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If we're going to be wearing boots for another wintery month or two, we might as well put our chunky footwear to enjoyable use by stomping around in them to good fiddle music.
The St. Patrick's Home of Ottawa Foundation hosted its first Winter Warm-Up! benefit party Thursday night at Lansdowne's Horticulture Building. It brought in the Cape Breton band Còig to play. The group has earned itself a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Juno Award nomination and multiple East Coast Music Awards and Music Nova Scotia Awards.
The evening was a deliberate departure from the foundation's usual sit-down gala dinners as organizers looked for a fresh way to engage existing donors while attracting new supporters.
"We decided to go back to our Irish roots and plan an event that reflects the history and the spirit of St. Pat’s,” the foundation’s executive director, Meg Friedman, told the 200-person crowd.
“We wanted it to be a casual, social, ‘good for the heart and soul’ kind of experience that really lifts your spirits at this time of the year in February, when winter has gone on for far too long.”
The evening’s presenting sponsor was chartered professional accounting firm Baker Tilly Ottawa LLP, represented by tax partner Rosa Iuliano and principal Tracey Pagé.
Iuliano — a former WBN Professional Businesswoman of the Year Award recipient — is also chair of the board for the St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa Foundation. It raises funds for St. Pat's, a long-term, 24-hour care facility located on Riverside Drive.
“Our residents are supported for and cared for in a home, a welcoming home, and what’s more like a home than a kitchen party, right?” Iuliano told the crowd before welcoming the talented musicians to the stage.
St. Pat's raises essential funds for its programs that enhance care and contribute to the health and well-being of its residents, in a warm and welcoming environment, she said.
Iuliano spoke briefly about a couple of St. Pat's programs, such as its music and memory therapy. Residents listen through headphones to a playlist of music created just for them, with the aid of portable electronic devices, such as iPods. “Music reaches people, it hits them in their soul,” said Iuliano. “We all know what that’s like, when you hear that song and it brings you back.”
The facility also runs a social engagement program that makes it possible for its residents to safely venture out together on supervised excursions. “That simple pleasure of going for coffee means so much to our residents, and it is not possible without foundation support,” said Iuliano.
Spotted in the crowd was retired lawyer Larry Kelly, chairman of Montreal-based Pole Air Aviation. He voluntarily led St. Pat’s successful $11-million capital campaign that culminated with the opening of its modern and new 288-bed facility, in late 2013.
Seen from reception sponsor TD were Krista Moulds and Robin Bowyer. Former foundation board chair Phil Brock was out with a large group from investment management firm BMO Nesbitt Burns. New board member Pam Turenne, account executive with CyberArk, bought along some guests from the high-tech community. She joined the board as a result of the excellent care that St. Pat's provided to her mother, Maya Mirchandani, during her 10 years of living at the home. Mirchandani passed away in 2016, at age 82.
River Ward city councillor Riley Brockington was there. So was Laura Finlay, second secretary at the Embassy of Ireland. Ambassador Jim Kelly and his wife donated to the auction a dinner for 10 at their official residence in Rockcliffe Park.
A bunch of folks from the Bruyère Foundation were out to support the cause. Also seen was a young group of accountants from décor sponsor Welch LLP. Other attendees included Jim McKeown, broker of Coldwell Banker Rhodes & Company, and former NHL player Kent Manderville, now with IP Private Wealth, with his lawyer wife, Kim Ratushny. She's an accomplished hockey player herself; she helped Canada win the gold medal at the inaugural women's world hockey championship in Ottawa in 1990.
Also on hand was Janet Morris, president and CEO of St. Patrick's Home of Ottawa. It was founded two years before Confederation, in 1865, by Catholic nuns to help the poor, orphaned and elderly.