ROOFTOP ROMP: Vancity’s Ryan McKinley, TD’s Grant Minish and the Lazy Gourmet’s Kevin Mazzone fronted the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research’s (CANFAR) inaugural West Coast fundraiser, a posh cocktail party in the sky. The young social conveners welcomed 100 guests who convened at Telus Gardens to champion the leading work done by the Toronto-based charity, the only national foundation that raises awareness to generate funds for research into all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS. While marveling of the city, ocean and mountain views from the panoramic roof top, business and community leaders, health advocates and social influencers heard from Dr. Helene Cote, a member of CANFAR’s Scientific Advisory Committee, to learn more of the firm’s efforts to eradicate the disease. After enjoying a variety of bites, drinks and live music, supporters would contribute more than $25,000 to the cause. Since inception in 1987, CANFAR has invested more than $20 million in research initiatives across Canada.
BEST IN SHOW: B.C.’s film and television industry celebrated their own at the yearly Leo Awards, B.C.’s equivalent to the Emmys and the Oscars. Staged over a marathon three days, this year’s red carpet parade honoured 1,295 eligible entries, the highest in Leo Awards history. Once again, awards producers Walter Daroshin and Sonny Wong presided over the lavish production, which at one time in the mid-’90s went belly up. Determined to provide an opportunity for the industry to recognize the West Coast’s best and brightest, the duo resurrected the awards program in 1999, now celebrating its 19th year. While the hockey film Hello Destroyer was the year’s big winner, picking up four of the top awards during the gala held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in many ways the biggest winner of the night was the bustling motion picture industry, which Wong reports contributes more than a billion dollars to the provincial economy.
HOPE TRIBUTE: The B.C. and Yukon chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada hosted its annual Journey of Hope Dinner at the Holiday Inn Hotel, an annual celebration and education event for survivors of hematological cancers and their loved ones. This year, two distinguished scientists from the B.C. Cancer Agency, Dr. Joseph Connors and Dr. Connie Eaves, updated 150 guests on advancements and the new therapies to treat blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. A question and answer session gave attendees access to these accomplished researchers to learn more about the critical research underway. As a finale, Tassie Bousalis, a cancer survivor, was the evening’s keynote speaker. Bousalis shared her compelling journey and three-year battle with leukemia. As the mother of two young boys, her testimonial was especially poignant as she spoke about her cancer, its remission and a return to her new normal. According to Elaine Webb, patient education and support manager with LLSC, there is an estimated 138,000 Canadians living with or in remission from a blood cancer. Each year, approximately 22,000 Canadians of all ages are diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.
FORE-TUNES RAISED: Richmond Hospital Foundation’s annual golf tournament netted $265,000 to improve local health care. Fronted by Harold Goodwyn, Richmond Hospital Foundation golf committee chair and foundation board member, a full roster of 144 players hit the Richmond Golf and Country Club fairways for the day of golf and camaraderie. An additional 100 guests would later join them back at the clubhouse for the banquet dinner and auction. The Fund-A-Need portion of this year’s event, which yours truly orchestrated, focused on Richmond Hospital Foundation’s Code Blue initiative and efforts to purchase more defibrillator machines. Following a passionate plea from ER physician Dr. Kate Hudson, gifts ranging from $250 to $10,000 came in from attendees enabling the foundation to purchase three of the life-saving equipment for the hospital. Firms such as Aspac Developments, Citimark Projects, Cleantech Service Group, Nightingale Electrical, RCG Group and Western Construction led the way to this year’s success, demonstrating their commitment to improving health care in their community. For more than 30 years, Richmond Hospital Foundation has raised nearly $75 million to help purchase vital medical equipment, improve patient care services and upgrade facilities at Richmond Hospital.
COOKING UP SUCCESS: Since winning their respective reality cooking competitions in front of millions of Canadians on television, Matthew Stowe (Top Chef Canada) and David Jorge (Master Chef Canada) have been on a tear capitalizing on their fame and expanding their culinary empire. Working with Joseph Bourque and Ryan Moreno’s Joseph Richard Group — primarily known for their collection of public houses — the celebrity chefs have added upscale restaurants to the group’s portfolio of businesses. Looking to up the culinary ante in the Fraser Valley, the star chefs were on hand recently for the grand opening of their newest S+L (Steak and Lobster) Kitchen + Bar, the third such opening in 18 months. The South Surrey/White Rock Morgan Crossing venue — billed as the first modern steakhouse in the area —is the newest addition to the casual fine dining chain. (They also have locations in Langley and Abbotsford.) Looking to capitalize on the young and affluent living and or moving to the area, menu offerings include Wagyu beef, a staple of S+L , specialty seafood and craft cocktails. Staying true to their Fraser Valley roots — both were raised and continue to live in the area – the chefs’ menu will also showcase produce and products from local growers and suppliers. The restaurant opening will bring the Joseph Richard Group’s number of ventures to 20.