JOY COGHILL brought the house down with laughter and applause at the UBCP / ACTRA Awards Gala. She received a standing ovation. Joy reminded everyone in attendance about the art of listening; shared X-Files memories; and expressed how much she cherished working with the renowned Canadian director Anne Wheeler. Anne, who presented the Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award for Lifetime Achievement to Joy, spoke about her memories of directing Joy: “When working with greatness, you just clear the path, make it safe and get out of the way.”

PAL VANCOUVER IS 10 YEARS OLD… WATCH US GROW!

The following speech was presented at the UBCP/ACTRA Awards Ceremony on November 12, 2016. Mike Klassen is the president of the PAL Vancouver board of trustees.

PAL Vancouver is part of a larger Canada-wide association which supports people in the performing arts community from coast to coast to coast – particularly low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.

Our mission is to provide longstanding members of Vancouver’s performing arts professions with affordable housing within a vibrant and creative community setting.

This year PAL Vancouver turned 10 years old, and boy did we celebrate.

In May we hosted a filled to capacity event in the PAL Theatre featuring representation from all levels of government, gave awards to our founders, and celebrated Joy Coghill‘s 90th birthday!

In July, we held a grand, fully sponsored, Canada Day gathering of nearly 500 people from the Coal Harbour community, and grilled hundreds of pancakes and sausages as our way of saying thanks to our neighbours.

In August, our spectacular float in the Vancouver Pride Parade was only slightly overshadowed by the appearance of someone named Justin Trudeau.

This fall, a $10,000 donation matched by our founding president Philip Boname turned into a $32,000 gift from our supporters.

We also held an honorary art auction in Joy Coghill’s name.

At to top it all off, we got to speak to all tonight at the UBCP/ACTRA Awards, and we are greatly honoured.

In 2016, we have raised some of the most significant funding in support of rental assistance at PAL since the year of our inception, including an incredibly generous contribution by the UBCP board of $50,000!

These contributions go to keeping our rents affordable, our housing safe and welcoming, and our theatre accessible to those who use it.

Every donation we receive safeguards PAL’s low-income and disabled residents against the real threat of homelessness.

At PAL, our aim is to support a community – your community – that has given so much, and continues to give to all of us – with your talent, and how you help us to understand each other through your powerful performances on stage and screen.

We also do it because we have a waiting list that has had too many people on it for too long, and we are making every effort to change that.

As a board we set a big goal last year of being able to make an announcement on new housing by the end of 2016. Though we are not quite there yet, I can assure everyone that those conversations are happening, and when, not if, it happens, you’ll be among the first to know!We have had an astounding 10 years thanks to the support of our benefactors and volunteers, as well as the provincial government and City of Vancouver.

I ask you all to watch PAL closely as we continue to grow both here in BC and across Canada —- Thank you.

Mike Klassen: President, PAL Vancouver