented by Wheaton Precious Metals. More than 1,500 guests are expected at the May 10th awards ceremony and dinner in 2018, which is sponsored by the Vancouver Courier and, once again, led by Darrell Burnham, CEO of Coast Mental Health, and gala chairperson Lorne Segal.

OPUS ART: The Opus Hotel kick started Vanhattan’s boutique hotel scene and, over the years with reinventions, the Yaletown hotspot continues to be one of the city’s top places to sleepover. Since the hotel opened 15 years ago, it’s had a mandate to support local artists and established itself as a welcoming place for emerging and established creative people to showcase their work. Recently, the property hosted a preview of renowned artists Jason Dussault and Raphael Mazzucco’s new collaboration No Home in advance of their official opening at Pamela Masik’s Studio on West 3rd Avenue. A capacity crowd packed the Opus Bar, spilling into the hotel lobby, for a sneak peak of the impressive works — a unique collection of styles and mediums representative of both artists. A powerful pictorial of a dystopian future, the blend of photography, paint and mosaic tile work, in tandem with words from Prevail of Swollen Members, drew praise from fans, art enthusiasts and hotel guests. Dussault’s mosaic of Justin Trudeau, currently on display at the property’s La Pentola restaurant, is a head turner.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS: St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation recently turned the switch on more than 100,000 sparkling lights to kick off its 20th annual Lights of Hope giving campaign. The display is a beacon on Burrard Street during the Christmas season. Since 1998, community donations to Lights of Hope have totalled more than $31 million to meet the greatest needs of caregivers, patients, residents and their loved ones. Inspiring hope and donations, the spectacular display was created with donated materials. Ten kilometres of string lights and more than 200 stars were strung up by 150 dedicated volunteers. Dick Vollet, president and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation, welcomed hospital supporters, special guests and media to a special reception to witness the illumination in front of the hospital. Vollett received the campaign’s first donation, a sizeable $469,000 from hospital staff and volunteers, to launch this year’s fundraising. The display will be lit nightly until Jan. 8th.

PRESENTS WITH PURPOSE: This Christmas season two local companies are coming together to give back. Vitruvi co-founder Sara Panton and Obakki Foundation founder Treana Peake partnered to fundraise for Bidi Bidi, the world’s largest refugee camp. From the emergency crisis zone in Uganda, the women have produced a unique fashion piece designed in collaboration with the very women it will benefit. Peake worked with Ugandan women fleeing the civil war in South Sudan by encouraging them to create art with their hands. That art became the unique design of the Bidi Bidi scarf. One hundred per cent of net proceeds from the sale of the accessory will go to the resilient and strong women to help them rebuild their lives and fund their own business initiatives. In advance of the holiday spending spree, Panton and Peake hosted a special reception on a wet Vancouver evening to put a spotlight on this group of incredible women and, to fundraise, assembling the perfect holiday kit, which included the charity scarf and soothing essential oils, for guests to purchase.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20am on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM; Email:; Twitter: @FredAboutTown

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks