Outgoing Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan was held over the flames at a Vancouver Board of Trade roast in his honour today at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. Man In Motion's Rick Hansen, (right) congratulates Mayor Sullivan.
Photograph by : Les Bazso
Outgoing Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan poked fun at himself at his own roast yesterday.
"On 12 election campaigns I won every one. I lost the 13th," joked Sullivan at a soldout Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon for 200 at the Westin Bayshore.
"One of the most important decisions I made was to choose the right parents," he said.
Sullivan related how he often showed up at events, only to watch his host walk right past his wheelchair and congratulate someone else for being Vancouver's mayor. "My driver would have to say: 'I'm the driver. He's the mayor,' " said Sullivan.
The mayor said he caught a large white sturgeon recently and released it. "Sometimes I feel like the fish," he deadpanned.
He even thanked the media for being tough on him after many years of "saccharin" articles.
"I felt jealous of people getting whacked. I surely got to feel it myself," he laughed. Sullivan's life-changing moment came 23 years ago as he felt sorry for himself in a room at Clark and Kingsway.
It was his seventh year on welfare since becoming a quadriplegic.
"It was a miserable time. I decided I would stop thinking about myself and think about others. I wanted to set goals and think big," he said. "I hope I made Vancouver a better city."
Roasters found a lot to like about the disabled mayor who brought the Olympic flag home from Turin, Italy, while being watched by the world.
"Roasting a mayor is definitely not something you'd do in China. It can get you into real trouble," said Tung Chan, the Hong-Kong born president of SUCCESS, which encourages immigrants to integrate.
"Sam Sullivan is my hero," said Lorne Segal, president of Kingswood Properties. Fellow wheeler Rick Hansen said Sullivan made an "unbelievable contribution."
Host Vicki Gabereau called Sullivan a "multi-lingual overachiever who we all worship."
And Coun. Suzanne Anton said: "This will be one of last times I'll be able to call you Your Worship." New Mayor Gregor Robertson takes office on Dec. 8.