Brett Wilson Shares His Favourites
The rest of Canada may know W. Brett Wilson as a successful entrepreneur and the friendliest Dragon on CBC TV’s the Dragon’s Den, but around Calgary he’s also well known for his philanthropy, giving and raising tens of millions of dollars for a wide variety of causes. He’s also known around town for wearing Converse All Stars when every other guy in the room is wearing black or brown leather brogues.
A big believer in fun (the word is written into the job description and job titles for Wilson’s staff at his holding company, Prairie Merchant Corporation), it’s no surprise Wilson enjoys Calgary Fringe Festival (July 29 – Aug 6), where artists are free to create “theatre without restrictions.”
“The only thing you know for sure at Calgary’s Fringe Festival, is that you never know what kind of theatre you will see,” says Wilson. “It’s entrepreneurial art.” The 2010 Calgary Fringe Festival will run 27 uncensored and unjuried productions over nine days in Calgary’s historic Inglewood.International Blues Festival (Aug 4 – Aug 7). “Live music is passion, pure and simple. There is this direct line from the musicians to your heart, and the blues in particular help remind us we all share the frailty of the human condition.” This year’s Blues Festival at Shaw Millennium Park features 25 performers including David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears fame.Taste of Calgary (Aug 12 – 15) at Eau Claire Market.
Wilson has traveled around the world on philanthropic endeavours: building homes in Mexico, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research and supporting other causes on his annual sojourn to Africa. So he feels right at home at GlobalFest (Aug 20 – Aug 28), a lively festival at Elliston Park that celebrates more than 60 different cultures, and pairs that with an international fireworks festival. “GlobalFest lights up the skies and helps open our eyes to the rich diversity here in Alberta,” says Wilson. “There is also the best aloo gobi you will ever eat at the Indian Pavilion.”Calgary International Film Festival (Sept 24 – Oct 3). “I like to explore new and exciting films,” says Wilson. He’s especially enamoured of the CIFF’s new Mavericks program, a sort of Dragon’s Den competition for ten international films by emerging directors where celebrities in town for the festival judge the films and award the winner a cash prize.
“I have a big soft spot for Mavericks,” says Wilson, the entrepreneurial philanthropist who knows a thing or two about breaking new ground.