For the first time in more than a decade, the elimination draw at the 2019 Hellenic Gold Plate Dinner was whittled down to just one winner, Jim Sourges, owner of The Electrical and Plumbing Store in Ottawa.
He quietly watched as everyone around him had their numbers pulled from the lottery drum, resulting in their banishment from the stage at the Hellenic Meeting and Reception Centre. At any time, the players could have unanimously decided to stop and split the $30,000 cash prize. But, if there's even one risk taker in the bunch who wants to push their luck, then the draw continues.
The 20 contestants soon became only a handful, and then reduced further to two: Sourges and Bruce Walker, vice president of sales at the Ottawa Athletic Club.
And then it was just Sourges. As the winner, he could choose between the cash or a new Mercedes donated by Jeff Mierins of Star Motors. He chose the car.
“The event was just a fantastic night and I’m really grateful to the Hellenic Community,” Sourges later told OBJ.social.
This year, organizers brought back the Gold Ticket Draw, which involved selling 60 tickets for the chance to win a $10,000 cash prize. It was won by Curt Millar, chief financial officer for InterRent REIT.
Both Sourges and Millar have said they will be donating a portion of their winnings back to Gold Plate Dinner.
The evening grossed more than $500,000 — the highest amount ever raised at the dinner. That sum also brings the long-running event's cumulative total to well over $3 million. There were at least 40 business sponsors, with the top sponsor being Dymon Storage. Its president, Brent Wilson, made a fleeting appearance on stage as one of the contestants of the elimination draw.
For the past three years, the Gold Plate Dinner has been organized under the leadership of prominent Ottawa businessmen Nick Pantieras and Aik Aliferis, senior managing directors with sponsor Marcus & Millichap real estate brokerage. They are spearheading the Canadian expansion of the company's Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) brand in Canada. They work in collaboration with another IPA team of three located in Western Canada, as well as 45 other IPA brokers across the U.S.
Their boss, Greek-American business tycoon George Marcus, wasn't there but he made a personal donation of $30,000 to the cause that night.
This year’s beneficiaries were: the Hellenic Community’s cultural and language programs, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the Lymphedema Association of Ontario — in honour of the co-chairs’ business partner, Luigi Caparelli, who passed away last November at age 58. He had developed lymphedema as a result of his years of treatment for his cancer. Both his son, Rob and Michael, attended the dinner.
Pantieras and Aliferis took over as leaders of the Gold Plate Dinner from District Realty president Steve Ramphos, who scored an honorary title after having done the volunteer job for three decades.
Organizers also include Bill Kontogiannis and Tom Varvaresos from Sysco-Tannis and Gowling WLG partner Wayne Kerrick. Credit goes to executive producer Steve Klein and his team from Marketing Breakthroughs for putting on a gala that’s slick, stylish and exciting.
There were countless business leaders in the crowd, from Barbara Farber, chair of the Heart Institute Foundation board, to Minto Group and OSEG executive chairman Roger Greenberg, to Ian Sherman, who, as tax practice leader at EY, kept a watchful eye over the elimination draws. As well, the Hellenic Community's spiritual leader, Father Alex Michalopulos, was there.
The evening began with a cocktail reception held under a magnificent party tent that was decked out with lounge areas, fancy chandeliers and beautiful lighting effects. There was live music from Ottawa jazz group quartet Safe Low Limit.
Next, the business-networking crowd of more than 550 people headed into the banquet room for dinner and the much-anticipated draws. The chance to fly with three friends to Las Vegas for a Nascar experience was auctioned off by radio personalities Jeff Hopper, from Ottawa’s New Country 94, and Angie Poirier, from Majic 100.
The after-party was held back in the tent, with giant screens set up for watching the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Finals game-one win against the Golden State Warriors. There was also DJed music and a singing performance by Chrissy Spratt.