Junos: Hosting 1,700 for dinner no problem for Ottawa Convention CentrePublished on April 2, 2012

  • The Ottawa Convention Centre hosted the Juno Awards Gala Dinner on March 31, 2012.

The 2012 Juno Awards, held in Ottawa, embraced all of Canada and the artistic talent found coast to coast - not only on the performing arts side, but the business aspect of pulling off an event of such magnitude.

Events took place at varying venues throughout the city during Juno Week, with the final show held April 1 at Scotiabank Place.

See a slideshow of the scrumptious meal

On March 31, the Ottawa Convention Centre hosted the Juno Awards Gala Dinner. Their event planner, Elizabeth McMenemy, worked with Vancouver-based company E=mc2, Toronto-based CARAS and Holmes Creative Communications to make the elaborate evening come together.

From the logistics, to the floor planning, timeline and production, every detail was attended to with panache.

Ottawa has hosted the Junos in the past. The decision to bring them back to the capital can in part be attributed to the glass building that sits so magnificently in the heart of the downtown core. The OCC was a key element to attracting the attention of CARAS and helped with the decision to return for another awards show here in the capital.

About 1,700 people dined at the gala dinner. Executive chef Geoffrey Morden was tasked with creating a menu with strong Canadian flavour. "We provided the client with an extensive menu tasting, featuring multiple options to choose from for each course," Geoffrey revealed of the dish-selecting process.

Chef Morden's signature style incorporates classic French cooking techniques, fused with Canadian flavours. This fit perfectly for a dinner celebrating Canadian talent. His touches were evident, along with local influences such as fresh vegetables and cheeses, including Saint-Beno√ģt Abbey Ermite Blue Cheese.

The main course featured heirloom carrots from Eastern Quebec, Ontario Wellington County beef tenderloin, local parsnips and Butterfly Sky Farms' sprouts. The calm state of affairs impressed us during a pre-dinner kitchen tour as staff attended to last-minute details with precision; nothing flustered the assembly of professionals working meticulously on one of the grandest events the OCC has hosted to date.

D√©cor was elegant with just the right amount of funky touches. The dining room was awash of purple, with special-effect lighting creating the perfect mood for this splashy affair. Each table featured centerpieces created by Fleurs Signees and Joel Marc Frappier. Glass vases held tulips and pussy willows with orchids surrounding the base, an ideal mix of spring sophistication.

More modern arrangements were found on the cruiser tables in the cocktail reception lounge, where tall vases were filled with a simple Calla Lily. There were an impressive 500 lilies, and over 4,000 tulips in all!

The lounge area was popular as several bars attended to guests, and bartenders showcased their expertise working swiftly to keep drinks flowing.

The magnificent open space is perhaps one of the greatest features of the OCC. Sipping pre-dinner cocktails in a space that overlooks some of the top attractions in the capital make the location hugely appealing for hosting events with national reach.

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