Celebrating 40 Years Of Success Serving The Ottawa Community

The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre’s 40th Anniversary Fundraising Gala was held on Dec 2, 2015. A sold out gathering of 424 guests gathered at Sala San Marco Hall, including representatives from new immigration Minister John McCallum’s office, Environment Minister and Ottawa-Centre’s MP, Catherine McKenna, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, the Ottawa Police, as well as Mayor Jim Watson, Councilor Catherine McKenney, business leaders, Chinese community members, staff and volunteers – all to celebrate 40 years achievement by the OCCSC. The dinner tickets, silent auction and other fundraising activities raised $55,000.

His Excellency, David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada sent his congratulations, as did the new Federal Minister of Refugees, Citizenship and Immigration John McCallum; the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne; Michael Chan, the Ontario Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade; and our local MPP Yasir Naqvi. Past Ottawa-Centre MP Paul Dewar was recognized for his work supporting immigrant settlement agencies in Ottawa and was invited to speak. He praised the important role OCCSC played during the settlement of Vietnamese refugees during the Project 4000 period. He lauded the OCCSC for its excellent work helping to settle immigrants in Ottawa. Ottawa mayor Jim Watson and city Councilor Catherine McKenney awarded the OCCSC with a signed plaque commemorating the OCCSC’s 40th Anniversary and achievements.

Mayor Jim Watson who recently came back from his visit to Beijing spoke to the audience: “I was born in French Quebec, I am now the mayor of Ottawa, and tonight, I am celebrating the Chinese Community Service Centre’s 40th Anniversary in a Italian restaurant. This is multiculturalism, and this is Canada!” Talking about the trip he made a few years ago with our Executive Director Sharon Kan, he smiled: “Sharon seemed to know more people than the mayor of Beijing. She was busy making deals.”

CBC-TV’s Supper Hour News Anchor and “Our Ottawa” host Adrian Harewood and OCCSC staff member, Shaw Quan, hosted the event. Adrian mentioned that he was pleased to attend in place of his co-host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, who graciously hosted during the last two Galas and who was unavailable this year due to illness. “I remember every time before Lucy left for OCCSC’s Gala, she was very excited about it and always enjoyed the great community spirit.”

The 40th Anniversary Video was shown to the audience at the Gala. The video was put together by Wilson Huyn, who is the son of one of the Vietnamese refugees we helped back in 1979. The OCCSC honoured and gave gifts of appreciation to past presidents Bill Joe, Shek-Ho Ching, Irene Zhou, and Jonas Ma for their dedicated contributions. Two veteran staff members were also honoured, Client Services Manager, Rupert Yeung, and senior settlement worker May Chan, received gifts of appreciation for their hard work over the past 35 years. New Life Member, Xianchun Liang received a thank you gift for her generous donation and participation.

The City of Ottawa, The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, The Royal Thai Embassy, Jamaican High Commission in Canada, the National Gallery and the local sponsoring businesses provided items for our Silent Auction and purchased sponsor tables. After the dinner vouchers sold out, there were also partners hoping to sponsor; unfortunately, the limited venue could not accommodate more seats. A total of 424 guests bought the dinner voucher, and more than 100 people, including performers, volunteers and staff members actively perform, taking photos, supervising the stage, or selling the lucky draws in the crowd. OCCSC staff also dressed in various ethnic costumes and entertained guests. The Gala was a large-scale, vibrant event.

Wonderful performances were given by the Cadenza Quartet from Ottawa Youth Orchestra, Oriental Dance Troupe who gave a beautifully choreographed presentation; famed opera singer, Ms. Liu Minghui and new generation singer Sheng Qin and Eva Li presented beautiful songs, exotic and colorful Thailand Dance choreographed by their founding member Kai Whitcomb; Gypsy Jazz Guitarist Christian Flores from Santiago, Chile; and wonderful Bulgarian dance troupe “HopTrop “.

In 1975, Mr. Bill Joe and several Chinese partners started the OCCSC in a cramped office on Gilmour Street designed to help the Chinese immigrants in need of help. Forty years later the OCCSC has grown from a small office charity to a professional and comprehensive social service agency receiving funding from three levels of government. The origins of its staff and clients cover 105 countries. Dozens of employees and volunteers provide various services to more than 3,000 new immigrants each year, to help with their settlement, education, employment, and social integration in Ottawa.

Only in the past five years, OCCSC provided service for nearly 15,000 new immigrants. 1,136 community volunteers contributed 31,000 hours of volunteer services to help new immigrants settle in Ottawa, and to help Ottawa become a more diversified, multicultural, and inclusive city.

After paying the costs of the dinner events, all the money raised will be put into our community services. Executive Director Sharon Kan said: “We will continue to grow, to expand the scope of services, improve service quality, while not being entirely dependent on government funding. A lot of similar community-based organizations are doing such things, and run their own nursing home care, children centers, and counselling services. We are also exploring ways for such operations; as well as seeking donations and charging small service fees to clients (of non-funded programs) who can afford it, as well as putting resources into other service projects. All of this needs careful planning, the support and cooperation of many.”

This year’s event is bigger than previous years, thanks to our sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

Auction Sponsor:

  • Lionscape Paving Inc.

Media Partners:

  • CBC
  • CFC
  • CFC Weekly News

Lionscape Paving Inc and CFC’s bidding created $6,500 funds.

Corporate Tables:

  • Advanced Coatings Enterprises Inc.
  • Bill Joe
  • CFC News Weekly
  • ComeFromChina.com
  • inBay Technologies
  • Kivuto Solutions
  • Micro Metrics
  • Odette Rwigamba Law Office
  • Ottawa Chinese Bible Church
  • Ottawa Police Service
  • Patricia Parungao
  • Pharm Can Drug Mart
  • SATIKA International

Corporate and Individual Donors:

  • Asian-Way Enterprise Ltd.
  • Baldwin Audio Visual Rentals
  • Burgers n’ Fries Forever
  • Can Air World Travel Inc.
  • Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation
  • Cosmic Adventures Inc.
  • Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada
  • Expedia CruiseShipCenters — Tao Shen
  • Farmer’s Pick
  • Girls Cosmetics and Nails
  • Globe Awards & Promotions
  • Gray Line Ottawa
  • Harmony Restaurant
  • Health Times
  • Hulse, Playfair & McGarry
  • Jamaican High Commission
  • Jim Watson, Ottawa Mayor
  • Karters’ Korner Splatterville Paintball
  • Lady Dive Tours
  • Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Ng’s Cuisine Restaurant
  • Oegema Nicholson & Associates Insurance Brokers
  • Onion Auto Service
  • Oriental Charm Houseware and Gifts
  • Otto‘s BMW & Otto’s Subaru
  • Reprodux
  • Royal Thai Embassy
  • Saunders Farm
  • Sea King Shark Fin Seafood
  • Stella Luna Gelato Café
  • T & T Supermarket Ottawa
  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada
  • The Royal Oak -188 & 318 Bank Street
  • The WORKS – Gourmet Burger Bistro
  • Vorlage Ski
  • YangMing Asian Buffet
  • Yasir Naqvi, MPP, Ottawa-Centre
  • Y-NOT Gift Shop
  • Albert Tang
  • Anh Trieu Ma
  • Bill Joe
  • Chanmei Chin
  • Congxiang Lin
  • Denise Chong
  • Fan Ye
  • Fei Yan
  • Frank Ling
  • Fungyin Cheng
  • Heyi Huang
  • Huijuan Deng
  • Jonas Ma
  • Kuai Lew
  • Luise Czernenko Reid
  • Pink Kam Peck
  • Rev. Gerald Fuller
  • Rowen Lai
  • Shan Jiang Brown
  • Shuangai Situ
  • Tingjun Wen
  • Wen Juan Fang
  • Xiaoming Fang
  • Xiuwen Zhou
  • Yimei Bai
  • Yick Yu Lau

Thanks again to all the supporting and sponsoring companies, groups and individuals for purchasing Gala tickets and tables, donating money and gifts, and the staff and volunteers for making the Gala event such a success.
Note: Contributors listed as of November 23, 2015 and in alphabetical order. We regret that we cannot acknowledge those who contributed after that date.
Photos provided by volunteer photographers: Anthony Lau, Dingchang Xu, Robin Spencer – Spencer Studio, Yi Cui