Sons of Italy Gala - 2019

Order Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge held its 33rd Annual Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 16, 2019 in the York Ballroom of the RBC Convention Centre -- and what an amazing evening it was!

Presented by RBC, this acclaimed event demonstrated the philanthropic spirit of Sons of Italy, but also the caring and giving that Winnipegers, their businesses and leaders are known for. And it is due to that caring and generosity that we were able to raise an astounding $300,000 for this year's charity of choice.

The 33rd Annual Gala was in support of The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre, a long-term, residential treatment centre for adult males suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. 


$300,000 Raised!

The spirit of giving was in the air!  The Gala raised $100,000 for our charity of choice, the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre.  Then it was announced that a donor was prepared to match our $100,000. 



But the giving did not stop there.  Our auctioneers, Adessa, asked for direct donations from the 1,200 guests.  They started at an ask for $10,000 and ended at $100.  When done, another $100,000 had been donated, making the total for the night a whopping $300,000!



SOI Gala 2019 was presented by:










Our 2019 Charity: Bruce Oake Recovery Centre

The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre will provide addiction treatment as well as the resources and skills necessary to successfully re-enter society. 

The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre will be the first male only, addiction treatment facility in Manitoba to offer in-patient primary and secondary treatment, as well as, a post-treatment supportive living program.    

The centre will offer residential and day programs, providing tools that support behaviour change. Clients who want to make a change towards an abstinence-based lifestyle are accepted, regardless of background or ability to pay. 

Funds donated by the Sons of Italy are allocated specifically to the Bruce Oake Memorial Fund, to aid in the building of the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre.


More Giving: Dante Alighieri Italian Language School


Sons of Italy has provided support to the Dante Alighieri School for many years.  Providing instruction in the Italian language to children and adults is an important part of maintaining a culture.

Pictured is Reno Augellone, President, Dante Alighieri, (and a SOI Past President) receiving a cheque for $10,000 from Dino Petrelli, President, Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge.


Outstanding Meal

The evening started with an amazing meal: Antipasto and Italian salad, vegetarian lasagne, beef tenderloin with garlic rosemary mashed potatoes with asparagus and red peppers, cappuccino ice cream torte, coffee/tea and of course, premium wines.   And if you worked up a further appetite on the dance floor, there was an espresso and pastry bar in the lobby.


The Program

The evening continued with greetings from Kim Ulmer, Regional President, RBC Royal Bank.  We are so proud and grateful for supporting us as our title sponsor for many years.

Kim spoke glowingly about the recent change by Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge to allow female members and about the impact the Sons of Italy have on the whole community in which we live.

Greetings were also given by The Honourable Brian Pallister, The Honourable Jim Carr and Scott Gillingham.





Vince Bova Award:
Tat-Liang Fabio Cheam


The coveted Sons of Italy Vince Bova Award is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a Garibaldi Lodge member and the winner is not announced until the gala, so the recipient is unaware.  

The 2018 Vince Bova Award went to Tat-Liang Fabio Cheam, a past president of the lodge and a devoted member -- a well deserved award!


Time for a Drink

One of our newest members, Stephanie Zirino gave a heart-felt toast to Italy and Canada, playing to the heartstrings of the crowd with talk of Italian culture mixed with the occasional Winnipeg Jets reference.



Heart of the Lion Lifetime Achievement Award: 
Fr. Sam Argenziano


The Sons of Italy "Heart of the Lion" Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has tirelessly given of themselves and has made significant contributions to the community. The "Heart of the Lion" Lifetime Achievement Award is a special honour bestowed by the Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge.

For those attendees that do not know Father Sam Argenziano as the pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, they will know him as being the Sons of Italy gala Master of Ceremoniesfor many years.  If you have heard his Gala jokes in the past, you may still be blushing.

He has served at Holy Rosary Parish for 24 years, and anyone who has come in contact with Fr. Sam knows of his empathy, spirit of holiness and good humour. 

"Father Sam Argenziano is a man of sensible words and noble deeds.  If we all had hearts as loving and resolute as Fr. Sam's, the world wold be an even more reverential and prayerful place." ( Bernard Kruchak)


A Magical Evening

The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre is named after the son of Scott and Ann Oake.  Bruce struggled with addition for many years before losing the battle.  The evening was truly a family event. Bruce's brother is  Darcy Oake, the famous illusionist.

In 2014 Darcy Oake received the breakthrough of a lifetime – an appearance before 200 million viewers on TV’s Britain’s Got Talent. It was the birth of an electrifying new magician! He impressed both the judges and the audience, catapulting his star much higher than even he had believed possible.

In 2016 he made a guest appearance on America’s Got Talent proving once again that the impossible is possible and was further honoured to be a part of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebration where he performed before the Royal Family at a private dinner. 


And on this evening, he returned to Winnipeg, his home, to perform an amazing 30 minute show for our Gala.  Jaws were dropping as he performed.





We Raffle for Cash

No jewelry or steak knives in our fundraising raffle -- we give away cash!  The first prize on our raffle was $10,000 of cold hard cash (okay, it was actually a cheque)!!  

Second prize was a $5,000 cash prize.



Download the Gala Dinner Book

The Gala Dinner Program is a full colour, 72 page book that describes our gala in detail and provides background on the people involved, the dinner, our organization, awards given, our featured charity and our valued sponsors.  

The book is in PDF format, and at only 12MB, is an easy download.  Just click here to download it now.



Thanks to Our Sponsors!


The 33rd Annual Sons of Italy Gala was again presented by our title sponsor RBC.  Kim Ulmer and her team at RBC have been tremendous supporters of our Gala for a long time.  As Title Sponsor, they have for many years shown their commitment to Sons of Italy, our Gala and to the wonderful charities we have supported.

We also with to thank the generous participation of many organizations and individuals who partner with us to make this event a great one, for everyone in the room and then continuing throughout the year through our support of this year's amazing charity. 

Please check out our full list of sponsors, and support them too, as they have supported us. 


In the Media

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 21, 2019 (click to expand):


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