On Nov. 26, more than 5,000 hungry guests dropped off 17 tonnes of new toys to the Pan Pacific Vancouver Christmas Wish Breakfast and in return were treated to a meal created by the hotel’s chefs and culinary team.
The toys were collected in just three hours, making it the largest one-day toy drive in Canada. Besides the many toys, generous Vancouverites donated $22,000 in cash. More than 1,000 bikes were also donated thanks to Dominion Lending Centre’s Bikes for Kids initiative. All proceeds are in support of the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.
Chris Bayliss, executive director for the bureau, says the event was the most successful to date. The Pan Pacific has been hosting the breakfast toy drive since 1987.
"Because of the generosity of everyone who attended, we will be able to take care of thousands of families who wouldn't otherwise be able to celebrate Christmas," says Bayliss, who noted the Pan Pacific works closely with long-time supporters Global TV and Rock 101 FM.
Everyone who turned up between 6 and 9 a.m., Nov. 26, to donate a toy was treated to a gourmet breakfast prepared by the culinary team at Pan Pacific Vancouver. Executive chef Bob Wiles and the Pan Pacific culinary team served up 11,000 eggs, 11,642 sausages, 1,152 pounds of hash browns and 4,600 croissants.
The crowd was entertained by the joyful singers from the Good Noise Gospel Choir, and the entire event was broadcast live on Global TV and Rock 101.
At one point a bagpiper led what seemed like an endless line of police officers and firefighters up the escalator to the lobby floor of the hotel where they donated dozens of toys, games, bikes, books and more. Meanwhile volunteers from Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services stacked the toys into a two storey high "tree" and then loaded the pile into Williams Moving trucks for transport to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau warehouse, where the donated items are sorted and distributed to families in need.