The owner of the Vancouver Canucks and Rogers Arena is throwing his support behind Mayor Kennedy Stewart.
In an email, Francesco Aquilini invited his business contacts to an April 25 fundraiser at the Captain’s Room in Rogers Arena, officially called the Mayor’s Engagement Lunch.
“I would like you to join Mayor Kennedy Stewart and I for a fundraising lunch and discussion with a focus on housing and development in the City of Vancouver,” said Aquilini’s April 12 email. “As we look toward the next election I encourage my community to participate in this engagement lunch. The city of Vancouver is important to me and I want to share this opportunity with other local stakeholders and friends. Please see the link below to purchase tickets to this event.”
Stewart is advertising tickets for the event at $600, $900 and $1,250. The latter is considered a “leadership donor” purchase that includes attendance for all campaign events and is the maximum allowable by individuals under Elections BC rules for the year.
Stewart campaign spokesman Mark Hosak would not say how many tickets are being sold, whether Stewart’s campaign is paying rent for the Captain’s Room or if the Aquilini-owned Canucks Sports and Entertainment is offering the space in-kind.
“Please be assured that our campaign follows Elections BC rules regarding fundraising and disclosure,” Hosak said.
Aquilini has not responded for comment.
Last year, Francesco Aquilini ($1,238.70) and Roberto Aquilini ($1,239) both donated to Stewart’s re-election campaign. In 2014, Aquilini companies donated $60,000 to Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, three times as much as they gave the opposition NPA. Aquilini companies donated $12,500 to the Burnaby Citizens’ Association in 2013 and 2017. In 2020, Francesco Aquilini gave $1,200 personally to the NDP-aligned council majority party.
The Aquilini family is partnered in several ventures with three of the four First Nations that are exploring a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics with Vancouver and Whistler.
Aquilini Investment Group (AIG) and MST Development Corp., the Musqueam-Squamish-Tsleil-Waututh real estate company, plan to redevelop the former BC Liquor Distribution Branch site on East Broadway. AIG, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh co-own the Willingdon Lands in Burnaby.
In 2016, MST hired AIG president David Negrin with the support of patriarch Luigi Aquilini. Negrin advised MST on its purchase of the province’s Jericho Lands, after MST combined with Canada Lands Co. to acquire the federal parcel and two other federal properties.