The Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
The Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an order of 21st century queers nuns. Through humour, irreverent wit, and glamorous manifestation, they seek to transform social structures that continue to oppress the vulnerable in our society, especially those affected by HIV and homelessness. They join with Sisters around the world through universal vows to promulgate universal joy, expiate stigmatic guilt, and serve the community.
Co-Hosts Fred Lee
Fred Lee's fabulous sense of humour and unique style makes him our 'Man-About-Town.' The Social Butterfly steps out with Rick Cluff every Monday morning on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition to share all Vanhattan's A-list happenings, red carpet parties, must-attend galas and fabulous fundraisers. Fred's weekly social column 'Fred UnLEEshed' appears in the Vancouver Courier every Friday and his Province Newspaper's Social Network appears Sunday.
Previously, Fred contributed to the National Post and Urban Rush and was publisher of Xtra. Fred, along with fellow CBC colleague Margaret Gallagher, hosted the national CBC Radio One food show Flavour of the Week. When not gala-vanting, Fred is Director, Alumni Engagement at the University of British Columbia. Fred also serves on numerous committees including the advisory for UBC's CampOUT, a leadership summer camp for LGBTQ youth and their allies.
Carmen Ruiz y Laza
Carmen Ruiz y Laza, Joytv’s newest host, has worked in the film and television industry for more than two decades. CarmenTV seeks out the hottest local experts for their tips on travel, cuisine, fashion and beauty, entertaining and design – tailored specifically for discerning boomers. CarmenTV also takes viewers past the velvet rope at the most exclusive parties and celebrity events.
Growing up in Spain in her great-uncle’s house, Carmen was surrounded by storytelling, music, philosophy and gourmet cooking. But when she immigrated to Canada at 13, she didn’t speak a word of English, and found herself suddenly unable to communicate well. Determined to overcome the challenge, Carmen became fluent in one year. Since then, Carmen has made communication her life’s work.
Carmen carved out a career as a sought-after casting director and broadcast producer, and more recently, headed her own boutique PR company Carmen PR, specializing in philanthropic organizations and luxury brands. Carmen is drawn to the influencers who create and inspire. “I love energetic people, the ones who wake up in the morning and say, ‘let’s do something fabulous today.’ They’re the ones that motivate me.”
Deputy Mayor Tim Stevenson
Councillor Tim Stevenson was elected to Vancouver City Council in 2002, and was re-elected in 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014.
Councillor Stevenson holds bachelor of arts (University of British Columbia), master of arts (Holy Names College, California), and master of divinity (Vancouver School of Theology) degrees. He was first openly gay person elected to the British Columbia provincial parliament in 1996 and was appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of health. Subsequently, he became deputy speaker of the house and then was appointed cabinet minister, holding the portfolio of employment and investment. He became the first openly gay cabinet minister in Canada in 2000.
As deputy mayor, Councillor Stevenson led a mission to Sochi during the February 2014 Olympic Games to successfully lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include “sexual orientation” in their Charter. Councillor Stevenson received the Queen Jubelee Medal in recognition for his work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Councillor Stevenson now lives in the West End of Vancouver with Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson, his partner of 34 years, who is the immediate past moderator of the United Church of Canada. Together, they have raised three daughters and have four grandchildren. They have lived in the West End for 20 years.
City Councillor Heather Deal
Councillor Heather Deal was elected to the Vancouver Park Board in 2002 and elected to her first of four terms on Vancouver City Council in 2005. She served as the Deputy Mayor of Vancouver in 2016.
Councillor Deal is a biologist with a long history of working on ecosystem and habitat issues. After 25 years in the Vancouver Bach Choir, including serving as president of the choir's board of directors and bringing the choir to the Downtown Eastside for free concerts, she has joined the Jubilate Choir.
Councillor Deal is an avid cyclist, camper, hiker, and reader, and enjoys gardening on her Kitsilano balcony. She also loves to enjoy the great local arts and food that Vancouver has to offer.
Joytv’s Dean Atwal
Born and raised in the UK, Dean began his broadcast career at the BBC Asian Network. Dean has his finger on the pulse of the local community and is passionate to capture the complex local diversity within the community.
Joytv’s Leah Bolton
Born and raised in Coquitlam, Leah began her broadcasting career in Lloydminister, Alberta as a video journalist and TV Reporter. She spent more than four years building up her videography, editing, producing, reporting, & hosting skills in Canadian small towns before returning to the Fraser Valley and joining the Joytv team in 2012. She loves to share within the community.
Barb is the Promotions Director at Roundhouse Radio 98.3 and is a Reporter for Shaw Television’s Outlooktv. Barb can be seen nationally on OutTV, and has written for numerous publications such as The Huffington Post, shewired.com and WE.
Barb Snelgrove is in her 3rd term as a member of the Vancouver City Hall LGTBQ Advisory Committee, sits on the VPD Diversity Advisory Committee, is a member of Positive Living BC’s Red Ribbon Advisory Panel and the newly formed City of Vancouver Jim Deva Plaza Steering and Oversight Committee (the first of its kind in Vancouver). She is also part of the scholarship selection panel for The LOUD Foundation.
Best known as megamouthmedia, the “quick with a quip” emcee of scores of Vancouver community events, Barb is proud to be affiliated with the amazing work that AIDS Vancouver continues to do for those living with HIV/AIDS in our community.
ACRTA award winning broadcaster (and two time nominee at the New York Radio Festival) Gene Valaitis has a career spanning decades across the Canadian radio and television landscape. Among his many media accomplishments, Gene has been a National TV Anchor, hosted the Team Sports Radio network for CHUM Radio, Co-Hosted the popular Toronto radio program The Jesse and Gene Show, and can now be heard weekday mornings 6-10am on Roundhouse Radio 98.3. Gene’s three years living in Hong Kong will come in handy as we put his dim sum handling skills to the test!
Zed and Shabbir Dhalla
Father and Son Team on The Amazing Race Canada
Zed and Shabbir are a fiercely competitive father/son duo that love to bicker and tease each other. They have a deep respect and love for each other, but are both stubborn, which can create conflict between them. However, what bonds them together is their drive and motivation to succeed in life.
Shabbir had a challenging upbringing, living in Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, and Ghana, while his mom worked for the UN. Eventually his parents immigrated to Canada, a country that he loves with all his heart. In 2009, Shabbir was diagnosed with stage 3 Colon cancer and given a 50/50 chance to live. By focusing on the positive, and making healthy choices and changes to his lifestyle, Shabbir overcame cancer and has since been in remission. While it was a hard experience for their family, it has brought them all closer together. Shabbir, thankful to be alive and with a new lease of life, looks forward to tackling THE AMAZING RACE CANADA with his son.
Zed is a very driven individual with a successful career in medical device sales. Shabbir says that when Zed sets his mind on something, he goes for it 100%. Together they think they are the perfect combination of wisdom and strength and are ready to give THE AMAZING RACE CANADA their best shot.
Bowen Zhang is an award winning journalist. He has been an anchor and reporter for OMNI BC News' Mandarin Edition since 2004, when he moved to Canada. Bowen started his career as news anchor and producer at various television networks in China. In 2004, Bowen moved to Canada and joined the OMNI BC (previously Channel m) team as news anchor and reporter. So far, some of Bowen's fondest memories include: covering the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, hosting the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening & Closing Ceremonies. . In 2012, Bowen won the Jack Webster Award for Best Reporting in Chinese Language. Within the community Bowen has hosted many community events held by local organizations. Bowen has received testimonials from the Mayor of Vancouver for his involvement in the community from 2005-2014.
Pete Fry is the Green Party candidate for Vancouver City Council in the upcoming special by-election October 14, 2017. Pete is a long-time community advocate, and self-employed in strategic and creative communications. Over twenty-five years he has worked with hundreds of local small businesses, arts and non-profits, and volunteered his skills to support AIDS, food security, animal welfare, and cultural groups. He is a frequent public speaker on issues of land use, housing, heritage, and community. Keenly interested in city-building, Pete’s current projects include community building for vulnerable low income families, local economic development, and a restorative justice land stewardship project for the displaced black community of Hogan’s Alley. Pete and his wife live with a dog and two cats in Strathcona.
CTV’s Mi-Jung Lee
Mi-Jung Lee is a veteran investigative journalist and anchors CTV News at Noon and CTV News at Five. Before this role, her reporting won numerous awards for excellence. In 2017, she won a RTDNA award for her coverage of the opioid crisis in Vancouver.
In 2016, Lee broke stories on Sexual Harassment Claims at WestJet – stories that earned her a Webster Award for best TV reporting.
Her investigative reports have also won numerous RTDNA awards for excellence in journalism. The hidden camera investigations included stories on the underground world of massage parlours that sell sex, a “natural health doctor” claiming to cure cancer and how casinos fail to protect problem gamblers.
Born in South Korea, she has lived in Vancouver since she was four. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with an English Literature degree and Ryerson University with a degree in Journalism.
Lee is a cancer survivor and has spoken numerous times for charities raising money to fund cancer research. She also is a member of CTV’s Ride to Conquer Cancer team and is currently training for the epic 250 km bike journey in August 2017. Lee lives in Vancouver with her husband and two sons.
CTV’s Scott Roberts
Scott Roberts is the weekend anchor and a senior reporter for CTV News Vancouver. Scott is an award-winning journalist and joined the Vancouver newsroom in April 2012. He’s a three-time nominee for the prestigious Jack Webster Award for best television reporting, and won the award in 2015.
As a graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in Toronto, Scott’s professional life began as a print journalist at The Toronto Star. Moving on from there, he wrote for The Globe and Mail before moving into television.
Born and raised in Dresden, Ontario, Scott grew up in a horse racing community and still enjoys watching the sport. He's an avid runner and takes full advantage of outdoor life in Vancouver.
Sister Festivus Illuminata
Sister Festivus Illuminata has come to believe that Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence must be wordsmiths. "To use words to ravish people with the beautiful reality that he or she is unique and special and that no prior hurtful, unkind, insensitive words, events or any particular individual should take their power and ultimately make them feel any less vital than any other human being."
The Unstoppable, Conni Smudge
Developing a character named Conni Smudge has been a journey, over 2 decades in the making and one that has taken her around the Globe. She has performed in some of the most unlikely of places.
Based out of Vancouver British Columbia, Mz Smudge has been the face of several events and charities, including the North American OutGames, Outlook TV, Pride Vancouver, Qmunity, The City of Vancouver, and the Q Hall of Fame Canada to name just a few.
Mz Smudge has regular appearances on television as a reporter for OutLook TV and has appeared on the set of tv & movies including The L Word, Backstrom, Girls Guide to Dating and most recently, the upcoming miniseries, When We Rise. She is known as The Unstoppable Conni Smudge and her busy schedule and the high demand for her services are proof that she truly is The Unstoppable Lady.
Park Board Commissioner, Stuart Mackinnon
Stuart has been fighting against privatization of our parks for many years. First elected as a Vancouver Park Board Commissioner from 2008-2011, Stuart was re-elected in 2014 and continues to be committed to maintaining neighbourhood recreational services, advocating for natural spaces, and keeping the 'public' in public spaces. As well as his duties as an elected Park Board Commissioner, Stuart is the Special Education Department Head and School-based Resource Teacher at Killarney Secondary School. He is also a good friend and advocate for AIDS Vancouver!
Adriane Carr has been a Vancouver City Councillor since 2011. Born in Vancouver, she earned a master's degree in urban geography from UBC. In 1983 Councillor Carr co-founded the BC Green Party, North America's first Green Party, and in 1984 co-founded the Green Party of Vancouver. She led the BC Greens from 2000–2006, then served as Green Party of Canada Deputy Leader from 2006 to 2014. She currently chairs the Vancouver elected Greens caucus. Councillor Carr has two adult children and lives in Vancouver's West End with her husband Paul George.
CBC’s Gloria Macarenko
Long time CBC News host Gloria Macarenko takes the host seat on B.C. Almanac connecting British Columbians through conversation. She also hosts The Story from Here, a national Radio One show that brings Canadians the most lively and intriguing interviews from across the country. Gloria is also on CBC Television, hosting Our Vancouver, a current affairs television show.
Gloria Macarenko herself is an award-winning journalist and senior leader on the news team. In her many years with CBC, she has been awarded a Jack Webster Award for "Best News Reporting", multiple RTNDA Awards and a Leo award for "Best Anchor in a News Program" with former co-host Ian Hanomansing. Gloria has guest hosted on The National and CBC News Now.
Macarenko's relationship with British Columbia goes far beyond the newsroom. You can see her volunteering and hosting for organizations such as Arts Umbrella, Dr. Peter Centre, RCH Hospital Foundation, BC Cancer Foundation, the Gordon Smith Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the Prince Rupert Foundation and the International Women's Forum.
Born and raised in Prince Rupert, her travels take her around B.C. When not in the host chair, or on the road, she can be found enjoying a good book or sampling the spectacular culinary adventures Vancouver is known for.
Artiste John Ferrie
Celebrated Vancouver artist, John Ferrie, has earned international attention for his vibrantly expressive landscapes, florals and figurative work. Born and raised in Vancouver in the architecturally significant Shaughnessy neighbourhood, Ferrie has made his native city the thriving, swooning heart of his work.
John lives in Vancouver and paints in his private studio filled with his collection of contemporary art pieces. Ferrie has been selected for key artist residences in Paris, New York, and Hong Kong as well as Rideau Hall in Ottawa. A popular figure in the Vancouver arts community. In 2016, John was honored to be awarded the TD Pride Legacy Award recognizing his long and continuing commitment to the LGBTQ community. When not in his studio, John can be found on his bike somewhere out in the city looking for his next composition.
Comedian David C Jones
David C. Jones won the Georgia Straight's Best Comedian in Vancouver award 2 years in a row and is a Canadian Comedy Award nominee, but he is not a traditional stand-up comedian. Whether dressed as a wild character or just in his own hyper persona, he tells stories and interacts with the audience with a combination of improvised mayhem and written material.
He raises money for countless charities ranging from LGBTQ to Youth to Disability, and Disease as an Emcee, Auctioneer and / or a Performer.
The Georgia Straight states "David C. Jones knows how to use focus and rhythm, he is very, very funny." It is praise like that that has David traveling all over the world acting as a liaison and hosting corporate incentive trips, including St. Moritz, Switzerland, Rome, Italy and Sydney, Australia, he even did a Canadian Armed Forces tour through Bosnia, Israel, Egypt and Newfoundland. The Province newspaper called him "A comedic chameleon." The Sister of Perpetual Indulgence granted him the honour of sainthood as “Sir David of the Infinite Giggle” in 2011. In 2014 he received the Legacy Award in Arts from Pride Vancouver. He is currently the Vancouver Culture Ambassador for Culture Days and serves on the City Hall LGBTQ2 Advisory Committee.
I was born and raised in Osijek, Croatia. I started singing when I was 6 or 7. I was singing in choirs until I started studying solo singing at the age of 19. I studied singing in a Music School in Osijek and at the Music Academy in Zagreb, Croatia. Also i worked on my singing technique with soloists of Croatian National Opera.
I auditioned at Croatian National Opera in 2006 and I got hired that year at the age of 21 for Cavalleria Rustisana by Mascagni.