Brennan Fitzgerald, 24
HASTINGS CROSSING BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
Life Story: When Brennan Fitzgerald’s family moved from their native Halifax to Morinville, Alberta, the then-19-year-old decided to introduce himself to the town’s 10,000 or so people like any young person would, by running for council. “It was election year, and I’ve always been involved in my community, and really interested in service and contributing,” Fitzgerald says. “So I went in as the youngest candidate in the election, and one of the youngest running in the province at the time.” He received 801 votes, good for sixth in a seven-seat council race with 19 contestants. “I think I gave voice to a lot of social and environmental issues that weren’t necessarily reflected by other members of council and on councils regionally because you’re in rural Alberta,” he maintains.
Deciding not to run again in Morinville, Fitzgerald moved to Vancouver, where he became executive director of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association in February 2018. “There’s this perception everyone has of it being a dark and dirty place,” he says of the Downtown Eastside. “But there’s also a lot of interesting businesses and community groups and public art and lots of awesome stuff going on. So really what I want to do is bring about a shift in people’s attitudes to the area.”
Bottom Line: The Hastings Crossing BIA, which Fitzgerald runs on his own, comprises more than 850 businesses.