Vancouver, B.C. – On Friday, Oct. 20, more than 550 business leaders and young professionals with a taste for the gourmet gathered at Vancouver Aquarium, raising a record-breaking $170,000 for Ocean Wise and its ocean conservation initiatives at the 11th annual Toast to the Coast gala, presented by CIBC.
In contrast to the cool, crisp autumn evening, the atmosphere inside was warm and inviting. Guests sipped and savoured their way through the Aquarium’s many galleries, satisfying their appetites as well as their curiosities as they connected with the 50,000+ aquatic creatures and their compelling conservation stories.
“It’s an incredible thing to be surrounded by a sea of people who have come together in celebration of the oceans that we love so deeply,” said Dr. John Nightingale, President & CEO of Ocean Wise. “More than 550 guests joined us in saluting our oceans during this year’s sold out Toast to the Coast. We are humbled and inspired by this outpouring of support and grateful for the funds raised which will benefit our ocean protection efforts.”
Guests indulged in savoury nibbles and sultry sweets from British Columbia’s top chefs and dedicated partners of the Ocean Wise Seafood program. VIP ticket holders started the evening with tastes from Bauhaus Restaurant, Cacao Vancouver, and Vancouver Aquarium’s Catering & Events team. The main event featured 17 restaurant partners, including YEW seafood + bar, Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl, The Lobby Lounge at Fairmont Pacific Rim, The Pointe at the Wickaninnish, and Soirette. These bites were accompanied by a robust selection of wines from some of the province’s most notable vineyards, including Fort Berens Estate Winery, Blasted Church Vineyards, and Black Hills Estate Winery. Beer-lovers chose from selections from Red Truck Beer Company, Postmark Brewing, and Vancouver Island Brewing while cocktail connoisseurs were delighted with offerings from Sons of Vancouver Distillery, Walter Caesar, Russian Standard Vodka, and Salt Spring Coffee.
Spirits were high as guests chatted with friends alongside Blacktip reef sharks in the Tropics Gallery, snapped selfies with a merman diving in the Strait of Georgia habitat, and watched as swimsuit-clad acrobats performed delightful aerials above. Guests tried their luck at the raffle by entering to win a grand prize of two tickets to anywhere Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge flies and engaged in friendly competition over an impressive lineup of silent auction items, including a one-week stay for six in Hawaii, an adventure-filled weekend for two at the Four Seasons Whistler, and a skication at Big White Ski Resort.
The fun continued well into the night as DJ Nathalie from Girl on Wax kept guests dancing for hours.
Toast to the Coast would not possible without the support of the following sponsors: CIBC, The BMW Store, lounge sponsor Chevron Canada, SCA, raffle sponsors Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, drink and food suppliers, event partners, and media sponsor Vancouver Magazine.
A sincere thank you goes to guests and volunteers who make Toast to the Coast an unforgettable experience year after year.
All proceeds from Toast to the Coast support Ocean Wise and its important ocean protection programs.
Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. www.ocean.org
Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading accredited aquariums, dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org