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Wayne C. Fipke was born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1948. He lived with his family in Edmonton, Alberta from 1951 to 1961 and then moved to the Kelowna, B.C. area living on a small hard-scrabble farm. After he graduated from high school, Wayne attended the University of British Columbia (BA 1970) (MFA 1973), putting himself through school working in sawmills, tutoring Investment Dealers Association students, as a stage carpenter, and later an aerial Photographer. He married L. Ava (nee Gay) in 1969 and they have 4 children together: twins Asaph and Leila (b. 1970), Johanna (b.1978) and Beau (b.1986). After university, Wayne spent a year working for a land developer in the Okanagan Valley and then took a job from 1974 – 1977 as the Financial Director of Performing Arts, Alberta Culture. He obtained a Certificate in Arts Administration in 1977 from Harvard University and then joined Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre as General Manager (1977- 1988).
During his time at the Citadel, Wayne oversaw the growth of annual audiences from about 90,000 to 340,000 (including the Edmonton International Children’s Festival and the Edmonton Teen Festival, which he founded and served as Artistic Director for). Wayne produced six productions that went on to Broadway and worked with many famous actors including Dame Peggy Ashcroft, John Neville, Nicol Williamson, Roy Dotrice, Glynis Johns, Anne Baxter, Pat Hingle, and Tony award winners Len Cariou, George Hearns, Michael Crawford and Ron Moodie. As a playwright, Wayne has had six of his own plays produced.
Wayne joined Dia Met Minerals as President in 1988, a company founded by his geologist brother Charles. In 1989 along with Charles he staked about 500,000 acres in the N.W.T. Their joint venture partner BHP drilled claims that Wayne and his crew staked, and diamonds were discovered in 1991, leading to Canada’s first diamond mine, the Ekati. The diamond discoveries triggered the largest staking rush in the history of the world. After listing Dia Met Minerals Ltd. on the TSE in 1993, Wayne retired from the company.
Since 1993 Wayne took up snowboarding and flying, travelled with his wife and family and built personal estates in Kelowna and at Big White ski resort. Wayne and Ava partnered on a horticultural business, Eldorado Gardens, from 1997 and for twelve years (until 2016) they owned and ran a hay and 500 head cattle ranch called Buck Lake Ranch in Beaverdell, B.C., about an hour drive from Kelowna, B.C. As a builder general contractor, Wayne won four silver Tommie awards in 2012 for a luxury home he built for an associate.