Five Illuminating Minutes With Vancouver’s Busiest Man About Town, Fred Lee

Our friend Fred Lee, who pens the Fred UnLEEshed, Fred On The Town and City Life columns for the Vancouver Courier, TV Week and the National Post (respectively), seems have the uncanny ability to be everywhere in Vancouver all at once. That including the CBC, where he steps out every Monday morning for The Early Edition to dish on all of the city’s biggest and brightest do’s.  He is also the resident theatre reviewer for Shaw’s Urban Rush, and an Associate Director of Alumni Relations at UBC and Chair of UBC’s CampOUT for LGBT youth and their allies. Clearly, the man is busy, and we underscore that out of appreciation for the time he put aside to answer the following questions…

Three things about downtown that make you want to live there: I live at the Patina at Barclay & Burrard; literally at the centre of downtown Vancouver. From there you can walk to everywhere…West End, English Bay, Yaletown, Robson, Gastown, Crosstown, Kitsilano…it’s great.

Architectural style that you most identify with? Contemporary, clean, modern. Less clutter; keep it simple.

Three words that describe the vibe of your current living space: Bright, airy, and clean. My boyfriend will attest I am a bit of a neatnik!

What inspires you? Vancouverites inspire me. I am privileged to meet amazing people daily who give of their time, talent and treasure to support so many worthy causes and charities.

Describe your favourite photograph: My current Courier headshot. The one I am sending you with this piece. It’s the only photo I like of myself. It was a random photo someone sent which I cropped. I hate having my photo taken. That’s why I’m usually taking them.

Default drink: I am a java junkie; Starbucks snob some would say. Give me their tall red eye anytime (tall dark roast with an add shot of espresso). Harder stuff? Wine. One glass will do; I get that Asian flush after a glass. You can say I’m a cheap drunk.

When you can’t sleep: I’m usually in front of my laptop writing like I am right now, completing this questionnaire.

Favourite place to see live music: Deer Lake Park in Burnaby is beautiful

Cheap place for dinner?
Café Gloucester on Cambie Street; it’s open late; usually
grabbing a late night nosh.

Book you’re reading: Can’t remember the last book I read…oh wait, it was Twilight. My girlfriend passed it along after she finished reading it. Took it along on my trip to Spain. I am more of a newspaper guy generally. I have to read my papers every morning.

Last place travelled? Pemberton, Outstanding in the Field at North Arm Farms; Amazing! Breathtaking! Now I know why they call it outstanding. Further afield, Maui for some much needed Vitamin D a few months ago. Apparently, summer is gonna start anytime now.

What is beauty? My mom.

Community event or festival that you look forward to every year: Whistler’s Cornucopia. It’s a giant piss-up. Great celebration of food and wine in the most intimate of surroundings. Bearfoot Bistro’s Masque-rave party is back this year. Watch out!

Best sneaker in the world? Converse. I’ve lost count how many pairs I own. Some are still in their boxes yet to be worn.

The view from your favourite window: It’s the window from my bedroom I stare out just before I go to sleep. You can see downtown Vanhattan all lit up at night.

Best Vancouver place to be inspired by emerging artistic talent: The stage. Vancouver’s theatre community is one of the most dynamic, vibrant and resilient. Some wonderful talents.

Favourite way to get your hands dirty? Crab or lobster dinner. Delish!

Last art show that really blew you away? The Cheaper Show was a blast. I love the energy; also a big fan of George Vergette’s text and resin art and Joshua McVeity’s photographic work (and I’m not just saying that because I’m sleeping with him).

Talent you wish you possessed: Sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I can be in two places at once. Amazing number of events around town and its impossible as hard as I try to get to them all.

The trend you wish you never followed, but did? Putting streaks in my hair.

Musical instrument that you long to master? The piano. It would have made my parents proud.

Sport you gave up: Basketball. Because I was tall the coaches thought I would be a natural. I hated it. I didn’t enjoy line sprints. I ended up coaching and made everyone else run instead.

Three things of no monetary value that you will keep until you die: old school books, photographs, hundreds of CDs.

Best concert experience ever? George Michael. His last tour. I went in with very low expectations. I think we paid $25 each as part of some Groupon. I was blown away.

Animal you most identify with? Love dogs.

Favourite Vancouver park: Stanley Park.

All time favourite movie: I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen Working Girl.

The dish you’re proud of? I can make cheesy potatoes.

Best thing about Vancouver in the Summer? There’s no place like it when the sun is out.

Best hotel room ever? Pacific Sands Beach Resort in Tofino. The view out of our villa was breathtaking. The ocean was literally right outside.

Sexiest item of clothing on a woman: Shoes.

The clothing item every man should have in his closet: A good suit and shoes to match.

Town you were born in: Vancouver.

Thing you miss most about home when you’re on the road: The fresh air.

Two places you like to take out of town visitors in order to show off your city: English Bay and Whistler

If the Mayor of Vancouver was a genie who could grant you three civic wishes (you don’t have to rub him), what would they be?
More affordable housing, a better transit system and I wish we could take back the night of the Stanley Cup riots.

The first three things you do every morning: shower and get dressed; make the bed (an absolute must unless my baby is still sleeping); and grab a Starbucks coffee to go.

Albums that first made you love music? The Police’s Synchronicity; Michael Jackson’s Thriller and ABBA. Yes, I was the original dancing queen!

What were you listening to as you answered these questions?
The sound of quiet.


There are 3 comments

  1. Hi Fred ,

    I quite enjoy reading your stuff in the Courier and

    all the photos as well. I writing a book on inspirational growth and have some beautiful collection of images which i want to display in my coming book and would love to meet with you some day in the new year for a cup of coffee totalk about, if you can spare me the time would be great .

    Best regards
    Duke Martin Menjou

  2. Fred, you have been brightening my day on Monday mornings for , how long? has it been three years now?
    Your energy, humour and honesty and especially the banter with “Ricky” have me glued to the radio.
    I lawn bowl at the indoor green in Qualicum on Monday mornings and listen to you on my way to Baileys for my coffee to take to the green. I’m definitely going to grab a dark with a shot of espresso tomorrow.