David Foster, centre, B.C. singer Michael Buble and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin christen David Foster Way on Victoria’s harbourfront on sunny Friday afternoon.
Photograph by: Lyle Stafford, timescolonist.com (May 2012)
BY MICHAEL D. REID, TIMES COLONIST
A celebrity-filled weekend celebrating the 25th anniversary of David Foster’s foundation got off to a rousing start Friday when a harbour walkway was named in his honour.
Hundreds gathered on Government Street for the surprise unveiling of the David Foster Way sign at the corner of Belleville and Government streets.
“This is better than a Grammy!” exclaimed Foster, expressing his appreciation to crooner Michael Bublé for calling Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin a year ago with the idea.
“Thanks for taking my call,” said Bublé, who made an unexpected appearance. When completed, the walkway will be five kilometres, stretching from Ogden Point to Rock Bay.
Bublé and Foster were joined by Pamela Anderson, the Canadian Tenors, Rick Hansen, American Idol finalist Michael Johns and Foster’s wife Yolanda Coast Fisherman’s Harbourside Wharf Hadid. The celebrities are in town to support fundraising events for Foster’s foundation, which provides financial support for families of children who need organ transplants.
Foster flew into Victoria with Anderson on a private jet at 3 a.m. He then appeared on CFAX 1070’s 12-hour radiothon, which raised $111,720 for the foundation.
Foster later walked the red – or in this case, purple – carpet to a dinner and concert at Fairmont Empress’s Crystal Ballroom Friday night. A crush of fans assembled for a glimpse of stars. Guests included Foster, Ben Mulroney, the Canadian Tenors, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard and Anderson – wearing a low-cut, silky-green cocktail dress – who caused a traffic jam on the carpet.
The fundraiser, attended by guests who paid $10,000 a couple for a gala weekend, was to have been held at Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which pledged $2 million to the foundation. When construction issues delayed the hotel’s reopening, the Fairmont Empress stepped in.
“First we had to face a bit of sadness, but now we’re over that,” said Oak Bay Beach Hotel owner Kevin Walker.
“At this point, we’re elated at how [Empress manager] Martin Leclerc and his team have opened their doors, welcoming us into the big house.” Dozens of Oak Bay Beach Hotel employees teamed up with Fairmont Empress staff.
“This is Victoria, a very unique community,” said Leclerc. “We were very proud to provide the answer to that puzzle and proud that north of $200,000 goes to help saving lives by helping the foundation.
Events continue today, featuring a concert at Saveon-Foods Memorial Centre that stars Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan and the Canadian Tenors.