The Shaw Centre welcomed a sold out, 70th Annual Christmas Cheer Breakfast on Friday, December 3rd. The breakfast is one of the largest charitable events in the region and known as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season. This one-hour event raised $85, 000 for 22 local charities within the Ottawa region. These food-based charities count on the donations from the breakfast to feed those in need this holiday season.
With last year’s event being completely virtual this year organizers decided to host a hybrid event. Over 450 people attended the event in person and were greeted by a festive brass band that echoed Christmas carols as attendees trickled into the Trillium Ballroom. As this was likely one of the first times many would attend a large event such as this, the excitement in the room was electric, and the holiday spirit was alive. Attendees and hosts alike rejoiced when connecting, often commenting, “It’s so great to see you again.” Or “how great is it that we’re all sitting in this room together.”
Corporate tables attending virtually were sent a Christmas Cheer Gift Basket, sponsored by Welch LLP, JR Saint & Associates with delivery provided by Trexity and included goodies from Mavericks Donuts and Happy Goat Coffee. Also included in the gift package was a large poinsettia to add to the office holiday spirit.
The event was hosted by CTV’s Chief News Anchor Graham Richardson, Co-anchor Patricia Boal, and accompanied by Anchor Matt Skube, who brought the holiday spirit. They certainly dressed for the occasion sporting their Christmas themed suits and dresses.
The entertainment was exceptional, with several performances by award-winning Twin Flames, a local husband and wife duo whose music blends both First Nations and Inuit music with folk-rock. They covered a fantastic rendition of the late Gord Downey’s “Grace Too” with an indigenous twist. Other performances included a local artist from Orleans, Steph Larochelle, who serenaded the crowd virtually with some holiday classics. Another virtual entertainer was no other than Natalie McMaster, accompanied by her husband and 7 children, who charmed the crowd with their harmonious fiddles. As well as an outstanding performance by Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, Randell Adjei.
In attendance were an abundance of political dignitaries such as the Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture, the honorable Lisa McLeod, the Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson, and virtual remarks were given by Premier Doug Ford. Minister McLeod discussed the impacts of the pandemic on tourism and sport and her support in the recovery of these sectors. Mayor Watson, who celebrated his 25th year of attending the breakfast, discussed his pride for the city of Ottawa, beaming that he heard from a recent study that Ottawa volunteers and donates more per capita than any other Canadian city.
The event did not disappoint the tastebuds either with organizers switching the regular buffet breakfast to a plated meal. Shaw Centre’s Executive Chef Patrick Turcot delivered a unique breakfast poutine that featured; shredded mushroom hash with roasted corn and spinach tofu press topped with a melted Montebello Tete a Papineau cheese and some squash coulis and oven roasted grape tomatoes on the side.
The Shaw Centre is proud to host such an important community event that truly impacts many people’s lives in the region. We’re delighted to know that the breakfast proceeds will feed those who need it most and perhaps brighten up their holidays. We look forward to the 2022 edition, which will hopefully be the largest attended Christmas Cheer Breakfast to date.