On April 17th, 30 Govan Brown employees from the Toronto office took to the streets of our Junction neighborhood to participate in Clean Toronto Together, an annual event that occurs every spring. The social movement encourages businesses, students, and residents to participate in an informal 20 minute cleanup of their neighborhoods and public spaces. Govan Brown has taken part in the event for the past 5 years. Our group left at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and worked our way westward down Vine Avenue, picking up all rubbish along the way.
We made a stop in the parkette on the north side of Vine and thoroughly swept the premises. Further along, we turned south and made our way to the busy Dundas Street West, the main artery of The Junction neighborhood. We turned east and picked through the rubbish on the main road all the way to Keele Street, turning north and returning back to our home on Vine Avenue.
In total we covered a 1.3 KM route and wrangled well over 100 pounds in garbage. Afterwards, our group made our way to a local pub where enjoyed what was left of the afternoon sun with some drinks and finger foods; it was the perfect ending to a rewarding day.
On March 11th, 2015, Govan Brown and Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions jointly hosted their annual Charity Casino at the Hilton Suites Conference Centre in Markham, Ontario. The event is held every year to benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and this year the event raised over $74,000 for the organization. The Casino night was attended by over 600 industry representatives who were treated to an evening of gambling with specialized casino currency, silent and live auctions, live band, prizes, and masquerade photo opportunities.
With this latest effort, Govan Brown has raised almost $500,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in the past in four years.
March 3rd was a night for champions. Some are born gifted with supernatural talents while others must forge their greatness in the crucible of hearty competition. It was a mix of both that spurred Govan Brown that fateful Tuesday night; it was that witch's brew that guided them to victory. Five of Govan Brown's finest - cladded in black t-shirts, steeling themselves for battle - arrived at Toronto's premiere bowling and restaurant establishment, The Ballroom, for an evening of attrition and finger foods. The gods of yesteryear were looking out for our heroes that day, possibly a couple of cauldron-gazing warlocks watched also.
Those witnessing the spectacle, deities and mortals alike, saw pin falls so numerous that they resembled fallen soldiers on a Napoleonic battle field. The local chapter of ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) invited friends from across the seven kingdoms of the GTA to compete in this tourney of honour. Some of the finest construction minds and designers were in attendance, mingling in peace - bellies full of sliders, mead and cocktails.
But the harmony was short lived. As the competition began, Govan Brown's hedge knights ignored the siren calls of adjacent teams and focused on the objective: brining honour to house Govan Brown. This kindly soothsayer wishes he could say that the tournament was a smooth campaign but alas he cannot, the first three bowlers rolled a total of 17 points after the initial frame.
However, with the first frame out of mind, Spencer of Bowers set upon the game with 3 consecutive strikes; followed quickly by a between the legs strike from Ryan, Son of Thom and a forceful collision of ball and pin from Tyler the Brown. Unfortunately, following Govan Brown clan's successful campaign, we lost a soldier to weariness or as the afflicted in question (Katrina of house Herd) claimed that she "was wiped." Rejoicing in ale, occassionally teaching bowling techniques to the lesser knights in attendance, Govan Brown was announced victorious. The money raised by this tournament will benefit the new GTAC (GTA Chapter) Student Scholarship.
Amid the relenting freezing temperatures that have pounded Southern Ontario in early February, our Toronto office took Friday, February 6th as an opportunity to stretch their legs and escape the winter chill by taking to the sheets of Mississauga Golf and Country Club for an afternoon of curling. The second annual curling event which, admittedly, is not an ideal escape from the cold, is a young tradition that our Toronto staff has come to look forward to every year. Having piqued the interests of participants last year, this year's event had a large turnout of 30 would-be curlers ready to test their balance.
WIth the ceremonial "Eye Openers" in hand, our team mounted the school bus steps for the 30 minute ride from the office to MGCC. Once there, our team underwent a brief refresher in rules and etiquette, followed by a lesson in how to toss rocks, sweep and slide. After our coaching, we were split into teams of four and began our matches. Along with close results, there were close calls and a few wipe-outs as everyone worked out their respective kinks. Following a brief recess - this consisted of a buffet of sliders, wraps, fries and beer - the teams returned to the ice for more curling.
Refreshed and recharged, the second session exhibited matches of a more fiery nature. Unfortunately, the afternoon came to a close shortly after the completion of the matches. As everyone poured back onto the bus, rivalries established and rekindled; thoughts were focused on next year and the scores left to be settled.
Possessed by the Christmas Spirit, members of Govan Brown's Toronto office once again participated in a unique version of Secret Santa. Unlike most renditions of Secret Santa, the gifts purchased are donated to the CHUM City Toy Drive. Our participants, upon receiving the name of their target, were challenged to buy a toy that they believe would have been played with by their target as a child. The secret Santa gift exchange took place on Friday, December 19 during our luncheon. As has become tradition, resident Englishmen, James Chapman, once again received a tea set, this time with the likeness of Curious George printed on the tea pot and accompanying mugs.
Other gifts received includeed mini hockey stick sets, soccer balls, Star Wars action figures, Hot Wheels tarcks, and trivia games for our more astute employees. More than 40 toys, puzzles and games were donated to the CHUM City Toy Drive. The CHUM drive is a program that has become one of the largest distributors of toys to children in need in the Greater Toronto Area. The program also provides financial assistance to hundreds of agencies, ensuring that hundreds of thousands of children across the GTA enjoy a holiday experience.
The CHUM Christmas Wish, in conjunction with RBC, Toronto Social Services, and CP24 viewers and listeners, is able to assist approximately 300,000 people in need across the GTA. Fundamental to Govan Brown's enjoyment of the holidays is the seasonal opportunity for Govan Brown employees to support our community. Our annual Secret Santa exchange allows us to take a break from work and enjoy the festive company of our co-workers and donate to a great cause while having fun in the process. We are proud of our staff for showing their true colours in this season of charitable giving, having donated to a number of worthy causes across Canada.
What began as a bit of friendly competition has become a full-out battle for Can/Non-perishable food supremacy! After receiving a photo from the Vancouver office showcasing their collection of cans and an accompanying dare, the gauntlet had been thrown and it was up to the rest of the offices to the tyranny in its track and respond. Toronto quickly took to the task and began collecting cans at a feverish pace, as did Ottawa, Nordstrom Rideau, Calgary and Edmonton. The competition was agreed to be determined on a per capita ratio as to level the playing field between the larger and smaller offices.
Despite the trash talk, this competition has been a great catalyst for raising awareness for the against hunger. In addition to our staff looking to help those less fortunate, the goal of being the best can collector has set a fire under our proverbial bottoms. In total the Toronto Staff gathered over 574 individual packs, pasta and canned food with a 6 cans to person ratio; Ottawa raised 157 cans with a ratio of 22.4 per person; Nordstrom Ottawa raised a total of 204 cans for a ratio of 25.5 per person; Edmonton had a ratio of 6.6 cans per person; Calgary raised 94 cans with a ratio of 3.5 cans per person, and the victorious Vancouverites amassed 473 in can foods for an astounding ratio of 39.4 per person.
The challenge to gather food for the less fortunate was massive success with our offices raising over 1,522 cans, packages, and boxes of food; that's a ratio of 17.2 per person! In the short 3 week window in which to complete this challenge, our employees mobilized with haste and contributed to the well-being of our respective communities and donated all the goods to local food banks. The teamwork displayed by all was a signifcant testament to the talent and character of our Govan Brown staff.
Earlier this month, Govan Brown's Calgary office got an opportunity to cool down for th a weekend in Canmore, Alberta for their Christmas party. Canmore, located just an hour west of Calgary, provided the perfect mountainous backdrop for celebrating the holidays. Govan Brown employees ventured from all parts of the country to join in on the fun.
Mike Hoitnik and Dwayne Hopkins arrived withbells and whistles on from Winnipeg. Vince Gilbertson and Jared Hagen with smiles all aglow from Edmonton and Sarah Paul with her naughty and nice list from Toronto. The evening began with everyone arriving at Canmore Hotel & Conference Centre to freshen up and settle inot their hotel rooms provided by Partner Troy Braithwaite. Dinner commenced at 6:30 at Murrieta's Bar & Grill for fine dining, fine wine and great company. It was a wonderful gathering with everyone bringing in their significant other and friends to take part in the festivities.
After a delicious dinner, members of the entourage sojourned to a local watering hole known as The Drake. After a few more cocktails, an uncoordinated dance party ensured (which was fortunately captured on video to be used for extortionary purposes at a later date). The party proved what many suspected; Govan Brown works smart but we also play just as hard.
Govan Brown's annual Christmas party was held once again, on a snowstorm that befell Toronto on Thursday, December 11. Despite almost a foot of snow, Govan Brown employees showed up in full force at downtown Toronto's bowling bar, The Ballroom.
The event was a great opportunity for office and site personnel to mix and mingle during the holiday season. The evening began at 6:30 with the focal bowling tournament commencing at 7:30. Despite pre-organized teams being arranged prior to the event, after a few frames, the teams began to meld into one another until every one was playing for fun rather than competitioin.
Beyond bowling, party-goers played pool, ate fine finger foods, filled up at the poutine bar and took advantage of the open bar. The event was a great pre-cursor to the upcoming holidays.
Govan Brown's partnership with local Queen Victoria Public School has afforded us many opportunities to donate and volunteer for a multitude of programs. One of our most significant contributions comes in the form of a Coat and Boot drive that we run annually in the months leading up to winter.The demographic that makes up the Parkdale neighborhood, where Queen Victoria Public School is located in, contains a large new Canadian population - many of whom are unprepared for harsh Canadian winters. To ease the acclimation process, Govan Brown employees purchased or collected new or gently used winter clothing and donated it to the school. Understanding that winter clothing may be expensive, this was a great way to help the community and the children of the school. The Coat and Boot drive is just one of many programs that Govan Brown engages in with Queen Victoria Public School.Along with the annual clothing drive, our employees volunteer their time once a month to cook and serve breakfast for the kids, among many other efforts. Our partnership with the school continues to be a very rewarding experience for our staff.