Shining BrightPublished on November 29, 2021

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  • Deneen Perrin (left) with CTV News Ottawas Leanne Cusack

Every holiday season for the past twenty-four years, Ottawa residents have visited the iconic Fairmont Chateau Laurier for Trees of Hope, a charitable event that sees the hotel’s stately halls lined with glittering Christmas trees, decorated to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Deneen Perrin has been part of Trees of Hope since its inception. Now working at the Royal Canadian Mint, the former long-time director of public relations for the hotel remembers being tasked with organizing the very first event.

“That year, we had six or seven trees and raised three thousand dollars for CHEO,” recalls Deneen, who notes that the popular charitable initiative now features thirty trees and a vibrant silent auction. “Our last in-person event in 2019 raised one hundred and twenty thousand dollars net profit for the hospital,” she says proudly.

Deneen’s commitment to Trees of Hope is also fuelled by the memory of her own son’s successful open-heart surgery at CHEO. “We are so fortunate that CHEO has saved the lives of so many children,” says Deneen. “Whether it’s a broken arm or heart surgery, the state-of-the-art care that kids receive here in Ottawa is incredible and a lot of people and companies want to give back to that.”

Deneen emphasizes the incredible commitment of the Trees of Hope volunteer committee and the remarkable sponsors who support them every year. She’s particularly thrilled that, despite COVID-19, the magical trees will still light up the Fairmont Chateau Laurier’s halls this holiday season.

The silent auction, where many guests now do their holiday buying, will go ahead online and members of the public will be able to view the trees from the comfort of home through a virtual tour. “Once people have taken the virtual tour and decided on a favourite tree, they can vote for it while donating to CHEO at the same time.”

When reflecting on why she’s dedicated almost a quarter-century to Trees of Hope, Deneen recounts what she tells her kids about community service. “Make sure that you try to make a difference — every little thing that you do, every event in which you participate, it counts,” she says. “I’m doing this because I love this event and I plan on volunteering for as long as they’ll have me!”??

To take a virtual tour of Trees of Hope, take part in the silent auction, vote on your favourite tree or make a donation to CHEO, please visit: treesofhope.ca.


Catherine Clark

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