Concerts were the main fundraisers held by the Montreal Sailors’ Institute, founded in 1862 and the Catholic Sailors Club, established seven years later. The two organizations joined forces in 1968 to become ‘Mariners’ House’ and a stalwart Women’s Auxiliary became the major organizer of fundraising events, from military whist to bake sales and ‘Stay at Home’ teas, where the recipient was mailed a tea bag with a request to send a contribution by return mail.
Brains in every charitable organization have since been racked to come up with ideas that will put the ‘fun’ into fundraising, bringing in donations while offering a pleasant experience to their supporters.
Mariners’ House has surely achieved this objective with its Italian Festa luncheon, of which the ‘third annual’ was held at the Port of Montreal’s cruise ship terminal last September 12. Four hundred and thirty pasta lovers, members of the shipping community, spent an enjoyable two hours eating a gourmet Italian meal, donated and cooked by the Iacono family, proprietors of the local Muscadin Restaurant.
The first ‘Dinner Dance’ was held in 1955 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. This event became the ‘Annual Ball’ and, last November 2nd, Mariners’ House held its most dazzling evening yet at the Windsor Ballrooms, with entertainment provided by the Montreal West Operatic Society and a 150th birthday cake big enough for the three hundred attending. The venue, the gourmet meal, music by one of the best bands in town and the backdrop designed by Canadian Sailings for the photographs combined to give this fundraiser an atmosphere of unusual prestige and merriment.