In 2000, Coastal Contacts, founded by Roger Hardy, needed capital to fuel its growth. With Peter Brown at the helm, Canaccord raised $1 million, and a further $4 million in 2003. The next year, in a $6-million IPO, Canaccord took the company public. By 2012—now selling contact lenses, designer eyeglasses, and sunglasses—Coastal Contacts had surpassed $1 billion in cumulative sales. In 2014, it was acquired by the French lens manufacturer Essilor for $400 million.
As part of the Expo 86 celebrations, the Haida artist Bill Reid was commissioned to carve an 80-foot canoe. When Reid decided he needed to carve a smaller prototype first, and with no room in the budget for the additional expense, Peter M. Brown, the vice-chairman, offered to pay for it himself. Today that 10-foot prototype is part of the fine collection of Haida art that Brown has collected in the years since.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver has played a central role in the life of the Brown family, which is why Peter M. Brown offered to add a new church bell. To this day the bell is rung after church services, and at weddings and funerals. “Family members have been christened there and married there,” he says. “I’ve had many expressions of thanks over the years. It’s one of the most satisfying things I’ve done.”