Editor’s Note: What Is the Power 50 List All About, Exactly?

Vancouver magazine's new editor-in-chief, Stacey McLachlan, shares insights on the making of the Power 50 issue.

Our February Power 50 issue marks the first one under Vancouver magazine’s new editor-in-chief, Stacey McLachlan. You’re likely already familiar with Stacey—she’s held various roles at Vancouver magazine since she started with us back in 2010, most recently editor-at-large. And if you ever wanted a question about Vancouver answered with a side of funny, she’s your woman—her National Magazine Award-nominated column City Informer has been a longtime reader favourite. We’re thrilled to have her step into the role of EIC, where she brings both her signature sense of humour and great love for Vancouver (and magazines, no less)—and a gimlet-eyed focus on discovering and sharing great stories.  

Though this is my first issue of Vancouver in the role of editor-in-chief—hi, hello, thank you, thank you—I’ve been working for this family of magazines since 2010, worming my way into the building through an internship at Western Living and then refusing to leave.

So I’ve actually had the pleasure of witnessing more than a dozen Power 50 issues come together over the years… and because I’m nosy, I’ve also pawed through the archives to read as far back as the very first list. What I’m saying is: maybe my new title should be “Power 50 historian” instead.

While there have certainly been some constants over the 23 years of this ranking (Jimmy Pattison, you rascal!), I’m ultimately struck by how much our definition of “power” has changed through the decades and, in particular, over the past few years. What was once a list primarily of the rich and connected—and, to be frank, white and male—has opened its scope. I don’t just mean the fact that we’re seeing more women and people of colour on our list this year than ever before; we’re also continuing to think critically about the different ways power manifests in this city.

Portrait: Evaan Kheraj. Styling: Alsu Pasek. Hair and makeup: Alisha Hopps. Clothing: The Block. Jewellery: Enti Ana.

Every summer, we start the research for our Power 50 list in an environment that always fosters good conversation and rousing debate: around the dinner table. Our advisory panel (a group of hyper-connected Vancouverites, all powerful in their own right) spends hours pitching names and sharing insight, and inevitably, once the dessert plates have been cleared and the amaro has been poured, we wind up circling back to the Big Question: “What is power?”

In 2024, power isn’t just about having sway in the boardroom (though we can’t deny that it still carries weight). It’s about the power of speaking up for the marginalized; the power of fighting for your community; the power of paving your own path; the power of arts and culture to inspire and start conversations. Looking at this year’s list, full of philanthropists, activists and community builders, it’s evident that we live in a city where true power isn’t something you have—it’s something you give.

Speaking of giving: our readers gave us a heartwarming gift during this year’s Power 50 prep. We asked you to share what power meant to you, and the responses were thoughtful, through and through. “Power is being a voice for the voiceless,” you wrote. “Power is being empathetic to those who need help.” “To be powerful is to support our community both economically and socially.” “To improve and inspire.” “To do good.” You softies. If we were to have a #51 to put on this list, know it would be you.

Stacey McLachlan
Vancouver magazine

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