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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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.


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.


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 “But, it’s pretty cool, in this kind of little trivia subculture, to have your moment in the sun, however long it lasts.


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.


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.


— caroline@obj

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