The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai hosted its 7th Annual Maple Leaf Ball on November 1. More than 200 guests, including members of the chamber, representatives from Canadian companies, and friends with strong ties to the country, attended the event. They received a warm welcome from Canadian Consul General in Shanghai Rick Savone.
"I cannot express how happy I am to see so many close friends and welcome new ones as well," he said. "The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is preparing his third trip to China. Accompanied by business and political leaders, he will visit China and see the great success that you have achieved for the Canada-China relationship. I know for certain that he is as proud as I am of the strong foundation that has been laid in Shanghai and throughout China by Canadians and their friends."
All of the guests who attended the ball enjoyed a gourmet dinner. Chinese circus performers and a Canadian expat band called The Leaves Overseas provided the entertainment.
Because it was one of the chamber's biggest fundraisers, the ball held a raffle, a live auction and a silent auction. All of the funds raised at the ball, with the exception of the proceeds from two paintings auctioned for Community Roots China and Educating Girls of Rural China, two Canadian-run charities in China, will be used for the chamber's operations and its activities. That night, one lucky guest won a pair of round-trip tickets to a major Canadian city on Air Canada.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai is an independent nonprofit organization that officially opened in 2008 with the support of the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai. Its primary mission is to support the business of its members and the interests of the Canadian community in eastern China. The chamber offers several services to Canadian firms seeking a foothold in the Chinese market, including providing firms that can assist with human resources, accounting, advice on the bottling/labeling of products and help in complying with import-export rules.
The chamber also organizes events to promote Canadian culture in China. "The two signature events of the chamber are Canada Day and the Maple Leaf Ball," said Colin Bogar, the chamber's vice chair. "The chamber also runs several business events every month, which are focused on certain industries. Moreover, we help organize the itineraries and visits of Canadian government delegations to China based on their business development needs to make sure they meet the right people."
The other signature event of the chamber, a Canada Day celebration, usually takes place annually on the weekend closest to July 1. It attracts more than 1,000 visitors. Both expats in Shanghai and local Chinese people can join. While children celebrate the day with crafts, sand castles and water gun, the adults can participate in events such as the watermelon eating contest, where competitors try to eat a slice of watermelon as fast as possible without using their hands. Companies can also build up a sense of team spirit among their employees through the Bombardier Volleyball Canada Day Cup Tournament.
The chamber has about 500 members. It is led by a 12-person board of directors, who are representatives of Canadian multinational companies or entrepreneurs in China. They make the policies and provide guidance for the chamber's activities. Six full-time staff make up its executive team. They are in charge of the chamber's daily operations.
The chamber has company members, academy members, individual members and young professional members. Those interested can apply for membership online at http://cancham.asia/.
Canadian Consul General in Shanghai Rick Savone toasts guests at the event. Photo: Yang Lan/GT
Colin Bogar, vice chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai
Guests at the 7th Annual Maple Leaf Ball pose for a photo.
Canadian expat band The Leaves Overseas perform at the ball. Photos: Courtesy of Sean Hanratty