Fred UnLEEshed: May 2, 2017

 FAMILY MATTER: Every year, UBC Sauder’s Family Legacy Series honours Canada’s highest profile business families. This year, more than 400 guests convened at Hotel Vancouver to celebrate the Legge family of Canada Wide Media, the largest independently owned media publishing company in Western Canada. It was founded by Peter and Kay Legge in 1976 when the couple purchased TV Week magazine. The family enterprise grew when six years later, they partnered with Neil Soper and began to transform the publication into one of the most widely circulated magazines in Western Canada. In 1991, Canada Wide Media expanded its portfolio by purchasing BC Business magazine from Jimmy Pattison. To this day, it is the business’s flagship publication of more than 50 proprietary and custom publications the family has managed over four decades. Today, Legge’s daughters, Samantha and Rebecca, have evolved the business into a multimedia publisher that extends across digital, social and live-experience realms. A party with a purpose, the biz bash looked to net $300,000 for UBC’s Business Families Centre to support its educational programs, research and resources for Canada’s enterprising families.

PRESERVING HISTORY: Yours truly emceed the 2017 City of Vancouver Heritage Awards. Accolades were handed out to individuals, architects and developers for their outstanding efforts to preserve Vancouver's heritage. Heritage preservation was front and centre as projects and special accomplishments were honoured at the awards ceremony staged at Steel Toad Brewing.  Award recipients were recognized in five categories: honour, merit, recognition, People's Choice and Lifetime Achievement. In recognition of his substantial contribution to heritage conservation in B.C. through his lengthy career as a leader, expert, practitioner, advocate and educator in the field of historic window conservation, Jim Stiven was cited with the Lifetime honour. Among the projects praised: Christ Church for its significant seismic upgrade and contemporary bell tower, Jewish Cemetery in Mountain View for the community-led restoration and rehabilitation of the Jewish Cemetery and James Residence at 587 West King Edward Ave. for the retention and renewal of the one-of-a-kind city landmark often known as the Hobbit House.

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FASHIONING AUTISM: The annual Fashion Blooms Celebrity Fashion Show returned for another year to support the Pacific Autism Family Network and those affected by autism and related conditions across B.C. Fronted by longtime autism advocate Wendy Lisogar-Cochhia and her husband Sergio, parents of a child with autism, the event attracted a capacity crowd to the couple’s C Prime Restaurant. Guests enjoyed an afternoon of glamour and giving with master of ceremonies Sophie Lui of Global TV. In addition to a lovely lunch and auction, Vancouver’s most well-known media celebs strutted their stuff in a catwalk performance featuring European designer fashions generously provided by Vetrina Moda and Quorum Men’s Fashion Emporium. The always-fashionable affair netted $75,000 for the Pacific Autism Family Network’s mandate to help all families across the province gain access to critical resources, services and programming.

CHEF’S DINNER: Philanthropist and chef Frank Guistra convened a special fundraising dinner at the Wedgewood Hotel that raised an impressive $247,500 toward the Eleni Skalbania Fund for Brain Cancer, benefitting the B.C. Cancer Foundation. Guistra teamed up with Bacchus’s new executive chef Montgomery Lau and Anna Wallner, co-host of The Shopping Bags, for the intimate culinary experience in honour of Skalbania, founder of the Wedgewood Hotel, who was passionate about cancer research and quest to find a cure. The trio prepared some of the power broker’s most beloved family recipes, such as eggplant parmesan and chili and olive oil bathed beef tenderloin, for 72 attendees to enjoy. Three generous guests purchased the evening’s big-ticket auction item — private cooking lessons with Guistra himself — that garnered an impressive $90,000. Following the night of fundraising, multiple Grammy and Juno-award winner Sarah McLachlan capped off the evening with a little night music. The critical funds raised at the culinary-do will help the more than 77,000 British Columbians living with cancer today.

PEOPLES CHOICE: Hawksworth Restaurant, Kissa Tanto, Vij’s, Ancora, Chambar and Café Medina were among the city’s culinary jewels feted at the annual Where to Dine Awards, produced by Where Magazine. Voted by the millions of visitors that flock to our city annually, 75 finalists filed into Glowbal Restaurant at Telus Garden to raise a glass to the winners in 26 categories. Megan Buckley, one of the most senior, accomplished and generous female food and beverage operations managers in Canada, was honoured with the Les Dames D’Escoffier Trailblazer Award. Firmly ensconced at the top of a male-dominated industry, Buckley opened some of the city’s most notable restaurants (still in operation today), before eventually becoming vice-president of operations for Hy’s and subsequently chief operations officer. David Hawksworth, arguably the city’s most high-profile celebrity chef and driving force behind Hawksworth and Nightingale, was cited with the Leadership Award.

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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