With all the outcry over the closure of The Waldorf Hotel, it’s easy to miss a well-deserved accolade bestowed on another valued Eastside venue.
The Rio Theatre has announced that owner and operator Corinne Lea (pictured) has been selected to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a national award presented to persons of merit in recognition of “significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.” The award ceremony takes place, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 23.
Corinne was nominated for the award by Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jennie Kwan, herself a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal a decade ago. In early 2012, Corinne and the Rio Theatre were involved in a highly publicized battle over changes in provincial liquor policy that directly threatened the Rio’s existence – a battle that Corinne, the Rio Theatre, and an extended community of dedicated supporters eventually won. In a letter addressed to Corinne, Ms. Kwan noted that she nominated Lea on the basis of her “hard work, dedication and ideas” that “helped to bring about changes to improve our community.”
“The fight to save the Rio Theatre and get BC’s outdated liquor laws changed was not only a personal desire to save my business, but a fight to save our community’s theatre and arts and culture in BC,” says Lea. “To my surprise it also became something bigger.”
She adds, “The Rio Theatre’s success in changing the province’s outdated liquor laws could not have happened without the tremendous community support it received. My being recognized with the prestigious Diamond Jubilee medal proves to me that the time-honoured Canadian virtues of democracy and free speech are still very much intact, and it is our duty to exercise them!
There are more improvements that need to be made, and I am excited to be part of a growing public that not only values, but is willing to fight for arts and culture in our communities.
I am honored and grateful for this award. I thank Jenny Kwan for nominating me and everyone who gave their voice, time, and energy in support of me and the entire staff of the Rio Theatre in 2012.”
I’m sure everyone on the Eastside and all across Vancouver applaud the continuing efforts of Corrine and The Rio Theatre to ensure the city has a home for arts and culture.
The Rio Theatre is located at 1660 East Broadway (at Commercial)
Phone: 604.689.3456 Online at riotheatre.ca