A Guide to the City’s Best Omakase
5 Croissants to Try at the 2023 Vancouver Croissant Crawl
Sandos in the City: 9 of the Best Sandwiches in Vancouver
The Best Drinks to Bring to a Holiday Party (and Their Zero-Proof Alternatives)
The Wine List: 6 Wines for Every Holiday Wine Drinker on Your List
Nightcap: Spiked Horchata
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (November 27-December 3)
PHOTOS: Vancouver Chinatown Foundation Autumn Gala and Richmond Hospital Foundation Starlight Gala
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (November 20-26)
Escape to Osoyoos: Your Winter Wonderland Awaits
Your 2023/2024 Ultimate Local Winter Getaway Guide
Kamloops Unscripted: The Most Intriguing Fall Destination of 2023
Local Gift Guide 2023: For Everyone on Your Holiday Shopping List
Local Gift Guide 2023: For the Pets
Local Gift Guide 2023: For the Kids
Our annual list of the 50 most powerful people in Vancouver.
As we dug into the research for our 22nd Annual Power 50, a clear theme emerged: by the end of 2022, we were seeing a big power shift. There were examples in municipal and provincial politics, of course (hello new mayors) and a new (if very familiar) premier, but it’s also in our health care (see 8), our media (42) and the climate emergency. (You’ll soon see what number that is…) For this year’s Power list, we’re looking at those folks who are shifting the dial in communities all over the city: some fresh, some familiar and some just handling new issues. Read on to discover who’s running our city in 2023.
Find the rankings from one to 50 below. Or, jump to:
Numbers 1 to 10
Numbers 11 to 20
Numbers 21 to 30
Numbers 31 to 40
Numbers 41 to 50
This power player can wipe out infrastructure, threaten the health and safety of our most vulnerable and trash our economy in the process—all with no warning. From floods to fires, from seawall-crushing king tides to devastating crop failures, the climate emergency is making its uncomfortable presence felt in this city. Not that environmental concerns are anything new (Vancouver’s “zero-waste by 2040” plan has been in place since 2008, and warnings about climate change have been sounding since the ’70s), but 2022 marked the first year that every serious civic political party featured a climate plan in their platform—even the right-leaning set. Washed-out highways rang alarm bells about just how vulnerable (and deeply unprepared) we are in the face of natural disaster and local linguistic tics like “atmospheric river” and “heat dome” are showing just how deeply climate change has impacted our experience, while Okanagan smoke is now just part of the forecast. Climate will affect our natural resources (fishing, logging) and, in turn, our economy: the Canadian Climate Institute estimates that climate impacts will slow the country’s annual economic growth by $25 billion by 2025. While we’d have loved to name a person who’s leading the charge on climate mitigation strategies—and getting those in power to truly listen—for this number one spot, we haven’t seen that leader yet. But if power is the ability to attract attention, to change the conversation, to make your presence felt—and known, and feared—who else but the climate could we call #1?
Premier of British Columbia
Previously #6, 2022
John Horgan braved both COVID chaos and cancer treatment before (very reasonably) deciding enough was enough; in the fall he passed the torch to David Eby, who stepped into his position not just as a mid-term seat-holder but also as a premier with some big plans and a penchant for action. Eby came out swinging during the campaign with a major housing platform that a lot of people, left and right, spoke of as comprehensive and well thought out—the sign of someone who has rigorously studied all the policy options and come up with the best package. And then: he actually cut through the red tape and made policy a reality—not just on housing but on multiple fronts. In the first weeks alone, Eby removed rental restrictions in an attempt to ease the housing crisis, changed regulations to welcome more international doctors to help with our health-care shortage and introduced a new BC Affordability Credit to address the rising cost of living. He was also the first premier ever to have a swearing-in hosted by a First Nation: a positive sign that reconciliation will be top of mind for the new NDP leader.
Eby has always been a take-charge guy (and, in fact, was #1 on our list in 2018, despite the fact that he wasn’t then holding the top position in the province)—and now he’s a take-charge guy with more firepower than ever before. Whether you’re on #TeamEby or still sour about his only competitor, Anjali Appadurai, getting banned from the race, you can’t deny he’s a politician who actually makes an impact on his community—and one who genuinely seems to listen to the people he’s responsible for leading.
Previously (as Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations) #1, 2022
The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations landed at #1 on our list last year for their undeniable impact on both development and decolonization efforts—but in 2023, it’s once again their for-profit development arm (MST Development) that’s making their influence felt most intensely across the city. Collaborations continue on the new St. Paul’s, the rezoning of the Heather and Jericho Lands and the extension of the subway line as other long-term projects come to fruition—like the renaming of Trutch Street to Musqueamview. Reconciliation is not something we’ll achieve overnight, or without continued struggle, but with MST’s incredible political heft and leverage across all levels of government, progress feels possible… and powerful.
Including the police on this list feels like a lose-lose situation, to be honest. In one corner are social-justice advocates calling to defund the police and address systemic racism in the organization; in the other, a slew of folks arguing that crime has never been worse and the VPD is the only answer for protecting us all.
Whatever side of the divide you sit on, there is no denying that the Vancouver Police Department is a force to be reckoned with. Though the city employs 1,300-plus cops (with new mayor Ken Sim a step closer to fulfilling his campaign promise to hire 100 more), many of whom are likely just trying to keep their head down and do their job, the public-facing players have been actively and aggressively pushing a pro-police stance—stirring up controversy in the process.
Adam Palmer and Howard Chow (chief and deputy chief, respectively) are active on Twitter, promoting and defending the organization with strategic stories of stranger attacks and getting into high-profile debates with Kennedy Stewart after the former mayor suggested the existence of systemic racism. (Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, is also regularly caught up in tweetstorms.) And then there’s Ralph Kaiser, head of the Vancouver Police Union: during the civic election, his group made the unprecedented move to organize a debate on crime issues and endorse the ABC party.
Beyond their increased presence in media (traditional and social), the VPD was a regular fixture in city council discussions this past year as the police accused the sitting mayor of creating a hostile environment or appealed to get their budget back (ultimately winning the missing $5 million). Said one Power 50 panellist: “They’re a big presence. They really shape the conversation.”
Chief, Vancouver Fire and Rescue
Fry is now two years into her role as chief of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services—the first woman ever to hold the title. The pandemic was a trial-by-fire (har har) introduction to leadership, but one she bore with grace and grit; perhaps that’s why she was able to boldly step up and take charge of the mess that is the Hastings Street camp when no one else would. In July, citing a “catastrophic” fire hazard, she made the difficult decision to order the removal of tents on the streets. Critics noted the lack of alternatives for the unhoused population who would be displaced by the order, but Fry stuck by her decision, pointing to a need to protect housed residents in the neighbourhood who were feeling endangered by the sidewalk encampments. It takes strength and guts to make a call no one else wants to make—whether history respects it remains to be seen.
Mayor, City of Vancouver
Sim City, indeed. After a steady four years of campaigning (and building a tenacious team through kitchen and living-room meetings), Sim and his A Better City party won the 2022 mayoral race. Won, perhaps, isn’t even the right word: they destroyed. Capitalizing on a commitment to “public safety,” ABC candidates beat every other candidate on the ballot for council, school board and park board. It will take some time to define the actual impact that Vancouver’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor will have, but he’s moving quickly—and city council has already approved one of Sim’s controversial promises: to fund 100 more police officers and 100 mental health nurses.
Previously #17, 2022
Rising interest rates, record inflation and a likely recession: 2023 could prove to be challenging times for many developers. Those with diverse portfolios—like Westbank’s Gillespie, with residential, commercial and retail projects in Toronto, Calgary, Seattle, San Jose, Tokyo and Vancouver—stand a better chance of weathering the storm. So too do the politically connected. This past fall, Westbank and the Squamish Nation—co-developers of the 11-tower Seńákw project in Kitsilano—secured a $1.4-billion low-cost loan from Crown corporation CMHC to keep that development 100-percent rental. According to our panel, Gillespie’s strong ties to federal Liberals helped seal the deal.
President and CEO; Chief Growth Officer, Telus Health; Chief Communications Officer, Telus
Sihota and Entwistle Previously #5, 2022; Schnarr, NEW
Telus appears to be recession-proof under president and CEO Entwistle’s steady hand—the company saw 10-percent growth last year, with $4.7 billion in profits earned in its third quarter alone—but, really, it’s the telecom’s intriguing innovations in health care (led by the steadfast Sihota) that have analysts taking note. Telus Health is now available in 160 countries globally, and is announcing efforts to improve access to mental health care; it recently partnered with Walmart to offer digital integrated health services to 100,000 employees across Canada. It’s not all rosy, however, and the Telus team has slid down the list this year because of it: as of press time, the B.C. government had filed a court injunction against Telus Health, investigating, among other things, alleged extra billing and concerns over reports that family doctors were closing practices and telling patients they would only see subscribers to the Telus service.
Of course, Entwistle and Sihota don’t do it alone: Schnarr is Entwistle’s second-in-command—the one who “gets things done,” says one source. Canadian Women in Communications named her their “Most Influential Woman in Vancouver,” and Schnarr certainly makes her presence felt with the Telus Future Friendly Foundation, helping launch community-first projects such as providing phones to at-risk women and funding nonprofit summer camps.
Chief of Staff, Office of the Mayor
One winning campaign a year gets you accolades. Two winning campaigns? That turns a behind-the-scenes comms guy into B.C.’s most sought-after political mind. Last February, Allam—well-known in BC Liberal circles (sorry: in BC United circles, see #43)—helped Kevin Falcon secure a fifth-ballot win in the party’s leadership race. But Allam’s biggest triumph was steering October’s civic race for Ken Sim and ABC, helping Sim grab more than half of the mayoral vote and securing powerful ABC majorities on council, school and park boards. Allam crafted the winning message; now, as Sim’s chief of staff, he’ll discover how hard it is to put words into action.
Board Chair, BC Ferries
Previously #31, 2020
MacPhail remains the go-to for the NDP on just about every problem they have. Reviewing Eby’s housing plan? No problem. Cleaning up ICBC? She’s your fixer. Currently, she’s in charge of reviewing BC Ferries; her first act was to cut loose CEO Mark Collins. “She’s just kinda everywhere,” noted one panellist, also pointing to MacPhail’s incredible social connections. “She has a very powerful network of female politicians and businesspeople that she can activate any time.”
B.C. Minister of Housing
Previously #27, 2022
To many, Kahlon was the logical frontrunner for premier when John Horgan stepped down—but in a somewhat cinematic move, the Delta North MLA counted himself out of the race to better support his family (cue Kahlon walking into the sunset, fists raised Breakfast Club-style). By stepping aside and giving David Eby his support, Kahlon practically handed the leadership to our now-premier. And while he rejected that very public role (for now), he’s still making moves in cabinet. When he was B.C.’s minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation in November 2022, he introduced $33 million in government commitment to supporting rural communities through the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program. As the newly appointed minister of housing—a brand-spanking-new cabinet position—he’ll be tasked with bringing David Eby’s goals of affordability into reality, including creating a plan to fulfill a major public housing development program.
General Manager, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
Previously #31, 2022
There’s a fine line between respecting the unhoused community and keeping our parks clean and safe for all—and if anyone knows how to walk that line, it’s Rosa. As general manager of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, they’ve become the point person for finding balance, and were instrumental in getting the Parks Board to hire someone (BC Housing’s Betty Lepps) specifically to deal with homelessness in parks, while maintaining their own vigilant watch on the issue.
The pandemic crystalized what we inherently already knew: a city needs people to function. It also made clear something else: work sucks. As service workers and 9-to-5 office jockeys alike practiced quiet quitting, moved out of the city to cheaper pastures and pursued new designations to avoid front-line-worker depression, Vancouver’s businesses started paying the price. Singaporean café Nancy Go Yaya is just one restaurant that had to close due to a staff shortage; the new remote-work world is also reshaping transit and impacting the viability of downtown businesses. The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association reports a lack of 40,000 employees right now. The average front-line employee may not feel particularly powerful as they ring through groceries or take the late shift, but the truth is, what labour does en masse is critical for this city—and each individual decision about whether to work at home or come back to the office is fundamentally changing how this region works.
Council Chairperson, Squamish Nation
Previously #18, 2019
As chair of the Squamish council, Khelsilem is probably the best-known voice from the Squamish Nation—likely because it’s a voice he’s happy to put to use regularly. It’s a rare politician who is willing to express their views strongly and openly, but Khelsilem isn’t shy about speaking up—whether about environmental issues, or to remind white Vancouver that it’s not the job of the Squamish Nation to solve their housing problems.
CEO, H.Y. Louie and London Drugs
Previously #9, 2022
Louie made our list last year not for being the big boss of B.C.’s fifth-largest retailer but for speaking out on anti-Asian racism (it was passionate—and public—advocacy that the low-profile Louie wasn’t known for). He’s since proven that the advocacy wasn’t a one-time thing, this year writing a Vancouver Sun op-ed highlighting the importance of Chinatown and celebrating the work of the new Chinatown Storytelling Centre (read more at #19). In early 2022, Louie received Vancouver Community College’s Honorary Alumni award for his volunteer and philanthropic work—he started a foundation that now provides over $1 million per year in scholarships and bursaries to VCC students.
CEO, Vancouver International Airport; Chancellor, SFU
Previously #4, 2022
Vrooman was appointed in truly the worst of times (July 2020) for the airline industry, but has navigated YVR steadily through the COVID-19 pandemic. This past year, the airport saw the largest increase in travellers (168 percent) in its 90-year history. And despite plans for new development, the launch of the YVR digital twin (a virtual, interactive representation of the terminal) and 17 million passengers rolling through, sustainability was still part of the growth conversation in 2022: under Vrooman’s leadership, YVR became the first Canadian airport to achieve Level 4+ Airport Carbon Accreditation in September. It’s also worth noting that the poorly handled snowstorms of December led to very passionate scrutiny of the airport—when it comes to future preparedness for extreme weather, only time will tell.
CEO/President, Jim Pattison Group
Previously #11, 2022
Is it a Power 50 without Jimmy? There’s no arguing the influence the business has (does running a $10-billion company that employs over 51,000 people mean anything to you?), but Pattison is also making big moves as a philanthropist: case in point, last November he donated a historic $30 million to the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation (the single largest donation since the organization was founded in 1978). Right-hand man Glen Clark stepped down early this year, making this the first time in years that Pattison is on the list solo.
Chief of Staff to the Premier
After five years as president (and a decade overall) at Fairview-based consulting firm Stratcom, where part of his job was managing the company’s NDP campaign work, Smith has launched headfirst into politics as Premier David Eby’s chief of staff. He’s historically proven his organizational leadership skills, both as a pollster for the federal NDP and by bringing out 60,000 voters to clinch Vision’s win in the 2014 civic election. Eby might be the face of the province, but when it comes to carrying out his ideas, Smith is the yes-man—and also the no-man—who will determine how our city functions.
Co-founder and Chair, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation
Previously #20, 2022
Lee and the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation opened the Chinatown Storytelling Centre barely more than a year ago, and it’s already become a major tourist attraction and community hub for film screenings, book launches and cultural events. She and her team also brought 8,000 people to the neighbourhood for the 2022 Light Up Chinatown Festival, showcasing live music, local food trucks and a pretty rad salsa dance party. Lee continues to be a serious force in efforts to revitalize Chinatown and engage the community. And that force runs in the family: through the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation, her mother Lily Lee (a former nurse) donated $3.8 million toward a new DTES health centre in November.
Locke doesn’t set the world alight with her rhetoric. And she’s seen her share of political misses: elected a Surrey MLA in the 2001 Liberal landslide, Locke lost her next four races. But there’s something to be said for perseverance. In 2018, after a 13-year absence from politics, Locke won a Surrey council seat under Doug McCallum’s Safe Surrey coalition. She soon quit the coalition, criticizing McCallum’s opaque decision-making and his push for a new municipal police force. This, plus some McCallum drama with RCMP supporters, primed Locke to challenge the mayor—and eke out a win.
Executive Director, Overdose Prevention Society + Community Organizer, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Previously #25, 2022/NEW
Both Blyth and Tao are respected (and controversial) advocates for the residents of the DTES, and have continued to speak out this year regarding the city’s mishandling of this vulnerable community. When fire chief Karen Fry (#5 on this list) issued an order for police and city engineering workers to remove encampment tents in July, Blyth criticized the police for creating chaos in a neighbourhood that is deeply wary of cops, while Tao pointed to the injustice of clearing the streets without providing the residents with any alternative shelter. Through their organizations, Blyth and Tao are working to find a compassion-focused and less intrusive solution to homelessness—it remains an uphill battle.
Board Chair, Hogan’s Alley Society; Director of the Institute for Diaspora Research and Engagement, SFU
Previously #24, 2022
In her work for the Hogan’s Alley Society and beyond, Francis is a champion of revitalization efforts for the local Black community. The city signed a historic agreement with the society in September: the Hogan’s Alley block of Strathcona (currently home to Nora Hendrix Place, a temporary modular housing project) will become a community land trust, with housing, amenities and a cultural centre provided by HAS. That same month, Francis was also named chair of B.C.’s new Anti-Racism Data Committee. Plus, she continues to teach—through giving lectures and moderating academic panels, she informs and empowers her audience with anti-racism education.
The Kleins are siblings for sustainability: both are published authors of books focusing on the climate crisis, plus Seth is the director of strategy of the Climate Emergency Unit and Naomi is co-director of UBC’s Centre for Climate Justice. Documentary filmmaker Lewis is also UBC faculty (he’s associate professor in the department of geography) and Naomi’s partner. Seth’s partner is city councillor and climate justice activist Christine Boyle (#26 on this list). Okay, moving on from family trees to real ones—this trio helped set Anjali Appadurai’s climate-first campaign in motion, and despite Appadurai’s disqualification from the NDP race, they remain respected local leaders in the green movement.
Manager of Sport Hosting Vancouver + FIFA Vice President/Concacaf President
This summer, Vancouver scored one of the 16 host city spots in the 2026 World Cup—with an assist, of course, from Montagliani and Collens, both key players in bringing the tournament onto home turf. When then-premier John Horgan benched the city from consideration back in 2018, Montagliani and Collens stayed in the game, advocating hard once Vancouver was offered a rebound bid in early 2022. This will be the first time the men’s World Cup kicks off in Canada—goals.
Vancouver City Councillors
This trio was originally elected to council as members of the NPA, but Bligh left the party in 2019 after it took a “far-right” turn (new members were against a public-school policy to create an environment that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ students), and Kirby-Yung and Dominato followed in 2021. Their announcement—and the following campaigning—in support of Ken Sim and his ABC party played a large part in Sim’s win. The three were united in joining ABC, but didn’t always vote the same (particularly when it came to housing issues), and their decisions were something the public could reference to judge how an ABC city might look. Evidently, the majority of voters liked what they saw. Kirby-Yung, Dominato and Bligh now represent half of the returning city councillors.
Vancouver City Councillor
Of the three opposition voices on council, Boyle carries the flag for the progressive left—and she’ll be holding Ken Sim’s ABC party accountable. She’s developed a well-earned reputation both for getting disparate voices onside and for getting things done. When former mayor Kennedy Stewart needed someone to rally the vote? That was Boyle. She was also instrumental behind the scenes in the city creating a task force for Vancouver to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)—making it the first government in Canada to develop plans for it, which were released in October 2022.
President and CEO, Vancity
If you had to predict which companies were going to lead the climate charge, you might not have looked to the financial sector. But with five ambitious climate pledges, one of which includes net-zero emissions by 2040—10 years sooner than the global target—Vancity is doing just that. Since taking on the role of leading Canada’s largest community-based credit union, Bergeron and her team hired their first chief equity and people officer, launched their Retrofit Program for Non-Profit Affordable Housing Providers and reset the organization’s Indigenous banking strategy to support financial resilience and self-determination. She was named top corporate leader in the 2022 BCBusiness Women of the Year awards for her ongoing dedication to building a future that’s cleaner and more equitable—and we think that’s pretty powerful.
Executive Lead for B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Efforts; Board Chair, Vancouver Coastal Health
Previously #2, 2022
It’s Ballem who continues to lead the province’s vaccination campaigns—who gets it when—but lately the focus has been on encouraging families to get their flu shot, with emergency wards overrun by kids with RSV and a particularly bad flu strain this year. She also chairs the Vancouver Coastal Health board—and it’ll be on VCH to figure out how to work with Ken Sim’s council on hiring the requested 100 nurses to pair with the 100 new police officers.
CEO, Creative BC
Previously #39, 2019
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the Creative BC matriarch had her work cut out for her to resuscitate a once thriving multi-billion-dollar B.C. film industry. And with 2021’s record-breaking $4.8-billion return, we’d say she hit it out of the park. Now, Gill isn’t wasting this opportunity for a fresh start. This past year, Creative BC partnered with Rogers Group to design the $1-million fund for Indigenous storytellers in B.C., and she helped bring about the Creative Pathways website, a resource to foster more diverse representation in the industry. Recently, Gill was appointed as one of the few Independent Advisory Committee members responsible for recommending qualified potential appointments to the CBC/Radio-Canada board of directors and received the Community Catalyst award from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. Named one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women, Gill has a commitment to bringing multiculturalism to Hollywood North that’s become a catalyst for changing the way Canada sees itself.
City Manager + Deputy City Managers
Whatever big changes ABC wants, this is the trio that will actually make it happen. City manager Mochrie and deputy city managers Amrolia and Levitt are the ones handling all the big files—the big bureaucrats who watch the comings and goings of council and quietly go about keeping city hall chaos on track in the background.
Deputy Minister to the Premier; BC Public Service Head; Cabinet Secretary
She may be one of the youngest to hold a top B.C. role, but Salter has quickly developed a reputation as someone who gets things done—she’s viewed by insiders as a great new broom in the provincial government and a big shift from the “Dr. No.” reputation of those who previously held the role. Prior to her present position, Salter held the deputy attorney general role for 10 months and also created and chaired B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal—the first in Canada—which enabled folks to keep minor strata issues and small claims out of the court system with the help of facilitators.
Unless you’re a first-time reader of this list, you knew Bob’s name would be here. The man who knows everyone continues to be a powerhouse in the modern art world—he’s been quietly building one of the most important social-justice-oriented collections in the world. His sale of the restored Wing Sang building, former home to his Rennie Museum, to the B.C. government (along with the Rennie Foundation donation of $7.8 million to help create the Chinese Canadian Museum) was an important move for the surrounding Chinatown neighbourhood. Son Kris now runs the Rennie Group empire, leaders in identifying demographic and housing trends for the region.
Chief Executive Officer, InBC
Previously #43, 2020
As head of the province’s newest Crown corporation, Earthy is poised to shape B.C.’s future: InBC has $500 million to invest and deciding where this money goes will reveal our province’s priorities. Earthy’s team launched their policy in September, and let it be known that the plan is to invest in every stage of business so long as it is strongly tied to B.C. The framework for selection? Driving climate action, innovating for the future, advancing meaningful reconciliation and elevating inclusivity. It’s a noble endeavour with a weight of responsibility that’s undoubtedly going to ruffle some feathers—and Earthy will have to adopt the rigid “I’m not here to make friends” attitude of an overtly competitive TV reality star.
Co-founder and Chair, Daily Hive
Previously #43, 2017
As co-founder and publisher of Vancouver’s leading digital media company—with upward of 24 million page views per month—Sumal is in charge of a pretty powerful soapbox. Daily Hive plays a big part in shaping the conversation among Vancouverites—especially millennials and Gen Z. Last September, the media platform was acquired by ZoomerMedia, a merge that granted access to a national audience that’s unrivalled in terms of demographic, online and social media reach and engagement. Time will tell how this will drive the online media company in the year to come.
President/CEOs: PCI Group, Strand Development, Bosa Properties, Beedie Development Group
Grant, Mackay, Bosa NEW; Beedie, previously #33, 2020
These powerhouse B.C. developers all have real estate in their blood—they each took over their business from their respective fathers, and together they represent a legacy in real estate that continues to shape the provincial landscape. But it’s their planned rental housing projects on the horizon that unites them on this list—and the potential of those projects to bring much-needed relief to Vancouver’s critical housing shortage. There’s PCI’s mixed-use $1.2-billion milestone King George Hub redevelopment in Surrey, and the 212 rentals it’s bringing to Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood. Strand’s Prior Street project will deliver a needed 264 rental units to the area (including 10 live/work artist units) and Bosa Properties is revitalizing the Downtown Eastside with the Cohen Block project and planning 575 rentals for the West End with a two-tower project at the intersection of Harwood and Thurlow. Beedie is hoping to finally break ground on the long-awaited (and monumental) Granville Island-esque Fraser Mills waterfront community that will shape the future of Coquitlam.
CEO, Nch’ḵay̓ Development Corporation
It’s a long road ahead for Canada when it comes to meaningful reconciliation, but Wight and the Nch’kay̓ Development Corporation (the business arm of the Squamish Nation) are taking B.C. to task and breaking new ground in the process. Sitting at the helm of Nch’kay̓, the Squamish business influencer is bringing economic growth and prosperity to her nation by way of real estate and development. This past year, Wight brought on former BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay (last year’s #33 on our list) to help grow their real estate portfolio, which includes the history-in-the-making Seńákw project—Canada’s largest Indigenous-led housing and retail development, planned for the south end of the Burrard Bridge. By partnering with Westbank (shoutout to our #7) and securing a $1.4-billion commitment from Trudeau, Wight and her executive team are taking back the land and securing their nation’s economic future while generating hundreds of jobs and affordable homes.
President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Previously #40, 2020
It’s 2019, Anderson has just become the first woman to take the top role in the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s 132-year history—and things are looking promising. Cue the pandemic and a two-year-long montage of ravaged B.C. businesses scrambling to stay afloat while the organization tries to help them weather the storm. Then cut to 2022, where new struggles—astronomical inflation, the war in Ukraine—add more strain on labour, supply chains and business costs. There’s no question that the job hasn’t been easy, but Anderson continues to be a strong leader and voice for B.C. businesses in the face of challenge after challenge. She criticized the 2022 budget for its dearth of financial specifics to go along with the proposed initiatives and for its lack of tax relief for pandemic-battered small- and mid-sized businesses grappling with surging costs. She also saw the GVBOT receive federal funding to deliver a conference on equity, diversity and inclusion that’s tied to a scale-up grant meant to bolster innovative businesses in Western Canada—a program that should help future-proof Vancouver’s economy.
Board member, VAG Board of Trustees + Chair, Polygon Homes
NEW/Previously #19, 2022
As an early member of the Western Front, artist and arts administrator Bull clearly has deep roots in the local art community. And insiders credit his behind-the-scenes work as a Vancouver Art Gallery board member for getting the B.C. government to commit an additional $50 million to its new building—a feat most folks thought would likely never happen. Audain’s precedent-setting $100-million donation in late 2021 kept the new-building, architecturally significant VAG dream alive (his was the largest single donation to an art gallery in Canadian history). And the philanthropist continues to shape the art world with his Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver and Audain Museum in Whistler—both architecturally stunning buildings in their own right.
CEO, Lu’ma Native Housing Society
Previously #38, 2022
As head of Lu’ma Native Housing, Swain oversees projects and programs intended to help Indigenous communities in areas like housing, youth and culturally safe health care. With the province-wide housing shortage, Swain has had to get creative with partnerships and projects meant to bring immediate housing solutions for those who need it. And notable rapid housing initiatives this year for Lu’ma include temporary modular housing in Strathcona, a partnership with First United Church to redevelop its former church site and drop-in centre into an 11-storey, affordable housing for Indigenous residents, and the Sixth Street Indigenous and Swahili Housing Project, which will bring 96 affordable homes to Indigenous and Black seniors and families in New Westminster.
Chair, Chinese Canadian Museum
The former vice president, academic, for UBC is bringing Chinese history and culture to Canadians with the first-ever public Chinese Canadian Museum. This past year, Wong and her family contributed $1.1 million to the Chinese Canadian Museum Society of B.C., following a $25-million campaign launched to secure operations and sustainability and support renovations to the historic Wing Sang Building, which will house the museum. The purchase of the Wing Sang was made possible through $27.5 million in funding from the province and the support of Bob Rennie (#32), who gave up his museum and office space in the iconic building, one of the oldest in Chinatown, to house the museum—in large part due to Wong’s influence. The landmark project, along with the newly opened Chinatown Storytelling Centre, marks an important step in the city’s journey toward healing and efforts to counteract the rise in anti-Asian hate fuelled by racist pandemic rhetoric.
President, Pooni Group
Previously #44, 2022
Another player behind the scenes who was instrumental in helping steer the Ken Sim and ABC campaign to victory, Pooni has proven to wield a quiet influence as a networker—one that only continues to grow. He’s on several influential boards—including the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Downtown Vancouver BIA and the Urban Development Institute—he has excellent contacts within the NDP government and he seems to have a finger in pretty much every proverbial power pie. As one of our panellists noted—his connections are reminiscent of Bob Rennie in his heyday.
Producer and podcast host, This Is Vancolour
Amir has become a force in the political conversation, often landing the big interviews—just about every politician clamours to get on his podcast and television show, This Is Vancolour. He’s a deft interviewer on the big issues, whether it’s Dr. Gabor Maté discussing addiction, trauma and childhood development or broadcast icon Tamara Taggart delving into the harassment of women in journalism. The self-proclaimed “curious, emotional and obnoxiously critical” pundit also shares his opinions as a freelance columnist for media brands like the Daily Hive and Vancouver Is Awesome, bringing critical insight to many hot-button issues in our city—like the opioid crisis, the past municipal election and the controversial police funding—in a way that’s accessible to all B.C.ers.
Leader, BC United
There was a time, late in Gordon Campbell’s tenure, when many saw Falcon as the future of the BC Liberals. When Campbell quit in 2010, Falcon ran to replace him—narrowly losing to Christy Clark, then exiting the political stage. In 2022, Falcon made a triumphant comeback—and already the political veteran’s savvy is on full display, putting the NDP on the ropes for everything from the Royal BC Museum rebuild to a controversial funding arrangement for autism. Perhaps his biggest victory: getting 80 percent of BC Liberal members to support a long-debated name change to BC United.
Owner, Low Tide Properties
Previously #38, 2020
He cuts a controversial figure, Chip Wilson. But love him or hate him, the Lululemon founder continues to be a force as he buys and manages real estate all over Vancouver—particularly dominating East Hastings—and provides behind-the-scenes funding: in the civic election, he donated $380,000 to the Pacific Prosperity Network, an organization that aims to support right wing candidates (and the very same that sponsored a screening of the also-controversial “documentary” Vancouver Is Dying).
Three-time National Radio Television Digital News Association award-winner de Silva has worked for CBC and CKNW, and now she’s leading real change in her own newsroom. De Silva steers the ship at CityNews, prioritizing stories that reflect Canada’s diversity and focusing her own reporting on gaps in the family justice system. She’s not your traditional, stuffy newsperson: de Silva is both a journalist and an activist. She’s a former co-chair of the Vancouver Pride Society, and continues to support the queer community by organizing events and moderating panels. (Plus, she’s working behind the scenes to bring Canada Pride to Vancouver.)
Co-founder, Dilawri Group of Companies
Dilawri Group of Companies recently purchased Ferrari of Washington and Maserati of Washington, giving Canada’s largest auto dealership group its first U.S. stores and a presence in D.C., and opening the door to big new possibilities in the vibrant North American automotive marketplace. But beyond the success of his dealerships, it’s the philanthropic efforts from the Dilawri Foundation that puts this long-time entrepreneur on our list. The foundation has donated tens of millions to help charitable causes in health care, mental health, education, autism and public safety, perhaps most notably a $5-million donation in 2018 to the Vancouver Public Library Foundation to expand its children’s programs—the largest private donation ever to a public library in Canada.
Your teen daughter is obsessed with it, but so is much of the celebrity world: Margot Robbie, Kendall Jenner and Meghan Markle are all Aritzia followers (not to mention the brand’s various subsidiary labels, including Babaton and Wilfred). It’s a name that’s put Vancouver on the fashion map after being so long associated with athleisure—and when founder Brian Hill stepped down as CEO this past May (after 38 years at the helm), Wong’s vision was clearly needed for the role. The media that covered the power shift loved to share that she started with the company as a part-time associate, but insiders note she’s been running the ship for years now, as president and COO.
Executive Director, DigiBC
An original co-founder of NFB/Interactive and CBC Radio 3, Dao continues to make waves where the arts and technology converge. For the Vancouver International Film Festival this year, Dao co-curated the interactive Signals—an exhibition that focused on the potential of creative technologies for storytelling (from holograms to wearable tech), and was the first of its kind for the fest. He’s put Vancouver on the global radar for technically innovative storytelling globally—and Signals, as he has noted, was the chance to celebrate that innovative work in our own backyard.
Previously #49, 2022
Not since the glory days of Quatchi has Vancouver enjoyed such a loveable and handsome mascot. Hollywood heartthrob Reynolds continues his self-appointed role as Vancouver’s booster boy (even his Twitter handle,
@vancityreynolds, shouts out his hometown), but his impact on our city goes far beyond a winning smile and an obsession for Nat’s Pizza. His nonprofit organizations, Creative Ladder and Group Effort, admirably aim to make creative careers accessible to marginalized groups, with mentorship programs, entry-level job matching and educational opportunities intended to help build a pipeline for long-term entertainment careers for all.
Eastside Studios has become an institution in the East Van queer community; here, you’ll find events like Warehouse at ESS, the Eastside Spotlight drag show and Queers and Beers. Run by Frewer and Broz, this accessible arts space promotes queer and trans voices through cultural events, DIY shows, queer dance parties, and community engagement with a focus on equity and inclusion. ESS regular Reed (a.k.a. Continental Breakfast) is part of the non-binary drag collective The Darlings and co-founded Queer Based Media, a production company that spotlights queer voices in Vancouver. Reed was also recognized on BCBusiness’s 30 Under 30 in 2022 for their work in uplifting queer voices in the city.