Written by Andrew Horsfield
The One Young World Summit ( www.oneyoungworld.com/summit-2016 ) has just left Ottawa and the entire city is still basking in the afterglow. For three spectacular days, over a thousand young people from around the world came to Ottawa to listen, learn and be inspired by some of the biggest and brightest lights on the planet. From the opening ceremonies on Parliament Hill, to the final wrap up, you could just feel the vibe through the city and the Hotel. Lord Elgin Hotel staff was so proud to be part of this amazing event. We manned a volunteer desk from 630am to late at night to ensure that all of “our” delegates got to where they needed to be when they needed to be there.
But the highlight of the event for our hotel team, was hosting some of the delegates at “community dinners”. These home and community dinners happened all over the city on the Friday night of the summit. Various individuals and organizations volunteered to pick up and host delegates from the conference to give them a unique Canadian Experience. Throughout the city people were treating delegates to pizza parties, home dinners and bbq’s. Lord Elgin General Manager, David Smythe, and Director of Sales, Ann Meelker, along with Executive Chef Brian Vallipuram joined with Marriott Residence Inn GM Ravi and DOS Patrick Quirouette to host 17 of the delegates to a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner at the Lord Elgin. Each table had a chance to carve their own turkey accompanied by all the traditional fixings. Then the evening wrapped up with an old-fashioned pumpkin carving event.
Meanwhile, I called upon my local neighbourhood to host one of our pot-luck dinners. My neighbourhood gets together regularly for bbq’s and parties so they responded enthusiastically. My wife Christine prepared slow-cooked pulled pork and pulled chicken for sandwiches. Lots of salads and desserts were brought over by our friends so there was no lack of food. We decided to set up the lawn chairs in a big circle in the back yard surrounding a couple of portable fire pits. Guests made up their plates buffet style and then sat down to enjoy the warmth that only glowing embers and good conversation can provide. Finally, we pulled out the sticks and taught our guests from England, Germany and Austria how to make smores. Somehow simple roasted marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers can make a kid out the most responsible adult. When it came time to take our guests back downtown to see the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill, everyone was reluctant to leave. There was serious conversation about skipping the show and staying for another round of smores. Instead we settled for facebook connections and the promise of future travel to their country. Based upon the connections made around the fire that night, I know the friendships will continue.