Talk about a roaring good time – Ottawa success story Giant Tiger drew a select and stylish audience out to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on Wednesday for the showcasing of its new menswear lines.
Upon entering the vintage airplane-filled building, guests needed only to follow the tiger paw floor decals and lively music to locate the party hotspot. Once there, they were treated to catered food and drinks, along with a Giant Tiger fashion show and a performance from the Ottawa-based River Town Saints country band.
The evening coincided with prostate cancer awareness month and was held in partnership with the annual Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad fundraiser in support of prostate cancer research. Canadian men reportedly have about a one-in-seven chance of developing the disease over the course of a lifetime.
Celebrity models included Ottawa RedBlacks player Jon Gott, radio personality Eric the Intern from CHEZ 106.1 and Ottawa Senators team doctor Dr. Don Chow. He's raised more than $60,000 for the annual Ride for Dad over the years.
As well, prostate cancer survivors Terry Cairns and David Arntfield looked comfortable and confident showing off the latest in urban streetwear. Featured clothing included fleece-lined hoodies, all-purpose pants and athleisure outfits.
Seventeen years ago, Ride for Dad raised money by selling four dozen t-shirts from the back of a pick-up truck, the audience heard. Today, its apparel – featured in the show – is available at Giant Tiger stores across Canada, with all proceeds going to the cause.
Byron Smith got everyone laughing while he and fellow Ride for Dad co-founder Garry Janz thanked the room for its support. “I’m not used to looking at an audience quite as good looking as this,” said Smith while standing on the runway stage. “Normally, I’m sending the bikes out, so I’m looking at a sea of wet leather, greasy ponytails and facial hair. And that’s just the women.”
Since setting up shop in the ByWard Market in 1961, Giant Tiger has grown to 237 locations in Canada, and plans to keep opening 15 new stores each year. The discount retailer, which remains a privately-held company, has more than 8,000 “team members” (also known as employees).
At the event, Giant Tiger launched Rivet61, along with its existing Mountain Ridge, ACX Active and Tradesmax Pro lines.
Giant Tiger is out to show that it can sell affordable clothes that are stylish, comfortable, versatile and well-designed for Canadian men, said Karen Sterling, the company’s vice-president of marketing.
"We still have our philosophy of low prices but our quality has been enhanced," she added. “It’s incredible value."
Attendees included fashion bloggers and style influencers. Well-known Ottawa couturier Frank Sukhoo – whose clientele includes Sharon Johnston, the wife of outoing Governor General David Johnston – was in the audience and liked the overall style and fit of the clothes. He wouldn't have minded a little less plaid, though.