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Fishing for donations

Ottawa’s Bruce House commemorates 25 years with a Newfoundland kitchen party

The Bruce House contingent marches in the 2013 Capital Pride parade. Credit: Courtesy of Bruce House

Each year people walk, run and cycle for good causes, but only the hardiest souls would dare to kiss a fish.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Bruce House is having a party to raise funds for its many HIV/AIDS-related programs. In a fun and eccentric response to the stuffiness of charity galas, the organization has decided that the festivities will be in the form of a Newfoundland kitchen party.

Jill Woodley, organizer of the event, explains: “A kitchen party is when there’s a gathering and everybody migrates to the kitchen because it’s where the food’s being prepared, and it’s relaxed and comfortable.”

In line with the East Coast theme, this kitchen party will include a ritual involving cod-kissing and screech, the strong Newfoundland rum. “If you haven’t been to Newfoundland before, when you go there you get screeched-in: you get off the plane, and you get a shot of screech; you have to kiss a cod and say a poem. It makes you an honorary Newfoundlander,” Woodley says.

Following the screech-in, the evening will proceed in a similarly laid-back vein. The hall will be arranged as a collection of kitchens, each with different refreshments, such as food from Steph the Grilling Gourmet and Kim Rivet and alcohol by such breweries as Beau’s, Steam Whistle and HogsBack. The DW James Band will play early on, followed by a silent auction. DJ Ashley will bring the evening to a close.

Prospective partygoers should be aware that the mischievous Woodley has a special trick to encourage those who are reluctant to kiss the cod.