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Coyne cashes out as head of Tourism Burnaby
Matthew Coyne helped put Burnaby on the tourism map. And now, says the first and only executive director of Tourism Burnaby, it's time for him to tackle a new challenge.
Coyne will be leaving the post he's held for more than eight years to become the CEO of the Take a Hike Youth at Risk Foundation, an alternative education program that uses adventure-based learning, therapy, community involvement and academics to connect with young people who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the education system.
Coyne said he's proud of his organization's accomplishments and how much Burnaby's profile has risen during his tenure.
Many of those accomplishments came in the sporting world.
Under Coyne's watch, Burnaby hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup of soccer, the World Police and Fire Games, the Olympic torch relay, the BC Senior Games, the Mind Over Matter adventure race, the Esso Cup national women's hockey championship, as well as an international sevens rugby tournament and Rugby Canada friendlies. In October, Tourism Burnaby teamed up with Simon Fraser University to bid for various NCAA Division II championships through 2017-18.
Coyne also forged a partnership with mining magnate and financier Scott Cousens to bring the Fortius Centre to the Central Valley, a destination facility for training top amateur athletes.
"With the quality of the sports facilities, it's obvious to help drive tourism through sports events," said Coyne. "Athletes, spectators and their families, these are our tourists."
Not that Burnaby's cultural components were ignored.
Tourism Burnaby recently sponsored a major exhibition of landscape etchings and drawings by Dutch artists including Rembrandt. It also helped spread the annual Burnaby Blues and Roots Festival beyond the lawn at Deer Lake Park to venues around the city.
"Burnaby has a vibrant art and entertainment outlook," said Coyne. "That's part of what makes the city so livable."
Coyne's last day at Tourism Burnaby will be March 14.