Ottawa business community suits up for 29th Annual Ski for Kids

One-day ski event at Mont Ste. Marie raises $343K for CHEO, Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa
ski for kids
From left, Ski for Kids co-chair Derek Noble with Jacqueline Belsito, vice president of philanthropy and community engagement for the CHEO Foundation, Sporting Life Ottawa manager Hank Shannon and Ski for Kids co-chair Tom McKenna, at Mont Ste. Marie for a dinner held for sponsors on Thursday, February 14, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

With more than a foot of fresh snow and mild temperatures awaiting, some 250 members of Ottawa’s business community got to be ski bums for a day at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort while raising money for children who are ill and in need within our community.

The 29th annual fundraiser, held Friday about an hour's drive north of Ottawa, is the largest single-day charity event for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa, a fundraising arm of the Children's Aid Society. The event raised $343, 265.

Participants got a head start on the après-ski scene, to put it mildly. They gathered Thursday night for a big dinner with sponsors, held in the main lodge. It was followed by late-night socializing inside a heated and festive party tent, with beer from Tooth and Nail Brewing Company. 

ski for kids
The 29th Annual Ski for Kids fundraiser for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa was held at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort on Friday, February 15, 2019.

Returning for the third year as title sponsor was Sporting Life, represented by Hank Shannon, manager of its Ottawa store at Lansdowne. He had the dinner crowd on its feet, applauding, when he announced that Sporting Life was signing on for another three years.

The brief dinner speeches were focused on thanking the significant number of sponsors who support Ski for Kids (the exact number rounds off to about 90). Shannon went off script for a minute to talk about children — particularly his own two teenagers, and the precious time he was able to spend with them during this week’s school-closure Snow Day. They headed to Camp Fortune ski resort in Gatineau Park for a few runs together. “That was the best day of my entire season,” said Shannon, whose presence filled the room with good vibes all around.

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From left, Darryl Squires, Dan Warder, Christopher Alderson, Andre Cloutier and Kevin Lake, representing The Lake Partnership Inc., a local construction project management and general contracting company, were among the black diamond sponsors of this year's Ski for Kids for CHEO fundraiser, held at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort, north of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, wine sponsor Ross Rowan-Legg, from CIBC Wood Gundy, seen with Gowling WLG partner Gord Cudney, who later won the prize of a $500 gift card to Sporting Life, were part of Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
ski for kids
From left, Salem MacDonald of Sage Urban Developments with Marc Morin, a partner at Koble Commercial Real Estate & Brokerage, which was the dinner sponsor for the Ski for Kids charity event for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

Returning to co-chair the organizing committee were Tom McKenna and Derek Noble, the latter of whom also hosted some of the top sponsors for an earlier cocktail reception at his ski-in chalet.

Noble is a partner with Huntington Properties. It owns and manages more than 47 properties in Ottawa, and will be landlord to Ottawa’s first cannabis store when it opens this spring on Wellington Street West.

Huntington Properties was a double black diamond sponsor, along with the non-profit, family-run Taggart Parkes Foundation. Moreover, Jeff Parkes, a vice president with Taggart Realty Management, is part of the Ski for Kids organizing committee and a member of the prominent Taggart and Parkes clan. “This community benefits immensely from the generosity of this family,” said Noble at the dinner. “We could not pull off Ski for Kids without the Taggart Parkes Foundation and its incredible contributions, both in money and time.”

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From left, Andy Edmondson with wife Julie Taggart, Jeff Parkes and his brother, Steve Parkes, at the dinner held the night before Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser held Friday, February 15, 2019, at Mont Ste. Marie. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
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From left, Craig Whitten, partner at Huntington Properties, with Ken Tammadge, a tax partner with Baker Tilly Ottawa LLP (formerly Collins Barrow), and Brian Morley, president of Morley Hoppner Ltd., at the dinner for Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa, held at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Mirabel Productions events manager Kate Kourtsidis, John Booth and Nik Lemieux, owner of Mirabel Management, were part of the organizing committee for Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa, held at Mont Ste. Marie. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Loyal sponsors also included Jeff Clarke, CEO of black diamond sponsor Inflector Environmental Services. He took over the company after his father, Jeff Clarke Sr., passed away five years ago. His father was instrumental in helping to grow Ski for Kids into such a successful charity event.

ski for kids
From left, Jeff Clarke, CEO of Inflector Environmental Services, with Derek Noble, Jacqueline Belsito and Tom McKenna at the dinner held for Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser held at Mont Ste. Marie for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Jeff Snyder, vice president of sales and solutions at sponsor Capital Office Interiors, with Marc Jolicoeur, senior counsel with sponsor BLG, at the dinner leading up to Ski for Kids, a one-day charity ski event held for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

Best attire of the night went to Paul Cook, vice president of sponsor CBRE, for his ski motif buttoned-down shirt. In the ski world, he's better known as the father of local alpine ski hero Dustin Cook, after whom Mont Ste. Marie’s signature run is named.

A gorgeous new start lodge opened this season on Dustin Cook Run, as the result of fundraising efforts, and will serve as the venue for a private dinner for eight people, courtesy of restaurateur Stephen Beckta and Huntington Properties. The auction item was sold before it was even open to bidding. Well-known entrepreneur Harley Finkelstein — who's building a recreational property at Mont Ste. Marie — bought it for $5,000 and then generously donated it back. Guests won't have to trudge up the hill to the lodge, by the way. They'll either be transported either by snowmobile or snow groomer.

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From left, Ski for Kids committee member Rob Tweedy with his brother, Matt Tweedy, owner of Tooth and Nail Brewing Company, and Paul Cook from commercial real estate firm CBRE, at the dinner for Ski for Kids, a one-day charity ski event held on Friday, February 15, 2019, for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
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From left, Walter Noble, executive director of the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa, with John Bethune, vice president of the Ottawa branch of black diamond sponsor BFL Canada, at the dinner held the night before Ski for Kids. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
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From left, Roberto Campagna, president of sponsor Roca Homes, with Corry McLean and Scott Kelly at the dinner held for sponsors of Ski for Kids, a one-day charity ski event for CHEO and the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips 

Skiers could also bid on a night out to see the Ottawa Senators in a 200-level suite, along with a catered dinner by Shinka Sushi Bar to be held in the off-season and hosted by Ottawa Senators player Cody Ceci and one of his teammates.

As well, the auction list included: a Caribbean dream vacation for eight; a Kicking Horse ski vacation for two, with flights from WestJet; an ultimate BBQ summer party package with the Grateful Griller (a.k.a. Michael Shannon of Wakefield); a fly-fishing adventure; a private dinner for 10 prepared by award-winning chef Michael Moffatt of Thyme & Again; and a 200-level suite for the Corey Hart concert, courtesy of the Ottawa Senators Foundation.

Additionally, there was an opportunity for a group of 10 to help design, name and brew 1,500 litres of craft beer with Dustin Cook under the guidance of Matt Tweedy from Tooth and Nail. Tweedy’s brother, Rob Tweedy, an IT professional with sponsor Modern Niagara, is a long-time member of the organizing committee and told OBJ.social how proud he is to be part of a fundraiser that has successfully grown, both in terms of how much money it raises and the sponsorship it attracts.

 “It keeps getting better and better,” Tweedy told OBJ.social. “I’m excited to be involved with this event every year. I love it; it’s just so rewarding.”

Ski for Kids
From left, Mont Ste. Marie ski resort owner Bob Sudermann with Derek Noble and Dabrowka Farah at a cocktail reception held at Noble's chalet prior to the Ski for Kids fundraiser, held at the ski resort on Friday, February 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

At the dinner, guests were entertained by a live performance from singer/songwriter Alanna Sterling, who was a Children's Aid Foundation bursary recipient and is now making a career for herself in the music world.

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Alanna Sterling performs during the dinner for Ski for Kids, a one-day ski fundraiser held at Mont Ste. Marie ski resort north of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj.ca