Around Town: Partygoers flip cancer the bird

Picture 1 of 14

Cantor Daniel Benlolo with his wife, Muriel Benlolo, at the F-Cancer dance party for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation held Saturday, March 10, 2012, at the Mansion Nightclub in the ByWard Market. (Photo by Caroline Phillips)

Ottawa partygoers gave F*** Cancer two thumbs up. Wait, make that two middle fingers up.

Hundreds of twentysomethings flipped the bird to cancer at the late-night benefit dance party recently held at the ByWard Market’s Mansion Nightclub.

Entry tickets were in the form of $20 T-shirts bearing the ‘F Cancer’ mantra. The shirts’ bold lettering came in different colours to match the various cancer ribbon campaigns.

The fundraiser was chaired by Samantha Banks and was endorsed by the likes of Cantor Daniel Benlolo from the Beth Shalom synagogue.

Other volunteers included Shayna Miller and Lauren Seller, who were in charge of tickets and sponsorship, respectively.

F Cancer (pardon the censorship; it’s a family newspaper, you know) was started in Montreal by the Greenbaum family. Hillel Greenbaum, a general contractor and developer with Broccolini Construction, was at the Ottawa bash with his three children, Jacob, 23, Julie, 21 and Claire, 16.

“At my age I should be in bed at this time,” Greenbaum joked, his voice nearly drowned out by the loud music.

The family’s matriarch, Jone, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. Around Town crossed paths with Greenbaum at the 2007 Negev Dinner in Ottawa, when he got keynote speaker Larry King to say comforting words, via cellphone, to his ailing wife.

Jone Weltman-Greenbaum died Jan. 9, 2010, in Montreal at age 54.

The event’s name came from something Jone uttered at a very low point, following a painful lung biopsy. “Our goal is not to offend people,” Greenbaum said of the profanity. “We recognize it can be offensive to some, but we look at the bottom line and we find cancer a terribly offensive disease.”

The March 10 dance party raised $14,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.


A discussion over drinks was definitely in order after watching the Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes’ Penny Plain at the National Arts Centre on Friday. It’s no Casey and Finnegan, folks.

Back in Le Salon, the play was the talk of the opening night party. Among the “puppet virgins” (Burkett’s term for first-time attendees) were economics prof Frances Woolley and visual artist Jerry Grey, who found the show brilliant, but also dark and dystopian. Interior designer Stefania Crilly felt transported. “I don’t know if I’m back yet,” she added.

Burkett fans included Ottawa actress Sarah McVie (she’s seen three of his shows) and Ottawa Chamber Music Society executive director Glenn Hodgins and his wife, soprano Ann Monoyios.

Ronnie Burkett arrived in good spirits and was seen chatting with guests. He showed no signs of fatigue from the physical and vocal demands of his artistry, although he did casually tell Around Town: “I just want to sit and go smoke for an hour.”

The NAC’s artistic director of English Theatre, Peter Hinton, got everyone to raise their glasses and toast Burkett for his 25 years of “really setting a bar for arts and theatre in Canada.”


Honestly, shouldn’t we call it St. Patrick’s Month? Among the non-stop activities organized in and around St.

Paddy’s Day in Ottawa was an inaugural luncheon held Friday at the Lago restaurant at Dow’s Lake Pavilion.

Roughly 275 people attended the networking event, which featured live Irish music with drinks and food, including cheeses imported from the Emerald Isle.

The luncheon was organized by Patrick Whelan, executive V-P and COO of Osgoode Properties; Bob Kerr of OFL Business Interiors; investment adviser David Guilfoyle; Patrick Dion, a partner at Greenbridge Consulting; Patrick Murray, a partner at McMillan LLP, and his brother, Brian Murray, of Sakto Corp.

They were hoping to net $40,000 to $45,000 for the Ireland Fund of Canada, St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa and St. Brigid’s Centre.

St. Patrick’s Parade grand marshal Bill Brown of Mont Cascades Golf Club was seen yakking with past grand marshal Larry Bradley of the Heart & Crown, while St. Pat’s Home Foundation’s Jennifer Conley rubbed elbows with Mariette Mac-Isaac from Trinity Development (it donated $1 million toward St. Pat’s campaign to build a new long-term care facility). Senator Mike Duffy filled in as the guest speaker for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who was said to be ill with walking pneumonia. Duffy’s family immigrated to P.E.I. in the 1830s. The luck of the Irish was with lawyer Jamison Young, who won a trip for two to Ireland. His B&B package and car rental comes with Aeroplan points donated by Osgoode Properties president Stephen Greenberg.


Artist Jonathan Hobin is right: life isn’t just about the happy pictures. But, the Citizen’s social column is, which is why Around Town dropped into Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery for the celebration of his latest photo exhibit, Little Lady/Little Man.

The exhibit reflects on the death of a husband and wife – Hobin’s maternal grandparents – through vintage photos, a life-size deathbed portrait and lullabies sung and recorded by Hobin’s grandfather. Normally, the whole impending death subject is a party downer, but the vernissage was very well-attended. “My grandmother loved a party, so she would have liked this a lot,” said Hobin’s sister, Corrie, who was there with their parents, Barry and Nancy Hobin.

Seen were Carleton University Art Gallery curator Sandra Dyck, art collectors Glenn and Barbara McInnes, photographer Rémi Thériault, mixedmedia artist Michèle Provost, professional curator Dale Smith and, from the City of Ottawa, cultural planner Julie DuPont and gallery co-ordinator Meaghan Haughian.


A benefit Saturday will help Karla Santos as she battles brain cancer for her third time in seven years. The Ottawa police officer is married to fellow police officer Adam Collins, with whom she has two young girls.

Money raised will help with the family’s living expenses as they put everything on hold to deal with the cancer crisis.

The Fight for Karla benefit is happening at the Nepean Sportsplex, beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be bought at the door or through

Connect with Caroline Phillips |