Polio is generally thought to be a disease from days of long ago; over the past 20 years, all but four countries (Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) have been declared "polio free." And while that means that we're on the brink of eradicating the disease, a strong final push is needed to quash it entirely. That's where Rotary International comes in.
On Saturday, May 29, the Whistler Rotary club is hosting the 2010 Elixirs of Life fundraiser at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, with the main portion of proceeds going towards Rotary International's Polio Plus program, which aims to eradicate polio around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $355 million towards ending this disease, and have challenged Rotary International to match this with $200 million over a three-year period. To date, Rotary has raised over $100 million. The Whistler Rotary Club is chipping in to help meet the goal, launching the Elixirs of Life event last year.
Greg Diamond, president of the Rotary Club of Whistler, is spearheading the second annual fundraiser, transforming his personal passion for wine into a fundraising tool.
In addition to their donation to Polio Plus, a few local non-profit organizations will also benefit from the Elixirs of Life fundraiser. This year, organizers plan to dedicate a portion of funds to a local project in memory of the late Dr. Ken Nickerson, a member and long-time supporter of Rotary and a Whistler resident.
"He was one of those special individuals who always made people feel at ease and always gave more than he took," Diamond said. "We are currently in the process of identifying a project suitable to bear his name."
Last year's inaugural event raised nearly $30,000. Organizers are hoping to exceed that mark this year, adding some very special items to their auction.
"Whistler is such an incredibly generous community and I am always amazed at people's commitment to the many worthy causes that are promoted here," Diamond said.
Up for grabs alongside many unique and rare wines, including 1850 and 1875 Madeiras, are pieces from local galleries and artists, a dining experience for eight people in the cellar of the Bearfoot Bistro (including sabring and two rare, large format wines) and a cruise for two to Antarctica.
"The silent and live auctions definitely involve items for the serious collector, or someone who would love a trophy to bring out for that oh-so-special occasion," Diamond said. "My one friend is after the 1958 Giacomo Conterno Barolo as well as one of the 1964 bottles so that he and his wife have something extremely unique with which to celebrate their birth years."
But, as Diamond points out, the event isn't just for the serious wine connoisseur.
"Obviously, those who love wine - any kind of wine - and food will enjoy it that much more because of the educational focus of the wine aspect of the event," Diamond said. "There will be four or five tasting tables with knowledgeable people from the industry teaching and presenting. One table will involve a blind tasting and there will also be a sabring demonstration as well as a lesson for those who wish to try themselves."
Tickets to the event are $125; anyone interested in attending should call 604-938-4357.
An extra scoop
Shoulder season means just one thing to Whistler foodies: a chance to indulge in some fine dining without the hefty price tag.
The Dine In Whistler promotion kicked off at the end of April and this year, there's a large list of restaurants on-board with the annual event, offering up a range of three-course spring menus for $25 (Bavaria Restaurant, Sushi Village and The Mix by Ric's), $35 (21 Steps, Bearfoot Bistro, Earls, Edgewater Restaurant, Kaze, Players Chophouse, Ric's Grill, Tandoori Grill, The Brewhouse and The Wine Room) and $45 (Araxi, Bearfoot Bistro, Hy's, La Rúa, Quattro, Rim Rock Café and Trattoria di Umberto).
The promotion runs until the end of June, but I advise that you start your culinary odyssey soon! For full menus and more details on the event, visit www.whistler.com.dinein.
Interested in getting fit and healthy for the summer? You're in luck: the seventh annual Whistler Wellness Fair is being held at the Westin Resort and Spa on Saturday, May 29.
This year, in addition to a wealth of wellness presentations, workshops and demonstrations that are sure to be on offer, the fair will also feature some new culinary aspects, featuring Slow Food chefs and wine tastings through Astrid's Fine Foods.
The fair runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is free, though donations to Pearl's Place Transition House for Women will be gratefully accepted.