January 18, 2018: Meals, Music and Christmas Magic; Carleton Tavern Dinner 2017.

January 18, 2018: Meals, Music and Christmas Magic;
Carleton Tavern Dinner 2017.

By Hintonburg Economic Development Committee.

How do you turn one of the loneliest days of the year into a day filled with good food, kindness, wonderful human interaction and live music? You work with the amazing Saikaley family, owners of the Carleton Tavern, to throw open the doors and invite everyone in for the best Christmas Day possible.

The Carleton has opened their doors for 17 years now to provide a free meal to those in the community right on Christmas Day. Lots of great food is provided but possibly more important is the companionship and fellowship that happens there that day. There are only a few locations that provide a meal right on Dec. 25. Christmas used to be the only day in the year the Carleton closed, now as opposed to a day off, the owners are there at 5:00 a.m. getting ready for the day.

What does it take to make this day happen? 35 cooked turkeys, 25 kg of ham, 18 giant tortieres, baked beans, a vegetarian meal, lots of home baked goodies, 18 musicians, lots of volunteers, the generosity of this community (businesses and residents) to donate food and gifts and of course what would Christmas be without Santa and Mrs. Claus.

How many people had a better Christmas? Close to 1000 meals were provided. There were at least 465 meals served to people who came in, another 100 meals delivered and about 250 meals taken out for those who could not come. Any food left at the end of the day was distributed within the local community to the local shelter and several rooming houses.

Many, many volunteers are required to make this day happen – about 125 volunteers starting a month in advance. By 3:00 p.m. on Christmas Day the weariness of the volunteers melts away and the comments that come through that day from those attending or having a meal delivered make you realize that this effort has made someone else’s day much better, as well as your own.

It is an entire community who make this day happen. Thanks to: Allegro, Artistic Cake Design, Bridgehead at Fairmont, Canadian Linen & Uniform Service, Carleton Tavern Hockey Leagues, Carlingwood Dental Centre, City of Ottawa, CYR, Devonshire Grade 6 Class, Farm Boy, Fil’s Diner, Global Pet Food, Grafik Visuals, GT Express, Happy Goat Coffee, Herb & Spice, Hintonburg Economic Devel.Committee, Holland’s Cake & Shake, Holland Cross Dental Centre, Holy Rosary Church, Indian Express, Karma Cravings, Laroche Park Sports Assoc., Merge Design Print & Promo, Metro Island Park, Musicians from Open Stage Revue, Ottawa Fit, Ottawa Nepean Sports Club, Pasticceria Gelateria, Precision Snow Removal, Purple Dog Consulting, Rideau Bakery, Royal Lepage Gale Real Estate, SDM Albert & O’Connor, SDM Rockland, Tannis Food Distributors, Transition House, WWBIA, Yuk Yuk’s (Elgin St), 10061620 Canada Inc., Collin & Michelle and the very many individual “Friends of the Carleton”. Thanks to you all.
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Photo Caption: Mr and Mrs Claus dropped by the Carleton Tavern on Christmas Day to bring smiles and good wishes to nearly 500 guests. Photo by T. Hairbach.

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