A campaign “kick-off” event, The Garrison Dinner, was held at Fort York on the evening of June 1, 2011 to introduce friends and supporters to the site and to the objectives of the campaign. Co-Chaired by Janice and Earle O’Born and Valerie and Andy Pringle, The Garrison Dinner was a major success, thanks to the sunny, breezy weather and the hard work of a great team of volunteers and supporters. Special acknowledgement should be made of the donation of all printing by The Printing House, media sponsorship by the Globe & Mail and the donation of the wine by Inniskillen Wineries.
From politics, The Hon. Jim Flaherty, federal Minister of Finance and his wife, Ontario MPP Christine Elliott were present, as well as Councillors Doug Ford and his wife Carla, David Shiner and Mike Layton. The Hons. Lincoln Alexander and Hal Jackman, two of the Foundation’s Honorary Chairs, attended, along with a large group of corporate, government, culture & heritage leaders and Fort York supporters. Several members of the Foundation Board were present who all worked exceptionally hard as ambassadors for the cause.
The unique and special nature of the event itself was very evident. The Fort York Guard and Fife & Drum corps was present in full force, and added a very smart, impressive and youthful element to the historical message. The dinners, as created by the five celebrity chefs (Mark McEwan, Marc Thuet, Jamie Kennedy, Corbin Tomaszeski and Brad Long) were all outstanding, and the reception in the black silk tent before and after dinner was a scene of gaiety, enthusiasm and real interest in the Foundation’s message and in the campaign. The guest of honour, Lieutenant General Andrew Leslie in particular lent an air of military resplendence. The formal presentations by Foundation Cair Andrew Stewart, Campaign Cabinet Chair Andy Pringle, and guest of honour, LGen Andrew Leslie, were ably emceed by Jian Ghomeshi and concluded by Valerie Pringle accompanied by Janice O’Born, speaking for the Dinner Co-Chairs.
Reaction to the event overall was overwhelmingly positive and a wonderful time was had by all.