Category "Local Business"

25Jul

Feds approve Vancouver psychedelics company’s trial use of ecstasy to treat PTSD

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Numinus, which specializes in psychedelic research, will study MDMA-assisted therapy on 20 people

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A Vancouver psychedelics company has been granted approval from Health Canada to study MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Numinus, a company that advances treatments for mental health care based on psychedelic-assisted therapies, said the feasibility of using the drug commonly known as ecstasy is being studied in collaboration with MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (a subsidiary of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).

“We are thrilled that Health Canada has issued its ‘no objection letter’ allowing this important study to proceed and, in doing so, potentially advance Canada toward a legal, regulated system for MDMA-assisted therapy,” said Payton Nyquvest, CEO of Numinus.

“At Numinus, we are focused on expanding patient access to psychedelic-assisted therapies such as MDMA for PTSD, and we are gratified that our study will provide safety and outcome data to regulators to support integration of this treatment into mainstream mental health care.”

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The company’s aim is healing depression, anxiety, trauma, pain and substance abuse, rather than managing their symptoms, he said.

Numinus will now seek about 20 volunteers to study the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy. Ecstasy is a controlled substance and is illegal to use except for approved medical and scientific studies using medical-grade MDMA.

Participants in preliminary studies had PTSD diagnoses from a range of causes, including combat-related events, accidents, abuse, sexual harm and developmental trauma.

Those preliminary trials showed 88 per cent of participants who got three controlled and supervised MDMA-assisted therapy sessions experienced a clinically significant reduction in symptoms, with 67 per cent no longer qualifying for PTSD diagnosis, compared to 32 per cent of participants taking placebos, according to Dr. Devon Christie, medical and therapeutic services director at Numinus.

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“Health Canada should be recognized for its ongoing leadership through its support of this study,” Christie said. “At our Vancouver clinic, we have spent months establishing the physical, technical, clinical and human resource infrastructure needed to move the study forward and ultimately foster greater access to MDMA-assisted therapy.“

Those participating in the study will meet with therapists for a preparatory session and then a day-long drug session. Unlike preliminary trials, the participants will not be required to stay overnight.

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

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28Jun

With heat warnings in effect, B.C. businesses take measures to protect employees and customers

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‘A dangerous long-duration heat wave’ is blistering the province and is expected to begin tapering off Tuesday, Environment Canada says

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With the temperature spiking in the 40s on Monday, Patina Brewing in Port Coquitlam opened its doors early in the morning, on a day it is normally closed, so people working remotely could enjoy the benefit of the brewhouse’s air conditioning.

It will keep opening at 9 a.m. the rest of this work week to give home-based workers some respite from the swelter with a spot to plug in and get some work done without sweating all over their keyboards.

Bring a coffee and enjoy not melting away, said Patina’s CEO and co-owner Kyle Logan.

“One of our core values is community,” Logan said as 10 people scattered around the brewhouse tapped away on laptops. “My wife is working from home right now, and she suggested she come here to work with the air conditioning.

“She said, ‘Know what? What if we invite the community around us to come work here, anyone who needs some AC.’”

But while those businesses with air conditioning are welcome oases of chill, some businesses without it have been forced to shut.

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WorkSafeBC advised employers to close down if workers couldn’t be protected from heat stress. In the last three years, there have been close to 100 claims accepted for work-related injuries caused by heat stress, WordSafeBC said, and these are preventable injuries.

“All workers are potentially at risk,” said Al Johnson, head of prevention services. “If not recognized and treated early, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.”

At least 30 construction contractors around the province are limiting operations, said Erin Linde, director of health and safety services with the B.C. Construction Safety Alliance.

“It sounds like most companies are working only to noon or with skeleton crews that can work indoors or in the shade, or work that is not strenuous,” she said. “All these companies seem to have stopped any heavy labour after noon.”

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One retail business that shut down was Town and Country Vintage Home in Maple Ridge, which has no air conditioning. Its doors were shut on Sunday and Monday to keep staff and customers safe, while the PoCo location remained open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. because it is fully air conditioned.

Naomi Corr, the owner of both stores, said she will post updates on the stores’ social media sites, depending on the comfort level of staff and customers.

“First COVID and now this. But the community is important to me. It can’t always be about money, their safety is more important to me,” she said.

The province’s restaurants, meanwhile, found themselves closing some new outdoor areas on Sunday and Monday, along with kitchens that are too hot to work in.

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“We’re seeing a number of restaurants close their kitchens during the daytime and maybe open them back up at night,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “The patios, and in some cases kitchens, were just way too hot.

“It’s hard to tell how many, but we’re seeing that all across B.C. It’s not just one or two, a lot have.”

Around the province, paramedics responded to 187 heat-exhaustion and 52 heatstroke calls from Friday to Monday morning, according to B.C. Emergency Health Services. On Sunday alone, the organization responded to almost 107 calls for heat exhaustion and 32 calls for heatstroke.

To put the numbers in context, last June, Emergency Health Services responded to 14 heat-related calls. So far this June, that number sits at 304.

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The duration of this heatwave is concerning because with temperatures cooling at night to levels that would be considered a hot daytime high, the record-breaking heat will increase the potential for related illnesses, Environment Canada warned.

“Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty, and stay in a cool place,” the federal weather agency said. “Check on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water.”

Never leave children, elderly people or pets inside a parked vehicle, and outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.

Symptoms of heat illness include: Dizziness/fainting; nausea/vomiting; rapid breathing and heartbeat; extreme thirst; decreased urination with unusually dark urine.

HealthLink B.C. has online resources about heat-related illness and how to protect yourself from succumbing, or you can call them at 8-1-1 for information.

If your symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen, or cause you concern, contact a health-care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

gordmcintyre@postmedia.com

twitter.com/gordmcintyre

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Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

3May

COVID-19: Stress is up, but mental health improving for business owners during pandemic

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A new survey shows business owners continue to be stressed, but they hope vaccines mean that consumers will one day soon return to malls, restaurants and local services.

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Running a small business through the pandemic has been like balancing on the end of a yo-yo for Jullianna Charlton, who has endured multiple highs and lows with her clothing company over the last year.

“As an entrepreneur, this business is my baby. And when you see your baby going through all of these trials and tribulations of life, you do your best to protect it,” said Charlton, owner of NoMiNoU, which sells locally created active wear in Tsawwassen Mills mall.

“I’m worried about my employees as well. I can survive on a bare bones budget and all that. But it’s the people that rely on me.”

NoMiNoU, which opened in 2014, has 22 employees and pays royalties to eight artists who create the designs for the “athleisure” line of clothes. It is holding its own financially, but Charlton worried a year ago that her business might not survive the pandemic, then hit a high last spring when she pivoted to selling face masks and online sales boomed, but then recently hit a low again when Ontario and Quebec stores cancelled online orders for her stock after those provinces were hit with lockdowns.

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“It’s been a real yo-yo,” said Charlton, who looks after her own mental health by doing yoga and talking to herself about problems. “It went from, ‘Holy crap, oh my god’ to ‘Oh, this is great’ to ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen again.’ … There’s been way more late nights, sleepless nights for me.”

Jullianna Charlton, CEO of NoMiNoU clothing.
Jullianna Charlton, CEO of NoMiNoU clothing.

Charlton, a good-humoured and resilient entrepreneur, is not alone experiencing this kind of stress and mental health angst.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will release a new survey today that shows while the mental health of business owners has improved slightly since the start of the pandemic, their stress levels continue to rise. The survey was conducted during the first two weeks of March, before the third wave descended on B.C., and with further restrictions now in place it is likely these sources of stress have increased again for entrepreneurs, the bank said in a statement.

The survey found two thirds of business owners are now adjusting relatively well to COVID, although one third are still struggling, an improvement compared to last August, when the BDC conducted its first survey. However, mental health challenges today continue to be more pronounced for younger entrepreneurs, and among those whose businesses continue to struggle financially.

More than half (56 per cent) of business owners want a better work-life balance, and this concern was highest in B.C. compared to the other provinces, a BDC spokeswoman said.

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While there are signs that Canadian business owners are feeling less overwhelmed by the financial impact of the pandemic, it is clear that many are still struggling: Half say they have not coped with mental health challenges effectively, and more than half say they feel tired or lack energy.

When it comes to stress, more than half of entrepreneurs (52 per cent) say they are worried about the impact of COVID restrictions on their companies, and that’s up since November, when the BDC conducted its second survey. In this third survey, stress levels had increased over the economic recession, survival of businesses, and the health impact of COVID on owners and their families.

Vancouver-based FISPAN, which uses a platform to connect banks directly to businesses’ accounting systems, has seen sales skyrocket during the pandemic, so the five-year-old startup is not under financial stress. But co-founder Andrea Zand still has other worries during the pandemic.

“The biggest stress right now is because of how much we’re growing. … Keeping the company culture while we’re hiring remotely has been a big stress of ours, making sure everyone’s still connecting the way that they should be connecting and that no one’s feeling isolated,” she said.

“Offering them tools for support, offering them check ins, and the company really showing up with other activities to keep their spirits high. We still do everything that we did before COVID, just virtually — birthdays, corporate parties, celebrations.”

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Zand and her co-workers were feeling Zoom fatigue in the winter, and then spirits rose with the sunnier weather this spring, but they’ve fallen again with this latest round of restrictions during B.C.’s third wave. Zand looks after her own mental health, so she can help to motivate her team, by “doubling down on reading books and meditation exercise.”

The BDC, which offers banking services to entrepreneurs, found that at the time of the survey, 41 per cent of Canadian businesses were either closed or only partly operating. These national findings are similar to more local studies: A Vancouver Board of Trade survey released in January found only half of businesses expect to return to normal when government support ends, a quarter expect to layoff employees and more than one out of every five plan to reduce employee hours.

Charlton, though, feels optimistic that the vaccine rollout will mean consumers will one day soon be given the green light to return to malls, restaurants and services, which will ideally mean a big boost in sales again for local companies. And that gives her hope.

“If I can get through this (pandemic), there’s nothing I can’t get through now. And so in some ways, it’s empowering to know that we are surviving, we’re getting through it, we’ll get through it. It’s not been the year that I had hoped and projected it would be, but we’re still profitable, we’re still strong,” she said.

The BDC surveyed 507 businesses between March 1 and 12. For this sample size, the maximum margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

lculbert@postmedia.com

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8Apr

COVID-19: How safe is it to dine on a patio given the rise in variants?

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Experts advise concerned diners to choose a well-ventilated patio over an enclosed outdoor space, which could be worse than dining indoors

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It’s finally patio season. With sunny days and temperatures expected to hit the mid-teens next week, pandemic-weary B.C. residents are likely to flock to their favourite restaurants and pubs to enjoy food and drinks outdoors.

But given the rise in the more contagious variants, how safe is it to eat on a patio?

Since the B.C. government last week ordered restaurants to suspend indoor dining for three weeks, there has been an online push to support struggling eateries by either dining on the patio or calling for takeout.

Experts advise concerned restaurant patrons to choose a well-ventilated patio over an enclosed outdoor space with walls.

The variants should be taken “very seriously” and some patios are riskier than others, said Dr. Michael Brauer, an expert in the built environment and human health at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.

“I think the enclosed patios, the ones with walls and some kind of roof, can be worse than being indoors because they might not have the same ventilation system as in a building,” he said.

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“I’m always shocked when I show up to a restaurant and they say they have a patio, but it is a space enclosed in plastic,” he said.

However, under the provincial health order patios must have unrestricted air flowing from at least two sides. Patrons must be at least two metres away from each other or be separated by a barrier such as plexiglass.

Samantha Scholefield, program manager for the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said restaurants and pubs are struggling with no indoor service and so they are working really hard to ensure they have a safe environment.

For those who feel unsafe about a busy patio, she advised getting takeout and having a socially distanced picnic in the park.

“Right now you can have 10 people gathering outside in parks with friends and even kids playing together, so there is that confidence in the outdoor space. So we are really pleased that the government has the confidence in the outdoor space for restaurants,” she said.

“As long as there is fresh air, then the patio is a good way to see a friend in your bubble and support a struggling business.”

While open air patios are better than an enclosed space, diners should realize that there is always a risk, says Dr. Michael Brauer of the UBC School of Population and Public Health.
While open air patios are better than an enclosed space, diners should realize that there is always a risk, says Dr. Michael Brauer of the UBC School of Population and Public Health. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG files

She added that many restaurants are using plexiglass on wheels to move between parties where the space doesn’t allow for two metres distance.

Brauer said while open air patios are better than an enclosed space, diners should realize that there is always a risk.

“If you are sitting across from someone else who is not in your bubble, it almost doesn’t matter if you are outdoors or not. If the tables are distanced and there is good ventilation, then obviously that is safer. But it’s all some level of risk and I think people should be very cautious.”

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Restaurants, pubs, bars and food courts are closed for indoor dining until April 19 and patio seating and takeout or delivery is allowed. Breweries, wineries and tasting rooms can operate outdoor patios, and liquor may only be served on a patio if people are seated.

Brauer said it’s really important people follow the rules outdoors because of the new variants, especially the P.1 variant, first identified in Brazil, because there is evidence it is more contagious than the other variants of concern.

Internal slides from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, leaked to Postmedia News, show that presumptive variant cases made up at least 40 per cent of all positive COVID-19 cases as of March 27.

That’s double the estimate given by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on March 25, when she said about 20 per cent of positive COVID-19 cases were variants.

Neither of those figures take into account the rapid increase in variant cases over the Easter long weekend, when cases of the P.1 variant almost doubled. As of Tuesday, B.C. had 877 cases of the P.1 variant, the highest rate in Canada.

The province has also recorded 2,838 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.

In the city of Vancouver, there are five types of temporary, expedited patio-program permits that businesses can apply for during the pandemic: Curbside patio, which is on the road or on-street parking space; large sidewalk patio with railing; small sidewalk patio without railing; private property patio; and a partly city property patio.

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Businesses can apply for approval of an awning to provide cover for sidewalk patios and curbside patios are allowed to have an umbrella that fits within the footprint of the patio.

People should not be going to restaurants with anyone outside of their household, or for those who live alone, a maximum of two people from their core bubble. The rule for restaurants being required to seat a maximum of six people per table remains for outdoor seating, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health.

In an email, the ministry said restaurants are allowed to cover their patios as long as there is fresh air flowing. Customers can go inside to pay, order, pick up, but are not to be seated indoors.

Those who don’t comply face orders and fines, as well as possible referral to public health that may result in a closure order.

Here are some tips for dining on patios:

• Wear a mask and only remove to eat or drink.

• Take your own sanitizing wipes for surfaces.

• Choose well-ventilated outdoor dining spaces.

• Minimize exposure by not lingering after a meal.

• Stay in your bubble.

With files from Katie DeRosa

ticrawford@postmedia.com


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21Feb

Town Talk: Bob Rennie cues builders on B.C.’s ‘demographic crunch’

by admin


Here readying an at-home dinner for 70 art collectors and professionals, Bob Rennie later addressed building contractors on the “demographic crunch” he said will add “another Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam.”


Malcolm Parry / PNG

CRYSTAL BALLING: Realtor Bob Rennie and his Rennie Group’s intelligence VP, Andrew Ramlo, helped Independent Contractors and Business Association conventioneers digest their bacon and eggs recently. The association president, Chris Gardner, had already told breakfasting colleagues that trade workers’ wages will increase by 5.2 per cent this year, that 54 per cent of contractors can’t obtain enough workers, and that only the Slovak Republic is slower than B.C. among 35 jurisdictions issuing building permits. Rennie and Ramlo’s “demographic crunch” projections included Canadian immigration admissions surging to 350,000 by 2021 (B.C.’s share to be 15 per cent). An aging population and climate change will be the economy’s greatest challenges, they said. Meanwhile, housing the Lower Mainland’s one million more residents by 2040 will require “another Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Coquitlam.” And though, in constant dollars, millennials’ median household after-tax income exceeds Generation X’s and Baby Boomers’ by 32 per cent, their debt-to-after-tax-income is almost twice as high at 216 per cent. Rennie’s problem: “Twenty years from now, who’s going to be my lawyer, bring my bedpan and pay my taxes?”


Krista Howard chose Railtown as the venue for the Howard495 art gallery-office she’s added to her 14-year business advising global collectors.

Malcolm Parry /

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GIRLY RISER: After 14 years as a global art adviser, Krista Howard has launched a physical gallery and office, Howard495, in the Railtown district. Her debut show, titled Girlie Pics, Someone Else’s History, featured work — some of it a little spicy girlie — by mostly female artists familiar to her existing clients. Catriona Jeffries’ influential gallery recently located nearby on East Cordova’s 900 block. The Monica Reyes Gallery has long operated at Hastings-at-Princess. We’ll likely see more.


David Rowntree and wife Leah whose Curious Minds Productions will launch a current-issues mediation podcast called Hungry Mind, Open Hearts.

Malcolm Parry /

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HIGHER LEAH: Raised in a socialist household, Leah Costello sang in a Salmon Arm-based Hawaiian band, sought North Vancouver’s federal Tory nomination, managed Fraser Institute events, produced policy-issue videos, and founded Curious Minds Productions and the Bon Mot Book Club. The latter’s readings featured such diverse authors as former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, U.S. vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Canadian media meteorite Conrad Black and John Cleese of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV series. After shelving that project, Costello married the Highland West Capital managing director and former Douglas & McIntyre book-publishing firm partner, David Rowntree. Now, as Leah Rowntree, she’s planning a podcast titled Hungry Mind, Open Heart to talk about current issues. There’s a Hawaiian song for that: I Hei Anau — How Far I’ll Go.


Architect Michael Green worked on Malaysia’s Petronas Towers when their Star of David-shaped cross-section had to be modified to an Islamic pattern.

Malcolm Parry /

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FREE-LUNCH DIVIDEND: Science World’s Lego-skyscrapers exhibition reminds architect Michael Green of his first job. Before designing and advocating mass-wood highrises, Green assisted César Pelli on Kuala Lumpur’s reinforced-concrete Petronas Towers. At 452 metres, the 1996 structures were the world’s tallest until 2004. Green recalls clients nixing Pelli’s original design because his tower cross-sections resembled the six-pointed Star of David. When redrawn with two more to suggest the Muslim Rub El Hizb symbol, and with further facets added, Pelli got the go-ahead. Green has given himself the same for a vegetarian-vegan book based on his lunchtime feeding of Michael Green Architecture’s 65 staff. Its second section will address how “serving food builds culture, connections and collaboration,” and a third “the financial benefits of all businesses giving lunch.” Have your cake and eat it, that is.


Laura Gildner received the $5,000 Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize from its founder at Polygon Gallery where it and others will show to March 16.

Malcolm Parry /

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ART START: North Vancouver’s Polygon Gallery was packed recently when Laura Gildner received the fifth-annual Philip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize of $5,000. “Being an artist is very hard; I admire you immensely,” Rogers Communications vice chair Lind said to prize contenders. Many feel that way about Lind, who survived a 1998 stroke to continue his 40-year guidance of communications entrepreneur Ted Rogers. Gildner’s work, Informer, contains eight life-size video images addressing viewers. Visit the Polygon gallery exhibition before March 16 to see how artists emerge.


Seen here with nurse-practitioner April Stewart (right), retiring gynecological oncologist-researcher Dr. Dianne Miller will now train more Ugandan cancer surgeons.

Malcolm Parry /

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GOOD ONE GOES: Hospital staff and patients will miss Dr. Dianne Miller who has completed 30 years as a gynecological oncologist and researcher. She received a Vancouver Coastal Health lifetime-achievement award in 2019 that recognized her “revolutionizing the care and prevention of ovarian cancer for women in B.C. and all over the world.” Miller will now spend up to three months a year teaching gynecological-cancer surgery techniques to Ugandan practitioners.


Rather than costume herself for Beaumont Studios’ Robot Dance Party, artist Noa Ben-Mazia, aka Noya, created an immobile partner named BroBot3E5.

Malcolm Parry /

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BOT BALL: Beaumont Studios founder-owner Jude Kusnierz’s recent Robot Dance Party drew participants attired in costumes that could hamper the actual dancing. Artist Noa Ben-Mazia — she goes by Noya — avoided that by creating a life-sized but inanimate robot named BroBot3E5 that, with further tweaking, may master a few dance steps for next year’s wingding.


Despite Disney’s Bambi remake, animator Marv Newland left his Bambi Meets Godzilla unrevised to work on Lisbon-premiering Katalog of Flaws.

Malcolm Parry /

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NO DEER: Much-honoured animator Marv Newland won’t follow the Disney studio’s proposed remake of Bambi by updating his own Bambi Meets Godzilla. The Mayne Island resident and International Rocketship Ltd. founder-principal usually pooh-poohs talk of the 1969 cult-classic he made while studying at Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design. Newland does have a new movie, though. Containing contributions by 15 global colleagues, his Katalog of Flaws will premiere at the 20th annual Monstra Animation Festival in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 19.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: My next column will be published March 14.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

7Feb

Town Talk: Million-dollar gala benefits the Canucks Autism Network

by admin


Jill Killeen and Clara Aquilini chaired the Reveal gala in Rogers Arena that reportedly raised $1,022,000 to benefit the Canucks Autism Network founded by Clara and husband Paolo of the team-and-arena-owning family.


Malcolm Parry / PNG

HOME ICE: Reveal gala co-chairs Clara Aquilini and Jill Killeen virtually skated into Rogers Arena recently and netted $1,022,000 for the Canucks Autism Network. “We both play offence,” fundraiser Killeen cracked during a VIP reception in the Vancouver Canucks’ dressing room. Singer-comedian Lady Rizo and local Underground Circus performers entertained 600 attendees.


Artist Athena Bax spent pocket change creating her ensemble then donated a painting that raised $30,000 at a Canucks Autism Network’s gala-auction.

Malcolm Parry /

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Among them was city-based artist Athena Bax, who often concocts glamorous outfits from less than some spend on hairspray. For Reveal, she crafted a top hat from scrap materials, then glued glittering gewgaws to a $7.50 Value Village jacket she ripped apart and stitched to her dress. Countering such fiscal probity, Bax also donated a floral painting titled Love is a Garden that aided the network’s youngsters by fetching $30,000 at auction.


Peter and Shahram Malek’s Millennium Development Corp restored Hastings-at-Carrall’s 107-year-old Merchant Bank Building to be better than new.

Malcolm Parry /

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MERCHANT OF GASTOWN: Eighty-nine years have passed since steam locomotives hauled passenger and freight cars across the Hastings-at-Carrall intersection. Erected there in 1913, the Merchant Bank Building had its facade set back obliquely so trains could pass. The old railway right-of-way is now a triangular public space called Pioneer Place or, more often, Pigeon Park. Following years of decline, the neoclassical Merchant Bank building itself looks much as it did new, not that multicoloured nighttime floodlighting was common in 1913. Inside, following renovation by Peter Malek and brother Shahram Malekyazdi’s Millennium Development Corp., it has become technically current while retaining some marble-and-terrazzo flooring, moulded ceilings, iron staircase balustrades (there is a new elevator) and sash windows that actually open, albeit by the few centimetres now mandated. City hall wouldn’t renew the original design’s provision for four additional four storeys, but it did relent as regards a steel-and-concrete replacement for the mostly wood-framed top floor. Meanwhile, Millennium has begun a 37-rental-unit building alongside that retains the brick fascia of an 1880s structure. Oddly, the Merchant Bank building had a same-era predecessor that lasted barely 20 years. With several restaurant-bars nearby, another may occupy the street-level and lower floors. Colliers International realtors might welcome a tech firm leasing all 14,172 square feet. The peerless address — One West Hastings — would likely be an inducement.


Co-chairs Pei Huang and Judy Leung toasted a $3-million gala to end VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s $60-million Future of Surgery campaign.

Malcolm Parry /

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SURGING FOR SURGERY: Pei Huang and Judy Leung co-chaired the Chinese Canadian community’s sixth annual Time to Shine gala that reportedly raised $3 million. That sum, including a $1-million donation from William Lin and An-Nien Lu, helped the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation close its $60-million Future of Surgery campaign, although a similar major fundraising will doubtless follow.


Wearing a Vimo Wedding gown to the VHG and UBC Hospital Foundation gala, Angela Chapman admired Beijing designer Guo Pei’s confections.

Malcolm Parry /

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The happy occasion saw foundation president-CEO Angela Chapman wear a timely, shiny gown from Vancouver’s Vimo Wedding boutique. Other attendees bid on barely-there custom dresses by Beijing designer Guo Pei. Not that any wearer would feel chilled after sampling the gala’s complimentary Lion Way cocktails: brandy, rum, mescal, amaretto, red wine and five spices.


After many developments in Vancouver. Toronto, Seattle, Tokyo, etc., Westbank Projects Corp. founder Ian Gillespie is readying for a $10-billion one in Silicon Valley.

Malcolm Parry /

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EVEN-BIGGER DEAL: A bullet wound to 10-year-old Ian Gillespie’s head put paid to his piano studies but didn’t impede his property-development career. Now aged 58, and often partnered by Peterson Group principal Ben Yeung, Westbank Projects Corp. founder Gillespie has completed many major developments in Vancouver and Toronto. Six are proceeding in Seattle and others in Tokyo. While checking on Westbank CFO Judy Leung’s co-chairing of the Time to Shine gala, Gillespie spoke about a bigger-still project. That’s a $10-billion, five-million-square-foot development of primarily office space on six sites in San Jose, California. With Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google nearby, the energy-net-zero scheme will approximate “half the area of downtown Vancouver,” Gillespie said. It’s as well that that bullet didn’t penetrate deeper.

PARRYNOIA: Rolls-Royce’s claim that its $500,000 Black Badge Cullinan model “delivers a theatrical dreamscape within the cabin of the motor car” may not imply that its drivers tend to fall asleep.


At a joint national-day event, New Zealand consul general Matt Ritchie congratulated honorary consul Kevin Lamb on induction to the Order of Australia.

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DOWN-UNDER ORDER: Australia’s 23-year honorary consul, Kevin Lamb, likely sensed the irony of rainfall when he and New Zealand’s five-month consul general, Matt Ritchie, jointly celebrated their national days. Getting to the reception obliged them and guests to slosh through cascades that caused much flooding and cut road access to Hemlock Valley skiers and residents. For want of rain that day, out-of-control bushfires threatened widespread evacuation of Australia’s capital. Canberra itself earlier conferred the Order of Australia on Edmonton-born Lamb for “outstanding achievement and service.” Following his posting to Kuala Lumpur, trade specialist Ritchie is vigorously seeking New Zealand-Canada benefits from the two-year-old Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.


Seen with spirituality promoter Deepak Chopra, Dianne Watts had much to meditate on when her front-running B.C. Liberal party leadership bid fizzled.

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LIB AND LET LIB: One wonders whether B.C. Liberal Liberals would need to “bid for a political comeback” (Vaughn Palmer, Sun, Feb. 4) or practice lifeboat survival had Dianne Watts been elected leader Feb. 3, 2018. The former Surrey mayor and Tory MP led through four ballots until the lack of Liberal-caucus support, horse-trading among ballot losers and non-voting by her own supporters gave Andrew Wilkinson the win.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: The U.S. might lose it world’s-highest-imprisonment ranking if ordinary citizens faced trials comparable to their president’s.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

31Jan

Town Talk: Play recounts Casey Wright’s 19-year medical journey

by admin


Weighing 25 kg and standing 122 cm tall after a stroke and 10 brain-tumour operations, Casey Wright, 19, has had Ben Ratner incorporate his words and videos of his many activities into a play titled Casey and the Octopus.


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SPEAKING UP: Casey Wright was 14 and had had 10 brain-tumour operations by 2015 when moviebiz veteran Danny Virtue announced he would executive-produce a film about him. Now 19, Casey weighs 25 kg, is 122 cm tall, and the movie has become integral to a play based on his own words that was written and directed by Ben Ratner.


Long-time drama teacher Jim Crescenzo is seen with members of the East End Boys Club he founded and that presented the Casey and the Octopus play.

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Presented by East End Boys Club, the one-act Casey and the Octopus ran recently in Templeton Secondary School’s theatre. The club was founded by Octopus co-executive producer Jim Crescenzo who taught two generations of Templeton theatre students. One grad thanked him “for helping me stand on my own two feet, which are strong and no longer let me fall.” Casey Wright’s own feet can be shaky, courtesy of a 2013 stroke that paralyzed his right side and rendered speech impossible. Lengthy therapy restored the latter enough for him to advise audiences: “When you’re climbing that mountain and the clouds part to show you there’s still a long way to go, tighten your boots, take a deep breath, and keep climbing.” His father, Larry, says the “Octopus” in the play’s title refers to what the first brain tumour looked like in medical scans. Casey subsequently refused scar-reducing surgery. “I’m keeping ’em,” he said. “They tell the story of what I am and what I’ve been through.” That is a lot, with more perhaps to come. Nevertheless, he ends the play on his feet and telling audiences: “If I had been ‘normal’ I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you guys. And talking to you is what makes me feel alive. It’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning and keep going.”

Despite his enormous medical travails, natural-showman Casey has had many more life experiences, including sky-diving and honorary RCMP staff-sergeant-major status, than many of his contemporaries.

There’s a word for that: Outstanding.


Casey and the Octopus co-executive producer Danny Virtue says he’s negotiating with broadcasters for a revival of his locally shot TV series, Neon Rider.

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NEXT: Danny Virtue says he’s negotiating a possible return of the 1990-95 Neon Rider TV series he and late actor-business-partner Winston Rekert created for shooting at the Virtue Studio Ranch that also supports physically, mentally and financially challenged children.


Grade 4 Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band members Avrie Hunter and Kevin Maloney played at a Robbie Burns dinner-benefit for the SFU Pipe Band.

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WHA HAE: Bard Robbie Burns’ Scots-dialect writings might have claimed that aipples fall not far from the crann. That certainly applies to Terry Lee who led the SFU Pipe Band to six world championships. At the band’s recent Burns fundraising supper, Lee and wife Nancy accompanied piper-son Alastair, 28, who won two gold medals at Kansas City’s recent Winter Storm tourney. Several world champions competed, too. The Lees’ daughter Fiona is a former world champion highland dancer. Terry’s brother Jack is a world’s-top-ten piper and the SFU band’s pipe sergeant. His sons Andrew and John are pipers there, too. Burns’ famed Tam O’Shanter poem had the devil, disguised as a dog, pipe for a witches’ dance. The SFU event saw nothing more diabolical than Kendrick Rutherford piping in the traditional offal-oatmeal-suet haggis.


Terry Lee, who led the SFU Pipe Band to six world championships, and piping-champion-son Alastair attended the band’s Robbie Burns dinner-concert.

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SCRUMMIES: Culinary curiosities bacon sarnie, fly cemetery and sausage butty will accompany English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Manx, Cornish and ancient Celtic cultural performances at the British Isles Historic Society’s Heritage Festival on the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza Feb. 22.


MonaLisa Healing founder Bif Naked, left, was portrayed with Calvin Ayre whose Bodog Music recorded her and fellow singer Nazanin Afshin-Jam.

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POTSHOT: Seemingly undeterred by hemp’s recent 75 per cent price plunge, cancer-surviving pop-punk singer Bif Naked (real name Beth Torbert) will launch an e-com boutique named MonaLisaHealing.com at this weekend’s Wellness Show. Extracted from marijuana-cousin hemp, the tincture of cannabidiol (CBD) is reportedly free of high-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Even so, pot activist Jodie Emery will join Naked and fellow singer Mary Zilba on a panel at the show. Naked’s next single, JIM, is due Feb. 14 with an 11th album following. She recorded her second, Superbeautifulmonster, at expat-to-be Calvin Ayre’s city-based Bodog Music where Nazanin Afshin-Jam would wax her debut single, I Dance For You (see YouTube). Iran-born global human-rights activist Afshin-Jam later launched her own foundation, married and had three children with now-Conservative Party of Canada leadership seeker Peter MacKay.


“Princess of Pot” Jodie Emery will join a Wellness Show panel with Bif Naked whose hemp-based tinctures reportedly contain no high-inducing THC.

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ANOTHER SEASON: Still no word on a luxury-hotel chain to succeed Four Seasons and renovate its leased Pacific Centre premises? Ritz Carlton backed out from what became the Trump International Hotel, but likely isn’t a contender. Marriott has reportedly looked aggressively. Ditto Hilton, where luxury-and-lifestyle global group head Martin Rinck oversees strategic development for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and other growing divisions. Rinck may actually see the vacated Four Seasons locale from his West Vancouver home.


If we’re lucky, the coronavirus won’tget bad enought to give former emergency physician Daniel Kalla the impetus to write another best-seller about pandemic illnesses.

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ELEVENTH HOUR: The 2003 SARS outbreak saw then-St. Paul’s Hospital emergency-medicine director Daniel Kalla write the bestseller Pandemic. Nine novels later in 2019, his We All Fall Down pictured a recurrence of plague, the medieval Black Death. Perhaps Wuhan, China’s coronavirus will inspire another of his medically incontestable blockbusters.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: As ride-hail cars proliferate, real-life taxi drivers may be modifying movie-star Robert De Niro’s question to: “Aren’t you talkin’ to me?”

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

27Dec

Town Talk: Revisiting some who helped make 2019 what it was

by admin

With 2019’s imminent demise, we’ll check off another box among the 6,000 or so that constitute recorded history. The year’s delights, disasters, encouragements and letdowns will be remembered and possibly surpassed. From our own community, this column recalls some who contributed to it or otherwise sustained the character of the place we call home and that, troubled aspects notwithstanding, few would wish to forget.


Thoroughly vice-regal in red, B.C. Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin attended a B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation benefit accompanied by ceremonial aide de camp and former Vancouver police inspector Bob Usui.

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B.C.-native tenor Ben Heppner hosted the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s 100th anniversary concert at which an Orpheum theatre audience got the measure of Netherlands-born, nine-month music director Otto Tausk.

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Actor-director Jason Priestley appraised a Jane Austen-style dress named Lovey when South Granville retailer and friend Julia Molnar launched a first-in-Canada satellite of the Paris-based La Maison Bonpoint store.

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In the Macaulay Fine Art gallery, Cowichan/Syilx artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun exhibited a $45,000 sculpture titled Opioid Ovoid Humanoid that seemed to move every time viewers briefly looked away.

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Actress Pamela Anderson struck a characteristic pose in the Vancouver Club where an art auction, including this $30,000 work by global photographer Raphael Mazzucco, benefited her self-named foundation.

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At Manuel Bernaschek’s Stefano Ricci store, the designer’s son, Niccolo, showed a gold-buckled crocodile belt with 13.8 carats of diamonds that would hold a dapper chap’s pants up and maybe get him held up, too.

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Returning to her Emily Carr University job after experiencing a tsunami in her native Indonesia, Diyan Achjadi wrapped an articulated city bus with artwork representing Dutch settlers’ fantasy views of that nation.

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While the For Children We Care gala raised $4.1 million for B.C. Children’s Hospital, third-time presenter Ben Yeung checked out a $500,000 Roll-Royce Cullinan that Open Road dealer Christian Chia brought along.

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Helping fund her Obakki Foundation’s sustainable projects in South Sudan, Cameroon and Uganda, Treana Peake welcomed former child soldier Emmanuel Jal to the White Envelope benefit at her Gleneagles home.

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Toting an ultra-thick milkshake, chef Dawn Doucette opened North Vancouver’s 1950s-style Douce Diner in premises that husband Nino Giangrande built around Doucette’s sister Timi Fuller’s mosaic floor.

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Sharing haircuts at a Canada Walk of Fame ceremony, mega-entrepreneur Jimmy Pattison may have appraised B.C. Premier John Horgan as a future employee as he did his NDP predecessor, Glen Clark.

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With a poster of the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows aerobatic team behind them, U.K. High Commissioner Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque and Consul General Nicole Davison had just seen the real aircraft speed past them.

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Polygon Homes chair Michael Audain accompanied wife Yoshi Karasawa at a Whistler gala that raised $450,000 for education, events and exhibitions at the $43-million Audain Museum he’d built and endowed nearby.

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Cited for addiction recovery at the annual Courage To Come Back ceremony, Blackfoot Geri Bemister was accompanied by Ravenswood Consulting partner, spouse and Coast Salish member Celina Williams.

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Having fought with other Canadian troops in the June 6, 1944, Normandy landings and the liberation of Holland, Master Warrant Officer George Chow was congratulated by China’s consul general, Tong Xiaoling.

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Everything came up roses for Isabella McKinnon at the 11th annual Night of Miracles gala where she greeted South Asian community members who raised $742,495 for B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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Lotte and John Davis fronted their fifth One Girl Can event to fund education for East African women and projects such as the rebuilding of Nairobi’s Ushirika School that collapsed, killing 11 of its 615 students.

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13Dec

Town Talk: West side restaurateur feeds east side kids

by admin

ANOTHER JOE: As well as serving his Hawksworth and Nightingale restaurants’ affluent diners, David Hawksworth squeezed in a catering gig at Britannia Secondary’s east Vancouver campus recently. There he delivered a Christmas turkey-and-trimmings meal to Streetfront Alternative Middle School teacher Trevor Stokes and the sometimes-hard-done-by students he says “are worth investing in.” The event was staged by Vancouver Firefighters Charities members who partner the non-mainstream school through the Sports for Kids program. As usual, Dotty Kanke and husband Bud were involved.


Bud Kanke sold Joe Fortes restaurant to David Aisenstat in in 2012 and may wonder if its1948 Chrysler taxi will grace a soon-opening Whistler locale.

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That same day, the Joe Fortes restaurant that Bud founded in 1984 and sold in 2012 announced that it will launch a Whistler satellite in January. Perhaps the original Thurlow-off-Robson joint’s 1948 Chrysler taxi will trundle up the Sea to Sky Highway to park outside the new one.


Omnifilm Entertainment partner-executive producer Gabriela Schonbach feted daughter Amanda Giannakos on founding separate-but-linked NM Media Co.

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TIED TO BE FIT: Like apples, accomplished parents’ children reputedly land close to the tree. The moviebiz equivalent is not being left on the cutting-room floor. That’s the case with Amanda Giannakos, whose mother, Gabriela Schonbach, is partner-executive producer at city-based Omnifilm Entertainment. At that firm’s recent 40th anniversary celebration, marketing-distribution director Giannakos said she founded the independent but related NM Media Co. in April. Its first 25-episode series, Strong By NM, will air next fall on the One Get Fit channel. It presently carries Omnifilm’s Namaste Yoga series that former lawyer Giannakos heads. Early-morning one-minute handstands may have concentrated (or frazzled) her brain to launch the 160-paper-page Movement by NM magazine that “explores the intersection of art, fitness and everyday life.”


Marc Schutzbank, who heads the Fresh Roots student-farming programs, received $13,000 from charity-funding Give A Damn founder Martin McNish.

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DAMN RIGHT: Odlum Brown portfolio manager Martin McNish and others gave charity giving a new twist in 2016 by sparkplugging the Give A Damn program. At quarterly events, twenties-to-forties-aged members each put up $100 and vote on pitches by three charities’ representatives. In the Yaletown’s Earls loft recently, Fresh Roots (freshroots.ca) executive director Marc Schutzbank, 32, received a $13,000 pot swelled by attendees and McNish’s friend Martin Jones, the San Jose Sharks goaltender. Schutzbank, whose wife Ilana Labow co-founded Fresh Roots in 2009, said elementary and secondary students grow food at educational farms on several schools’ grounds, learn to cook it and see it go to cafeterias, food-access programs and suchlike. “When kids are outside and growing something, they also find success in the classroom, and their confidence increases,” said U.S.-native Schutzbank who came to UBC in 2010 on a Fulbright scholarship. “If they grow it, they will eat it,” he said of Fresh Roots’ students. Canada, he added, “is the only G7 nation without a federal school-meals program.” He and Labow have a first and presumably healthy-eating child due Jan. 11.


After running her artisan-designer Address show here since 2015, founder Kate Duncan will present 12 designers at Toronto’s DesignTO festival.

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A TOAST: To furniture maker Kate Duncan, who launched her ever-growing annual Address show of talented young designer-artisans in 2015. Having gained a solid reputation, she’ll present 12 of them during Toronto’s DesignTO festival Jan. 14-19.


Greeting Matteo Escoto, nine, at an Omega reception, George Frankel said that his family-owned Bridges restaurant will undergo a $15-million renovation.

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ABOUT TIME: Another fourth-decade landmark restaurant, Bridges, is due for a $15-million renovation. So said George Frankel, who built the Granville Island waterfront facility and, with son Daniel, bought out his surviving partners in 2018. A building permit arrived this week. Beginning in fall 2020, work will involve wraparound terraces on both floors. Daniel, who runs the family firm today, also owns all three Tap & Barrel pub-restaurants and Brewhall, the former Steel Toad Brewery. At the Omega boutique’s recent annual reception, Frankel pere greeted Matteo Escoto, 9, who appeared in past columns modelling the Swiss firm’s wristwatches. Frankel wore a competing Rolex Oyster that was a gift from Daniel but vowed to reciprocate with a like-value Omega.


With 50 or so books produced to date and more on the way, expatriate logger-turned-author David Day will return to his native Victoria by summer.

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DAY’S AHEAD: Victoria-born former logger David Day has written and helped provide paper for more books than many have read: 50 and counting. His Tolkien Bestiary sold a million copies. His Doomsday Book of Animals, with a foreword by the Duke of Edinburgh, sold 750,000. Pal Terry Jones, the Monty Python Flying Circus team member, wrote the introduction for his Decoding Wonderland. Three more in Day’s Tolkien series were released recently in North America, the UK and France. With wife Roisin, the long-time expatriate will soon occupy a former Day-family home in Victoria.


Journalist-author Stevie Cameron’s brother, artist-drummer-singer Chris Dahl, has released the Silver Dagger single from his Smoke + Shadows album

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HI-YO SILVER: Further up-Island, Qualicum Beach’s Ceramics Artworks firm owner Chris Dahl has released the Silver Dagger title track of a self-produced world-fusion album titled Smoke + Shadows. Artist Dahl drummed with the My Indole Ring band that had its self-titled 1969 album re-issued 41 years later by a producer in then-psychedelia-crazy Germany.


Seen here with Vanishing Tattoo partner Thomas Lockhart and Chili Dog, Vince Hemingson exhibits non-tattooed nudes and other photos in Kitsilano.

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AFTER TATS: Vince Hemingson pinpointed communities in Borneo, California, China, Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, Samoa, and other locales for a documentary titled The Vanishing Tattoo (vanishingtattoo.com). No cutaneous embroidery appears on the female subjects of his Nude In The Landscape photographs exhibited at 1725 West Third to Dec. 31, along with others of Asian locales and African wildlife.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: All bluster aside, modern-day “witch hunts” may actually identify witchcraft.

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

6Dec

Town Talk: Crystal Ball raises $3.8 million for BC Children’s Hospital

by admin


Dazzle-dressed Zynth & Co. dancers backed stand-up comedian Jon Gagnon in the Rocky Mountaineer station where he MC’d the hospitality industry’s 15th annual Golden Owl awards festivities.


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CRYSTAL CLEARING: Jennifer Johnston chaired the Crystal Ball for the third time recently, benefiting the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation. The 33rd annual event reportedly raised $3.8 million. Foundation president-CEO Teri Nicholas and board chair Lisa Hudson said that sum will help fund the hospital’s Next Generation Technologies program to study youngsters’ entire genetic makeup. Data thus derived should eliminate many painful, invasive tests while providing speedier diagnoses for hitherto hard-to-identify ailments.


B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation board chair Lisa Hudson and Crystal Ball chair Jennifer Johnston saw that 33rd annual event reportedly raise $3.8 million.

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A former Crystal Ball chair, Steph Nicolls, said the role entailed “three times the work I expected, but the result was 10 times what I expected.” Current chair Johnston would doubtless agree. So would Crystal Ball founder and honorary lifetime chair Isabelle Diamond, whose late husband Charles barely survived polio at age 15. That was in 1949, two years after Crippled Children’s Hospital was renamed B.C. Children’s Hospital, and 33 years before today’s 28th-at-Oak complex opened. Following Ms. Diamond’s impetus, the Crystal Ball has reportedly raised $38 million.


Retired radiologist Alan Diamond accompanied mother Isabelle to the Crystal Ball she founded and that has raised $38 million for B.C. Children’s Hospital.

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END OF SEASON: After three decades at the Four Seasons Hotel, which will soon vacate its Pacific Centre premises, the Crystal Ball will need a new locale for 2020.


Retired NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined Melita and Lorne Segal when they hosted the traditional pre-WE Day dinner in their Southlands homes.

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WE FOUR: School students filled Rogers Arena recently for Craig and Marc Kielburger’s annual WE Day rally. The brothers also attended a 10th annual pre-event dinner in Lorne and Melita Segal’s home. Craig was 13 in 1995 when he founded the Free The Children campaign that became WE Day 12 years later. He is 37 now. Marc is 42. Many youngsters today have the Extinction Rebellion movement and fellow teen Greta Thunberg literally sailing the Atlantic to inspire them. The two-decade Kielburgers-Segal relationship include working on projects in Kenya.


Then-B.C. premier Christy Clark joined since-deceased former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan at a WE Day benefit dinner in the Segal home in 2013.

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WE Day founder Craig Kielburger (right) and brother Marc welcomed South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the 2012 event and a night-before banquet.

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Guests at the recent Segal dinner included pro basketball’s famed “sky hook” practitioner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who retired in 1989 — before current WE Day celebrants were born. NBA stars Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal attended earlier dinners, along with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Virgin maestro Sir Richard Branson and assorted senior politicians. This year’s sole example, Kim Campbell, was Canada’s 133-day prime minister in 1993, two years before Craig Kielburger got the WE Day ball rolling.


Former international model Joleen Mitton staged her second Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week with some 20 designers participating.

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DRESSING UPWARD: Some fashion designers and manufacturers have successfully tapped the mainstream market with garments featuring coastal First Nations motifs. Former international model Joleen Mitton took a broader and more politicized view when she founded Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week in 2017. Running again recently, it featured some 20 Indigenous designers in three differently themed events that featured glamorous garments, future streetwear, leather, etc. East Vancouver-raised Mitton, who is part Plains Cree, said that runway models and production crew were trained by the Pacific Association of First Nations Women’s Mentor Me program “that empowers Indigenous youth to see themselves represented in a truly beautiful and vibrant way.”

WHAT A HOOT: Vancouver’s hospitality industry rated its own recently when the 15th annual Golden Owl awards event (goldenowlawards.com) filled the Rocky Mountaineer station. Twenty-two category winners included The Parlour for atmosphere and Chambar for service. The Alibi Room was best pub, the Keefer best late-night lounge, and the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby best hotel lounge. Fortune Sound Club won for nightclub, Downlow Chicken Shack for food, and the Shameful Tiki Room for cocktails. Top Table was named restaurant group of the year, and Yuk Yuks won for comedy experience. Standup comedian Jon Gagnon deserved a trophy himself for handling MC chores with the precision and grace of girlfriend and Ballet B.C. dancer Emily Chessa.


In happier days, Royal Thames Yacht Club commodore Prince Andrew presented the 1775-founded club’s burgee to Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

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HELLO SAILOR: He’s in hot water today, but Prince Andrew’s 2003 Vancouver visit was purely the blue-and-salty kind. And, like Yaletown’s Blue Water restaurant, dining was involved. As commodore of the 1775-founded Royal Thames Yacht Club (brother Charles is a patron), the sailor prince presented its burgee — royal crown on a white-on-blue Cumberland cross — to Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s then commodore, John Dew. That done, he cut a blue ribbon to launch the Point Grey club’s Star & Dragon family dining room, then vamoosed without tucking into fish and chips, still a relative bargain at $14.


Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson and 19 other city chefs staged Kitchen Aide to raise $15,000 for the Mind The Bar Foundation’s mental-health programs.

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KITCHEN HELP: Restaurant kitchen workers know that heat, pressure, hours and even remuneration can challenge their mental health. In response, 15 city chefs and four bartenders contributed to an inaugural fundraiser titled Kitchen Aide. Held in Richards Street’s Café Medina, it reportedly raised $15,000 for the Mind The Bar Foundation that serves those “dealing with thoughts of suicide, depression, anxiety, and workplace harassment.” Admitting to being helped “when I was in a dark place,” Published restaurant’s Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson hoped Kitchen Aide will “support cooks who wouldn’t otherwise have the means.” Meanwhile, his cured scallop, kohlrabi kraut and XO sauce should comfort anybody.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: Remember Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, also Ancient Greek historian-warrior Thucydides’ warning that humankind’s gravest failings include “want of sense, of courage, or of vigilance.”

malcolmparry@shaw.ca
604-929-8456

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