our 12th annual fundraising gala.


Desjardins Wealth Management Via Rail Canada

On Tuesday Sept. 27th, theatre lovers navigated the labyrinthine construction site facing Centaur’s stately entrance to attend its 12th annual gala, its yearly major fundraising event to ensure the continued success of Montreal’s flagship English-language theatre.

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Hartland Paterson of SNC-Lavalin, Centaur’s past Chairman and greeter, actress Catherine (Cat) Lemieux


Once past Laurent Pitre, a local actor in Centaur’s 20th Wildside Festival this January, ironically dressed as a giant orange pylon, this autumn’s Brave New Looks star, Catherine Lemieux, à la Hedda Hopper/Louella Parsons in classic pearls and a little black dress, had a witty quip for each guest as they ascended the red carpeted stairway. In the lobby, festooned with streamers of Centaur Theatre brochures folded into paper airplanes, CJAD’s Aaron Rand and CTV’s Lori Graham warmly welcomed attendees, while Wildside co-curator and Brave New Looks director, Johanna Nutter, in pirate wench garb, ensured all present were heartily invested in the Treasure Chest door prize draw. Next to a giant red and white striped hot-air balloon dominating the lobby, in which guests posed for photos, stood a giant circular pyramid ringed with sparkling glasses of red and white wine, generously donated by the SAQ, and crowned with a toy ‘Bon Voyage’ train and a charming locomotive conductor who made sure no one’s glass was empty. Amidst the celebratory atmosphere of the cocktail dînatoire, Centaur’s Artistic and Executive Director, Roy Surette, was interviewed live for CTV’s six o’clock news by Ms. Graham.


Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Designer and caterer Roberto Menegati getting wine from an actor dressed as a train operator.

in the background are Vanessa Rigaux from centaur theatre and Martin R Landry of VIA Rail, Gala Honourary Co-Chair

In keeping with the season’s ‘Swept Away’ slogan, this year’s gala was appropriately christened ‘Bon Voyage’. Roberto Menegati’s décor and food reflected the glamour and exoticism of luxurious ocean liners, Orient Express-style train travel and old school flight attendants from the heady days of the first trans-Atlantic passenger flights. Various food stations were scattered throughout the transformed lobby and Seagram Gallery, each offering cuisine from a different corner of the globe. From broiled salmon with ginger or marinated grilled filet mignon to gnocchi with fresh basil tomato sauce or goat cheese polenta with chicken skewers, guests could travel from Asia to Europe, gastronomically, with a few short steps. A large selection of delicate hot and cold canapés including spicy chicken Brazilian coxinhas (croquettes), wild mushroom crostinis, warm Brie phyllo cups, Black Tiger shrimp and more, were also in abundance.

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Guests enjoying the evening.

Silent auction items, ranging in value from $85 to $2030, drew keen interest from the revellers. Luxury river and ocean cruises, the best of Montreal’s haute-cuisine dining from French and Mediterranean to Cajun and steakhouse fare, museum outings, hockey tickets, mini-getaways in Montreal, Stratford, New York, and Quebec City, Canadian and US ski packages, out-of-town theatre tickets, visual art and artisan creations, spa packages, and fine wine were just some of the almost fifty items up for bid.

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

from left: George Bowser of Bowser & Blue; Luc Papineau of Desjardins Securities, Honourary Gala Co-Chair; Lori Graham of CTV,

Treasure Chest Ambassador; Aaron Rand of CJAD, Auctioneer; Roy Surette, Centaur’s Artistic & Executive Director; Rick Blue of Bowser and Blue; and Martin R Landry of VIA Rail, Honourary Gala Co-Chair

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

from left: Francois de Broux, Martin R Landry, Luc Papineau, Nancy Cummings Gold, Roy Surette,
Benoit Deshaies, Howard Golberg, Fraser Singleton, Roberto Menegati


The lively crowd then congregated in the auditorium, where Roy Surette introduced the Gala Co-Chairs, Martin R Landry, Chief Commercial Officer of VIA Rail, and Luc Papineau, Vice President and General Manager of Desjardins Securities. Both gentlemen assured the guests they were in good hands with a train conductor and a wealth manager in charge of the proceedings, a “perfect marriage between art and finance”. Mr. Surette then made a surprise announcement that heretofore the Seagram Gallery would be renamed the Ted. T. Katz Gallery, and presented Mr. Katz with a dedication plaque. Mr. Katz spoke movingly of his refugee entry into Canada from Hungary in 1957, saying how privileged and honoured he felt to be in a position to give back to the city he loves.

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Roy Surette and Ted T. Katz


Aaron Rand then took to the stage as auctioneer, a role he dons annually for Centaur, to facilitate the sale of an impressive list of items. They included coastal cruises from Cruise and Maritime Voyages, a South African and Zimbabwe tour compliments of Mantis and Rovos Rail, a secluded getaway at Newfoundland’s remote Fogo Island Inn (VIA Rail and Fogo Island Inn), a tropical escape at The Crane, the oldest and one of the most elegant resorts in Barbados courtesy of WestJet and The Crane Resort, a choice of one of the many Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions, VIA Rail’s popular cross-Canada excursion,  an African safari from Dashir Lodge and Safaris, a European river cruise care of Air France and Viking River Cruises, and more. In a burst of generosity, one enthusiastic patron donated Adele tickets on the spot. To round up the auction, Lori Graham announced the winning ticket numbers for the mysterious Treasure Chest.

Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Aaron Rand and Lori Graham with their recognition certificates and Roy Surette.


To thank Lori and Aaron for many years of service to Centaur and Montreal community, Roy presented Lori and Aaron with beautiful framed recognition certificates.

Before the entertainment segment of the evening, Mr. Surette read a letter from Manon Gauthier, the Montreal City Counsellor responsible for Culture and Heritage, in which Madam Gauthier applauded Roy’s accomplishments at the Centaur, a highly respected institution in Montreal’s unique artistic community. Centaur Board member, Fergus V. Keyes, then gave a fond farewell to Roy beginning by saying, “There are so many nice things to say, we could be here all night”, and ending with, “We are really proud to have had Roy as the voice of our theatre; we thank you and we’ll miss you”. It was fitting that when the comedy duo of Bowser and Blue started their set, it was with a tribute to Roy from their Centaur musical hit, Last Night at the Gayety, and a song entitled “One Man”. They kept the evening buoyant with an array of comedic songs in various genres illustrating their satirical wit and musical prowess.


Desserts of strawberry or chocolate pistachio truffles, lime curd and coconut or praline chocolate mousses were served in the newly named Ted. T. Katz Gallery as refreshing Grand Marnier digestif cocktails were made on the spot in the lobby. Every guest went home with parting gifts from Clover Leaf DAVIDs TEA, and WAFU, as well as Centaur Theatre tickets.


This year’s Gala raised a stunning total of $198,000 in support of this season’s programming and outreach activities.


Air Canada

Aon Hewitt

Deloitte Digital

DLA Piper


IBM Global Business Services



Carolyn Renaud

Cookie and Larry Rossy



Air France

Aubry Printing

Celebrations – Party & Special Event Rentals

Clover Leaf

The Crane


Cruise & Maritime Voyages USA Inc.

Dashir Lodge and Safaris


Fogo Island Inn

Menegati Design l Catering

Pinkerton Flowers


Rovos Rail


Viking River Cruises


Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Yohan Gaumont, Gala Patron and Partner, Deloitte Digital, with Anna Wickberg and Laurence LeFrançois of  VIA Rail Canada.


Photo credit: Pierre Roussel, Agence Québec Presse

Amani Sawaya, Cookie and Larry Rossy of Dollarama, Susan Teicher and Peter Varadi of Groupe Canvar


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