Fred UnLEEshed: May 16, 2017

THE BIG REVEAL: The Canucks Autism Network has positioned itself as a leader and change maker in the field of adaptive sports and recreation for those with autism by breaking down barriers to increase awareness and opportunities for those living with the condition. Clara and Paolo Aquilini, who have a child with autism and are members of the family that owns the Canucks franchise, fronted the Reveal Gala fundraiser held at Rogers Arena. The ice rink was transformed into a party palace for the Evening in Venice-themed affair. An impressive 544 guests gathered around 68 beautifully appointed tables for the event’s sophomore running. The Aquilinis welcomed guests to the magical night, which revealed the spectrum of challenges, gifts and possibilities that autism can bring. In return, attendees showed their generosity by emptying their wallets of more than $1 million.

FASHION FORWARD: For nearly two decades, Dress for Success Vancouver has helped 25,000 women transition back to the workforce by providing them with professional attire, career services and skills development programs. The registered charity staged its 18th annual gala, Impact 360, at the Permanent on West Pender. At the elegant evening of fashion and fun, 10 beautiful ambassadors — DFS clients — strutted their stuff to help other women build their confidence and access employment opportunities. Yours truly, along with Global TV’s Jennifer Palma, hosted the sold-out red carpet party that drew Vanhattan’s most influential to the night of fashion and fundraising. The evening of glamour and storytelling raised a stylish $110,000, ensuring another 300 women will have the opportunities for success.

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CARE GIVERS: Cause We Care's third annual Mother’s Day luncheon successfully raised $87,000 to support programs and resources for single mothers and their children in need in Metro Vancouver. Once again held at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, the event drew together some of the city’s leading ladies to help single mother-led families living in poverty access resources they need — everything from housing and childcare to education and employment training. Cause We Care Founder Andrea Thomas Hill thanked party guests for their generosity at the event, which was presented by Capital Direct and emceed by Kid Carson. Partial proceeds will be directed to the recently opened YWCA Cause We Care House, a brand new housing facility built to support single mother-led families. The facility received $1.5 million in funding from Cause We Care, the lead donor on the project in partnership with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Public Library.

FOOD NETWORK: Peter Zambri, co-owner and chef of Zambri’s in Victoria, was inducted into the B.C. Restaurant Hall of Fame.  Zambri, a household name on Vancouver Island, was one of seven individuals honoured as part of the 2016 class recognized for their dedication to the vibrant industry and their numerous professional and personal accomplishments. Zambri shared the spotlight with other B.C winners at the 12th annual Restaurant Hall of Fame Ceremonies and Award Dinner held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, including Timber and Forage’s Margot Baloro (Front of House), White Spot’s James Kennedy (Back of House) and Mr. Mike’s Darren Flintoff (Active Restaurateur). Hosted by emcees Jay DeMerit and Ann Luu, and gala chair Bill Waring, the culinary celebrations were also a party with a purpose with auction proceeds supporting the Breakfast Club of Canada and efforts to provide healthy food for children and youth.

FIRE AND ICE: After lengthy construction delays, the hoarding finally came down to reveal a shinier, more grand Tiffany’s store at the corner of Burrard Street and Alberni. And what a sparkler it is. To mark its 10th anniversary in Vanhattan, the retail footprint of the iconic store has tripled in size with the addition of a second floor where Kamei Royale restaurant once operated. Floor to ceiling windows allow natural light to bounce off the luxury jewels and accessories. Wendy Eagan, group vice-president of Tiffany & Co. Canada, and store director Renita Hansraj welcomed the city’s who’s who, along with influencers and le beau monde, to the Hawksworth-catered reopener. Strapping firefighters also made the scene when a dozen Ballet BC dancers scheduled to perform were trapped in the elevator car. The party mishap didn’t dampen party spirits, nor the dance company’s own spring opener a few days later — a brilliant performance, which Tiffany’s sponsored.

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

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