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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Night for Japan raises $270, 000!

A Night for Japan raises $270K by Corrie DiManno featured in the Tuesday, April 5, 2011 Banff Crag & Canyon:

Locals rallied for relief efforts in Japan for the Japanese Soceity of Banff and Banff Rotary Club's A Night for Japan on March 29, raising $135,000, which the Rotary World Fund is matching, making it $270,000 donation from Bow Valley residents to the Rotary Japan and Pacific Island 2011 Disaster Recovery Fund.

About 400 supporters of the evening's cause packed Wild Bill's: giving donations, bidding on live and silent action items, playing the 50/50 draw - and at the beginning of the fundraiser - clapping as the Banff Park Lodge wrote a cheque for $100,000 cheque to Rotary Foundation Canada.

"This is part of our responsibility," BPL Assistant General Manager, Masataka Horiguchi said. "We have tourists, friends, and family in Japan who need our help."

The BPL has close ties to Japan - Fuji Starlight Express, the owners for the past 25 years, are Japanese - and General Manager Frank Denouden said the hotel been in the Japanese market since the 1970's hosting "great business relations and tens of thousands of guests."

Horiguchi, from Japan said watching the news covering the destruction of his home country was heartbreaking. "It hurts, especially to see the children who have lost their parents," he said. "We wanted to express our feelings with this donation, and we want to help Japan."

Denouden said the BPL was excited to donate to Rotary because of the matching funds available.

"We wanted to do something, and we wanted it to be through Banff, so this was a natural tie-in -- everything fit together nicely," he said. "Rotary is a great organization, and the fundraiser reflects the strong community we have in Banff."

Mayor Karen Sorensen became emotional watching the BPL donation because she said it was a reminder of how Banff comes together during times of need.

"Understanding we have challenges and issues in Banff, when you attend a function like this, you are very quickly reminded of what a great community we are," Sorensen said. She added that Japanese businesses and tourists have been very good to Banff, significantly contributing to the local economy, but more importantly, Banff's Japanese residents are part of the fibre of the town.

"Our locals and their extended families need help," she said. "The contribution from Banff Park Lodge is so generous and the many, many people in the attendance to raise funds is amazing. I am quite simply, overwhelmed and could not be prouder to be a Banffite."

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