11. Michael Audain

Chair, Polygon Homes

Age: 78 | 2014: #31If you’re involved in the arts in British Columbia, you’re involved with Michael Audain. If you’re a young artist, the Audain Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund might buy a piece of your work. If you hit the big time, the Audain Prize might be your sweet reward. If you visit the National Gallery in Ottawa, the VAG, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Museum of Anthropology, the Bill Reid museum, the Gordon Smith museum, or the newly branded Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver, you’re enjoying the ongoing support of Audain’s foundation. Ditto if you’re an art student at UVic, UBC, SFU, or Emily Carr.And the new year will bring the soft-spoken magnate’s crowning philanthropic achievement: the opening of the Audain Art Museum, a 56,000-sq.-ft. ode to the art of British Columbia, tucked up next to Whistler Village in a stunning Patkau-designed building. The museum will be everything the sexy new VAG (where he’s still honorary chairman) isn’t: focussed, funded, and actually built. All this while Polygon Homes, the development company that enabled his cultural largesse, clips along—with little fanfare and big returns—as the go-to builder for functional contemporary units in such places as Richmond, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, and South Surrey.

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