Heart Institute supporters get their ‘oompah’ on at Bier Markt’s Oktoberfest

Sold-out benefit attracts business community, raises more than $100K for University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Editor's Note

OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark MotorsBruyère FoundationMarilyn Wilson Dream Properties and Sparks Dental. Read their stories here.


It was time to roll out the barrel, roll out the barrel of funds, for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as a sold-out crowd of supporters gathered at Bier Markt on Wednesday night for the 5th Annual Capital Oktoberfest benefit.

Happy sounds of live polka music and the clinking of giant beer mugs could be heard as some 200 partygoers sampled traditional German beer, wines and food at the downtown restaurant, located on Ottawa’s pedestrian friendly Sparks Street. Not only did the keg flow freely, so did the generosity. The fundraiser grossed $104,825 for the Heart Institute, a world-class facility located in our own backyard.


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The popular benefit was once again co-chaired by Steve Gallant, first vice president and investment advisor with Gallant MacDonald CIBC Private Wealth Management, and Tony Rhodes, sales representative with Rhodes Barker Luxury Real Estate. The pair donned traditional Bavarian clothing, including lederhosen, suspenders and alpine felt hats. Luckily for Gallant, he didn’t have to dig far into his closet for his checkered shirt; he wore it just last week for a farm-themed benefit for the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Bier Markt general manager Peter Chase and his staff did a ‘wunderbar’ job hosting the party while CHG Meridian, a technology management firm based out of Germany, was the presenting sponsor.


“I think everyone in this room knows someone who has benefited from the Ottawa Heart Institute,” said Gallant, who was a sponsor that night and also sits on the UOHI Foundation board.

His own dad, Korean war vet Gord Gallant, underwent double bypass surgery at the Heart Institute at age 39. That kept him going until 75, when he went back in for a triple bypass. He’s now 85 and “still kicking,” Gallant told the room. “This place is amazing.”

Dr. Thierry Mesana, president and CEO of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, put his steady (and oh-so soft!) surgeon hands to good use by assisting with the official tapping of the keg.

Also present was Jim Orban, president and CEO of the UOHI Foundation. He’s been named this year’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Ottawa chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Also from the UOHI Foundation was its board chair, Barbara Farber, president of Leikin Group, along with board member Krista Kealey, vice-president of communications and public affairs for the Ottawa International Airport Authority. 


Sighted from some of the business sponsors were: UOHI board member Jacques Emond, co-founding partner of Emond Harnden LLP; Shannon Gorman and Sarah Arden from Telus; Michael Wilson, co-CEO of 1251 Capital Group; Derek Nicholson, partner at Beament Hebert Nicholson LLP; James Maxwell, partner of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets; Chris Vivone and Darcy Walsh from Edelman’s Ottawa office; and Jeff Gallant and Kyle MacDonald from Gallant MacDonald CIBC Private Wealth Management. They won a Canada’s Top Forty Under 40 Award this year.

Also out to support the cause was Dr. Emile Rodrigues, co-owner of sponsor Billings Bridge Dental Centre. He was there with his wife, Cheryl Rodrigues, 61, who has bounced back since her valve replacement surgery two months ago at the Heart Institute. She praised the level of care and support that she received from the entire staff. “I have nothing but amazing things to say,” she told OBJ.social. “They were really positive and upbeat.”


The live auction saw a portion of the proceeds from the prizes go to support the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre.

Items included a trip for two to Oktoberfest 2020 in Munich, with flights and accommodations and VIP access, courtesy of German brewery Paulaner and the Bier Markt. It sold for $7,500. Also up for grabs was a Bavarian breakfast for 20 to be hosted by German Ambassador Sabine Sparwasser at her official residence, with her husband, Gary Soroka.

Nautical Lands Group donated the use of their private plane, a King Air 350, for any day-trip destination (pilots included, of course). It went for $11,000.


There were season’s tickets to the Redblacks, 67’s and Fury games, as well as a premium Ottawa Senators package.

The Knock Out Draw, and a chance to walk away with up to $5,000, saw the five final contestants agree to donate their winnings back to the cause, thereby raising $8,200 for the Heart Institute.

Other attendees included Leslie (Les) Mise, chair of the Fuller Keon Golf Tournament for the Heart Institute, and some of the friendly faces involved with another charity event that Gallant, Rhodes and others spent years organizing: Ringside for Youth for the Boys and Girls Club. It wrapped up in June, after 25 years.


— caroline@obj.ca

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