On the night of the 2015 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, it was raining hard, but it didn’t dampen the night – electricity was in the air. Cabs and limos pulled up to Ottawa’s National Arts Centre like a scene out of a movie. Guests stepped out of their cars with black umbrellas and sky-high heels. They gathered in the foyer, anticipating the atrium to open up where the gorgeous spread of food and cocktails awaited.
I arrived in the middle of all the action, along with my date – Ottawa photographer, Ali Campbell. We connected with our event liaison, Jennifer Covert – Marketing Office, NAC, for press details and direction. As we waited to be ushered to a prime spot on the red carpet where the laureates and high-profile guests would arrive, we people-watched, bumped into friends, and mingled until the press were welcomed in.
At such glamorous and prestigious events, one must keep an eye out for the fashion. It was nice to see a few standout ladies and gents who made sure to remind party-goers that award shows aren’t just for awards and that our style game needs to be on point. Spotted trends were long streamlined gowns accessorized by minimal gold jewellery, hipster-style suits with brown shiny leather shoes, and boho-chic taken up a notch.
My dress for the evening was a gift from Nomads, a fair trade clothing brand, which I felt was perfect for the evening considering Sarah McLachlan’s advocacy for ethical and fair-trade goods. The dress I wore is an organic gently fitted v-neck with a floral print and a gathered side tie. I dressed it up with an organic raw silk shawl and a vintage purse.
Soon after spending time crowd watching, the laureates began to arrive one by one. It was exciting to be within arms reach to see them walk the red carpet and shine on their big night. I can tell you that Sarah McLachlan is as stunning in real life as she is in her videos and the magazines. She has a sincerity and kindness that radiates from her face. Walter Boudreau, composer and conductor was a crowd pleaser with his vibrant energy and red shoes! Fellow laureates – Dinae Leblanc, Atom Egoyan, R.H Thomson and Michael M. Koerner all graced the red carpet as well as a surprise sighting of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his wife, Aline
Colm Feore, an actor himself, was our engaging and entertaining host for the evening. He actually encouraged us to take pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #GGAwards. It was a clear message from the Governor General Performing Arts Awards that the arts are of the people and for the people. Obviously we started blowing up the twittersphere. Throughout the night, we were treated to short films produced by the National Film Board of Canada. My personal favourite was a humorous film poking gentle fun at Jean-Marc Vallée, which had the audience in stitches.
The awards show featured performances by Half Moon Run, Wallis Giunta, Eric Peterson, Alain Lefèvre and a beautiful performance by Serena Ryder of Sarah McLachlan’s song, I Will Remember You. It was a touching and heartfelt tribute.
To close the show, Serena belted out her hit single, What I Wouldn’t Do, ending the night on one heck of a happy vibe!
Each year, Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards are presented for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in the categories of theatre, dance, classical music, popular music, film, and broadcasting. These awards recognize artists who have made an indelible contribution to Canada’s cultural life. Recipients of these awards are nominated by the general public. To learn more, visit ggpaa.ca
Photo credit: Ali Campbell Photography.