2 min

A Taste for Life returns to Ottawa

Bruce House promotes good taste in the community

TASTE FOR LIFE. Bruce House staff work year-round in the community raising funds for their organization. Credit: Shawn Scallen

Bruce House and the Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation are once again turning to food to make up for shortfalls in their government funding.

The two groups are banding together with more than 30 local restaurants for the fifth annual A Taste for Life on Wed, May 14.

As with most AIDS organizations that rely on government funding, Bruce House and the Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation are counting on such fundraising events to help with a deficit in their budget this year.

“Currently, Bruce House is forced to raise about 35 percent of our operational budget from alternative sources,” says Bruce House executive director Jay Koornstra.

Koornstra says that while government funding is not enough, he also blames the recession and its effect on people’s pocketbooks for the decline.

“Donations to Bruce House have dropped over the last couple of years,” says Koornstra. “We have actually held on to our share of community largesse, but it’s increasingly difficult for organizations to raise funds.”

But he’s hopeful that A Taste For Life, with its promise of fine dining, will persuade people to contribute.

“A Taste for Life is a fun event,” says Koornstra, “because it allows people to go out to a restaurant of their choice, have a fabulous evening, pay their bill and have the restaurant donate for them.”

From the upscale takeout of Thyme and Again’s Take Home Food Shop to the refined elegance of Café Henry Burger, restaurants will donate 25 percent of gross receipts for the night to Bruce House and the Snowy Owl AIDS Foundation.

Bruce House and the foundation split the net proceeds from this fundraising venture, which usually brings in about $35,000 to $40,000, says Koornstra, adding that the event benefits restaurateurs as well.

For Kinki co-owner Marisol Simoes, the increased business is only one reason to participate.

“It’s a far more social way to give. They give us publicity and bring us people who might not otherwise know about the restaurant, but it’s a great event anyway.”

Bruce House’s other major fundraiser is being staged on Fri, Apr 25. The Great Canadian Theatre Company will host a joint benefit production of Bryden MacDonald’s play Whale Riding Weather, starring Queer as Folk actor Jack Wetherall.

The benefit performance of Whale Riding Weather may be a quieter evening out, but is of no less benefit to Bruce House.

For $40, audience members can not only see the acclaimed Atlantic-Canadian play about love and life, but can also attend a reception and meet the cast, including veteran stage actor turned Queer as Folk grande dame Jack Wetherall, who plays 50-something Lyle in the play.

“We like to help other non-profit organizations in the community,” says GCTC communications manager Sean Fitzpatrick. “And Bruce House is certainly one of the most important.”






Wed, May 14.

Various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau.


Fri, Apr 25.

Great Canadian Theatre Company.

910 Gladstone Avenue.

Box Office: 236-5196.