By the end of last year, the Aquilinis saw their plans to build a four-season ski resort at Garibaldi Mountain finally move forward. The progress is a testament to the merits of making peace, which is what the Aquilinis appear to have done with that other billionaire Italian-Canadian developer clan in Vancouver, the Gaglardis. Seven years ago, family frontman Francesco Aquilini was embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with Tom Gaglardi and construction tycoon Ryan Beedie, who both claimed they’d been wrongfully jilted out of a deal to purchase the Vancouver Canucks from Seattle cellphone magnate John McCaw. Aquilini prevailed in court, and Gaglardi was offered a consolation prize from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the form of the Dallas Stars in 2011. Fast-forward to today, and the Aquilini Investment Group stands shoulder to shoulder with the Gaglardis’ Northland Properties in the joint venture to construct the $5.2-billion Garibaldi at Squamish resort, which would be the first greenfield ski hill built in Canada since 1980.
While the project is massive, it’s just one of the Aquilinis’ many high-profile, highly profitable ventures: Through Aquilini Investment Group, now more than 50 years old, the family controls one of British Columbia’s biggest development conglomerates, as well as its NHL team, the Rogers Arena, blueberry and cranberry farms, restaurants and some $80-million worth of vineyard properties in Washington state.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017