City Drinks Fundraiser

An elegant fall fundraiser

October 15-29, 2020

see below for details!


In 2020, we are unable to gather for City Drinks in a new heritage venue. Instead we are hosting an online silent auction. The auction will include items and experiences donate by local businesses, organizations and individuals. For more information on the Fall Heritage Auction click here.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at a legendary venue for City Drinks at the Panorama Roof on Friday, October 25th. The evening was a wonderful success and we look forward to welcoming guests to a new historic venue in 2020.

When the hotel opened in 1939, the Panorama Roof ballroom quickly became a special night spot with its views over the city and weekly CBC broadcasts of the big band dance music of the Dal Richards Orchestra starting in 1940 for a record run of twenty-five years.

The evening was hosted by emcee Fiona Forbes, TV host and producer. Historian John Atkin shared stories of the hotel, the Panorama Roof ballroom and its live radio broadcasts. A selection of wines and beers, along with a sparkling wine reception, a feature cocktail and hors d’oeuvres were included. Guests enjoyed swing era favourites and songs from the great American songbook from local musicians James Danderfer (clarinet), Oliver Gannon (guitar), Paul Rushka (bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums). Guests embarked on mini tours of historic areas in the landmark hotel and took part in exciting live and silent auctions of art, experiences and unique items generously donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals all which helped VHF reach our fundraising goal.

About the Emcee - Fiona Forbes

Fiona, who is best known for her many years hosting Vancouver’s hit TV Talk Show THE RUSH, loves her work. “I get to meet so many interesting people every day and hear their stories. I’ve lost count, but I think I’ve interviewed over 25,000 people over the last 20 years!” She has interviewed A-listers to Prime Ministers, rock stars to astrophysicists and is a proud pop culture fanatic, social media addict and a self-professed geek…perhaps best described by Hollywood guru Larry Moss who called her a woman with “chutzpah who reminds me of Lucille Ball”. While Fiona loves her TV work, she also has a passion for supporting many charities with her talents including Canucks Autism Network, CKNW Kids’s Fund, Pink Shirt Day, Dress For Success, Ronald McDonald House and Easter Seals. Fiona is currently a freelance TV Host and Producer.

About the Musicians

Vancouver-based jazz clarinetist James Danderfer has been twice nominated for the National Jazz Award and is a LEO award-winning composer and performer. Working with some of the finest musicians in North America James has also worked in film scoring and has released five recorded works including his most recent release titled “Time and Tide”.

JUNO award-winning jazz guitarist Oliver Gannon C.M. has over four decades of experience playing his fluid, swinging style rooted in ‘50s and 60’s bop. Oliver has also been awarded Jazz Guitarist of the Year by the Canadian Jazz Awards and has performed at Jazz festivals across North America and Europe.

Paul Rushka is an award-winning bassist and is active as a performer, jazz composer, arranger, and educator at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music. Paul also focuses his creative energies on his interactive, intuitive quintet (recently expanded to sextet), which features his lyrical original compositions and dynamic group interplay.

Jesse Cahill started playing drums at a young age eventually moving to Montreal to pursue a Bachelors degree in Jazz performance. When he’s not collaborating with JUNO nominated Canadian artists, Jesse is a dedicated educator at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music.

Past City Drinks Events

2018: City Drinks at Seaforth Armoury

The recently restored mess halls of the Seaforth Armoury, designed in Scottish Baronial style by architects McCarter & Nairne and completed in 1936, served as our venue in 2018. Generously hosted by the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, guests enjoyed music from violinist Rosemary Siemens and saxophonist Eli Bennett, wine, hors d’oeuvres and of course lots of history, including the opportunity to view artifacts from the Seaforth Museum and hear from archivist James Calhoun about the regiment’s long history in Vancouver. The Seaforth pipe major offered a traditional welcome and both live and silent auctions offered an array of items to bid on and help VHF achieve our fundraising goal. The live auction was presented by Fiona Forbes, TV host and producer.

2017: City Drinks at the Vancouver Club

Established in 1889, The Vancouver Club sits in the heart of Vancouver’s financial district past and present. The current building was erected in 1913 by renowned architectural firm Sharp & Thompson and designed to resemble a London gentlemen’s club of the Victorian era. Guests toured through the historic spaces in the club, enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres and a good dose of history with author and artist Michael Kluckner, along with music from celebrated local jazz performer Andrea Superstein. A silent auction of donated items and experiences rounded out the evening.

2016: City Drinks at Casa Mia

City Drinks 2016 featured an exclusive evening at one of Vancouver’s most well-known heritage mansions, Casa Mia. Built in 1932, the Ross A. Lort designed home is a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture with the special addition of a children’s nursery hand-painted by Disney artists and a lower level ballroom with ties to an impressive list of performers. Guests toured parts of the home during the evening and also enjoyed wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. Music from Canadian instrumentalists Roy and Rosemary set the scene with their internationally renowned cinematic style.

2015: City Drinks in Shaughnessy

In 2015 we enjoyed an elegant evening at the impressive Disher House in First Shaughnessy. Built in 1912 for John Binns Johnson, Disher House is one of the only homes in Vancouver to be attributed to Architect Paul Phipps. The home served as a stunning backdrop for an evening of conversation about heritage in our city. A very special private piano performance by Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Music Director Bramwell Tovey, a talk about the history of the home, music from local artists, wine and hors d’oeuvres and  a silent auction of local items were all included in the event.

2014: City Drinks at the Sun Tower

The inaugural City Drinks fundraiser was held at the Sun Tower. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to visit an upper floor in the tower, freshly restored while retaining original radiators, windows, floors and fittings, which was not open to the public. There was a raffle with great prizes including a chance to visit the roof of the Sun Tower, or a personalized photoshoot of your home with architectural photographer, Martin Knowles. Tickets included wine and canapés, a special cocktail inspired by the 1930s from Bambudda bar manager Buck Friend, musical entertainment by local jazz musicians James Danderfer and David Blake, a short talk by special guest author and historian Daniel Francis, and small group tours of an upper floor.