High Commissioner gears up for Olympics

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From left, Barbara Sugarman, Bobbie Cain and David Hamilton on Thursday, June 28, 2012, at a dinner party hosted by Alex Beraskow and purchased by Shirley Greenberg at Opera Lyra Ottawa's charity auction gala. (Photo by Caroline Phillips)

With just 30 days to go until the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock and his wife, Julie, threw a London 2012 Summer Olympics countdown party at their official residence, Earnscliffe, on Wednesday.
The event drew a large turnout of 300-plus guests, but the high commissioner was able to get everyone to listen up to his welcome speech. “Can I ask you just for one second to concentrate your attention on a high-performance British product,” Pocock said at the podium, presumably referring to himself.
“I mean, of course, that,” he then quickly added, pointing to the luxury car, a Jaguar XJL, parked on display next to him.
The diplomat spoke about the positive effects the games will have on the UK. “The Olympics are a once-in-a-generation event for the United Kingdom,” said Pocock. “We’re looking forward to it and we’re looking forward to welcoming the world.”
Canada’s top banker, Mark Carney, was there with his British wife, Diana. Also present was Councillor Mathieu Fleury, who will be flying across the pond to volunteer at the games.
Sighted were such former Canadian Olympic athletes as freestyle skier Jeff Bean, who’s now managing an RBC branch in Ottawa, skier Laurie Graham (with her partner, former Habs player Murray Wilson), medal-winning kayaker and cross-country skier Sue Holloway, kayaker Steven Jorens, sailor (and headmaster of Ashbury College) Tam Matthews, and figure skater Lynn Nightingale.
Retired radio broadcaster Rob Clipperton was glimpsed giving a fatherly hug to his daughter, Drew, the event coordinator at Earnscliffe. She’s getting married on the lovely grounds this August, making it a cinch for the Pococks to get to the wedding on time.


Across town in Cedarhill Estates, an intimate crowd of 50 gathered in the forested backyard of Cistel Technology CEO Nishith Goel and his wife, Nita, as they hosted a reception for the Community Foundation of Ottawa (CFO).
Goel sits on the board of governors at the foundation, which over the past 25 years has come to manage a growing endowment of $90 million. The public, non-profit organization gives out $5 million-plus in funding to between 400 and 500 charities in Ottawa each year.
Wednesday’s “party with a purpose,” as it was dubbed by the foundation’s CEO, Barb McInnes, was a way of promoting and also thanking supporters of the new Community Foundation Circle. Members donate $500 a year for five years to support the work the foundation does. Among its members are Ian Glen and his wife, Mary.
CFO board chair Brian Toller, of Tolcor Investments, was joined by past chair Scott Wilson, retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers, and treasurer Denis Desautels, a former Auditor General of Canada, as well as former Bank of Canada governor Gordon Thiessen and Susan St. Amand of Sirius Financial Services.
The CFO is celebrating its 25 years with a Nov. 19 bash at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Gov. Gen. David Johnston is the keynote speaker.


Garden parties were popping up like daylilies last week, with Bahamas High Commissioner Michael Smith and his wife, Suzanne, hosting a reception Tuesday at their Rockcliffe residence for Cathedral Arts.
Since 2003, the arts program has hosted upward of 95 events, mostly concerts and dinner lectures, at Christ Church Cathedral. Present was founding chairman John Dennison, who’s recently been appointed a citizenship judge.
Guests were encouraged to enjoy themselves “as much as possible, notwithstanding the presence of the dean and the vicar with their collars,” Dennison amusingly added, referring to the Very Reverend Shane Parker, dean of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa and rector of Christ Church, and Reverend Canon Catherine Ascah.
Attendees included Hunter McGill, chair of the Ottawa Public Library Foundation board, of which Dennison is vice-chair; Christina Lubbock, who’s proud of her claim to fame as mom of CBC icon Shelagh Rogers; and architect David Caulfeild. He’s been leading the property development initiative for the cathedral and the diocese. The historic downtown church is going to see big changes over the next two years with the addition of a 12-storey office tower, a row of townhomes and a 21-storey condo tower by Windmill Developments.


It’s been days and I still can’t get Margaret Dickenson’s succulent lamb-garnished chopsticks out of my mind.
Margaret, award-winning cookbook author of “From the Ambassador’s Table”,  and her husband, former ambassador Larry Dickenson, hosted 75 guests at their Old Ottawa South home last Sunday. They threw a similar cocktail dînatoire the prior Sunday for another group of 75.
The Dickensons are the consummate hosts. While Larry was giving a tour of the home, Margaret was busy serving perfectly presented canapés to a mix of guests from foreign diplomacy and the Ottawa community.
Mayor Jim Watson attended. So did his sis, Jayne Watson, CEO of the NAC Foundation, with her husband, Peter Froislie. Councillor David Chernushenko ditched his usual mode of transport — bicycle — to stroll over from his nearby home.
Citizen columnist Andrew Cohen was there with his wife, Mary Gooderham. Jacques Shore, past board chair at Carleton University, came with his physician wife, Donna. Also seen were Mark O’Neill, CEO of the corporation that runs the Museum of Civilization and War Museum, with his missus, Janice; Meg Beckel, CEO of the Museum of Nature; Colette Watson of Rogers TV; Château Laurier GM Claude Sauvé and his spouse, Deborah; and the Music and Beyond Festival’s Julian Armour with his wife, Guylaine Lemaire.
Come dessert time, it took serious self-control to pass on Margaret’s homemade ice cream on mini cones, but I caved on her cranberry nut clusters.


Prominent philanthropist Shirley Greenberg and a couple dozen of her closest friends were wined and dined Thursday by Alex Beraskow, who agreed to host a group dinner at his Glebe home for whomever was top bidder at Opera Lyra’s charity auction last fall.
Around Town arrived to see juicy steaks, donated by the Glebe Meat Market, grilling on the barbecue and the celebrity “chef,” Mayor Jim Watson, wearing his toque blanche.
Beraskow was having a “marvellous” time in his hosting duties. “I’m meeting a whack of new people,” said the founder of IT/NET, a successful consulting firm that Beraskow has since sold.


Connect with Caroline Phillips |carolyn001@sympatico.ca