HOTEL CELEBRITIES, RADIO PIONEERS, AND DUELLING CHEFS!
(click on photos to enlarge)
Certainly one of the major events taking place this month of May will be the celebration marking the 80th birthday of the venerable Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
While there are dozens of stories about the fabled Castle in the City, one of the most repeated tales took place some years ago. Seems that the leading crooner of the day, Bing Crosby and his cigar-smoking pal , comedian Phil Harris, had just been out on the briny main on a week-long fishing trip when they decided to make land and bed down at the Hotel Van. They turned up early one Sunday morning, grubby, unshaven and fish-smelling, requesting a couple of rooms. The very proper Art Cameron, in-house managing director, resplendent in striped trousers and morning suit, gently but firmly, persuaded them to book elsewhere.
The story made headlines everywhere, particularly in Hollywood where Bing was a top drawer star. His close buddy and co-star, Bob Hope, took every opportunity to remind Der Bingle of that embarrassing incident.
In fact, it was from that very put-down, that Bob Hope became close confidantes with Arthur, who supplied Hope with some of his best jokes and cluing him in on what was happening in our city. They stayed close pals, with phone calls and notes, until Arthur’s passing.
Still with hotels, one of those distinguished hotelmen helming the GM-ship at the Hotel Vancouver was the charming and wickedly clever Ian Powell. He has been running several top properties over the years and is currently the managing director of the spectacular Inn at Laurel Point in Victoria. And the tales he could tell! He also happens to be an Anglican priest at Christ Church. Even in his hotel office, he’ll wear the black suit and white collar and signs all his notes with RIP. Rest in Peace? No – Rev. Ian Powell.
The scoop is that Ian has just been awarded the B.C. Hotel Association’s 2019 Hotelier of the Year!
Just across the street, the Hyatt Regency was the setting for the annual Healthy Chefs Competition which was sold out with more than 500 guests attending. Two of those guests were White Spot boss Warren Erhart and P.R. Cathy Tostenson who were just about to launch their new and innovative Beyond Burgers. Their Avacado Beyond Burger is really yummy. Just ask any of the lucky 300 people who got to try the free samples last week.
Meanwhile, back at the Chefs’ contest, the judges had concluded that The Wild Fig Restaurant offered the Best Entree, Vancouver Community College produced the Best Dessert while The White Spot was The People’s Choice winner.
Also spotted photographer extraordinaire Michel Chicoine at the do sans his partner fongonfood’s Nathan Fong.
Speaking of the White Spot on Georgia, this is the setting where every three months or so, veteran radio performers gather to meet and greet and remember the really good times of radio. It’s organized by Carol and Red Robinson and Gord Landsdell and attracts the top high profile voices of the past, people like Andy Walsh, Jim Robson, Wayne Cox, Bernie Pascall, John McKeachie, George Garrett, Tom Jeffries, Shell Busey, Bill Nelson, Stirling Faux and Mel Cooper, who’s now hosting cruise ship tours...
(Radio Lunch Photos Below (from left): Gary Crane and Mel Cooper; George Garrett and Cameron Bell; Ron Barnett, Wayne Cox and Bernie Pascall. Click on images to enlarge)
Feeling very positive of the state of B.C.’s hospitality scene is Geoff Argue, chief concierge at the Sutton Place Hotel. A longtime executive with that popular property, Geoffrey has just returned from a week-long working trip to Cannes, France, along with 46 Les Clefs d’Or members from across Canada to meet, learn and elevate themselves within the industry of professional concierges.
They were joined by another 650 members from around the world, staying in four major hotels, including the renowned Majestic Hotel, famous for hosting the stars and celebs of the Cannes Film Festival.
It was a week of sunny bright weather, informative speakers, educational seminars and networking receptions. It was an especially exciting congress as it was also the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the forming of Les Clefs d’Or back in 1929 in Paris, France. The Cannes International Les Clefs d’Or Congress wound up with the tagline, “Yes We Cannes!”...
The media and hospitality scene has lost a good friend. The media world’s Judith Lane, who wrote for several publications, passed away last month. A truly lovely person, Judith had been ill with cancer for some time. She had confided to her best friends, Tim Pawsey and Dorothy Budden, but few others knew. So it came as a sad shock to everyone.
The one happy item out of this heartbreaking news is that she and her longtime partner, Tony McCurdy, were married in her hospital room, thus fulfilling Judith’s dearest wish that she become Mrs. Judith McCurdy Lane.
Blessings on you both...
Lots more next time about Brian Jessel’s 14th annual Cabriolet Gala and the Canadian Cancer Society’s annual Daffodil Ball.