In just a few days, the extravagance and opulence of Versailles will be brought to Montreal, and for a great cause. The upcoming fourth-annual Casino Against Cancer, presented by Giorgio Armani, event will welcome over 800 guests to help raise awareness and money for the Institut du Cancer de Montréal, a non-profit aimed to support research to cure cancer. Since its founding in 2012, the Casino Against Cancer fundraiser has raised $350,000.
Guests will begin the evening with a VIP dinner that includes a menu specially created by Jérôme Ferrer of Montreal’s Restaurant Europea. In addition to the typical event fare of dinner, dancing and drinks, Casino Against Cancer is just that: a casino. Table games like Black Jack, roulette and poker are situated throughout the space, and for those not skilled at cards, a variety of food stations from Montreal’s top restaurants, a silent auction, a Sharp cover photo booth and many raffles are on hand.
Armani will set up a beauty lounge to showcase their luxurious products and provide touch ups.
We spoke with Casino Against Cancer‘s ambassador Georges Achkar about the extravagant event, the cause behind it and what guests can expect from a night in Versailles.
Tell me about the Institut du Cancer de Montreal.
All the profits from this event will go to the Institut, which not only funds cancer research, but is also targeted to build the research centres and hire Canadian doctors to aid in curing cancer. A lot of our medical resources go to the US and Europe, the Institut aims to keep our brainpower in the country and to give them what they need to end end cancer.
What are some highlights from last year’s event?
To be honest, of all the events that I attend during the year, this one is the most fun. I can’t choose just one highlight because there are so many different ways to really enjoy yourself. There’s great food, amazing Armani gifts, a DJ and drinks, but at this event if you don’t want to partake in any of that, you can sit at a blackjack table. A ticket comes with a few fake dollars for guests to use at the tables. It really feels like you’re in a casino. You can spend an hour or two playing cards and then go back to dancing or socializing. The person who wins the most money gets a prize at the end of the night.
The event includes a huge poker tournament as well, right?
Yes. It starts at 6 pm and goes on until midnight. The prize is usually close to $20,000 and can have up to 150 people playing for it. The pot gets split between the Institut and the winner of the tournament. It’s funny, we’ve actually had a lot of complaints in past years from the dates of people who were in the tournament. Since it can go on for so long, the players will usually leave their dates alone until, of course, they get eliminated. It gets quite serious by the end of it.
Who have been some notable guests in the past?
Last year, Charles-Alexandre Sylvestre and Marc-Andre Ladouceur attended. They are professional poker players and champions. It was such a thrill for the guests to be playing with
What would you want newcomers to Casino Against Cancer to know?
The event is so much fun, and you couldn’t be supporting a better cause. Look at me, I attended it once and I wanted to become an ambassador for it immediately after.