29th Annual Sons of Italy Gala

Order Sons of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge held its 29th Annual Gala Dinner on Saturday, March 14, 2015 in the main floor Ballroom at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre.

It was a wonderful evening filled with great food, friends, wine, laughs, awards, hockey stories, prizes and of course giving.

We cannot and do not do this event alone.  A very big part of our success is due to RBC who was our title sponsor for the fourth year.  RBC gets it.  They understand what Sons of Italy is about, and they want to be part of the giving. 

A Million Reasons to Be Involved

We have been doing these galas for 29 years now.  Unfortunately our accounting records for those early years are not easily accessible, but if we take the giving that was done in the past 15 years, Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge has given over $1,000,000 to Manitoba charities, arts, education and the needy.

Who have we given to?  The full list can be found here, but the previous five recipients were CancerCare Manitoba, St.Boniface Hospital Foundation / Canadian Italian Tissue Engineering Lab, Winnipeg Harvest: Hunger for Hope, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Manitoba and Amadeus Steen Foundation Inc.

The Reason We Can Do All This -- Our Amazing Sponsors!

An event like this is not possible without the support of many.  We specifically wish to thank our sponsors, many who have supported us and our selected charities for many years.

A very large thank you to RBC, our title sponsor!  Kim Ulmer (picture) and her team have been super to work with and their ongoing support is very very appreciated. 

The logos of our other major sponsors appear on the right.  These are organizations that when we knocked, they said yes.  Not content to sit on the sidelines, these companies wanted to be involved.  There are many more sponsors than we have room for here.  Please check out our full list of sponsors, and support them, as they have supported us.

The Food

Guests were once again treated to an amazing dinner!  First course was antipasto with prosciutto, genoa and capricollo salami, cheese, olives, artichokes and roasted red peppers. Next was an Italian salad.  The Valpolicella and Pinot Grigio wines on the table were flowing when the third course arrived: lasagne verdi. 

The novices pushed away from their tables feeling full, not realizing that the entre was next, medallions of beef with potato flan, sautéed mushroom and spaghetti squash (we had to get spaghetti on the menu!).

Dessert was a light lemon and raspberry gelato.  Coffee and tea were served at the table.  Then the espresso bar opened, so if you had some extra room, espresso, cappuccino or latte along with fresh pastries.

Bobby Hull

The Golden Jet is still golden.  It has been a while since Bobby Hull mania took over Winnipeg, and a few of the younger attendees had a "who's the old guy?" look in their eyes.  But can he tell stories!  A feature part of our evening was a Q&A session between Bob Irving of CJOB and Bobby Hull.

Frankly, Bob Irving had the easiest job of the night because Bobby was an energizer-bunny of story telling.  With over 1,100 in attendance, it is always a challenge to get, and keep, people's attention, but everyone was focused on Bobby Hull tell his version of past hockey events.

The Big Cheque

Sons of Italy Garibaldi Lodge was proud to donate a cheque for $100,000  to the Italian Canadian League of Manitoba (ICLM).  The money will go to a capital improvement at the Centro Caboto on Wilkes Avenue.  This is the Italian centre of Winnipeg built 17 years ago by the ICLM with assistance from the Italian community.


In addition to our sponsors and the support of our attendees, we hold a raffle at the dinner.  This year our ticket sellers were from the University of Winnipeg, and we donated $1,000 to UofW as a token of our appreciation for their help.

Top prize this year was $10,000 cash.  Who gives away cash these days?  We do!!  The lucky winner was Ken Cranwill.  Ken is the tall man in the picture with the $10,000 smile (along with Carmine Zirino (left), and Father Sam Argenziano).

Bev Dyer, won second prize of a six month lease for a Chevrolet, a prize worth $7,200.

Third prize was a trip for two to Italy, worth $4,500 and was won by Kathy Kostycz.

Gala 2015 Pictures

See images from the 2015 Gala below, or click here for a full screen experience on your desktop, tablet or phone.

Gala Dinner Program

Each guest received a copy of our 72 page full colour Gala dinner program, full of information on the Gala, Sons of Italy and the many sponsors that make the event possible. 

Click on the program cover to download your copy (PDF, 70 MB).

Vince Bova Award

President of the Garibaldi Lodge, Franco Petrelli and Josie Cumbo, President of Order Sons of Italy of Canada present the coveted Vince Bova Award.  The award is presented annually, by secret ballot of past winners, to the Sons of Italy Winnipeg member who exhibits the amazing work ethic and gets things done. 

This year's winner is Justin Bova, a Garibaldi Lodge past-president, and past chair of the Gala dinner.  A big congrats to Justin for all of his hard work and dedication -- a big part of the reason Sons of Italy is where we are today.


The Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association (CIBPA) award for the Entrepreneur of the Year was given to John Garcea.  John is President of the highly successful Garcea Group of Companies, which includes the flagship S&J Construction, Granite Concrete Services and others.

This award is presented to a Manitoban of Italian heritage that has risen above the rest and demonstrated the success that can be achieved by hard work while also giving back to the community.

Order Sons and Daughters of Italy, Garibaldi Lodge

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