There was a whole lot of love in the air for Deer Lodge Centre at the ninth annual Bella Notte fundraiser on February 9. Hosted by the Deer Lodge Centre Foundation, the Valentine’s-themed dinner took place at De Luca’s Banquet Centre.
According to Gord Fardoe, executive director of the Deer Lodge Centre Foundation, Bella Notte 2018 raised more than $25,000 in support of programs and services for Deer Lodge residents and patients.
“CTV Winnipeg’s Nicole Dube and Rahim Ladhani once again proved to be energizing hosts to the more than 100 guests,” says Fardoe. “Accordionist Mike Moskal kept the mood classically romantic. As for the dinner, the venue says it all.”
Guests enjoyed mouthwatering appetizers from the De Luca’s kitchen, followed by a cooking demonstration delivered by Chef Mike Brown, who quipped, “In our kitchen, our cooks have to eat their mistakes.” (No one in the audience felt terribly sorry for them.) Meanwhile, the menu itself was enough to banish all memory of the frigid temperatures outside: roasted tomato soup, gnocchi with porcini cream sauce, stuffed chicken, and an almond chocolate crostata to satisfy the sweet tooth.
After dessert, auctioneer James Todd inspired the crowd to dig deep in support of Deer Lodge Centre residents and patients. Auction items included works of art by celebrated Winnipeg artists Ludolf Grollé, a seven-course French/Mediterranean dinner for 12 at Beaujena’s French Table; an eight-course meal for eight prepared in your own home by a chef from Breezy Bend Golf & Country Club; and a private Winnipeg microbrewery tour donated by Half Pints and Winnipeg Tasting Tours.
Also up for bid, an exquisite one-of-a-kind pool table with an amazing story to tell. The antique Burroughs & Watts ‘Samuel May’ pool table was donated the Deer Lodge Military Convalescent Home 100 years ago—in June 1916, the month we opened, by Mrs. Mary Fortune.
Her husband, Mark Fortune, was a prominent Winnipeg real-estate tycoon in Winnipeg. The Fortune family share a connection with one of history’s most famous naval disasters. Towards the end of a family voyage, Mr. Fortune and his son Charlie were lost in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Mrs. Fortune and her daughters, Mabel, Ethel and Alice, were the only Manitobans to survive the disaster.
And finally, this year’s Bella Notte guests rose to new heights of generosity by donating enough money for Deer Lodge Centre to purchase ten new wheelchairs. Following the facility’s recent expansion to 88 geriatric rehabilitation beds, Deer Lodge Centre has experienced an increased demand for these chairs. Patients who are not yet capable of walking longer distances use wheelchairs to attend therapy appointments or go down to the cafeteria for a meal or a visit with family.
Next year’s event will take place Friday, February 8, 2019. Until then, ciao belle!