Cheers to the Boys and Girls Club's new Great Canadian Pub Night

Inaugural fundraiser brings crowds together in pub setting for fun and friendly night of food, music and drinks
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.

 

Really, what else is better, after clocking out from work on a Friday, than hitting the pub for some pints?

Those were the plans of nearly 350 attendees of the brand new Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.

Guests happily ditched nylons and neckties for the comfortable combo of flannel shirts and jeans. 

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Planning committee members, from left, Cindy Harrison, Dana McPhail, Judi Mousseau, Marci Groper (chair), Lynda Kurylowicz, Krista Barban, Kathryn Faught, Virgilia Partridge and Trish Kavanagh (missing is Kris McGinn) at the Great Canadian Pub Night. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The ICC ballroom, where fancy black-tie dinners are a regular thing, offered a welcoming and cosy atmosphere that night. The venue resembled a large public house, which is often the social hub of smaller communities. There was pub food and drinks, along with a variety of games, televised sports on giant screens, chalkboard menus, bar stools and tables, and candles and soft lighting.  

“We wanted to do something that’s never been done before,” Marci Groper, chair of the all-female planning committee, told OBJ.social. “We wanted it to be a fun, low-key night with friends, but that’s also supporting the kids.”

They hit the bull's eye, as they say in the pub dart league. The turnout was much greater than anyone expected and partygoers seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, as they soaked up the casualness of the evening.

The event's top sponsor was Gary Zed’s Treehouse family advisory firm. Zed, who is a long-time board member with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, is also a family office advisor with KPMG LLP.

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The Great Canadian Pub Night was held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 23, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Groper was joined on the committee by volunteers Krista Barban, Kathryn Faught, Cindy Harrison, Trish Kavanagh, Lynda Kurylowicz, Kris McGinn, Dana McPhail and Judi Mousseau.

McGinn arrived a little later, toting a more casual pair of clothes to change into. She’d come straight from the Best Ottawa Business Awards (The BOBs). She’s the COO and co-owner of Assurance Home Care, which was one of this year’s award recipients. 

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Kristine McGinn, who was on the planning committee for the Great Canadian Pub Night, with her husband, Walter McGinn, owner of sponsor Allegra Marketing Print Mail. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa executive director Colleen Mooney is flanked by two long-time supporters of the non-profit organization: Brett Fripp (left) from CIBC Wood Gundy and Graham Macmillan, former board chair, at the Great Canadian Pub Night. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Rudi Asseer, CEO of staffing agency IMI, with Mark Motors Group co-owner Michael Mrak and Gary Zed from presenting sponsor Treehouse at the Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

There was great local entertainment, with both Dave KalilTyler Kealey and Todd Huckabone from the Ottawa Duelling Pianos Show, and Little Bones, which is a Tragically Hip tribute band. At one point, its lead singer Dan Hilts wandered through the crowd while belting out the words to Poets. Why, he was still singing while pausing to play a bit of foosball.

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Gowling WLG senior partner Rick Dearden, left, and colleague Wendy Wagner are paid a visit from Little Bones vocalist Dan Hilts during the Great Canadian Pub Night, held in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Planning committee member Krista Barban with her husband, sponsor Steve Barban, who runs investment boutique firm Gentry Capital, at the Great Canadian Pub Night, held at the Infinity Convention Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The evening was emceed by radio morning show host Jeff Hopper from Ottawa's Pure Country 94.

Spotted in the crowd were BGCO executive director Colleen Mooney and the chair of its board, Stephen Beckta, owner of the Beckta dining & wine and its sister restaurants, Play and Gezellig.

Sponsors included Pawan Dilawri, president of Dilawri Auto Group, Laurin General Contractor owner Dennis Laurin, Gentry Capital president Steve Barban, BFL Canada, represented by Ottawa branch vice president John Bethune, and Allegra Marketing Print Mail owner Walter McGinn, among others. Members of the Sohal family, which co-owns the Infinity Convention Centre, were also out supporting the cause.

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Playing darts was John Lindgren, president and CEO of IPVALUE, seen with his wife, Crickett Lindgren, who raided her son's closet to find a flannel shirt for the Great Canadian Pub Night. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, artist Jennifer Nicol, Claudia Morrison, from RBC Wealth Management, and Claire Greenberg at the Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Dr. George Tawagi, head of obstetrics at The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus, with his wife, Francine Belleau, and obstetrician gynecologist Dr. John Lamensa and Kathryn Tremblay, co-founder & CEO of excelHR. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From the BLK Canada group: Andre Cloutier, left, John Bethune, Judi Mousseau, Kevin Lake and Jacqueline Guarisco at the Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Organizers brought some East Coast flavour to the night, particularly with the Kiss The Cod photo booth. The deceased and frozen fish, named Morty, was actually a tuna (not that anybody noticed, or cared) from the nearby T&T Supermarket. 

There were some short speeches, but not many. The bidding on silent auction items was all done by mobile phone.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa provides safe spaces where children and youth can participate in enriching programs, engage with role models, make new friends, and develop essential life skills. Each year, some 4,500 kids in our city take advantage of the free programs and services offered at the seven clubhouses located in areas where children are at-risk and vulnerable to negative influences. It also runs a summer camp near Eganville.

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That's Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa board member Sean Lundy, president and CEO of Lundy Construction, embracing Newfoundland tradition while joined by the BGCO's director of advancement, Jennifer Baca (left), board member Robyn Osgood (McMillan Vantage Policy Group), and Adam Joiner, director of programs at the BGCO, at the Great Canadian Pub Night. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Marci Groper, chair of the planning committee for the Great Canadian Pub Night, and Ottawa Boys and Girls Club board chair Stephen Beckta, pose with Morty the Fish against a Newfoundland photo backdrop. Photo by Caroline Phillips

All the beer came from Flora Hall Brewing in Ottawa while the wine was donated by Wayne Gretzky Estates. The vodkow — produced with cow’s milk — was courtesy of Almonte-based Dairy Distillery.

The food stations included fish and chips, poutine, donairs, Alberta beef sliders, pan-seared perogies, Nanaimo bars, butter tarts and Saskatoon berry tarts.

“We wanted to celebrate Canada,” explained Groper, whose husband, Mark Groper, is on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. He’s also the president and CEO of Orion Biotechnology Canada. 

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Marci Groper, chair of the planning committee for the inaugural Great Canadian Pub Night, with her husband, Mark Groper, who's on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Dennis Laurin, owner of Laurin General Contractor, with his wife, Andrea, and their son, Max Laurin, and his fiancée, Natasha Molnar, at the Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa board member Mike Wilson, co-CEO of 1251 Capital Group, is flanked by Infinity Convention Centre co-owners Sonny Sohal, left, and T.J. Sohal, at the Great Canadian Pub Night held Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Pawan Dilawri, president at Dilawri Auto Group, with Majida Saikaley, Meera Dilawri‏, and Laila Saikaley and Eli Saikaley, owners of Silver Scissors Salon, at the Great Canadian Pub Night for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Sean Lundy with Franklin Holtforster, president and CEO of Colliers Project Leaders, at the Great Canadian Pub Night for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Virgilia Partridge, special events officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, with Jeff Hopper, radio host on Pure Country 94, and his wife, Louise White, at the Great Canadian Pub Night for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Mark Groper gets his focus face on during a friendly game of beer pong while Marci Groper and Katie Macmillan watch in the background at the Great Canadian Pub Night held in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Welch LLP's Divya Agarwal, left, and Gaetano Lombardo play some foosball at the Great Canadian Pub Night held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Dave Kalil, far left, Todd Huckabone (guitar) and Tyler Kealey from the Duelling Pianos Show perform at the Great Canadian Pub Night for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

– caroline@obj.ca