Close shave for men's health at Movember Gala

Partygoers hit Overflow Brewing Co. to wrap up month-long, moustache-growing campaign

Moustache mania came to a smooth end Saturday night as participants of the annual Movember men's health campaign went under the razor while at Ottawa's Movember Gala, held at Overflow Brewing Company.

The new brewery is on Kaladar Avenue and features a retail shop and 400-person-capacity taproom. It's been hosting musical bands, comedy nights and parties since it opened last June, in what used to be a Sears distribution centre. The place is one of Ottawa's “best-kept secrets," said founders and owners Brad Fennell and Mitch Veilleux, both of whom previously worked in the IT industry.

Business has been "fantastic", said Veilleux. "Our retail sales have exceeded our expectations."

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From left, Overflow Brewing Company owners Mitch Veilleux and Brad Fennell at the Movember Gala, held at 2477 Kaladar Ave. on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Volunteering at the event were barbers from the House of Barons. They spent the night shaving off whiskers and other facial hair that had sprouted up in the past month, in exchange for donations to the Movember Foundation.

Nobody was parting with their big, bushy beards, but men could get them trimmed and nicely conditioned with premium beard oil by Kings Own Reserve. There was also a shoe-shine service available.

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Christopher Lord from House of Barons gives a clean shave to Marc Laflamme,  a physiotherapist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, at the Movember Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Charlie Blackwood gets his beard trimmed at the Movember Gala. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
Tom Dobson looks surprisingly relaxed as barber Kenton Delgreco from House of Barons shaves him with a straight razor at the Movember Gala held at Overflow Brewing Company on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Luca Marinelli from House of Barons was seen shining shoes all night while helping to raise funds for the Movember men's health campaign. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The evening was organized by the Movember Ottawa committee. It's co-chaired by Christian Robillard, who's working as a TD Fellow in Advancement at Carleton University (he graduated from its new Master in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program), and by cancer survivor Will Bulmer, who previously worked for Mayor Jim Watson and former MPP Yasir Naqvi. He happened to be away in the U.K. with his new job, doing global government relations for Canopy Growth. 

“Our goal is to be able to grow the scope of the event and draw more people into the Movember cause,” Robillard told “We want there to be more conversations about men’s health so that we can really change the face of men’s health for the better and stop men from dying too young.”

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Movember Ottawa co-chair Christian Robillard, centre, is flanked by Sean Benjamin Smith, left, and Keith Burley at the November Gala held at Overflow Brewing Company in Heron Park on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Men die an average of six years earlier than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable, according to the Movember Foundation.

The foundation raises funds for research and support programs for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer in men (behind lung cancer). Their rates are expected to double in the next 15 years while testicular cancer rates continue to rise.

Men still make up three-quarters of those who take their own life.

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This year's Movember Ottawa committee includes, from front left, Caitlin Teed, Brandon Armstrong, Jeremy Lumsden, Richard Robins, Gary Mellow and Jon Mason. In the back are, from left, Keith Burley, Christian Robillard and Dave Schellenberg. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Tickets for the gala started at $15. The party featured the local band The Paperboys and was emceed by committee member David Schellenberg, morning show co-host on LiVE 88.5. He also doubled as a coat check volunteer that night.

One of the most impressive ‘staches spotted in the room belonged to Chris Addison. He took part in the campaign with some of his co-workers at Craft Beer Market at Lansdowne, but was finally ready to be rid of his muttonchops. “Part of the reason I’m here tonight is for a big, fancy shave,” said Addison, who ended up downgrading to a horseshoe moustache (think Hulk Hogan).

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Chris Addison proudly shows off his muttonchops alongside his girlfriend, Aly Chan, at the Movember Gala held at Overflow Brewing Company on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

But, not every guy in attendance was prepared to lose the facial hair. “This is my pride and joy,” Sean Benjamin Smith, who works in IT project management and delivery for the federal government, said of his own moustache. “If I shave this off, I’ll get IDed at the bar.”

Chris Reichelt got a head start growing his enormous moustache, which nearly stretched from ear to ear. The impressive results helped him successfully raise $4,200 for the cause. He personally matched the first $2,000 in donations.

Reichelt said he had no qualms about saying goodbye to his hairy friend. "It's going," he promised.

Now that's a moustache! Chris Reichelt, seen with Brian Johnson on the left, managed to raise $4,200 for the Movember Foundation through his participation in the month-long campaign. Photo by Caroline Phillips