This year, Brett’s soiree had a hashtag instead of a title: #OMGP, which officially stood for Oh My Garden Party, but Tweeters not in the know got into a social media lather over potential inspirations for the acronym . A favorite annual event amongst Calgary’s social set, the Mount Royal garden party happens rain or shine — under a massive, 40×80 foot tent that works for any weather. Stunt rider and provider of many an animal for the film industry, John Scott is pictured alongside the lovely Elaine Duncan of The Eagle 100.9 FM. Nice to see the man who taught Brad Pitt how to ride taking time out for a little R&R. Which could be a cool brand — on a horse, not an advertising campaign. Not for John’s horses though. His steeds in today’s Stampede parade were working, not relaxing.As is appropriate for the city currently hosting the richest rodeo on earth, #OMGP was chock full of cowboys. Brian Hanson, Vice President of Smithbilt Hats, attended with Makenzie Martinson, Seismic Technologist.Country crooner Corb Lund rounded out the cowboy lineup. Stalking the stage, David Gray of CBC’s The Eyeopener told me, “I’m a major Corb Lund fan!”When Brett Wilson talks, people listen. Especially when it’s about his charities of choice, supporting adolescent mental health. Guests were asked to pony up (cash or cheque at the door!) for CMHA Calgary, the Juno Foundation, the Calgary Counselling Centre and Wood’s Homes/Aboriginal Youth.In another section of the gargantuan garden, anyone who didn’t heed Brett’s speech over the speakers shushed instantly at the sound of realtor extraordinaire Gordon Ross’ whistle (old school, with classic finger-in-mouth technique). Seen here in the sharp blue blazer with partner Richard Cote (left).Quirky accents abounded…… including Don Cherry impersonator, Clark Robertson, with Chantelle Harris. Blurry photos courtesy of my memory-full iPhone 5.After raising four hundred thousand (and still counting) for deserving charities, revelers two-stepped into the wee hours. Oh My! Great Party!
Oh, Ben. Ann didn’t get the joke about taking over our mourning PC party, but I thought it was funny. Besides, we all know you’re too busy living in Ontario. But maybe that’s the reason why you didn’t don your cowboy hat — the one you helped create for charity? After all, the Holt Renfrew event was billed as a pre-Stampede party — ten gallons are de rigueur dress code in these here parts.You must not have gotten the memo on footwear either. But those loafers (I’ll go out on a limb and say Gucci) don’t fall far from your Prime Minister dad Brian’s tree. Although you brought your own brand of sexy by going sockless. And is that a tattoo I see peeping out from your pants?Luckily, winning bidder Judy Mastromonaco understood the hashtag “HoltsHatsOff” means wearing one first. The private shopping event included an auction for celeb-designed hats, with proceeds going to the Calgary Health Trust. Ms. M scooped up this chapeau by Laureen Harper. Because politics make for fabulous hat fellows. The cowboy hats were donated by the iconic Smithbilt Hat company. Because if their hats are good enough for Kate Middleton, they’re good enough for Holt Renfrew. Smithbilt partner Cam Clark, of polo playing and Ford fame, shows me plans for the sleek new headquarters in Inglewood.A fashion show on the pink carpet promoted fringe accents for this year’s Stampede.
Sporting his own fringe (“I trimmed it today,” he assured me later) philanthropist and former Dragon Brett Wilson chatted with Ben about his Garden Party next week, in support of The Calgary Foundation / Mental Health.
Meanwhile, Ben, since you’re cowboying it up in that promo photo, we’ll let you off the hook. You know I’m just joshing about the whole hat thing, right? It was wonderful that you took the time to come out to YYC. Besides, your hat sold for $500!The evening was a veritable who’s who of give give. Olympic luger Sam Edney and Olympic skier Brad Spence normally sport helmets instead of hats in their charitable endeavor, aka Helmets For Heroes.Purple-haired and neon-favoring painter Miss Anna Hall will be auctioning off an original artwork for the Brakemen Foundation during Stampede. The other half of the dynamically colored hair duo, Ilana Rohwedder, on the left, puts charity full-time in her life, working for Big Brothers and Sisters.
In the spirit of the Dalai Lama, I had to give the white hat – not to mention a Smithbilt selfie – a try. Photo bomb courtesy of Roc Spence, Director of the Calgary Stampede. It already looks like it’s going to be a wild ride! Yeehaw!