Infinity Convention Centre dazzles with disco party in support of Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

Claridge Homes founder Bill Malhotra matches grand total to help raise $102K for mental health cause
Editor's Note

OBJ.Social is supported by the generous patronage of Mark Motors, Bruyère Foundation, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties, the Shaw Centre and Sparks Dental. Read their stories here.

The Infinity Convention Centre really knows how to throw a party.

Some 650 people attended this year's disco-themed Infinity Ball on Friday night for a cocktail reception and sit-down dinner that showcased unique entertainment. There was acrobatic roller-skating performers, an electric harpist, and Bollywood disco dancing. Later, the floor was packed with partygoers grooving to Punjabi music, under a massive disco ball.

The evening also featured a surprise ending. Organizers' donation to the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health was doubled faster than you can say: "That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it".

icc
Partygoers packed the dance floor at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Partygoers were treated to an acrobatic roller-skating performance at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips

It was seasoned real estate developer Bill Malhotra who helped to make a big difference that night. He's the founder and CEO of Claridge Homes. He's also very good friends with Anand Aggarwal, one of the business partners at the Infinity Convention Centre (ICC).

Malhotra is all about elevating things to new heights (if you don't believe me, just check out his new 45-storey Claridge Icon tower at Dow's Lake).

The gregarious businessman announced that he'd be matching the $51,000 ceremonial cheque presented that night, thereby raising the grand total to $102,000.

icc
From left, Anand Aggarwal, co-owner of the Infinity Convention Centre, with Claridge Homes founder and CEO Bill Malhotra at The Infinity Ball, held Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
On stage for the ceremonial cheque presentation were, from left, Dr. David Attwood (Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre), Tracey Welsh (Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health), Mike Cleland (Cleland Jardine Engineering), Bill Malhotra and Romina Malhotra (Claridge Homes), Saroj Aggarwal and Anand Aggarwal (Infinity Convention Centre), and one of Anand's business partners, Harry Sohal (Infinity Convention Centre) at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The gala marked the third annual benefit party hosted by the ICC since it first splashed onto the scene in 2016 as one of Ottawa’s modern and new event spaces. The facility is located close to the Ottawa airport.

The ICC is owned by Aggarwal and the Sohal family. Together, they also own five hotels in Ottawa. The creative mind behind The Infinity Ball is ICC co-owner Anu Sohal, with event planner pro Tami Varma helping to execute her ideas.  

The evening was the perfect farewell for India's outgoing high commissioner, Vikas Swarup. Supporters from the business community included Cleland Jardine Engineering co-founding partner Mike Cleland, District Realty president and founder Steve Ramphos and representatives from BMO Bank of Montreal. There on behalf of the Royal Ottawa Foundation was Tracey Welsh, director of community engagement.

icc
From left, Anu Sohal, lead organizer of The Infinity Ball and co-owner of the Infinity Convention Centre, with Tracey Welsh from the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, and event planner Tami Varma, outside the entrance into the ballroom. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
icc
From left, T.J. Sohal, Gary Sohal and Sonny Sohal are part of the family ownership of the Infinity Convention Centre, which hosted its annual Infinity Ball on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Steve Ramphos, president and founder of District Realty, with his wife, Doris, at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Margaret Struthers with Michel Struthers from sponsor BMO, and Ali Gaty with her husband, Daniel Moore, also with BMO, at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Sandy Smallwood, president of Andrex Holdings, with his wife, Mary Anne Smallwood, at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Mike Cleland, co-founding partner of Cleland Jardine Engineering, with Anand Aggarwal  at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
India's outgoing high commissioner to Canada, Vikas Swarup, at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The dinner was emceed by TV host and professional speaker Derick Fage. The community can expect to see more of Fage now that he's returned to his hometown of Ottawa, full-time, following the cancellation of Breakfast Television Montreal.

Richcraft owner Kris Singhal was there. So was Bruce Raganold, director of business development and a partner at Welch LLP. He was with his son, Josh Raganold, who recently joined the accounting firm as its business development manager. 

During the cocktail reception, Riti Gupta and Sandeep Gupta were offering samples of their new tequila, Cada Dia. Other attendees included Dipak Roy, founder and executive chairman of D-TA Systems Inc.; Algonquin College president and CEO Claude Brulé; Dr. Sanjay Acharya, chief of staff at the Queensway Carleton Hospital; Ruckify's chief financial officer, Sunny Khosla, and Ottawa Police Deputy Chief Uday Singh Jaswal.

icc
From left, emcee Derick Fage with Tracey Welsh (Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health) and keynote speaker Dr. David Attwood at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Kris Singhal from Richcraft Homes with Bill Malhotra at The Infinity Ball, held at the Infinity Convention Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Riti Gupta and Sandeep Gupta, owners of Cada Dia Tequila, at The Infinity Ball held at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Jayme Raganold with her husband, Josh Raganold, and Bruce Raganold and Giselle Bergeron-Raganold, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for the disco-themed Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Dipak Roy, founder and executive chairman of D-TA Systems, with Dr. Sanjay Acharya, chief of staff at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Bill Malhotra, CEO and founder of Claridge Homes at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Patrick Sparks from online marketplace Ruckify with colleagues Tony Scafidi and Sunny Khosla, the company's CFO, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Algonquin College president and CEO Claude Brulé and his wife, Carole, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
claude
MJ Brown, director of corporate events for OttawaVenues, wore the perfect dress for the disco-themed Infinity Ball, hosted by the Infinity Convention Centre. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Ottawa city councillor Mathieu Fleury (Rideau-Vanier) with his wife, Lai Hoang, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The evening’s keynote speaker was Dr. David Attwood, clinical director of The Royal's integrated schizophrenia and recovery program. He began his remarks by pointing out that there was a full moon — which is widely believed to influence mood and psychiatric health.

“While we’re all having a great time here talking to each other, meeting old friends, making new friends, many of my patients don’t have this opportunity,” Attwood told the ballroom full of chatty dinner guests. “Not only that, even if they had the opportunity, they wouldn’t come because they could just not tolerate the stress and pressure of actually being here."

About 250,000 people in tge Ottawa area suffer from a primary mood or anxiety disorder, he also told the room.

Attwood spoke about schizophrenia, a mental illness that affects about one percent of the population, and how its symptoms can arrive “without hesitation” in a young person's life, with a loss of interest in friends, sports, school and family. “At The Royal, we struggle very hard to get some of those folks help as soon as possible,” said Attwood. “We know the sooner people get help, we know the better they do. Even though we know that, we’ve struggled for decades to provide people with the care that they need.”

Almost 30 percent of patients with schizophrenia do not get better with routine treatment, he pointed out.

"I think when people come to see me they think they're at the end of the road. The Royal is not the end of the road. The Royal is this awesome place to get help. It's a community."

The Royal aspires to leave no one behind as patients struggle for recovery, but still has a long way to go before that's a reality, he added.

icc
Anand Aggarwal with Donna-Lee MacLean, director of major accounts at Rogers Communications, with Barbara Farber, president of Leikin Group, at the Infinity Convention Centre for its disco-themed Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Drs. Prasad Jetty and Mandip Jetty with Monica Mital and Anil Mital, Tim Horton franchisee, at the Infinity Convention Centre on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, for The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
Adam Kane, left, and Keegan Gomes, both with Scotia Wealth Management, alongside their wives, Trina Kane and Jaime Gomes, at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Tracy Weatherdon with Brent Weatherdon (Cleland Jardine Engineering), Karen Cleland, Mike Cleland (Cleland Jardine Engineering) and André Marcoux (Cleland Jardine Engineering), at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Pietro Borracci, district vice-president at TD, with Infinity Convention Centre co-owner Sonny Sohal and TD's Randa Nouh, Angie Vranas and Ted Mertl at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips
icc
From left, Ottawa Police Deputy Chief Uday Singh Jaswal with Sandy Smallwood, acting chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, at The Infinity Ball. Photo by Caroline Phillips

— caroline@obj.ca