Moustache mania came to a smooth end Saturday night as participants of the annual Movember men's health campaign went under the razor while at Ottawa's Movember Gala, held at Overflow Brewing Company.
The new brewery is on Kaladar Avenue and features a retail shop and 400-person-capacity taproom. It's been hosting musical bands, comedy nights and parties since it opened last June, in what used to be a Sears distribution centre. The place is one of Ottawa's “best-kept secrets," said founders and owners Brad Fennell and Mitch Veilleux, both of whom previously worked in the IT industry.
Business has been "fantastic", said Veilleux. "Our retail sales have exceeded our expectations."
Volunteering at the event were barbers from the House of Barons. They spent the night shaving off whiskers and other facial hair that had sprouted up in the past month, in exchange for donations to the Movember Foundation.
Nobody was parting with their big, bushy beards, but men could get them trimmed and nicely conditioned with premium beard oil by Kings Own Reserve. There was also a shoe-shine service available.
The evening was organized by the Movember Ottawa committee. It's co-chaired by Christian Robillard, who's working as a TD Fellow in Advancement at Carleton University (he graduated from its new Master in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program), and by cancer survivor Will Bulmer, who previously worked for Mayor Jim Watson and former MPP Yasir Naqvi. He happened to be away in the U.K. with his new job, doing global government relations for Canopy Growth.
“Our goal is to be able to grow the scope of the event and draw more people into the Movember cause,” Robillard told OBJ.social. “We want there to be more conversations about men’s health so that we can really change the face of men’s health for the better and stop men from dying too young.”
Men die an average of six years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable, according to the Movember Foundation.
The foundation raises funds for research and support programs for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer in men (behind lung cancer). Their rates are expected to double in the next 15 years while testicular cancer rates continue to rise.
Men still make up three-quarters of those who take their own life.
Tickets for the gala started at $15. The party featured the local band The Paperboys and was emceed by committee member David Schellenberg, morning show co-host on LiVE 88.5. He also doubled as a coat check volunteer that night.
One of the most impressive ‘staches spotted in the room belonged to Chris Addison. He took part in the campaign with some of his co-workers at Craft Beer Market at Lansdowne, but was finally ready to be rid of his muttonchops. “Part of the reason I’m here tonight is for a big, fancy shave,” said Addison, who ended up downgrading to a horseshoe moustache (think Hulk Hogan).
But, not every guy in attendance was prepared to lose the facial hair. “This is my pride and joy,” Sean Benjamin Smith, who works in IT project management and delivery for the federal government, said of his own moustache. “If I shave this off, I’ll get IDed at the bar.”
Chris Reichelt got a head start growing his enormous moustache, which nearly stretched from ear to ear. The impressive results helped him successfully raise $4,200 for the cause. He personally matched the first $2,000 in donations.
Reichelt said he had no qualms about saying goodbye to his hairy friend. "It's going," he promised.