Ian Gillespie is Vancouver’s Most Powerful Person.
As the founder of Westbank Developments, he’s the mastermind behind some of Canada’s most impressive projects, including the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and Shangri-La towers in Toronto and Vancouver.
He’s also fed up with the negative dialogue about immigrants in our country.
With Canada opening its doors for up to 25,000 Syrian refugees, Gillespie is doing his part to offer them the kind of welcome he believes our reputation is built on. For four months, he will donate a 12-unit apartment complex to serve as transitional housing for immigrants arriving to Canada from the war-torn region.
“We had a well-earned reputation for being good citizens. I think we lost some of that and have lost the concept of [us all] being immigrants,” he told the CBC. “I think a lot of people need to show some leadership and turn the conversation into a positive.”
The units will be completely furnished and come with other supplies necessary to house refugees. He’s also asked his staff to match refugees of certain professional backgrounds with job opportunities across Westbank’s condos and hotels.
Over 3,000 refugees are expected to land in Vancouver, which Gillespie says has a responsibility to help.
“If this sparks a few dozen others to do something then we can make it work. This is a big country and there are millions of buildings,” he said.