- BC Games
Canucks barge onto the island for autism fundraiser
It's always a big deal whenever the Vancouver Canucks stage any kind of community event in the valley.
Saturday's fundraiser for autism is going to be especially huge because it's actually being staged on a 160-foot barge.
"The logistics of this thing are quite staggering,'' said spokesman Steve Housser.
"It's going nicely — the participation of the Canucks, the cause itself and 10 restaurants with 10 wineries. I think it's striking a bit of a chord.''
The Canucks have a passion for autism as a cause because Paolo and Clara Aquilini, owners of the Canucks, have a son with autism and are hoping to broaden their horizons to reach families on Vancouver Island facing the challenges of dealing with the disorder.
The fundraiser is at the Mill Bay Marina from noon to 4 p.m. and Seaspan is donating the barge to house most of the action.
The themed Sip, Savour and Support — the Best of the Cowichan Valley — event features food and drink samples from the participating restaurants and wineries. Live entertainment is being provided by Juno-nominated blues guitarist David Gogo and there will be several celebrity guests, including representatives from the Canucks.
There will be a silent auction and Cam Drew is conducting a live auction. Tickets are $100 apiece, with $50 eligible for a tax receipt.
The event is not yet sold out, Housser said, but is restricted to 300 people, including 50 food and beverage personnel. Essentially, that means a total of 250 tickets are available to the public.
Housser said people should check with him (250-732-2322) or the Mill Bay Marina for ticket availability. No tickets are being sold at the function.
Autism currently affects one in every 88 children.
Leslie Smith of Mill Bay has a 15-year-old son, Gavin, with autism. For her, this means locking doors to prevent him from wandering into danger in a world he doesn't understand.
"How fantastic if there can be a program for children and their families living with autism — together,'' said Smith in a media release.
Dozens of volunteers are coming together to make the event a reality.
"it's just a nice combination between the Canucks' autism network in Vancouver and families living with autism in Mill Bay,'' said Housser.
Proceeds will help create a new three-day family camp for families living with autism in the valley, Victoria and Nanaimo. It will be held next summer for 100 participants.