Floral haute couture on the runway - For the Love of the Bloom, presented by
BMO Harris Private Banking


OTTAWA, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - The event of the year in the Ottawa/Gatineau region will be held October 17 at the Canada Government Conference Centre.

Amanda Forsyth, principal cellist for the National Arts Centre Orchestra is serving as Honorary Chair for the first annual For the Love of the Bloom gala, which will spotlight the Canadian Academy of Floral Art (CAFA) and promises to put on a true show for the senses.

While savouring a gourmet meal prepared by Bytown Caterers, the more than 600 guests will be able to judge the creative genius of master floral designers from across the country who have contributed designs to the more than twenty-five dresses, all made of flowers, featured in the accompanying fashion show. Proceeds from the event, presented by BMO - Harris Private Banking, will help fund breast cancer research through the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.

"I am extremely honoured to act as patron for this gala," notes Amanda Forsyth, "a highly original showcase for the talents of various Canadian artists which, at the same time, will raise awareness of women's health issues and offer support to individuals affected by the disease and to the Canadian scientific community working in their interests. In the past decade, extremely encouraging statistics show that the five-year survival rate for breast cancer survivors in Canada is 87 per cent. Our support for the Foundations will help this movement of hope and progress bloom."

"BMO Harris Private Banking is proud to present this unique fundraising event that will help raise awareness of a disease that affects so many Canadians, and support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation," said Gord Graves, Vice-President and Managing Director for BMO Harris Private Banking, Eastern and Northern Ontario. "We are also committed to playing an important role in this gala's long term goal of raising $1 million for the benefit of the foundations."

Joel-Marc Frappier, President of the CAFA, explains that the fashion show highlighting the fund-raiser will consist of twenty-five dresses designed to reflect the twelve months of the year, as well as the provinces and territories of Canada. "There are also a few surprises in store," adds Mr. Frappier, himself a certified master floral designer, "like dresses adorned with vegetables and even chocolate alongside the flowers". Sketches of the dresses and other details of the gala are available on the event's website, fortheloveofthebloom.ca.

The musical director for the event is François Dubé, and the dance band Sway Orchestra will fill the dance floor until late in the evening. Gatineau songstresses France Maisonneuve, Manon Charlebois and Samantha Beaulne Nevers will also perform pieces selected - naturally - for their floral themes. More surprises in store here.

The official national launch of Dolce & Gabbana new fragrance ROSE THE ONE will take place at the Gala.

Tickets are $250 per person or $2,250 per table of 10, and can be purchased by phone at 819-568-1809 or by email at fortheloveofthebloom@yahoo.ca.

       Floral dresses on show at the Maison de la culture de Gatineau

The haute floral couture dresses featured in the fashion show will be on show for the general public at the Maison de la culture de Gatineau between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the day after the gala. "Visitors to the exhibit will be asked to make a contribution to the breast cancer foundations. It's a perfect opportunity for them to appreciate the remarkable designs of these unique dresses," added Mr. Frappier.

This gala has been made possible through the generous contributions of numerous sponsors, including BMO - Harris Private Banking, l'Université du Québec en Outaouais, Dolce & Gabbana, Smashbox Cosmetics, Fairmont Château Laurier, Minto Suite Hotel Bytown Caterers, Le Droit, Rock Détente, Jefferson Sukhoo, Winward, Fidélice, Nexus PR, Breaktrough Ideas, Pick Ontario, Copius Printing, la Maison de la culture de Gatineau, The Bay, Oasis Floral Products and Highland Evergreen Supply Inc, Recherché Concept Coiffure, Hofland, Mex Y Can, Videogram, Designing Trendz inc.

               A little-known treasure in the national capital

Situated near the effluence of Ottawa's Rideau Canal - across the street from the Château Laurier and a stone's throw from Parliament Hill's East Block - the Government Conference Centre is a key historic element among the buildings immediately surrounding the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

The building, originally a railway station, became the Conference Centre in 1969, under the direction of the late Right Honourable Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who wanted a site reserved specifically for government-hosted events. In this capacity, the Centre has served as a welcome spot for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, His Holiness the late Pope John Paul II, and Commonwealth and international heads of state. As well, it has been a meeting spot for international discussions on topics ranging from land mines and human rights to the world economy. In 1981, it served as the international press centre for the G8 Summit in Canada and was also the site of Prime Minister Trudeau's Federal-Provincial Constitutional conferences which led to the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982.

For the first 55 years of its existence, the building was the Grand Trunk Railway's Union Station. Inspired by Roman and beaux-arts concepts and designed in 1908 by Montreal architects Ross and MacFarlane, it opened its doors in 1912 - and it's been a hub of bustling activity ever since.

Feeding directly into Ottawa's downtown core and linked by an underground tunnel to the Château Laurier, Union Station was the city's first point of entry for railway passengers of all walks of life - including immigrants, war veterans, national political figures and such international dignitaries as Japan's Crown Prince Akihito, Britain's Sir Winston Churchill, and China's Madame Chiang Kai Shek.

When the railway shut down in 1966, the action did not subside. The following year the building entered the Government of Canada's real estate portfolio and became "Centennial Centre" - featuring public exhibitions celebrating Canada's 100th birthday throughout 1967. Two years later it would become the Government Conference Centre we know today. Participants attending the For the Love of the Bloom gala will have an opportunity during the evening to visit this unique but little-known venue in the nation's capital.

                       About BMO Harris Private Banking

BMO Harris Private Banking serves the needs of high net worth clients and their families and helps them deal with a wide range of complex financial issues, providing comprehensive wealth management expertise. The bank's team of professionals is comprised of leading specialists in a variety of disciplines including banking, investment management, estate, trust and various family office services such as philanthropic and business succession planning. BMO Harris Private Banking is part of BMO Financial Group's Private Client Group. The Private Client Group provides integrated wealth management services in Canada and the United States and had total assets under management and administration of $230 billion as at July 31, 2009.


For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Jean Boileau, APR, FCPRS, Director, Communications and Recruitment, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Telephone: (819) 595-3900 extension 3956, Mobile: (819) 790-3997; Alexis Brown, Media Relations, BMO Bank of Montreal, Telephone: (416) 867-3996, E-mail: alexis.brown@bmo.com

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