2014 was the year we got back to business, whether in real estate (we grow ever more expensive, ever higher), politics, culture, community (remember the teachers’ strike?), or commerce. At the heart of good business is negotiation, and this year’s list—our 14th—pays special attention to those who braided together disparate interests, especially following this summer’s Supreme Court decision recognizing the Tsilhqot’in people’s title to their land. Everything changes as we reconsider relationships with First Nations and with partners across the world drawn to the excellence of our setting, our fortune, and our stewardship
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FOUNDER, AQUILINI INVESTMENT GROUP | AGE: 82 The Aquilini fortune is built on real estate. Patriarch Luigi started buying in East Vancouver in the 1950s and has never stopped. He and sons Francesco, Roberto, and Paolo may be best known as owners of the Canucks, but even that $275-million acquisition had land at its core. The first of four residential towers now rises above Rogers Arena and this year they added properties in Washington state, Montreal, Moncton, Burnaby, at Southeast False Creek, and on Vancouver Island. The future points to even more development, especially given their industry-leading strategy of working with First Nations on joint-venture projects in Tsawwassen, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, and northern B.C. Supported by his sons, along with David Negrin‚ president of Aquilini Construction and Development, Luigi is key to these partnerships: one man able to shake hands on a deal—no bureaucracy, board of directors, or dicey financing to consider. The First Nations are the largest landholders in B.C., and building trust with them creates tremendous opportunities (an oil pipeline from northern Alberta to the coast among them) for this nimble private company. The Aquilinis have a broad range of businesses, from golf courses to blueberry farming, aquaculture to waste-to-energy, but mostly they hew to the advice Bob Hope once gave someone who asked how to get rich: “Buy real estate. Never sell it.”
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PREMIER, BRITISH COLUMBIA | AGE: 49 Premier Clark understands the power of simplicity. She defied the odds and won the 2013 provincial election on a single issue: the economy. Since then she has governed on a minimalist doctrine, focusing almost solely on a nascent liquefied natural gas industry she promises will create not only 100,000 jobs but unparalleled wealth—enough to wipe out the provincial debt. Staking the economic future of the province on this industry, she’ll need at least one big-name LNG proponent to commit to a multibillion-dollar venture here or her plan will almost certainly be in jeopardy. Her biggest gain of 2014: getting the teachers to sign a historic six-year agreement after being on the picket line for five weeks. It was a huge coup for the Clark government. She also managed to develop a workable relationship with many of the most powerful unions in the province, much to the dismay of the provincial New Democrats and their new leader, John Horgan. The future battles between Clark and Horgan, who is fiery and quick on his feet, should make for compelling political theatre. What was your high point in 2014? Reaching a negotiated settlement to end the teachers’ strike. Your low point? The Mount Polley tailings pond breach. What is one thing you’d change about yourself, if you could? It’s better to focus on what you can do differently in the future than worry about things you can’t change.
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MAYOR, CITY OF VANCOUVER | AGE: 50 If the measure of power is that every person in the city knows you well enough to either love you or hate you, Robertson has that in buckets. An Insights West poll showed only two percent of people had never heard of the mayor who bulled through the city’s most controversial bike lane on Point Grey Road, oversaw multiple contentious community plans and development projects, introduced a rigorous building code that brought howls of protest over doorknobs, and went to legal battle with CP Rail—to name just a few things on the mayor’s to-do list. Forty-six percent were positive about him, 39 negative—half of those “extremely negative.” Mission accomplished. Who do you rely on for advice and inspiration? I was inspired by the many aboriginal leaders during Vancouver’s Year of Reconciliation. We are committed to becoming the world’s first City of Reconciliation.
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MINISTER OF NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT & HOUSING; DEPUTY PREMIER | AGE: 60 The former RCMP officer, MLA from Langley, and reliable fundraiser for the BC Liberals has become so much more. Coleman is now the province’s LNG whisperer, flying to Malaysia to talk to companies like Petronas and dealing directly with the dozens of other parties embroiled in the race for LNG. He’s interpreter for the Treasury Board on how to negotiate, making the argument that a short-term win could kill everything. At the same time, he’s still overlord of all things social housing in Vancouver, the one who makes or breaks Gregor Robertson’s very visible efforts on that crucial front.
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CHAIR & CEO, JIM PATTISON GROUP | AGE: 86 The rich get richer, unless they’re shortsighted or stupid. Pattison is neither. Now third wealthiest in Canada ($7.3 billion), he and his stellar team (which includes Glen Clark, Michael Korenberg, and Dave Cobb) keep driving revenues and profits. Their latest win is Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, an instant money spinner for the division overseen by Florida-based son Jim Jr. At 86, Pattison remains indefatigable, but he won’t be around forever; Clark looks ready to inherit his mantle and guide the diversified empire (groceries, packaging, port services, forest products, et al.) through its next evolution.
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FOUNDER & CEO, WESTBANK PROJECTS | AGE: 53 It’s not just that he has $25 billion in construction projects around the world or that he’s building the city’s most striking condo tower ever, the funnel-shaped Vancouver House. And it’s not just that he has a genius for getting the ear of whatever council and planner he has to work with. Gillespie ascended to a new level in 2014 by becoming the first city developer to move big-time into district energy—that concept of providing a single heat and power plant for a whole neighbourhood. Other builders are experimenting with smaller, local systems; Gillespie bought the giant Central Heat, which serves 200 downtown buildings, and said he will expand it significantly. The city will require new developments to hook into it, in exchange for Gillespie’s promise to find a new low-carbon fuel source.
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CHIEF OF STAFF, MAYOR OF VANCOUVER | AGE: 50 Want to know what the mayor is thinking? Talk to Gregor Robertson’s chief of staff—the person who articulates, explains, and amplifies the agenda of the inner circle. The former peace and environmental activist has been at Robertson’s side since 2005, frequently using the same phrases on key issues, particularly when it comes to developing policy and positions. Magee is also the enforcer, blowing up when a staffer or reporter or party operative has, in his mind, made a mistake of unbelievable magnitude. (Just wait two hours: the weather will clear.) Who do you rely on for advice and inspiration? I’m most recently inspired by the many service providers in the city who serve homeless people on a daily basis. They’re making a remarkable difference in improving and saving lives. Who should be #1? The chiefs of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.
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FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, RENNIE MARKETING SYSTEMS | AGE: 57 No stranger to controversy, Rennie got tongues wagging earlier in the year when he held a cozy round-table discussion with Gregor Robertson to the tune of $25,000 a ticket. He made the news again when he was awarded the Order of B.C. He was honoured for his arts patronage—his contemporary collection is considered one of the finest in the world. But his power base is increasingly extending beyond city limits. He dined this year with guys like Steve Schmidt, chief strategist for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. And he is being courted by a “very big American museum” to sit on its board. (He’s already chair of the Tate Museum’s North American acquisitions committee.) “All this power is very fleeting,” he says with a shrug. “I’m just someone who gets things done.” To many, Rennie has long been the city’s top power broker, with ready access to VIP ears—especially those in government. He can be a valuable asset. This year, he became chair of fundraising for the B.C. Liberals. He also helped broker a deal between the City and the Aquilinis to sell off the remainder of the Olympic Village for $91 million, which paid off the City’s debt and saved the mayor face. High point in 2014? Receiving the Order of British Columbia. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? I would rezone it all to townhouses and start to solve affordability with real supply and stop the rhetoric and NIMBYism. Who should be #1? Anyone who actually signs their name when commenting online.
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CHIEF CONSTABLE, VPD | AGE: 55 There are marches in Surrey over growing public safety concerns, the policing situation at YVR is having yet another public inquiry, and in Vancouver…we’re having a one-day hearing into whether a cop who pushed a disabled woman in 2010 and admitted his guilt was dealt with severely enough. That the biggest municipality and its growing divide of haves and have-nots has such modest policing concerns is testament to the Shanghai-born, East Van-raised Chu, who likes his ship steady and his waves small. No one complains that the captain, at $267,000, earns almost double the mayor and no one asks whatever happened to all those security cameras installed for the Olympics, so long as he sees the waves—like the city’s growing mental-illness problem—and charts a safe course through them. High point in 2014? The police foundation sponsored a gala that raised funds to make the Vancouver Police Cadet Program a reality. Low point? The sudden passing of human-rights advocate Jim Deva. One thing you’d change about yourself? To be a better listener when my wife is talking. Who do you rely on for advice and inspiration? My executive team—I believe in the wisdom of crowds. Who should be #1? Christy Clark.
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DIRECTOR OF THE BC CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN HIV/AIDS | AGE: 58 Is it too much to say Montaner has figured out how to end AIDS? For almost a decade, the antiretro-viral-therapy pioneer has successfully identified and managed patients with HIV/AIDS; though his “Treatment As Prevention” approach is not the only one, it’s become the world leader, so much that Montaner was named this year to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and as global adviser for HIV therapeutics to UNAIDS. (Speaking of which, UNAIDS, which has formally endorsed his approach as the cornerstone to ending the scourge, visited this year to close the AIDS wing at St. Paul’s—not enough patients.) Next year he hosts 6,000 colleagues to further study the disease. He works in other areas of public health and addiction, and though he’s butted heads with Ottawa over TAsP and Insite, the world is paying attention as he gears up for the UN’s next target: the end of the epidemic by 2030. Low point in 2014? My father’s passing in May. He was a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration. One thing you’d change about yourself? I’d like to work out five times a week. Who should be #1? Christy Clark.
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MAYOR, CITY OF SURREY | AGE: 56 The popular Surrey leader’s final year in office is textbook for what happens when a mayor decides to actually wield her power. This spring, Watts opened the new City Hall she pushed so hard for, the six storeys of glass behind her, an enthusiastic crowd out front. (It’s the catalyst for bringing $5 billion in construction investment to the city.) She travelled to Cartagena to make her city’s pitch for the 2016 women’s world fast-pitch tournament and won it, setting the stage for an event that will bring 100,000 people to the region. And when she made up her mind that Surrey should have a child-protection centre similar to one she’d heard about elsewhere, she brought people together within two months to make Sophie’s Place a reality. Watts’s ability to harness many to pull toward a bold common goal has never been more evident than since she elected to leave civic politics, after 18 years, for the federal level. A seven-way race has broken out for her job, with plenty of mud and blame being tossed in all directions.
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CHIEF JUSTICE OF CANADA | AGE: 71 We remember her early judicial career fondly, starting with her 1981 appointment to Vancouver County Court. Madam Justice rose through B.C.’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to land up in Ottawa in 1989, but it’s not nostalgia that settles her here; rather, it’s her unparalleled pursuit of equality, undiminished by the years (she’s the country’s longest-serving chief justice). Last December’s ruling against the country’s main prostitution laws gave Parliament a year to figure out how to keep sex workers safe—a pressing file for this city. Government is also just beginning to understand the implications of the unanimous ruling she wrote in June, upholding the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s title to its land. That decision—widely viewed as a game changer for how First Nations will negotiate with resource companies, governments, and each other—is still being digested.
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MINISTER OF INDUSTRY; MP, PORT MOODY-COQUITLAM-PORT COQUITLAM | AGE: 38 At 38, the senior minister for B.C. has now spent half his adult life in politics. His first big gig, as Heritage Minister, diluted the Tories’ perceived hatred of the arts (the 657 CBCers fired this year might not agree); his current job, with its emphasis on economics—he pushed this year for stronger foreign investment in the country and more robust trade between provinces (domestic barriers are, he told our board of trade, “the perfect storm of dumb”)—brings him ever closer to the PMO. An iconoclast, he’s advocated for more wireless competition, “pick and pay” choice for TV viewers, more robust internet privacy, renewed space exploration, enhanced federal transfers in place of local taxes, and Google Glass.
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MANAGER, CITY OF VANCOUVER | AGE: 65
DEPUTY MANAGER, CITY OF VANCOUVER | AGE: 40 The yin/yang of city hall’s management. Ballem, the former doctor and deputy health minister, is omnipresent, prodding staff to be more efficient, more effective, more concise, which has resulted in some being more gone. No one is exempt: developer Ian Gillespie came out of a negotiation about the Oakridge redevelopment with Ballem last year several tens of millions poorer. She casts such a shadow that people don’t always notice her deputy, the environmental-policy whiz kid imported from Chicago five years ago. But Johnston has been quietly pushing through the green initiatives that are the bedrock of Gregor Robertson’s agenda. He is overseeing the city’s pioneering efforts to expand district-energy systems, which has entailed working with Gillespie on his takeover and future remake of the massive downtown district-heating system. Johnston also shepherded through the city’s policy on energy retrofitting, which has us as the lowest North American city per capita for greenhouse-gas emissions. High point in 2014? Johnston: Getting over 700,000 votes for the official-city-bird competition. Low point? Johnston: Seeing CPR removing community gardens along the Arbutus Corridor.
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MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE; MLA, KAMLOOPS–SOUTH THOMPSON | AGE: 40 If you’ve waited for a bus or a ferry, wondered why you have to pay a toll for one bridge but not another, or longed for a subway along Broadway, then Stone is a very powerful man in your world. The Kamloops MLA, elected for the first time last May, is in charge of all that, heading up one of the power ministries in the newcomer-heavy Liberal cabinet. Stone has a difficult file, especially when it comes to negotiating the often testy relationship between Lower Mainland cities and the province. He’s shown leadership by suggesting the province needs to develop a holistic policy on tolls for the region, and by calming infighting, a huge plus as next year’s promised transit referendum creeps ever nearer.
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PRESIDENT & CEO, PORT METRO VANCOUVER | AGE: 46 Geography and timing—both loomed large over Port Metro Vancouver in 2014. Silvester had a big year, finalizing nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in infrastructure from Powell Street in Vancouver to Roberts Bank to the Low Level Road on the North Shore. It all leads to one destination: delivering more goods to the rest of Canada, or the other way. “Geography is clearly the advantage we have, and fundamentally we’re doing a good job. We’re the envy of our competitors, especially south of the border.” Silvester can afford to paint a rosy picture now, six months after a rancorous labour dispute with container-truck drivers that ended when the province legislated the striking workers, who wanted higher pay and shorter waits at the port, back behind the wheel. “That was undoubtedly a black eye for us; we lost volume because of that disruption,” says Silvester. The spring labour dispute may have slowed some shipments, but another potential strike—this one with American longshoremen in protracted negotiations—has shifted goods north to Canada. The port projects another record year.
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FOUNDER , WALL FINANCIAL CORP. | AGE: 75 With his eponymous dark-glass obelisk, Wall built one of downtown’s defining towers, and his aesthetic sensibilities now touch every corner of the city—and region. Development pays: Wall Financial Corp. booked revenues of $209 million for its 561-unit project in False Creek. What keeps Wall busy these days is building. He has $1 billion (2,631 residential units, plus a subdivision in Abbotsford) under development. Shovels are in the ground in Richmond and Kerrisdale, at UBC, and with his massive four-tower, 1,048-unit Central Park project at Boundary and Vanness. He remains a man of many interests. In politics, Wall is still a major backer of Christy Clark and Gregor Robertson, and last winter Wall and Bob Rennie were set to pay $50,000 for Deputy Mayor Tim Stevenson to advocate for gay rights at the Sochi Olympics before city council realized how unseemly that would appear, and used civic funds instead. On the philanthropy front, his nexus of interdisciplinary studies, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at alma mater UBC, was busy as usual, with myriad new issues explored, including what happens when foster kids turn 19 and are left on their own, and a costume designer fashioning 10 ball gowns that aimed to discuss beauty, body image, and cancer.
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CEO, Hootsuite | Age: 39 His success story is the epitome of modern West Coast entrepreneurialism, seemingly as much a product of futurist-minded innovation as hippie altruism. Growing up without electricity on a Vernon farm, he had to power his first computer (won in a local programming contest) with a car battery. Fast-forward to September 2014, and the UVic dropout’s social-media-management firm, Hootsuite, had reached a reported valuation of $1 billion, amidst speculation that it would soon go public. Having ignored the call of Silicon Valley, the company remains rooted here—an implicit pledge of allegiance from Holmes to his homeland, which stands to benefit handsomely from his growing empire. Meanwhile, the company’s offices offer employees the use of a nap room, and Holmes makes a point of noting in his Twitter profile that he’s “addicted to yoga.” Because…Vancouver. Low point in 2014? January 1. Our numbers have only gone up since. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? Whether it starts with education or skills retraining, I’d love to see and contribute to resources so our best and brightest don’t feel like they have to move elsewhere for a fulfilling career in tech. Who do you rely on for advice and inspiration? I go with gut instinct. I gather the facts, make a decision, and don’t worry about what could have been. I’m not headed back there, so why focus on it?
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CEO, BC HOUSING | AGE: 53 The CEO of one of the province’s biggest development companies did something this year that no one thought possible: he quietly engineered the resignations of Mark Townsend and Liz Evans, the top leaders of the Downtown Eastside’s legendary PHS Community Services Society—and without provoking a mass protest among community activists. Housing Minister Rich Coleman relies on him, so when Ramsay said he’d had it with trying to deal with the always-confrontational PHS, that was the end of the story. Ramsay, who oversees the agency’s $1.5-billion portfolio serving 100,000 households, has been in the job for 14 years and appears to be impervious to any of the controversies that have occasionally descended on his employer. High point in 2014? Reaching the halfway point in the renovation of 13 SRO hotels under a $143-million public/private partnership arrangement: 900 rooms that will mean better living spaces for some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable. Low point in 2014? Tent city at Oppenheimer Park.
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Joseph J. Arvay
PARTNER, FARRIS, VAUGHAN, WILLS & MURPHY | AGE: 65 As a wheelchair-bound paraplegic (after a car crash at university), Arvay knows what it’s like to be part of a minority. As an expert in constitutional law, he’s the go-to guy for those who feel their civil rights have been trampled, and has been ever since he started representing (for 17 years) Little Sister’s, the bookstore that Canada Customs decided was carrying obscene material. Having represented Insite doctors, advocates of same-sex marriage, the children of sperm donors, and countless other plaintiffs, Arvay is among the country’s most renowned civil-rights lawyers; his legacy may be confirmed when the Supreme Court passes judgment on Carter v. Canada, which sent him to Ottawa in October to seek the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
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Robert & Carol Lee
ROBERT LEE: FOUNDER, PROSPERO INTERNATIONAL REALTY | AGE: 81 CAROL LEE: PRESIDENT & CEO, LINACARE COSMETHERAPY This past May, Robert Lee was feted at UBC, where his $18.5-million Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre was formally announced. Outgoing UBC president Stephen Toope couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than the former chancellor, Board of Governors member, and creator of the UBC Properties Trust, where nearly $1 billion raised through real-estate transactions will endow the fund for the foreseeable future. Neither Robert nor his high-achieving daughter, Harvard-educated Carol, is content to coast, though. Real-estate marketer Bob Rennie counts the Lees among his inner circle: “Bob and Carol don’t just show up with the chequebook. They show up and they participate, and they give back intellectual capital.” Carol established the Vancouver Chinatown Foundation in 2009, to revitalize the area where the family has its roots. (Her skin-care company is in the building that housed her grandfather’s store in the 1920s.) That foundation’s impressive roster of directors, including Brandt Louie, Robert H. N. Ho, and Caleb Chan, seeks to conserve the district’s cultural heritage. She also chairs the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee and vice-chairs the Asia Pacific Trade Council. The obvious next step? She’s just bought area icons Foo’s Ho-Ho and Garden Villa restaurants.
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PRESIDENT & CEO, BC HYDRO | AGE: 45 Of the many Crown corporations in B.C., none is more important—and politically fraught—than BC Hydro, which McDonald was named to lead in June. She comes well prepared for the battles she faces; from 2005 to 2009 she served as deputy minister to then-premier Gordon Campbell and head of the 36,000-member public service. She played a central role in crafting Campbell’s New Relationship doctrine with First Nations. Her understanding of aboriginal concerns has already come in handy as the province negotiated with Native groups in northeastern B.C. over energy resources and the contentious hydroelectric dam proposed for Site C on the Peace River. She takes over at a time when Hydro is under pressure to restore and enlarge an aging provincial electrical system while keeping rate increases reasonable. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? I wish public spaces were more dog friendly. One thing you’d change about yourself? I’ve always wanted to be better at public speaking. Who do you rely on for advice? Anderson Cooper. Who should be #1? Spoken-word poet Shane Koyczan.
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PRESIDENT, TECK RESOURCES | AGE: 56 Mining was a tough go this year, with sizable disappointments every quarter for shareholders of city-based Teck, thanks to ongoing sucky prices for coking coal and copper. But with a couple billion in the war chest and expenses reined in through a five percent cut in staff (600 jobs), the company looks set to rally once the coal market learns to discipline itself. In the meantime, Lindsay has stayed busy, focusing on zinc (“the commodity for 2014”) and restarting a mine in Washington state to meet its rebounding demand. And he put his company’s fortunes and his own network to bear contributing $27 million to the $200-million Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital to open 2017, coincidentally when mining should be looking up again.
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COO, HSBC CANADA Stuart knows why HSBC customers stay with her bank and how easy it could be to lose them. That’s why the chief operating officer (and rumoured next CEO) of HSBC Bank Canada considers it her job to work hard to connect customers to the 150-year-old banking group that has been in Vancouver for three decades and the only major bank headquartered in B.C. “We recognize that to help our customers prosper we have to be mindful in how we operate, and that includes being mindful of the environment and how we work with the next generation,” says Stuart, who joined the bank in 1980. In 2011, HSBC launched its Women in Business Leadership program at eight Canadian universities; last year it funded LGBTQ awards at universities; this year, it launched programs to support indigenous education. “We are one of the few banks that can trade in renminbi, and we focus on providing services for customers to build on their growth internationally. And we are proud of our focus on the commercial side. We are really proud of our staff as being a force for good.”
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BOARD DIRECTOR, BC HYDRO; CHAIR, MITACS; ADVISER TO CHRISTY CLARK | AGE: 56 There may not have been a more important person on Christy Clark’s 2013 winning election campaign than Bennett, who was with the premier every step of the 28-day battle. His job: keep her on message; give her honest feedback. He’s remained a close confidant to B.C.’s top office holder ever since. Grandson of the Social Credit icon W.A.C. Bennett and son of long-time Socred premier Bill Bennett, Brad has eschewed repeated overtures to run for office himself. He’s seen up close the toll politics can take on a person, so he’s chosen instead to play the role of adviser, something he does on a number of high-profile boards, including BC Hydro and UBC president Arvind Gupta’s Mitacs, and as vice-chair of the Fraser Institute. He has the ear, and phone number, of virtually every power figure in the province.
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PRESIDENT & CEO, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF B.C. AGE: 51 Born in Chilliwack, D’Avignon resides in North Vancouver, co-chairs the Surrey Regional Economic Summit, and works out of Vancouver to oversee a group that represents 250 organizations. One of the distinct features of the B.C. Business Council under him is the acknowledgment of the unique nature of our province’s political dynamic. At a time when young British Columbians are consistently and unfairly regarded as lethargic and unengaged, D’Avignon is calling for more collaborative approaches to meet public policy challenges, with a special emphasis on involving young people in discussions. The BC Agenda for Shared Prosperity, co-authored by the council, set the stage for a new way of discussing projects and proposals that goes beyond the old mantra of “jobs over everything else.” Low point in 2014? The loss of my uncle to lung cancer. I was recently appointed chair of the B.C. Cancer Foundation, the largest funder of cancer research in B.C., and I am driven to realize B.C.’s potential as the global centre for cancer research and care in the world. We already lead the world in many cancer outcomes and research areas such as breast, ovarian, lymphoma, lung, and prostate supported by genomics, but we need a bigger vision. Who do you rely on for advice? I have a privileged role working with business, political, and community leaders who are big, thoughtful, innovative thinkers. Their depth of knowledge and commitment to sustainably growing our economy and making our society better are inspiring.
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CHAIR & CEO, FAIRCHILD GROUP | AGE: 63 For one of Vancouver’s richest men, 2014 was a year to celebrate and reflect. Son Joseph’s wedding to Michelle Tam was the event of the year with billionaire guests. Couldn’t make it? There was still something for you from the outside: an eight-minute-long fireworks display over the harbour capped off the evening. (Yes, most of us are not allowed fireworks displays in Coal Harbour.) With his only son married, Fung, head of a $400-million retail and media empire, is thinking generational change. He is the same age as when his father, Fung King Hey, founder of Hong Kong investment firm Sun Hung Kai, died just after he retired. “The lessons I learned from that is I’m not going to force myself into a slow mode,” he says. “I’m more busy than ever.” He did promise his wife a vacation every year to places where he has no business interests. This year, it was Croatia. “I still had people come up to me there with ideas for business that are worth thinking about further. If not me, then my son could look into them.” Low point of 2014? Witnessing what’s happening in my hometown of Hong Kong. So sad! One thing you’d change about Vancouver? The city has the worst privacy issues to be dealt with. Heavy penalties should be imposed. One thing you’d change about yourself? I would like to change roles with those individuals who take things for granted, even for a day, to let them understand things don’t come easy. Who should be #1? Gregor Robertson, who has not surprised me with extraordinary bylaws.
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AUTHOR & ARTIST | AGE: 52 Vancouver’s foremost protean culture vulture felt perhaps more present than ever during 2014—no mean feat given his near-ceaseless ubiquity in our city. Central to this was Everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s first sprawling survey of Coupland’s work, now making its way to Toronto, then Europe. (A perennial champion of the interactive, his Gumhead “social sculpture” allowed even public defacement to become a form of art.) His latest book, the nonfiction Kitten Clone, is an investigation of the powerful (but largely unknown) information technology corporation Alcatel-Lucent and how networks are changing the way we think. Coupland has long suggested modern life is a sort of elegant chaos, both beautiful and terrifying. His accomplishment is that modern life seems increasingly determined to prove to all of us how right he is. High point in 2014? May 27, opening night at the VAG. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? Create affordable housing for all.
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PRESIDENT, WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY LTD. | AGE: 55 It takes bold imagination to shepherd a timber company with roots in the 19th century into a modern deal with First Nations landowners, and luckily this bestselling author (daughter of Carol Shields) has vision to burn. “If you’re insane,” she told a room this year, “you try to do the same thing again and again. If you’re smart, you find new ways.” Giardini led Weyerhaeuser to improve its treatment of boreal forests as well this year, setting a voluntary self-regulation bar superior to Ottawa’s limp guidelines. “It was the right thing to do.” The hockey mom and writer also found time for a new gig: chancellor of SFU, a university determined to be the most engaged in Canada. Giardini’s appointment seems a solid start. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? We are all growing in awareness of and respect for the history and contributions of the First Nations who lived here first. I would love to see Vancouver become more reflective of the exciting aboriginal cultures in our midst, including First Nations’ art, language, businesses, and commitment to sustainability. One thing you’d change about yourself? So many things! More patience. A better memory. The ability to carry a note. Who should be #1? Christy Clark. I am particularly impressed by her recent statement that we should not think about people who come from across the world to work in British Columbia as being something less than the rest of us. I agree with her view that these workers are potential new Canadians because, in her words, “They’re coming here to help us build our country.”
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PRESIDENT & CEO, VANCITY | AGE: 46 When Vrooman was invited to meet Pope Francis earlier this year, the interaction instantly upped her star power and the credentials of the 68-year-old financial institute on the global stage. Vrooman was one of 30 thought leaders from around the world invited to share ideas with the Pope about how to develop a more inclusive economy by reducing poverty and inequality. “Not every Pope is interested in income equality and banking and financial institutions. But he was encouraging of the work we are doing to include more people and not exclude them.” Vrooman, who turned down an offer from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to run federally, said she did have a pinch-me moment when she was in the meeting and had one-on-one time with the Pope. Did she offer up Vancity, with its 500,000-plus members, to be the official financial institute of the Vatican? “We share the same letters: Vatican, Vancity. But I think that may be beyond our reach.” High point in 2014? There were several, including working with business and the disability community to have the highest labour participation rate for people with disabilities in Canada by 2024. Low point? In 2014 child poverty rates in B.C. were again the highest in Canada. I continue to be concerned with the chronic persistence of child poverty in our region and province. It is difficult to build a strong future on that kind of foundation. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? Affordable housing is something we’ve been working toward helping our members achieve. We need to do more to provide access to affordable living. Who do you rely on for advice? It’s hard to say one person when you work for a co-op. Our members and my team—they provide incredible inspiration.
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CHAIR, POLYGON HOMES; FOUNDER, AUDAIN ART MUSEUM | AGE: 77 While the other developers race hell-bent to build the shiniest, most buzz-worthy glass towers downtown, Audain’s Polygon continues to be the one company that outfits the entire Lower Mainland (yes, Virginia, there is a North Delta) with contemporary living units at something less than Coal Harbour prices. And while this egalitarian approach doesn’t exactly raise Audain’s street cred, he can more than rely on his Patkau-designed Whistler art museum to shore things up. The Audain Art Museum will open late next year at an expansive 56,310 square feet (up from the originally planned 25,000) and will house Audain’s collection (he paid $3.39 million last year for Emily Carr’s The Crooked Stair, third most expensive Canadian painting sold at auction, to anchor the new building) along with other donations, like the 15 E. J. Hughes paintings recently donated by local collector Jacques Barbeau. It may be the latest philanthropic building to bear the Audain name, but it’s unlikely to be the last. High point in 2014? Two weeks after I incorporated the Grizzly Bear Foundation of Canada, watching a grizzly mother and three cubs nonchalantly stroll five metres away from me as I sat on a log up in the magical Great Bear Rainforest. Low point? Learning that in 2014 the B.C. government issued over 1,600 tags to kill grizzlies, despite over 90 percent of British Columbians being opposed to the trophy hunt. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? Build a new Vancouver Art Gallery building worthy of the creative genius of our town. One thing you’d change about yourself? My craving for fish tacos. Who do you rely on for advice and inspiration? The Holy Bible.
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COUNCILLOR, CITY OF VANCOUVER | AGE: 42 It was telling that when a Vision Vancouver representative was needed for what promised to be one of the angriest of the election debates in the fall, Reimer was the one sent out to talk to the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. She’s the one known for keeping a cool head in tense situations and being willing to walk into the lion’s den. Reimer has been in various dens the past year, as she has worked to re-engage residents of Commercial Drive furious about the suggestion of towers in their neighbourhood, and established herself as the councillor willing to sit down and talk with Oppenheimer Park campers. Those who’ve worked with her say she knows how to get ideas through the system, an invaluable political skill. It helps that, of all of the Vision team, Reimer is the closest to the mayor in values and approach, making her part of the very inside circle. High point in 2014? Seeing the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan completed. It took three years and over 300 meetings to achieve buy-in from the majority of residents and stakeholders: not for the politically faint of heart. Low point? Having a school board trustee ask my non-gender-conforming child, Roan, why they couldn’t “meet halfway” on human rights for transgendered students. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? I’d love to get on a Broadway subway and not an overcrowded B-Line bus to get to work.
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MAYOR, CITY OF PORT COQUITLAM; CHAIR, METRO VANCOUVER | AGE: 43 The mayor of a city with a population of 56,000 might not seem like a power broker. But Port Coquitlam’s Moore is the guy who got 20 of his 21 mayor colleagues to agree on a $7.5-billion transit plan for the region in six quick months of meetings—something some in government had thought impossible. He’s also the chair, since 2012, of an increasingly assertive Metro Vancouver board, and in wearing those two hats he’s becoming a fierce advocate for better transit funding and a new system for regulating and disposing of garbage. That’s made him enemies, yet he motors on, demonstrating a flair for populism and networking—he posts his daily schedule, uses his vacations to tour B.C. to meet other mayors—that gives him cred beyond his boundaries. High point in 2014? Facilitating development of TransLink’s 10-year plan and 30-year vision. Low point? Spending a week driving to Niagara Falls in the “mayor cave” with Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart and Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay. I like those guys, but 24/7 in an RV was a bit TMI!
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PRESIDENT & CEO, CONCORD PACIFIC | AGE: 50 When Douglas Coupland called Vancouver a city of glass, it was Hui he was identifying. Hui’s Concord Pacific spent a couple decades building tall on the Expo lands—the push to develop the final dozen towers is on the go—and has expanded to re-create the city of glass on Lake Ontario in Toronto, while other projects keep the company busy in Calgary, Surrey, Richmond, the Okanagan, and Porteau Cove. Like other Vancouver developers, Hui is more than a simple-minded builder. He loves sports like longboarding, wake surfing, and off-roading, and a financier/friend once described him as “really creative, highly artistic, thoroughly technical, and intensely analytical.” He’s no peacock, however, and resolutely stays out of the press, even as a neighbourhood group struggles to pull him into a courtroom.
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Janet & Katherine McCartney
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & PRINCIPAL, PDW INC. | AGES: 57 It was a banner year for the organizers behind TED. The Vancouver-raised twins parlayed their marketing and tourism chops into an event company so connected that Vancouver is command central for the annual conference, which relocated this year from Long Beach. TED2014, held at the convention centre, was the 30th anniversary for what amounts to the Olympics of oral presentation. Since joining TED in 2002, their growth as a company has been exponential. The McCartneys’ team, 38 staffers working from an office in low-key North Van, oversees operations and logistics of an event that ties into TED’s annual revenues of $45 million a year. Tickets to the conference now run $8,500 a seat, twice that for donors. To put it in perspective, TED2014 sold out before TED2013 even happened. High point in 2014? Katherine: Opening our first TED conference in our home city. It was the result of five years of lobbying, discussing, and strategizing. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? Janet: Pets are a vital part of our lives and the very fabric of our city. They create homes out of dwellings and offer love and comfort to those who care for them. It is disappointing to see how few landlords, strata councils, and building management companies are willing to make changes to their policies to allow people the comfort of having their loved ones with them.
36 | Previously: 46 (2012)
LIBERAL CANDIDATE, VANCOUVER GRANVILLE; REGIONAL CHIEF, BCAFN | AGE: 43 It’s nice to be wanted, and the regional chief of B.C.’s Assembly of First Nations is certainly that. First elected in 2009 by 203 member nations, the former Crown prosecutor and treaty commissioner was hand-picked this summer by Justin Trudeau to run in 2015; the riding she chose, the newly created Vancouver Granville, is one of the few urban B.C. wins the Grits are bullish on, which might explain how she wound up co-chairing this summer’s party convention. Until she makes the move to Ottawa (and, presumably, into cabinet), she’s become a go-to in the province, especially since AFN national chief Shaun Atleo was ousted this year, making comments on aboriginal self-determination and holding Premier Clark’s feet to the fire on implementing real change around empowerment with the rallying cry “Economic certainty for everyone!” One thing you’d change about Vancouver? We need to do more for the Downtown Eastside, and ensure affordable housing and necessary investment in infrastructure, including the Broadway transit extension. Further, all cities should have greater governance powers commensurate with their responsibilities. Who should be #1? I don’t think in terms of ranking people but see merit in taking stock of our collective accomplishments.
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PRINCIPAL SECRETARY TO CHRISTY CLARK | AGE: 51 When Christy Clark decided to shake up her inner circle this summer, few in the Victoria press gallery were familiar with the name of her new principal secretary. But it only took a few calls to determine Gardner was a veteran strategist with deep ties to Surrey and former Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon. He’s now responsible for managing the political fallout of the government’s policies—no small task—but he comes to this position armed with an impressive résumé and loads of high-ranking references. He helped Falcon form the once-dominant Surrey Electors Team and went on to run the successful mayoral campaigns of Doug McCallum and later Dianne Watts. He also directed the victorious 2013 provincial campaign of Liberal cabinet minister Mary Polak. He has a keen political sense that should serve Clark well if she listens. Who do you rely on for advice? No one person. In today’s world of business and politics, you have to have a wide network of friends and colleagues who you trust and respect.
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CEO, RELIANCE PROPERTIES | AGE: 55 “Trade space for place” says the visionary developer behind Vancouver’s Burns Block microloft trend. Other out-of-the-box ideas include 564 Beatty Street (Chambar’s new digs), the first cast-concrete multilevel addition to a heavy-timber heritage building; and Burrard Gateway, downtown’s largest current project at a million square feet, which includes a $7-million community amenity contribution for a new LGBTQ community centre on Davie. And while signing $7-million cheques, Reliance also ponied one up for Emily Carr University of Art and Design. 2015 promises to be just as big—or small—with a proposal for Vancouver’s first purpose-built and -designed microloft tower with up to 300 micro- (250 to 350 sq. ft.) and nano- (under 250 sq. ft.) lofts. Stovell’s New Year’s resolution: “To make homeownership more affordable for the young working population that keeps our great city vital and interesting.” Low point in 2014? Not being able to build enough affordable market housing to meet the needs of the people of Vancouver. Who do you rely on for advice? My dad, the scientist. Who should be #1? Jim Pattison.
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SENIOR PARTNER, RICHARDS BUELL SUTTON; PRESIDENT, BC LIBERAL PARTY | AGE: 54 When not acting as a high-ranking member of the law firm Richards Buell Sutton LLP for companies and public institutions on special projects and real-estate development, White indulges a lifelong passion: politics. As president of the BC Liberal party, she drove the turnaround of a political organization many felt Gordon Campbell, when he exited the provincial scene in 2011, had left for dead. But White and others refused to believe that and instead orchestrated one of the great political resurrections in B.C. history. White has since helped put the party on a solid financial and membership footing, and has it ready for future election wars. Her roots are assuredly at the right end of the free-enterprise coalition the Liberal party represents. She is tight with Christy Clark, making them one of the most powerful female tandems in B.C. High point in 2014? Seeing the premier and her caucus deliver on a balanced budget and a long-term negotiated agreement with teachers. One thing you’d change about Vancouver? I wish my fellow Vancouverites acknowledged and embraced the important role that the rest of the province, and particularly the resource sector, plays in our economy. Who do you rely on for inspiration? I am fortunate to be surrounded by strong women: my mom, the premier, and Laura Miller, our party’s executive director. I’m inspired by the grace with which they handle challenges and overcome adversity, how relentless they are in their pursuits, and how they embrace life.
40 | Previously: 46 (2007)
PRESIDENT OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS, VANCOUVER CANUCKS | AGE: 44 It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Linden was supposed to be spending his summers biking through the Dolomites, his winters tending to his health club mini empire, and the entire year making sure the halo above his head didn’t tarnish. Instead, he’s waded back into the morass that is the Vancouver Canucks. For the first time in recent memory, ticket sales are soft and the team is in full rebuild mode just as the Aquilinis need excitement to be cresting for their massive tower build-out circling Rogers Arena. Step one for Linden was to hire Jim Benning, a GM no one has heard of, which begat Willie Desjardins, a coach no one has heard of (both of whom are more promising than safely trotting out the usual suspects). For the next few years, Linden will be the white knight doing a very messy job while trying to keep his armour clean.
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CEO, YWCA METRO VANCOUVER | AGE: 58 These days everyone’s a feminist, but Austin has long been helping the city’s women and children in need. As YWCA chief executive officer (and former BC Housing director), she has proven to be a tireless advocacy-issue fixer between government, business, and community. Under her watch (with an operating budget that rivals a small government ministry’s), the YWCA’s entrepreneurial arm (50 programs, including a revenue-generating hotel and fitness centre) and hefty social endeavours (early learning and child care, improved legislation for mothers without legal status, affordable housing) have dovetailed into a bustling enterprise. With seven housing projects in the works (four more in the pipeline), Austin has taken a creative tack with shelter, including density transfer deals and reimagining old fire halls with the City. Business has taken note: this year, she chairs the Vancouver Board of Trade, the first nonprofit steward at the helm. There’s no time for taking credit: “It’s been a year of tremendous growth,” she says, “but it’s a team approach.” One thing you’d change in Vancouver? Better access to high-quality, affordable child care. One thing you’d change about yourself? More sophisticated knowledge of political economy.
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PRESIDENT, KINDER MORGAN CANADA | AGE: 56 In the middle of the last provincial election campaign, principled positions on the possible expansion of a pipeline benefited one party and hurt another. Eighteen months later, British Columbia’s politicians have not been as unwavering in discussing the positions that they defended so loudly at rallies. For the president of Kinder Morgan Canada, silence was never an option. His has been a steady voice in favour of tripling the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline into Burnaby. Support is happening, but First Nations, environmental groups, and municipal governments have all opposed the $5.4-billion project for various reasons. Anderson is the person tasked with vigorously alleviating these concerns, in order to get to what he defines as yes. Not maybe, not perhaps. High point in 2014? The personal appreciation we received for the incredible opportunity for First Nations involvement and benefit from our project. Low point? How misunderstood and misrepresented our best business efforts have been in political arenas. I have worked very hard to be open and honest with politicians of all parties, but sometimes the power of politics overshadows our best intentions. Who do you rely on for advice? I thrive on different points of view and alternative choices to solve issues. I have a private group of leading B.C. business and community leaders whom I regularly meet with informally to get advice. They tell me frankly what they think of our actions and plans. Who should be #1? Iain Black has been a pillar of strength to the Vancouver business community, and his leadership at the board of trade has been inspirational to watch.
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EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, WESTERN ACCESS, ENBRIDGE INC. | AGE: 57 Holder debuted at #50 last year, and since that time Ottawa and the National Energy Board have okayed (with 209 conditions) her $7.9-billion, 1,100-kilometre project shipping 525,000 barrels of petroleum a day from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat and points east. That’s one piece of good news for Calgary-based Enbridge. B.C.-born Holder, face of the beleaguered Northern Gateway project, has been crisscrossing the province, selling the project’s economic and safety features to Native groups and town halls everywhere she goes. Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau would kill the project, a litigious coalition of Native groups is opposed, opinion polls are not promising, and the 2018 start date has already been softened. But in the other corner: the argument that the oil is shipping either way, a green light from the most extensive environmental review in Canada’s history, and $1.2 billion in tax revenue over 30 years. How Holder balances pluses and minuses will determine the Power 50 of 2015.
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PRESIDENT, NON-PARTISAN ASSOCIATION; FOUNDER, ROCKY MOUNTAINEER | AGE: 61 The Non-Partisan Association used to be Gordon Campbell’s party. Now it’s Peter Armstrong’s. The founder of the Rocky Mountaineer rail tour company has single-handedly pulled the party into a competitive position in this year’s Vancouver civic election. He hasn’t just poured money into his effort to overturn Gregor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver council team; he’s also donated office space in his headquarters, run a lengthy executive search for mayoral candidates, and generally transformed a sometimes erratic party into a proper business board. This wealthy entrepreneur has even spent the occasional Sunday attending meetings of the left-wing Coalition of Progressive Electors, alert to the chance that Vision could lose if enough voters defect to COPE. Some disenchanted former NPA types say he has too much power. He’d say he’s just steering the train where it needs to go. One change you’d make to Vancouver? The government! After six failed years of Vision, it is time all the different neighbourhoods and groups get together and bring back a government that will listen to them. Who do you rely on for advice? I am tremendously supported by wonderful family, a wonderful spouse, plus a WPO Forum group of seven who know me better than I do myself and have the courage to tell me what I need to hear.
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COUNCILLOR, CITY OF SURREY | AGE: 45 Whatever voters decide on November 15, her campaign is already historic. As the first Indo-Canadian woman to seek the mayor’s chair in Surrey, Rasode has taken on what she describes as a “machine”: the Surrey First Party she once represented under Mayor Dianne Watts. Rasode, like half the city’s residents, is deeply troubled by crime. She has also called for better oversight of expenses and scolded the absence of true citizen engagement in her hometown. She effectively brought one of the saddest features of our society—the pervasiveness of domestic abuse—to the forefront of the provincial psyche. “Complacency has built our current culture of neglect,” she has said. The one guarantee is that she will not be idle. Low point in 2014? The murder of Serena Vermeersch by a high-risk sex offender recently released from prison. Our justice system failed Serena and our city, and it was totally preventable. It strengthened my resolve to fight for justice reform and work with senior levels of government to ensure this never happens again. One thing you’d change about yourself? I wish I was better at making the most out of 140 characters!
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MAYOR, CITY OF BURNABY | AGE: 63 When Burnaby’s mayor decides something isn’t going to happen in his fiefdom, it’s dead. Corrigan, who has ruled Vancouver’s big, tax-rich neighbour for 12 years, has blocked homeless shelters, a request to tap into the heat from Burnaby’s garbage incinerator for a district energy project in Vancouver, and, some believe, the Evergreen rapid-transit line. But he applies the same bullishness to what he wants for his city: industry, densification in places like Brentwood Mall and rundown Edmonds, big parks. He’s also a force in regional government, where he doesn’t hesitate to scorch the unwary and constantly raises probing questions about the best way to plan for jobs, transit, and housing in the region. The former criminal lawyer and, under the NDP, chair of B.C. Transit made headlines this year with his intransigent opposition to anything Kinder Morgan does on his land to prepare for a pipeline expansion. Enter at your own risk.
47 | Previously: 48 (2008)
Anthony von Mandl
FOUNDER & CEO, MARK ANTHONY GROUP | AGE: 64 The reclusive liquor magnate had an astonishing year, buying noted neighbours CedarCreek Estate Winery and Domaine Combret, and announcing plans to build a gravity-fed winery just for his Martin’s Lane pinot noir, which won world’s best pinot noir under £15 at London’s Decanter Awards (14,000 wines entered overall). The greatest advocate for the Okanagan Valley as our Napa also revealed this year the scope of 25 years’ success at a rare board of trade presentation, disclosing that his parent company, the Mark Anthony Group, grosses more than $500 million a year through wine (imported and domestic), beer, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. No wonder every notable from Prince Edward to Tony Bennett makes time to visit Mission Hill when they pass through these parts.
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PRESIDENT, SHAPE PROPERTIES Horton isn’t the only developer nimble enough to sense opportunity as old-school suburban malls stagnate—Metro Vancouver is rife with the conversion of onetime parking lots into residential towers, and Horton’s Shape Properties is only one cook in the kitchen. But Shape deserves recognition as that kitchen’s executive chef: its focus on the densification of shopping centres has been continuous, and as the skylines of Brentwood Town Centre, Lougheed Town Centre, and HighStreet in Abbotsford, among others, rise and throng, we know who’s been leading the charge.
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CHIEF LIBRARIAN, VPL | AGE: 41 Don’t think of the Vancouver Public Library just as a place to get books. Singh isn’t letting go of the past as she hurtles VPL toward the future. In Strathcona, the city’s newest library will be named nmat ct (pronounced “nuts-uh-mott-tst”), the first major civic building to have an official aboriginal name. “There still remains a 20th-century image that it’s just books on shelves. We will always have books on shelves, but libraries have always been about knowledge exchange, regardless of media, format, and method of transmission.” The library this year announced a 3,000-square-foot Inspiration Lab downtown, a public gathering space for nurturing talent and creativity that will be an incubator for the upcoming generation of the city’s digital and creative community to experiment with traditional, digital, and new media. “My hope as we move forward and foster entrepreneurialism is we don’t forget about taking care of each other.”
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PRESIDENT & CEO, THIND PROPERTIES | AGE: 49 The “King of Kingsway” has been busy over the past few years, building up projects throughout South Vancouver with a $70-million tower opening this month on the old Wally’s Burgers site, and two towers near Metrotown and one near the PNE completing next spring. (That’s not mentioning hundreds of midrange single homes.) Not bad for an immigrant who had to start over as a construction jobber when he arrived in Canada 20 years ago. But his real splash came as a very visible sponsor of the 2013 Times of India Film Awards; on the heels of that exposure, he’s begun film projects in India and Canada, which only strengthens his leadership role in the Indo-Canadian community. Who should be #1? Jim Pattison. Even in Bollywood, they ask about Jimmy.