He used charm, others’ personal tragedies and fake celebrity endorsements. How Christopher LaVoie cast his reality show and reeled in successful entrepreneurs
Chris LaVoie used charm, others’ personal tragedies and fake celebrity endorsements to cast his reality show, Win Big, Win Big.
(This story first ran in 2016, when Chris LaVoie was a rising entrepreneur and one of the most influential people in Vancouver.)
By John Macleod ’87
When Chris LaVoie walked into the downtown Westin hotel in December 2012, he was one of the most exciting people in the Vancouver media business. A charismatic and energetic entrepreneur, LaVoie was on the rise in Vancouver as a TV personality, a popular radio host, a digital media entrepreneur, a public speaker and a motivational speaker. And he was ready to go back to some of the places he had conquered before: New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Singapore — the kind of places that, in his telling, made people who worked for him, or for him, say, “Chris, Chris, Chris! You’re a natural.”
But LaVoie didn’t really know anything about Vancouver. In fact, when he first visited the Westin in the fall of 2012, he had no idea that its location and the city in which it existed would be at the very centre of his show.
“That first hotel room I had a year before I actually booked, that’s where we held our first meetings,” says LaVoie, the former co-anchor of CBC Radio’s flagship current affairs program, This Hour Has 22 Minutes. “And the reason I moved to Vancouver was because I thought it would be a much better place to be in than any other.”
The Westin may have been a convenient place for a TV personality to rent a suite, hold meetings, have his guests’ hair cut and get an early look at the new and improved show he was putting together — the same Chris LaVoie who had been on the BBC, Discovery Channel and the Discovery Health channel, who had hosted a prime time daytime talk show, and who had been a regular radio host and a speaker and a mentor who brought in audiences like the one in this downtown hotel room.
“I was so impressed with their reception, with how comfortable and relaxed they were,” says LaVo