SINGLES NEW YEAR'S: While many New Year's Eve parties had no-shows because of extreme cold, Winnipeg singles had booked up the Viscount Gort Hotel full (some with pets in the pooch-friendly zone) and stayed a full 24 hours! The open event put on by Adventures for Successful Singles attracted 340 singles from all over Winnipeg and southern Manitoba. Attendees organized their own afternoon room parties followed by happy hours, and then got dressed up big-time for the fancy Ritz and Glitz dinner and dance. After 2 a.m., many went upstairs to the hospitality room for several more hours of flirting -- and then breakfast parties went all morning long.
Spotted at dinner: Beyond Borders fundraiser James Lee, lawyer/cyclist Brian Wilford and criminal lawyer Bruce Bonney, Additionelle fashion maven Bev Wiebe, ultrasound guru Mary Wenger, boat specialist Anne Frank, outdoorsman Wayne Zuzanski, government communications type John Thorpe and housing co-op guru Tammy Robinson. The club's 29-year-veteran Robert Wagner said a heartfelt grace for the year 2014 and his 29 years of fun.
Also on the scene: Nutrition specialist Linda Hogue, pet sitter Carolyn Davis, baseball player Stan Seaman, APTN's Vera Houle, paddler/author Rick Hanson, daycare owner Mira Brown and owner Ray Antymis who said: "I felt it was a good vibe happening, the food was great, best music we'd had in years and most of the tickets were sold out and rooms booked by the end of November. And -- I saw lots of huggles happening! Translation: group hugs!"
THE UNTOUCHABLES: Meanwhile over at Danny's BBQ and Smokehouse in the Polo Park area, 70 people dressed like gangsters and flapper dolls were eating a delicious, leisurely New Year's Eve dinner in the new Big Daddy's Social Emporium which is designed to be a busy new comedy venue in 2014. While the temperature dropped to -40 C outside, this long room-and-stage vibrated with warmth and laughter. Comedy acts Big Daddy Tazz and John Ljungberg shook everybody loose. Then staff cleared back the tables for the Big Jay Harrison 1930s-style big band and the crowd with men in gangster fedoras and ladies in fringed flapper dresses hit the floor.
Spotted at the gig: CFL quarterback Buck Pierce, the lovely Lori Guarino, Winnipeg Free Press publisher Bob Cox and his wife Lena in full Prohibition theme costume, plus humour columnist and MC Doug Speirs in a canary-yellow Hawaiian lei (wrong party, Doug!), Zumba specialist Lori Tresoor, marketing man Brian Fox, fishing guide Todd Longly, plus Andrew Klopak of Alumacraft Boats and his lady Micky Trudeau. The restaurant's co-owner Danny Kleinsasser (who owns the new restaurant with Fox and Pierce) gave a thumbs up to a fine New Year's Eve.
MOTIVATION BOOST: Have you made 2014 New Year's resolutions that are already flagging? Need about six injections of willpower? Tim Hague Sr., the Winnipegger with Parkinson's who won the The Amazing Race Canada with his son Tim Hague Jr., has plenty of it to offer Monday night at the Monday show at Sam's Place on Henderson Highway. He's heading a six-person lineup of people who have triumphed in difficult situations, speaking for 10 minutes each.
Facilitator Stephanie Staples, host of CJOB show Your Life Unlimited, says: "I think it's nice for Winnipeg to be known for something besides mosquitoes and the cold." To that end, she's also invited Ken Opaleke, director at the West Broadway Youth Outreach. "He'll be talking about their success stories, and many goals like getting 20 kids through medical school and graduated as doctors," says Staples.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.