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CAN-DO: In 1993, a single recovery house called Together We Can (TWC) opened its doors at the Vancouver intersection of Kingsway and Moss Street and took in its first clients. Twenty-six years later, Together We Can Addiction Recovery & Education Society is reportedly Canada’s premier treatment organization for men battling alcohol and drug addiction.
With 27 residential treatment homes spread across the province, TWC has helped over 25,000 British Columbians on their journey to recovery. With the added pressure of the current overdose crisis gripping B.C. and the rest of Canada, the demand for services has never been greater.
The firm, led by executive director Stacy Wilson — who is in long-term recovery — and a tireless organizing committee whose members have all been touched in some way by addiction, hosted its third annual Starry, Starry Night Gala at Rocky Mountaineer Station. More than 400 guests from public officials to industry stakeholders and TWC alumni took in the charity merrymaker to help raise awareness about addiction, dispel the stigma and support individuals seeking a new life in recovery.
Between musical performances and a gourmet dinner, attendees heard from individuals and families affected by addiction. Following their stories of loss, healing and hope, gala-goers opened their hearts as well as their wallets. Parents Lynn and John Madigan and Ken and Joanne Mellquist led the charge with a gift of $100,000. Tim McCafferty and Alanna Pollock quickly followed with an announcement of $20,000. By evening’s end, the gala would net $200,000 for scholarships and recovery programs, a new fundraising standard for the fledgling event.
The night also saw TWC champions recognized for their contributions and support. The esteemed group included Ryan Beedie, Jacquie Cohen, Brandt Louie, Manny Padda, Bob Rennie, Peter Legge and Tamara Vrooman.
“I want to thank everyone here tonight for getting behind our movement and joining in our cause,” said Wilson. “Addiction is not a morality issue. Addiction is a disease that I have personally seen untold numbers of people recover from, myself included.
“Together we can rebuild lives, heal families and strengthen communities.”
Wet your Whistler
FOOD AND DRINK FOR ALL: Cornucopia, Whistler’s everything food and drink festival originally conceived to fill hotel rooms during the fall shoulder season, continues to draw locals and visitors up the Sea-to-Sky Highway for the 11-day epicurean festival. Not your typical culinary celebration, this year’s calendar of must-attend events was one of the most diverse in recent memory. Everyone’s welcome was the theme behind this year’s programming.
With a reported 115 events on offer, the program truly reflected this year’s inclusive theme. Events ranged from the tried and true — such as Crush, the festival’s flagship tasting and Poured Grand Tasting, the all-encompassing drink event — to the avant-garde, like pairing wine with junk food and Sashay Fillet, the festival’s newest pilot described as RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Top Chef Canada. Always a celebration with a cause, this year’s charity recipient was the Whistler Public Library.
As usual, festival dinners were de rigueur of Cornucopia, and there was no shortage of delicious menus to satisfy one’s palette and budget. From Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s Indigenous World Wine Dinner to Whistler Brewing and Black’s Pub’s Brew ‘n’ Bites and Araxi’s Tinhorn Creek Winemaker Dinner, all seats to these intimate meals were quickly snapped up.
Well known for its lavish and sometimes outlandish festival parties, this year’s red carpet offering didn’t disappoint. The Andy Warhol-themed Factory Party at the Audain Art Museum drew 350 revellers dressed in period ensembles of the pop culture era ready to eat, drink and dance the night away. Led by gallery executive director Curtis Collins, the museum was transformed into an ephemeral space inspired by the iconic Warhol Factory where guests imbibed on wine, beer and spirits and tasty canapes prepared by acclaimed caterer The Lazy Gourmet. DJs Gianz, Mat the Alien and Vinyl Richie had partygoers celebrating well past midnight.
Cornucopia’s 23rd edition would conclude with the 9th Bearfoot Bistro World Oyster Invitational competition. Notorious party convener Andre Saint Jacques invited 20 of the best oyster shuckers from around the world — Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, United States and Canada — to participate in the annual throwdown, which moved from the confines of his Barefoot Bistro Restaurant to the much larger Whistler Convention Centre to accommodate the larger crowds.
Competing for a winner’s purse of $5,000, Vancouver’s Mike Osborne of Harbour Oyster & Bar earned the winner’s trophy after shucking 30 oysters of various types in the fastest time. Hundreds took in the closing soiree, with net proceeds going the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation to support upgrades to the Whistler Health Care Centre.
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