Fred UnLEEshed: Oct. 20, 2016

Vancouver Courier, Fred Lee - October 20, 2016

Ignacio Arrieta and Marcelo Ramirez, owners of La Mezcaleria and La Taqueria, and Manuel Otero, president of the Mexican Business Association of Canada, celebrated the official launch of La Mezcaleria’s second storefront in Gastown.

WATER HEALTH: 200 prominent artists, musicians and philanthropists convened at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia for the sophomore running of the Waterkeeper Gala, presented by Telus. A Swim Drink Fish ambassador, award-winning Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky headlined the gala-do, which included performances by Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, Barney Bentall, Shari Ulrich, Rachelle Van Zanten and a special appearance by The Voice Season 9 winner Jordan Smith. An Edmonton Oilers VIP package with the Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Lowe fetched $17,000, but the biggest highlight came when gala-goers were simply asked to give to protect the future of our precious resource. Attendees responded with donations ranging from $250 and $5,000, contributing to the $200,000 reportedly raised. Proceeds from the night of music and philanthropy will go to Swim Drink Fish Canada and B.C.'s Fraser Riverkeeper, founded in 2004 to protect and restore the Fraser River and its watershed, ensuring the right of all citizens to safely swim, drink and fish in B.C. waters.

WELCOMING COMMUNITIES: For four decades, settlement service agency MOSAIC has been empowering newcomers to fully participate in Canadian society. The organization marked its milestone anniversary at Festival MOSAIC, its annual fundraiser. Yours truly emceed the magical evening of music, food and dance. Staged at the Roundhouse Community Centre, this year’s multicultural program featured performances by DJBFAD, Katari Taiko Drum Group and Kesseke Yeo and the Kiss of Africa. Steered by board chair Dr. Mehran Kiai, executive director Eyob Naizghi and chief fundraiser Ninu Kang, the benefit generated $70,000 to support some 25,000 individuals who access MOSAIC’s employment, English, housing and interpretation services and programs.

GIFT OF LAUGHTER: Canadian comic Cathy Jones of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame headlined a Firehall Arts Centre fundraiser in celebration of its 34th season.  The Gemini award-winning actress returned to the stage with her third one-woman show Stranger to Hard Work, a mix of stand-up and sketch comedy. In advance of the play’s two-week West Coast premiere, Jones, along with artistic director Donna Spencer and general manager Laura Efron, fronted a special preview performance and post show cocktail and canapé event in support of the venerable arts organization in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Fans mixed and mingled with Newfoundland’s comedic treasure while supporting the theatre company’s production and presentation programs.

FINE MEXICAN: Friends and influencers were on hand to raise a glass and celebrate the official launch of La Mezcaleria’s second location. The Mexican restaurant took over the former Nicli’s Next Door space on East Cordova in Gastown, transforming it into a replica of its widely popular eatery on the Drive. Owners Ignacio Arrieta and Marcelo Ramirez — also owners of the popular chain of taco shops La Taqueria — welcomed attendees to their newest addition. The wet weather didn’t dampen party spirits as guests dug into authentic Mexican appetizers, sipped on regional inspired cocktails while enjoying the party sounds of mariachi band Mariachi Del Sol.

Hear Fred Mondays 8:20am on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition AM690 and 88.1FM

Fred Lee: [email protected]; @FredAboutTown

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