Ottawa RedBlacks game-day parties don’t get much more multicultural than the one thrown Thursday night by Ottawa sports entrepreneur Jeff Hunt and well-known dentist Dr. Nalin Bhargava.
The men blended their respective Newfoundland and South Asian roots to create a Come from Away to Bombay night held at Hunt’s luxury condo overlooking TD Place stadium, where the RedBlacks played and, sadly, lost to the Montreal Alouettes.
Guests feasted on a buffet dinner catered by Ishina Distinguished Indian Cuisine while Professional Entertainment Group kept the tunes coming with hits by Great Big Sea, Natalie MacMaster, Stompin’ Tom Connors, and others. It turned out to be a beautiful night for watching the game from Hunt’s 1,200-square-foot private balcony.
Also present was Ottawa lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, who was recently awarded the Ontario Law Society's 2022 Lincoln Alexander Award for his work as a champion of the underdogs in the legal and broader community.
Dressed in a red-and-black lumberjack shirt, Greenspon slipped on a fisherman's hat and a pair of Indian mojari shoes to host an entertaining trivia face-off game of questions focused on India, Newfoundland, the RedBlacks and Ottawa’s mayors. Speaking of mayors, former mayor Jim Durrell was among the guests that night as well as Ottawa mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe. Too bad Sutcliffe missed the trivia game; he used to be on the Reach for the Top team at St. Pius X High School in Ottawa.
Some of the trivia questions were easy while others — such as who was the only female general manager of Ottawa’s CFL team — left contestants stumped. The answer is Jo-Anne Polak, from 1989 to 1991.
Guests also included Ottawa entrepreneur Kevin Ling, owner of the Ottawa Sooners junior football team, and Ron Smith, chair of 100 Men Who Care Ottawa, which is joining forces on Sept. 12th with 100 Women Who Care Ottawa to raise funds for three local grassroots charities. It'll be the first time the two groups work together like this, he told OBJ.social.
Bhargava is the team dentist for the Ottawa RedBlacks and is a principal dentist, as is his wife Dr. Rani Telang, at Southgate Dental. He was the driving force behind the creation of the popular Maharaja’s Ball and has been involved with numerous other charity galas for such causes as the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Montfort Hospital and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) Foundation.
Hunt, who was born in Stephenville, Nfld, is president of the Ottawa-based soccer club Atlético and, more recently, a partner in Ottawa Valley Meats. He’s also former long-time owner of the Ottawa 67’s major junior hockey team and a former partner at OSEG. Come from Away is the name of the award-winning Broadway musical based on a real-life 9/11 story in the small Newfoundland town of Gander.
For Bhargava, the Come from Away to Bombay night was helpful in determining whether the public still has an appetite for social events after it was forced to step away from galas during the pandemic. “Really what I’m doing here is data research analysis,” said Bhargava, who found everyone he invited to the party was quick to accept.
Hunt was only too happy to share his place that night with friends both new and old. “I would love to do this again next year,” said Hunt while adding that he’s open to adding a charitable angle, similar to how he's done with private parties he has hosted in years past.