OBJ.Social fall preview: Galas galore set to liven up autumn in Ottawa

Ottawa skyline

The fall fundraising season is around the corner, bringing with it a whirlwind of glitzy galas, cocktail soirées and awards dinners that start sometime after Labour Day and show no signs of slowing down until Old Man Winter decides to crash the party.

The fundraisers really do begin with a bang, followed by an explosion of colour and lights, with the Lumière Charity Gala. It was launched by legendary technology entrepreneur Terry Matthews in 2003 to celebrate the grand opening of his west-end Brookstreet Hotel.

Lumière, which raises money for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, returns to the recently expanded Brookstreet on Thursday, Sept. 13. This year, the event is celebrating its 15th anniversary by serving its best dishes from the past 15 years, paired with drinks. The evening always closes with an elaborate fireworks display.

The NAC Gala remains one of best people-watching parties in town. The signature arts benefit returns Wednesday, Oct. 3 with the supremely talented Diana Ross gracing the stage to perform with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.

Expect to see a black-tie crowd peppered with business leaders, philanthropists, elected officials, diplomats and other VIPs, all out supporting the National Arts Centre and its efforts to develop Canada’s next generation of performing artists through its National Youth and Education Trust.

For heart-pounding excitement, there’s the charity boxing event Fight for the Cure. It’s back at the Hilton Lac-Leamy on Saturday, Oct. 13 to raise funds for cancer. Folks with regular nine-to-five jobs will step into the ring, following months of rigorous training, to fight in front of a large and enthused crowd. New this year is the addition of female white-collar competitors.

As the autumn nights continue to grow longer and the weather colder, The Ottawa Hospital Gala is the perfect occasion for getting into one’s gown ​– and we’re not talking about the easy-access blue hospital kind.

The glitzy event, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 at the Westin Ottawa hotel, brings hundreds of guests together for an elegant but fun night of dinner and dancing. Each year, awards are handed out to several local researchers who are shaping the future of health care through their extraordinary work. But you don’t need to be a science whiz to feel inspired at this gala.

Just so you know, construction boots are not required for Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa’s Steel Toes and Stilettos Gala happening Saturday, Nov. 3 in the scenic Trillium Ballroom of the Shaw Centre. The evening will be raising funds to help lower-income families achieve their dream of affordable home ownership.

The following weekend, the Snowsuit Fund is holding its annual black-tie gala in the ballroom of the Fairmont Château Laurier on Saturday, Nov. 10. The stylish soiree raises funds to provide new winter outerwear to underprivileged children.

One night a year, Ottawa’s professional fundraisers come together to celebrate chosen individuals, groups, corporations and small business whose contribution of time, money and/or skills are making a difference in the community. The Ottawa chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals is hosting The Phils, also known as the Ottawa Philanthropy Awards, on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the National Arts Centre.

Finally, there’s just something so friendly-sounding about a gala that calls itself The BOBs. The Best Ottawa Business Awards celebrates successful companies and business leaders who are helping to drive economic growth and prosperity. Categories include CEO of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

The awards will be handed out at a gala dinner slated for Friday, Nov. 30 at the Westin Ottawa hotel.