Atlantic Salmon Federation reels in sold-out crowd at annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner

Popular benefit raises $70K

It’s always an upstream battle to protect our country’s wild Atlantic salmon population but the proceeds hauled in from Wednesday's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner will help the Atlantic Salmon Federation with its ongoing conservation efforts.

A sold-out crowd of about 150 gathered high up in the elegant and exclusive Rideau Club, located in downtown Ottawa. The evening grossed $70,000.

Returning as honourary chair was prominent Ottawa businessman and philanthropist Dan Greenberg, owner of Ferguslea Properties Ltd. and part-owner of Camp Bonaventure Ltd. It owns three fishing lodges – Camp Bonaventure, Salmon Lodge and Canadian Salmon Club – on Quebec’s beautiful Gaspé Peninsula.

Greenberg actively promotes the catch and release of wild Atlantic salmon.

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From left, John Ouellette shows off his fly fishing-themed necktie alongside honourary chair Dan Greenberg and Heonku Lee, owner of Nippon Sushi, at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Greenberg also sits on the ASF’s board of director with members of the Bronfman, Eaton, Irving and Molson families, among others. He’s as passionate about protecting the salmon as he is about his favourite hockey team, the Ottawa Senators.

The Atlantic salmon is a remarkable creature with its “built-in GPS” that guides it thousands of kilometres across the ocean, to the west coast of Greenland, and then all the way back, to the freshwater river in which it was born.

“It’s an incredible story,” says Greenberg, wearing his signature fish-themed necktie.

The salmon is also an indicator species, whose presence can be used to gauge the health of the environment. They’re one of the first species to show decline when things begin to go awry.

The benefit brings together fishing enthusiasts, diplomats, conservationists, along with invited guests who’ve yet to be introduced to the sport of salmon angling.

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Avid recreational fisherman and retired doctor Donald Beanlands, founding chief of cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, with organizing committee member Jamie Pistilli, owner of Ottawa-area Rising Sun Fishing Charters, at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Christina Ellis with her husband, organizing committee chair Pierre Tipple, and her father, Mark Ellis, all with RBC Wealth Management, at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Rob Sametz, regional integrated media sales for Metroland, with Andre Mickovitch, senior insurance and financial planning advisor with Assante Wealth Management, at the Atlantic Salmon Federation's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

On hand was ASF president and CEO Bill Taylor. The fundraiser is one of more than a dozen held each year in Canada and parts of the United States for the non-profit organization, whose head office is in St. Andrews, N.B. It has staff in all the eastern provinces and an office in Maine.

The dinners cumulatively net about $1.5 million – or about 25 to 30 per cent of the operating revenue for the ASF, Taylor told OBJ.social.

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From left, Atlantic Salmon Federation president and CEO Bill Taylor with Donald Thom at the ASF's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, John Wemekamp and Fiona Gilfillan with Charles Cusson from the Atlantic Salmon Federation at the non-profit organization's 21st Annual Ottawa Fall Run Dinner, held at the Rideau Club on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

caroline@obj.ca