Community Initiatives Program

Wooed by The Temptations ... Get turned on at Hotel Arts ... Fall in love with koalas at the zoo

by Kelly Doody
The Calgary Sun

February 7, 2009

A finely dressed collection of more than 500 Calgarians filled the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency on Thursday night for the unforgettable premiere of the Calgary Health Trust's Foothills Hospital Cabaret.

While the event itself was a fundraiser for the Foothills Medical Centre, specifically aimed at raising money towards the purchase of Western Canada's first trauma RAPTOR operating room for critical trauma patients, the guests in attendance weren't taking things the least bit seriously.

Thanks to an age-appropriate Motown theme for the majority of the well-heeled crowd in attendance, fabulously era-appropriate decor thanks to interior designer Monica Stevens, an opening musical act from the Supremes-esque Toshi Jackson and The Silhouettes and fantastic food and free-flowing drinks, the sold-out crowd -- among them Alberta Health Minister Ron Leipert -- seemed content letting their hair down more than they normally would on a school night.

But when headliners Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Review took to the stage, men and women alike found themselves reliving their youth, singing along to My Girl, Just My Imagination and Papa Was A Rollin' Stone and dancing in the aisles.

Head to Six in the City online to see proof of the straightlaced crowd kicking up their heels, including Rob Connelly, Ken Heywood and John Streukens on stage singing Diana Ross' I'm Coming Out in drag.

Considering the Calgary Health Trust managed to take their Foothills Country Auction and turn it into something twice as not-for-profitable, netting somewhere in the neighbourhood of $250,000 in its very first year, we're willing to bet those in attendance will be back again next year for the second annual -- sure to be just as successful, with or without the last surviving member of The Temptations on the bill.


Looking for somewhere to take your sweetie next week?

There's still time to grab a ticket to the Turn On Calgary party at Hotel Arts next Saturday night.

Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, is sure to be fab with sumptuous tapas at chef-attended food stations, decadent desserts from renowned Hotel Arts pastry chef Karine Moulin, sexy drinks, a silent auction and sultry music from the six-piece band 'Round Midnight.

It's all in support of HYTES -- Helping Youth Through Educational Scholarships -- an organization aimed at turning young minds in the developing world on to education. The event will help fund scholarships for secondary students in Guatemala, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and the big new ballroom will be transformed into a super luxe lounge just for the occasion.

Head to for tickets.


While they're not booking private breakfast dates until next weekend, the two cuddly male koalas on loan to the Calgary Zoo from San Diego have arrived.

Rest assured these little fellas are receiving rock star treatment -- their transport from California to Calgary was on a private jet flight provided by a sponsor, and fresh eucalyptus will be flown in for their dining pleasure every week.

Bundaru and Mundooie are in town until mid-September, and aside from regular viewing in the Australia complex, visitors can have up-close koala time by booking a ticket to the Breakfast with the Koalas program that includes a hot pancake breakfast in the Kitamba Cafe and a private viewing of the marsupials.

If you'd rather do dinner and drinks with the furry creatures, the Elite Eat program will have you playing koala voyeur until they skip off to bed, at which time you head to the Safari Lodge for a taste of down under dining.

Check out for info on both intimate koala events.

The cuddly critters will be unveiled to the public on Feb. 11.


New Canadians are encouraged to take a second look at how talented they are, and submit their artistic endeavours for potential selection in a unique exhibition happening in Calgary this June.

The Cultural Intersection art exhibition is looking for artists living in Alberta, both emerging and professional but born outside of Canada, to submit their artwork as soon as possible as the deadline of Feb. 28 is fast approaching.

Organized by the Calgary Multicultural Centre and marking the first time such an event has been held in Alberta, Cultural Intersection will take place at the Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts from June 25 to 27 during Canada Multiculturalism Week, and offers artists of all disciplines to bring a piece of their culture, history and birthplace to life in Calgary.

"The purpose of the project is to educate Albertans about the heritage of New Canadians and their valuable contribution to our art and cultural mosaic," said Anoush Newman, executive director of the Calgary Multicultural Centre.

"Immigrant artists settling into a new country face many barriers, including finance, language and lack of Canadian credentials, which often prevents them from being able to demonstrate their considerable talents. We believe this exhibition will go a long way to break down some of those obstacles."

For more info, call 403-237-5850 or visit

Note from HYTES: On February 9, 2009, we made the difficult decision to cancel Turn On Calgary due to poor ticket sales stemming from the current economic downturn.

"One in five of the world's people lives on less than $1 a day."
- Jessica Williams