Infinity Convention Centre brings Midas Touch to Ottawa Cancer Foundation dinner

New events venue near Ottawa airport will raise money for different charity each year

You might say that Dhadkan has a heart of gold, following its Midas Touch-themed benefit dinner held Friday at the new Infinity Convention Centre.

The Indo-Canadian community-based organization, named after the Hindi word for heartbeat, has raised more than $10 million in charitable donations since it began 15 years ago.

Leading the organization is Anand Aggarwal, owner of Manor Park Development, winner of a 2015 Immigrant Entrepreneur Award and the man of the hour at the benefit dinner for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

He’s also one of the owners of the elegant new convention centre, with business partners Harry Sohal and his sons, T.J., Sonny and Gary, all of whom were at the dinner. The venue enjoyed its glitzy grand party a year ago, hosted by Ben Mulroney.

Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
From left, Harry Sohal with Anand Aggarwal and medical oncologist Dr. Shailendra Verma at the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch dinner held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017, for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
From left, Infinity Convention Centre partners Anand Aggarwal with T.J. Sohal, Gary Sohal and Sonny Sohal, along with Aggarwal's wife, Saroj Aggarwal, on Friday, November 17, 2017, for the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch benefit for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Going forward, the charity group is rebranding itself as Infinity Cares and will continue hosting events each year for local charities. The Dhadkan dinners have enjoyed a long and philanthropic history in Ottawa of supporting the Heart Institute. 

The Midas Touch dinner was expected to bring in approximately $51,000 for the cancer foundation, Aggarwal told OBJ.social. That extra grand isn't thrown in just for fun, by the way. It’s considered unlucky in India to offer money that ends with a zero. It’s more auspicious if the amount ends with the number one.

The evening  featured Bollywood-style entertainment, full of shaking hips and undulating bellies. The room exuded an effortless feel of royalty with its elegant dinner tables and gold colour theme.

Accordingly to mythology, King Midas gained the power to turn anything into gold with just a single touch. Yet, what seemed like a blessing became a curse after he unintentionally turned his daughter into a golden statue.

“In the end, what’s most important is not the gold but your family and the people in your life,” said Ottawa event planner Tami Varma, who was a key organizer, along with Anu Sohal.

Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
Anu Sohal with Tami Varga at the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch fundraiser for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, hosted by and at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation was selected in part due to one persistent but also celebrated volunteer fundraiser named Chuck Merovitz. The Ottawa lawyer had been asking Aggarwal for years to support the cancer foundation. He attended the dinner, as did ORCF president and CEO Linda Eagen and her team.

In the crowd were such prominent developers as Bill Malhotra, president and founder of Claridge Homes, and Kris Singhal, president and founder of Richcraft Group of Companies. The room heard later that evening from medical oncologist Dr. Shailendra Verma.

He wasn’t the only good doctor in the room: Dr. Pradeep Merchant, a perinatologist and site chief of neonatology at The Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus), came out to support the cause. So did the hospital's chief of orthopedic surgery, Dr. Paul Beaulé.

Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
From left, Josee Quenneville, director of leadership gifts with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, dressed in traditional Indian attire, with Anand Aggarwal, Chuck Merovitz and Linda Eagen at the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch dinner held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillps
Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
Prominent developer and businessman Bill Malhotra with his wife, Romina, at the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch benefit dinner for the cancer foundation, held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
From left, Anand Aggarwal with Kris Singhal, at the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch fundraiser for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, hosted by and at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips
Dhadkan 2017 Midas Touch
From left, Anita Merchant and her husband, Dr. Pradeep Merchant, with Nav Aggarwal and Mona Aggarwal, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, November 17, 2017, for the Dhadkan 2017: Midas Touch dinner for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Photo by Caroline Phillips

- caroline@obj.ca