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The Unlikely Revolutionary

Joel Solomon has put his millions, and those of a powerful circle including Rubbermaid heiress Carol Newell,into a new business-first socialism
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Joel Solomon has put his millions, and those of a powerful circle including Rubbermaid heiress Carol Newell,into a new business-first socialism

Across from Victory Square, a crowd is celebrating the reopening of the historic Flack Block, a monument to Vancouver’s gold-profiteering past that has been transformed into a home for people who believe in changing the world one socially responsible business at a time. Mayor Gregor Robertson, reading a proclamation honouring the restored building, and several of his councillors are here on the fourth floor. So are a woman with a company that manufactures cloth menstrual pads, a man whose firm delivers organic food to people’s homes, and staff from the collection of like-minded save-the-world enterprises that have decided to bunk at the Flack Block, like Rainforest Solutions Project, IdeaLever, and ForestEthics.

Amid the bustle at what’s now called the Tides Renewal Centre, the man at the centre of the room seems unremarkable. Tall and lanky, with a thin, lined face and rectangular metal glasses, Joel Solomon, 54, is the hypersensitive host preoccupied with making sure that everyone feels good. You wouldn’t guess that this guy in shapeless black jeans, black runners, and a nondescript suit jacket is the force behind this room, this gathering, this restoration. Or that he binds this group, giving them the sense of being part of a grand revolution that will remake Vancouver.

Solomon, whom friends describe as “beyond self-effacing,” downplays his part. “My favourite way to help is just to get people to think things through,” he says in his Tennessee accent in his office on a much quieter Saturday afternoon. “I think I have a role as a connector.” But “connector” is a puny word for the influence he has on this city, a place he’s committed to pouring money and energy into.

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the collection of like-minded save-the-world enterprises that have decided to bunk at the Flack Block, like Rainforest Solutions Project, IdeaLever, and ForestEthics.Physiotherapists

by chris11 on May 3 2010 at 7:41 PM

I think any man would be lucky to be in a relationship with her. I hope he doesn’t blow it! I am a big fan of hers and hopefully I can meet her.Physiotherapists

by chris11 on May 3 2010 at 7:40 PM

I think the revolution going on here is not unlikely but within expectation...haha
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by jessie31 on Apr 14 2010 at 7:42 PM