On January 23, 2013, I co-hosted with Jenny Kwan, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, and Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, a special ceremony to award our constituents of East Vancouver with a Diamond Jubilee Medal, to mark Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary of her reign.
This commemorative medal was created to recognize outstanding Canadians who have built a caring society and country through their contributions and achievements.
We were honoured to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the women and men who quietly and tirelessly work behind the scenes to make our community, and country, a better place. They have helped form the essential fabric of East Van’s identity.
Here is a list of the recipients and you can see for yourself the diversity of their contributions – a range of talent that truly reflects the spirit of East Van.
Nathan Allen – manager of Pigeon Park Savings Credit Union, which provides financial services for low income residents in the Downtown Eastside.
Dr. Alan T. Bates – a leader in Vancouver’s Street Soccer community, which is for people affected by homelessness.
Sarah Bjorknas – instrumental in opening the Vancouver Catholic Worker House, which provides hospitality to the homeless.
Paul Bucci – journalist who has won awards for reporting from Africa; and for outdoor and feature writing.
Elaine Carol – artist, writer, solo performance artist and director with over 35 years of experience.
Woody Coward – served for almost 30 years in Canada’s Armed Forces and a long-time peace activist.
Alfonso James “Jimmy” Crescenzo – drama teacher at Templeton Secondary for 32 years, and created the “Theatre Temp” program known for its inclusiveness.
Melva Forsberg – manager of Babylon Buttons for the past 30 years, it is Canada’s oldest union-made button shop.
Eric Harms – President of the Hastings Community Association and involved in numerous community projects.
Terry Hunter – Executive Director and Founder of the Vancouver Moving Theatre Company, which involves people from the Downtown Eastside in telling their stories.
Dr. Aziz Khaki – the late Dr. Khaki led the Committee for Racial Justice, a human rights organization that was in the forefront of human rights and race relations in BC for many years.
Donald (DJ) Lawrence – volunteers with multiple organizations including the Vancouver Minor Hockey Association, Vancouver Police Citizens Crime Watch, Cambodian House and the World Cup Ski Race.
Bruce Macdonald – renowned local historian, and with the Vancouver Historical Society he produced the award-winning book, Vancouver: A Visual History.
Eileen Mosca – engaged in community safety issues, and is a long-time volunteer with the Grandview-Woodland Community Policing Centre.
Jane Newton-Moss – coordinates the highly successful Breakfast Program at Strathcona Community School.
Katrina Pacey – partner with Ethos Law Group LLP, and the litigation director at Pivot Legal Society, she has worked on a range of high profile public interest cases.
Owen Patterson – recognized for his volunteerism and tireless devotion to the cause of animal rights.
Charlie Quan – the late Mr. Quan was one of the oldest living head tax payers in Canada and for many years fought for justice and redress from the unjust and racist head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.
Christopher Richardson – has extensive community experience including the Parks Board, Mount Pleasant Community Centre Association and the Vancouver Police Foundation.
Richard Saunders – volunteer, board member and past President of Hastings Community Little League over many years.
Alex Tam – beloved pharmacist in the Downtown Eastside for over 30 years whose business philosophy is people over profits.
Richard Tetrault – internationally-known muralist and painter and one of the founding members of the Eastside Culture Crawl.
Avelina Vasquez – leader with the Living Wage Campaign and has travelled the province making presentations, giving workshops and organizing support for the campaign.
Joe Wai – Mr. Wai’s distinguished architectural career spans 40 years. His firm focuses on community/cultural projects and social/seniors housing.
Savannah Walling – Artistic Director and Founder of the Vancouver Moving Theatre Company, a Downtown Eastside-based professional theatre company.
Andrea Wilks – Head Teacher of the District Learning Disabilities Behaviour Disorders Program at Admiral Seymour Elementary.
Larry Wong – public historian for the Chinese Canadian Historical Society, curator of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Chinatown and director of the Vancouver Historical Society.
Ellen Woodsworth – A former City Councillor, Ms. Woodsworth is a speaker, writer, activist and community organizer.