You could feel the excitement and tension in the room as players waited in anticipation for the next number to be called, their daubers poised in midair over their cards.
Somebody was going to win a trip for two, worth nearly $14,000, to a five-star beach resort in Barbados, donated by the Crane Resort and Dan Saikaley from CIBC Private Wealth Management.
The gala evening was Black Tie Bingo. It's an annual fundraiser, started in 2014, to improve the quality of life of residents in long-term care and for individuals who need palliative care.
It drew a sold-out crowd of 350 to the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre on Saturday night and netted a record amount of $70,000 for its two charities: the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa and the OutCare Foundation.
Catherine Clark was back to emcee the evening. She was joined on stage by sponsors and supporters to help call out bingo numbers. Former senator Sharon Carstairs added some pizzaz with her rhyming bingo slang (clickety-click, sixty-six). The OBJ’s Carlo Lombard had his own rousing style ("Give me an Ooooo!"), while Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser kept the room on its toes after confusing his bingo letters due to poor eyesight.
“I didn’t bring my readers,” he told the forgiving crowd.
There were seven prizes handed out, ranging from a weekend getaway at the Chateau Montebello to a $750-shopping spree at the St. Laurent Centre to a diamond and sapphire gold bracelet to a cash prize of $1,500.
The big trip to Barbados was won by a tuxedo-wearing Lawrence Grant, executive director of The Glebe Centre, a not-for-profit long-term-care home. He's attended Black Tie Bingo every year, to support the causes, but this was the first time he's won a prize.
On hand were Lisa Davey, executive director of the OutCare Foundation, and Adam Nihmey, founder and chair of the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa.