World Trivia Night raises $55K to help Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa improve lives of at-risk youth

Current Jeopardy! champ Andrew Thomson among 1,350 attendees to participate in 25th anniversary event
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Whether you come off as a bit of a brainiac or a total know-it-all, you’d have been in your element at the 25th anniversary of World Trivia Night held at the EY Centre on Friday night.

The evening, presented by Pat Whalen’s marketing agency, Extension Marketing, saw some 1,350 trivia buffs take a stab at answering a total of 100 questions in a 10-question-per-round format.

The event raised a net total of $55,157 for the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa, which is the fundraising arm of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. The funds will go toward the non-profit's Dare to Dream Bursary Program that helps youth, currently or formerly in care of the CAS, attend college or university. It will also help send kids to summer camp and participate in sports activities.

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From left, Pat Whalen, CEO and founder of presenting sponsor Extension Marketing, with Children's Foundation of Ottawa past board chair Marion Bailey-Canham and its executive director, Walter Noble, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

First place team La Triviata won $5,000, as well as the coveted Trong Nguyen Memorial Trophy. Falling to second-place, after winning the previous two years, was The Sticky Buns team. They walked away with the prize of a free tour of Ottawa's craft beer scene, through Brew Donkey Tours. Last year, the team generously donated its winning back to the cause. In third place was We Lost on Jeopardy. It scored a Diefenbunker Escape Room experience, plus a wine tasting tour at KIN Vineyards in Carp.

The trivia event, which is said to be the largest of its kind, included a corporate challenge element that saw 14 teams compete for the title of smartest company in Ottawa.

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From left, senior manager Rob Hodges, corporate recruiter Danielle Kalapos, director of manufacturing and supply chain Ted Somerville, order management specialist Jennifer Keech and quality engineer Brittany Pollock, all from Nanometrics Seismic Monitoring Solutions, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Organizers gave away prizes throughout the night. There was a 15-minute Escape Manor puzzle to solve, as well as an engaging game of heads and tails. That’s when participants guess which side a coin is going to land on by putting their hands on their heads or bums, until only one person is left. Dr. Paul Crabtree was the last man standing, winning a sports package that included two executive golf memberships at the Canadian Golf & Country Club, plus tickets to Redblacks, 67’s and Ottawa Senators games.

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Dr. Paul Crabtree, a family physician, looked pretty happy after winning the final round of the Heads or Tails Game at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

One team had a ringer in Jeopardy! champ Andrew Thomson. The digital broadcast journalist at C-PAC returns to the American game show Monday, Nov. 18, to try and keep his winning streak going.

It was good to see that fame hasn’t gone to his knowledge-filled head.

“I know for a fact that there are many people here that are much better at trivia than I am,” Thomson told OBJ.social. “But, it’s pretty cool, in this kind of little trivia subculture, to have your moment in the sun, however long it lasts.

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Jeopardy! champ Andrew Thomson in discussions with his team during World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Walter Noble, executive director of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa, was there, along with some of his board members, including past board chair, Marion Bailey-Canham, who's a partner and trademark agent at Gowling WLG, and such fellow board members as intellectual property lawyer Paula Clancy and Laura-Lee Brenneman, a director with BDC Capital. Lynn Harnden, co-founding partner at sponsor Emond Harnden, competed with a team from his law firm, as did Tari Duguay, senior consultant with sponsor Coughlin & Associates.

Also sighted was Barbara MacKinnon, who retired last year after 15 years as executive director of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa.

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Tari Duguay, senior consultant at Coughlin & Associates, with her husband Jason Ng at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa board members Laura-Lee Brenneman, director of growth and transition capital with BDC, and Ottawa trademark lawyer Paula Clancy, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Emond Harnden LLP partner Céline Delorme with the firm’s co-founding partner, Lynn Harnden, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Barbara MacKinnon, retired executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, with Gowling WLG partner Marion Bailey-Canham, past chair of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Well-known Ottawa couple and community volunteers Dennis Jackson, a retired Scotiabank executive, and Dorothy Jackson, at World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in support of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Come show time, the Ottawa Trivia League's Paul Paquet was escorted to the stage by a pair of Star Wars characters as he safely delivered the book of questions, all written by him.

The evening was co-hosted by former radio broadcaster and city councillor Rob Jellett and former CFRA City Hall reporter Dan Pihlainen, who’s now academic chair of media studies at Algonquin College.

In honour of World Trivia Night's silver anniversary, the hosts briefly reminisced about the old days, when the event took place at the Cattle Castle (The Aberdeen Pavilion) at Lansdowne. To date, the event has raised some $1.5 million.

“It’s just tremendous to see how far this has come and how far it’s grown,” said Jellett.

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From left, Andrew Thomson, current champ on Jeopardy!, with well-known trivia writer Paul Paquet at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 for World Trivia Night. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Some teams came dressed in costume for World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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The World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, raised $55,000 for the Children's Aid Foundation of Ottawa and attracted some 1,350 attendees. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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At the start of the evening, last year's winning team, The Sticky Buns, returned their Trong Nguyen Memorial Trophy for this year's World Trivia Night, held at the EY Centre on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj