Carol Lee

Vancouver Magazine - - Cover Story -

(#44, 2016) CHAIR, CHI­NA­TOWN RE­VI­TAL­IZA­TION COM­MIT­TEE & VAN­COU­VER CHI­NA­TOWN FOUN­DA­TION

The Pro­tec­tor Of­ten­times, the next gen­er­a­tion of rich and pow­er­ful rep­re­sents some­thing of adi­min­ished re­turn. Not so in the case of the Lee fam­ily. The o•spring of renowned Van­cou­ver de­vel­oper and phi­lan­thropist Robert Lee have be­come forces in their own right—per­haps none more so than daugh­ter Carol.

The el­dest of four, Lee is pres­i­dent and CEO of Li­nacare Cos­mether­apy Inc., acom­pany she co-founded in 2003 and head­quar­tered in the his­toric Lee fam­ily build­ing on East Pen­der, where her grand­fa­ther once ran a dry goods store. It is in this neigh­bour­hood that Lee has had her most signi cant im­pact—chair­ing the City of Van­cou­ver’s Chi­na­town Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Com­mit­tee as well as the Van­cou­ver Chi­na­town Foun­da­tion, an or­ga­ni­za­tion she co-founded in 2012 to help buy and re­store the area’s most his­toric build­ings.

Andy Yan, an ur­ban plan­ner and di­rec­tor of SFU’s City Pro­gram, says that Lee has been an in­te­gral force in sav­ing one of Van­cou­ver’s most cul­tur­ally signi cant neigh­bour­hoods, which has been un­der re­cent threat from redevelopment. “Through her gen­eros­ity, as well as so­cial cap­i­tal, she’s been able to start this process,” says Yan.

Lee’s is de nitely a quiet power, ex­er­cised mostly be­hind the scenes. In ad­di­tion to bend­ing the ears of Van­cou­ver’s mayor and chief plan­ner— and be­ing an out­spo­ken op­po­nent to the con­tro­ver­sial Beedie Group de­vel­op­ment at Keefer and Columbia—Lee has also re­cently ex­tended her po­lit­i­cal in¡uence to Ot­tawa: she now sits on fed­eral nance min­is­ter Bill Morneau’s Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil for Eco­nomic Growth and serves on the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s Rideau Hall Foun­da­tion board.

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