ALL THAT GLITTERS: Ida Albo and Rick Bell, co-owners of the chateau-style Fort Garry Hotel, proudly celebrated the hotel's 100th birthday. It happened Friday night at the Inaugural Heritage Ball, with dining, dancing and many guests in period costumes. "We're friends of the Capones," whispered Peter Brown with his dame, who called herself Andrea. "We're just in from Chicaw-gah." the Fort Garry Hotel's catering guru, Paul Haverstock, dressed in kilt and thick Scottish accent, suspiciously sidled up to them for a photo.
After dinner, a black speakeasy door with peephole let people in one by one. Guests such as Winpark Dorchester's Arch Honigman, with his beautiful blond dame and Free Press associate editor Julie Carl in flapper-length dress and leopard-print stockings, were out cutting the rug. When the speakeasy started to boil, Keystone Kops blowing whistles hit the stage to arrest bandleader Danny Kramer and throw everybody out. Luckily, a liquid bribe made them go away and the party roared on! SPOTTED: Via Rail president Paul Smith, WSO conductor Alexander Mickelthwate and designer wife, Abigail, Premier Greg Selinger and many politicos, including Dan Vandal, Jenny Gerbasi, Paula Havixbeck, Flor Marcelino, and Shelly Glover. Free Press publisher Bob Cox and city editor Shane Minkin listened raptly to Frank Albo's slide show on the 1913 plan for Winnipeg -- the "city of dreams" at the height of its economic boom. Also watching closely, philanthropists John and Bonnie Buhler, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries' Shirley Retzlaff and activist farmer Louise May. Bounding through the door in costume came artist Jordan Van Sewell, the president of Heritage Winnipeg.
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DAFFODIL GALA: A few blocks away, the CancerCare Manitoba folks were in the midst of a giant fundraiser of their own at the Winnipeg Convention Centre, with guests including Mayor Sam Katz and his growing family. Katz was spotted bidding on a sparkly rhinestone bracelet one of his daughters had been trying on her wrist. Guest speaker and Canad Inns executive Paul Robson noted there was so much more to do in the fight against cancer and that everyone has been touched by it. The audience nodded in agreement. The Ron Paley Band, entertaining that night, provided a good example of that. Lisa Bell of Canadian Idol fame was onstage singing her heart out. Spotted outside after the gig, she said her mom had just died of breast cancer and she felt she just had to go and support the cause. SPOTTED: Host Jim Ingebrigtsen in top form, jeweller Roger Watson, Larry Willman from MJ Roofing, Wayne Rivers from Procurity, laser guru Dr. Earl Minuk and Terry Cowan, the new ad director for Dufresne.
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TO BE OR NOT TO BE: Popular Winnipeg comedian Dan Verville, the five-year Rumor's Comedy Club host, just returned from the World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas last week, where he came 17th out of 101 comedians. Mexican-American comic Thai Rivera won top honours. Why did Verville, 27, who enjoys his advertising career, choose to go? To figure out if he wanted to throw it all out and try to be a full-time comic -- or not. His decision? "I still don't know what I want to do. I learned a lot and I'm going to work on those things and see what happens."
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., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.