Burnaby NOW, May 29, 2010
Local sports figures and celebrities were out in full swing last week for the annual Michael J. Fox Theatre Golf Tournament at the Riverway course.
Former Canucks bench boss Pat Quinn, Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo and actor Jackson Davies (best known for his role as Constable Constable on The Beachcombers) were among the 140 people who hit the links with Fox and friends for the annual fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Theatre at Burnaby South Secondary School.
The popular local tournament, now in its 11th year, has raised over $500,000 for theatre improvements and arts and entertainment scholarships for Burnaby students. “Michael played the full 18 holes, which was quite impressive for him to be able to do that,” said tournament organizer Garry Morrey of the famous former Burnabyite, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991. “He was in very good form.”
“The highlight was that Michael became a Freeman of Burnaby, making him the first non-politician to receive the honour,” said Morrey. “Of all the awards he has been given over the years, he said this one was very important to him.” The title of “Freeman” - which is the highest award given by the City of Burnaby - is only granted to individuals who have provided outstanding community service and has only ever been granted to 16 other people.
Morrey estimated around $55,000 was raised at this year’s sold-out event, which included a gala dinner and silent auction at the Metrotown Vancouver Hilton of items such as models of the time-travelling DeLoreans featured in the Back to the Future trilogy and one of the actor’s guitars. Fox was also given the key to the city by Mayor Derek Corrigan and saw a local street renamed in memory of the actor’s father, who was once a police officer and member of the Canadian Armed Forces. “A couple of years ago I had the chance to bid on a street being renamed,” said Fox, who donated $10,000 to the theatre that bears his name for the winning bid. “The entrance to the Riverway Golf Course is now Bill Fox Way. It’s very exciting, a big thrill.” “Bill was a Burnaby boy, he grew up in north Burnaby and he would be very happy about this,” added Phyllis Fox, Michael’s mother.
The winners of this year’s Karen (Fox) Lang Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the actor’s sister who died unexpectedly three years ago, were Richard Florian, Brook Scott, Vince Florian and Nathan Hewitt of Me-n-Ed’s Pizza Parlors. This was fitting because, according to Michael’s mom, her son makes a point of grabbing a slice or two from Me-n-Ed’s whenever he is back home again.
Major sponsors of this year’s tournament include the Burnaby NOW, Morrey Auto Group, Burnaby Firefighters, Mission Hill Winery, BMO, Scotiabank, Terasen Gas, Bosa Properties, Taihan Global Canada, Canaccord, Burnaby Lake Greenhouses, Pepsi, ABC Recycling and Abbotsford Concrete Products.