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Whistler donates $84,000 in an afternoon

Canadian Red Cross accepts contribution for Tsunami relief fund


The Whistler and Pemberton communities have opened their wallets and purses and come out in droves to support the Tsunami relief effort in South East Asia.

Whistler and Pemberton’s major relief event was organized in less than a week and held last Friday, Jan. 7 at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre, where more than $84,000 was raised.

Donations were gathered through a combination of silent auctions, featuring more than 75 items, and donations at the door.

The fundraiser drew Sea to Sky corridor residents of all ages, as a vast array of entertainment went for six hours.

All the proceeds went toward the Southeast Asia Tsunami Relief Fund of the Canadian Red Cross. The Royal Bank of Canada, Whistler branch is administering the fund and provided tax receipts for all donations.

The event also initiated a number of other local fundraising challenges including two nightclub, pub and restaurant donations that contributed to the total.

And donations are still coming in, but the money donated on Friday was given to the Canadian Red Cross so it would qualify for fund-matching from the federal government.

The event was a huge success for the relief fund but it was also a wonderful sign of community spirit as performers, including DJs, dance groups and classical musicians, donated their time to provide entertainment for the event.

Artists, businesses and individuals also donated a wide range of goods and services toward the silent auction, including 25 original works of art.

Lululemon held a yoga demonstration, while Patrick Demers demonstrated his delicious and entertaining maple taffy. Kathleen Duffey of Stress Less On-site Massage provided services, all by donation.

The Short Skirt Theatre Company also kept everyone in the spirit by by painting the faces of just about everybody at the event. Mountain FM DJs Mike Cicconi and Rebecca Hall from the station's morning show co-hosted the event.

Whistler’s bars and nightclubs also held a fundraiser on Jan. 7, with 10 businesses agreeing to donate money raised at the door and through donations to the cause.

So far the bars have raised $9,916, which was put towards the Canadian Red Cross through the North Shore Credit Union, which will be matching all relief donations up to a total of $20,000.

According to Moe Joe’s manager Andy Flynn, people were generally pretty giving and everybody paid the cover and made donations. Moe Joe’s alone raised almost $3,000, with staff also kicking in for the cause.

"I’d like to thank all the other bars for supporting this. We’re all separate, but we do come together for things like this," said Flynn.

The participating bars were Moe Joe’s, Garfinkel’s, Buffalo Bill’s, The Longhorn, Citta’s, The Amsterdam, Tapley’s Pub, The Boot Pub, the Savage Beagle, and Down Under.

Black’s Pub owner Lawrence Black donated $1,000 and his staff contributed all of their tips from Jan. 7 to the Red Cross for a total of $3,373.

The Garibaldi Lift Company, staff members donated all of their tips from Saturday, Jan. 8 to Oxfam, which was estimated to have raised between $6,000 and $7,000.

Other fundraisers to take place last week included a bottle drive in Pemberton, a dinner and concert at Uli’s Flipside, and ongoing fundraising from Fiber Options and the Whistler Hemp Company.

The federal government is matching all of the funds donated to the Canadian Red Cross by Jan. 11, which will likely bring Whistler’s contributions to more than $200,000.

Other fundraising initiatives in the works include:

• Whistler-Blackcomb will match employee donations to the Canadian Red Cross up to $100,000 through the Employee Fund, tax receipts from donations, donation jars in Guest Relations locations, and any approved employee driven initiatives in the future.

• The Garibaldi Lift Company is planning another fundraiser for Wednesday, Feb. 2 to benefit the Red Cross. Another employee is working with bars and restaurants in Whistler and Squamish to adopt a village impacted by the Tsunami.

• Fiber Options and the Whistler Hemp Company will continue to raise money for the Red Cross through the sale of hemp cloth shopping bags and hand-knit wool globes. Customers will also be able to make donations in these stores.