It was a pleasure covering the Wener Gala hosted by The Fraser Institute last night in one of Montreal’s great venues, Le Windsor. Jonathan Wener was given the Fraser Institute’s 2012 T. Patrick Boyle Founder’s Award “to recognize outstanding achievements in entrepreneurship, dedication to free and competitive markets, and philanthropic support for private-sector, non-profit enterprises.” Not a seat was empty in the room filled with no fewer than 350 guests, including Jonathan Wener’s lovely family and a few hundred of his closest friends. As an event photographer in Montreal I never grow tired of covering gala parties. While some photographers may not appreciate literally being jammed in the middle of crowd so thick you can barely position your lens, I love it. I love the energy in a roomful of people and last night was no exception. I particularly enjoyed Mr. Wener’s speech in which he was asked to comment on what was the secret to his success (follow your passion) . Like all truly successful people he was humble about his achievements and seemed proudest of his family and community involvement. He also referenced a few of the Dalai Lama’s memorable and always relevant words of advice for living, worth sharing here:
- Follow the three R’s: Respect for Self, Respect for Others and Taking Responsibility
- If you make a mistake, take immediate action to correct it
- Live a good and honourable life so that when you are old you can relive it in memory and experience it twice
Covering an event at Le Windsor is great too because of the balcony that affords great expansive views of the room, allowing for some wonderful ambient shots, and there was plenty to cover. The evening’s packed programme, animated by Sébastien Côté, Directeur, Québec et la Francophonie, included a video, a live skit from a great comedy troupe of performers called, er, Uncalled For, a three piece jazz trio and speeches from The Fraser Institute’s President Niels Veldhuis, and an impassioned intro to the award presentation by Executive Director, Mike Walker.
The organizers of this event had an innovative use for the photos I was taking throughout the event. They plan to publish a commemorative book combining the images together with comments and notes written to and about Jonathan Wener by the guests throughout the evening in little black notebooks provided to each guests. For a sneak peek at some of the photos from the event last night in Montreal, please visit the gallery here.
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