October 7th, 2022
Bruce Wright was recently appointed to the Order of BC for his decades of tireless community work. I connected with Bruce about how he got started, his most rewarding moments, and why he loves Fairview.
Tell people about your work in the community
Bruce: I fell into this 25-30 years ago, when I started getting involved in Vancouver arts organizations. Originally, I was a lawyer, but always had a love of the arts. I joined the Vancouver Opera and eventually became chair, then I became chair of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
When you get involved with one, you get involved with another, and then I started working with Arts Umbrella as well, which is a one-of-a-kind organization, reaching about 25,000 kids a year.
I’m now chairing the BC Nature Conservancy and the Queer Arts Festival, so I wear many different hats, but it all started with one.
What drives you to do all this?
Bruce: Working as a lawyer didn’t really feed my desire to add value to the community, so this for me is a way to give back.
I have a keen interest in all the things I’m involved in. I really care about nature and literacy, and the arts. I was a classical musician when younger and always an art collector. It only survives with a lot of volunteer help, and I see that as my role.
What are some favourite memories from over the years?
Bruce: Getting the Order of BC was a really emotional moment – you always second guess whether you’ve made an impact, and it made me feel awfully good about the things I’ve been doing.
The success of Health Arts Society is another one that means a lot to me. We put paid performers into care facilities, which allows people in the last stage of life to enjoy the arts. It’s become a huge success.
Another big moment was when I got to go to the opening of Canada House in London and meet the Queen!
What was your reaction when you found out you’d been appointed to the order of BC?
Bruce: It feels wonderful. I have so much gratitude to the community and the people who put me forward.
I’m a transplant to BC, originally coming from Toronto about 30 years ago, and it really ties me to the province. I’ve always felt the need to come West and I’ve never second guessed the decision to be here.
Anything to add?
Bruce: I love living in Fairview Slopes. It’s an amazing spot and a joy to come home to. Looking out on the world from here is one of my great pleasures.