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Ottawa Club Scene Alive with Parties
Packed bar events for groups boost Winterlube's success
Photos:  Doug Muir.

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NIGHTLIFE in Ottawa's Community showed it was alive and well last night as community group bar events overflowed with party people.

The Ottawa Knights Mid-Winter Knights' Dream party at Centretown Pub was wall-to-wall with leather-clad men and their admirers.  Skin was the second fashion of choice in the tactile crowd of animated talk and heated dance action.

The Rideau Speedos Water party at Icon surged with intensity.  Ultimately choosing the high-energy dance floor, the sweaty sexy semi-clothed swim team and its followers left scattered remnants of party supplies in their wake.

Both events had been incorporated into the Community's first Winterlube celebration, with the second one resurrecting the annual Swimmers in Heat fundraising party.  The Ottawa Knights leather group, Rideau Speedos swim club, and Icon are among the sponsors of the 3-week multi-event festival.  Out Productions has played a significant developmental role and a full schedule of events are available on its site.

"Tonight, people who don't go out at all came out and met others and enjoyed themselves," observed Stephane Cadieux, lead organizer of Winterlube.  Mr. Cadieux is Development Assistant at Bruce House, the organization benefiting from the festival's status as a fundraiser.  He described the Winterlube Water party as a great success and as having attracted a diverse crowd of Community members.

Ottawa Knights Focus on Fundraising

Without the help of the Community we would not be able to put it on
- Andre, Ottawa Knights VP, on Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull
"Tonight is a bar night, one which [we have] on the 2nd Saturday of [each] month," said Andre, Ottawa Knights Vice President, External.  "The idea of bar night is to raise money for charities, no specific one, but we give to Ottawa-area charities," he continued, describing the raffle draw last night for upcoming Cher concert tickets.

Last year's annual Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull in the fall allowed the Knights to give over $2000 to local charities, and the annual Toys for Tots events this year generated 3 truckfuls of Christmas morning joy for Eastern Ontario kids.

The Knights celebrated Chinese New Year last month, Andre explained, in a crowded and successful first attempt at enjoying that Eastern holiday with people around the world.  Also being celebrated by the Knights this year is their 25th anniversary, testimonial to their place in Ottawa's Community as an institution.

Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull 1999-2000 Howard Hao Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull 1999-2000 Howard Hao and friend
Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull 1999-2000 Howard Hao made an appearance at the party last night.  Laughing and visibly enjoying himself, he exclaimed "I'm doing my best!" before moving on to mingle.

The diversity-valuing and Community-minded leather group travels, too.  In a social circuit incorporating Central Canada and the US Northeast, the Knights regularly meet up with others who share their interests.  "We don't have to start at the beginning ... they know what each other likes," commented Andre.

Andre described Ottawa's Community as being very generous and its people nice.  He commended the enormous support for the annual Mr. Leather Ottawa-Hull competition.  "Without the help of the Community we would not be able to put it on," he concluded.

People interested in the Ottawa Knights can check out one of their meetings on the 1st Tuesday of each month at Regional Headquarters in the Honeywell Room.  Starting at 8:00 PM, the gatherings are open to everyone and lots of information is made available.

Rideau Speedos Ease Through Growing Pains

At 9-years old and a junior compared to the Ottawa Knights as an organization, the Rideau Speedos hit a bump in the road this year, or rather, the pool wall unexpectedly, with their annual Swimmers in Heat tournament and party.

For a whole bunch of reasons, the meet didn't happen this year but it took us a little while to get to where we decided to have a party
- Daniel Kinsella, a coach with the Speedos
"For a whole bunch of reasons, the meet didn't happen this year but it took us a little while to get to where we decided to have a party," Daniel Kinsella, a coach with the Speedos, explained.

"We had a couple of functions," he continued.  "One of them was to start building more community connections between the Speedos and places like Bruce House ... one of them was just to have a fundraiser for us and for Bruce House ... we usually make money at the swim meet and support the team."

The Rideau Speedos began in 1990 with the Vancouver Gay Games.  'Swimmers in Heat' is their annual tournament and fundraising party.

Icon Water party 'Swimmers' Icon Water party 'Swimmers'
"It's going pretty well," said Mr. Kinsella regarding the Water party at Icon.  "It got a lot of support out there .. the point of having a lot of community organizations involved is really being made," he commented, and further asserted that next year's meet and party were definitely planned, with a view to increasing out-of-town participation.

The Speedos hit the pool 3 times a week.  Swimming competitively is an option and a coach is always on deck.  The group is part of 2 international gay and lesbian swimming and aquatics associations whose championships this year will be in Paris in the spring.

"You don't have to be a great swimmer or be in fabulous shape," Mr. Kinsella stated.  "It's about swimming, meeting people, learning how to swim better, and serious exercise."