Trivia fundraiser for Wychwood Open Door drop-in returns to Wychwood Barns next month By Josh Sherman

Early next month, Trivia night is coming back to Artscape Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St.) for its eighth year running.

The annual brain-teasing event, which organizers host to raise funds for Wychwood Open Door, a local drop-in centre located at 729 St. Clair Ave. W., will take place on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.

“There’s a lot of trivia that goes on in bars… but I think this is probably Toronto’s biggest trivia game,” says Jacob Bakan, a Wychwood Open Door volunteer and board member who is helping put the event on.

This year’s trivia topics include Toronto history and geography, real estate, food facts, 20Th-century popular music, and film and TV. There will also be a more open-ended “potpourri” category, Bakan reveals.

In addition to playing the game, attendees will have the chance to order food from neighbourhood restaurants and wine and beer by local suppliers, as well as participate in a silent auction.

Meanwhile, Liza Fromer — co-host of Global Television Network’s popular Morning Show — will be hosting Trivia Night 2016, and local businesses will be donating prizes to be awarded to the trivia winners.

This year’s spoils have yet to be announced, but 2015’s victors took home a wine tour, a pound of fair-trade organic coffee each, and gourmet chocolate, to name a few prizes.

Bakan, who began volunteering at the Wychwood Open Door a year and a half ago, underscored the value of the drop-in centre.

“What impresses me about the centre is that it provides a very safe and welcoming environment for the people that go there, and many of them seem to have a sense that this is a welcoming place for them and a place that they also feel is their own,” says Bakan.

“This is a mixed neighbourhood, and some of us in the neighbourhood are more fortunate than others, but I think that it’s important that we take care of those who are vulnerable neighbours and members of our community,” he adds.

The centre has been up and running for 30 years and is currently open three days a week. It serves three meals a day, provides clothing, and even offers programming such as a writer’s workshop.

Proceeds from Trivia Night 2016 will go towards the Wychwood Open Door’s operation and the cost of the event. Bakan says opening the centre for a fourth day each week is a goal.

Tickets cost $30 per person, or $300 for a team table of 10. Those who buy individual tickets will be paired with others who have done the same to form more teams. Last year, all 330 tickets sold out, and ahead of the Feb. 6 event, Bakan says there has been strong interest.

“There’s two weeks left and we’ve sold more than two thirds of the tickets,” he confirms.

Those interested in attending can purchase tickets online via the Wychwood Open Door’s Donation Aid page.

Tickets are also being sold at local businesses Krave Coffee, Kurtis Coffee, and EcoExistence, and The Stop’s Farmer’s Market at Wychwood Barns.

Josh Sherman is a freelance writer living in Toronto’s west end. He mostly covers urban affairs, business, and culture.

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