By: Dali Carmichael

From left: ‘Slashin’ Leggo’ Aimee Legault, ‘Commandeering Ceilidh’ McKinnon, ‘Buccaneer Bev’ Hinterhoeller, ‘Cap’n Courtney’ King, ‘Awful Alex’ Wells and ‘Cabin Boy Cole’ Russell and ‘Rum-drinkin” Renee Via (not pictured) were photobombed by some scalawag pirates at their event, A Pirate’s Wish for Me, held March 8.

The wily pirates of Algonquin’s event management program planned a night of swashbuckling and marauding in an effort to raise booty for the Children’s Wish Foundation on March 7.

Students of the year-long graduate program were tasked with their final project—putting together an event without spending any of their own money—back in September. After months of planning, the event came together without a hitch and the larger-than-average team of seven raised a total of $4,650.

“They gave us a list of the events that have happened for years before,” said ‘Buccaneer Bev’ Hinterhoeller, one of the organizers. “I was going through it and there was a lot of repetition: a lot of Mardi Gras, a lot of this, a lot of that. I was like, that’s fine, but I really want to do something different. I thought of pirates because I worked at Pirate Adventures over the summer and I know people like pirates.” And thus, A Pirate’s Wish For Me was conceived.

Once the roguish theme was established, the team set out to find people and organizations who would donate funding, supplies and their own time to the event.

It was held at Britannia Yacht Club, a perfect fit with its nautical decor and waterfront location. The savvy students were able to plunder props from the National Arts Centre, sponsorships and prizes from local businesses. Volunteers from the Acacia Fraternity manned the event and ensured smooth sailing.

Photographers Jean-Paul Yovanoff and Laura Geldart of Flashpoint Photobooth donated their services—and their pirate-attire—to the event. They were supportive of the cause, but had ulterior motives for participating.

“It’s a good cause of course, with the Children’s Wish,” said Yovanoff. “We’re looking to hook up with them as a company, get them to know our name.”

Geldart also explained that they were looking for “employees and connections with people that are going into the industry.”

The students agreed that holding an event at the end of the year is the best way for them to practice what they’ve learned throughout their year-long program, as well make connections for when they enter the industry.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” said ‘Cabin Boy’ Cole Russell, an event organizer and intern at Caneast Shows. “It’s different than other programs. I’d rather have this than an exam. It’s a lot more work but a lot less studying.”

The highlight of the evening was a murder-mystery production performed by the Vintage Stock Theatre. The troupe produced an original script for the event and encouraged guests to figure out which scalawag pirate was a killer.

Clues disguised as “messages in a bottle” could be purchased to help landlubbing detectives figure out the mystery. Guests could also buy raffle tickets or participate in a silent auction, with all proceeds going to the Children’s Wish Foundation.

“I think the partnership, when we started a couple of years ago it was very exciting and it built up, built up and now we’re looking forward to the next five years with Algonquin,” said Michael Niebudek, a representative from the Children’s Wish Foundation. “It’s a great fit with the kids, the Children’s Wish families and the students at Algonquin.”

The fundraiser was part of an ongoing effort by event management students to raise a million dollars for the Children’s Wish Foundation. This marks the sixth year of their partnership with the Algonquin event management program.

“We researched organizations in Ottawa and we had worked with a few others,” said Sylvia Densmore, the program coordinator. “Its important that the students believe in the cause because they have to put a lot of time and energy and effort into it. So we wanted to have an organization that they all could relate to.”

So far, students have raised $447,000 for the foundation

“The students will just continue to work towards that goal,” said Densmore. “I mean it’s a long-term goal obviously, but it’s a great match, this charity with our students.”