As a businessman and philanthropist, Michael Audain has demonstrated great vision in his business activities, his support of the arts, and his extraordinary community service. Born in 1937, he is a proud fifth-generation British Columbian and a descendant of James Dunsmuir.
As the founder of Polygon Homes Ltd., one of British Columbia’s most successful and respected homebuilders, Audain has created hundreds of attractive and livable new communities in the Greater Vancouver area. And, as a Past President of the Urban Development Institute and the Business Council of British Columbia, and a member of the Business Council of Canada, he has developed an excellent reputation for his ability to bring the business community and governments together.
An active supporter of the arts, Audain is Past Chair of the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery Foundation, and the Audain Art Museum. He is Chair of the Audain Foundation, the Audain Art Museum Foundation, the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation, a Director Emeritus of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, a former member of the British Columbia Arts Council, and a former director of the Grizzly Bear Foundation.
Through his family foundation, Audain has recognized and supported many emerging artists and the visual arts in British Columbia and Canada, including capital projects and endowment funds for the Audain Art Museum, Simon Fraser University’s School for Contemporary Arts, the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the University of British Columbia, the Museum of Anthropology, the University of Victoria, Brentwood College, U’mista Cultural Centre, Arts Umbrella, the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, The Polygon Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the National Gallery of Canada. The Audain Prize for Visual Art is awarded annually to a British Columbia artist for lifetime achievement.
Appointed to the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, Audain’s initiatives have also been recognized by numerous national awards including six honorary doctoral degrees, the Business / Arts Edmund C. Bovey Award for Leadership in the Arts, the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee Medals, the Order of Patrons in Quebec, the British Columbia Museums Association Distinguished Service Award, the Canadian Museums Association President’s Award, the Simon Fraser University President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award, the Vancouver Biennale Philanthropy in the Arts Award, The Mayor’s Arts Award for Philanthropy (Vancouver), the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (Metro Vancouver Chapter) Architecture Advocacy Award, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Community Leadership Award and the Rix Award for Engaged Community Citizenship, the University of British Columbia’s Great Trekker Award, and The Fraser Institute’s Founders’ Award.
Audain has also had a long history of social activism that is often considered surprising behaviour for a major business leader. He participated in the civil rights movements in the U.S, protested the Vietnam War, and has continually promoted the cause of world peace. He has most recently incorporated the Grizzly Bear Foundation to further research and education for protecting the grizzly bears in British Columbia and their environment.
Married to Yoshiko Karasawa, Audain has two children and four grandchildren.