As the story goes, or at least as he tells it, Stoffer was surprised to find out that Christmas parties on the Hill were held by each party, as opposed to a joint Parliament Christmas party for all Hillites.
Peter therefore decided to hold a party for everyone – he bought booze, some snacks, and invited people over and held the First All-Party Party on December 12, 1997, in the rotunda outside his office, on the 3rd floor of the Confederation building. To his surprise, hundreds came.
The party grew over the years, with Stoffer doing a better marketing job to invite people and moved it to 200 WB. It is now the most attended Party on the Hill, and the declared objective is to thank staff who worked for politicians on the Hill, may they be political staffers, security, administration or maintenance.
Stoffer harrasses other MPs for donations to cover some costs, he also gets hundreds of door prizes from the Diplomatic Corps, Unions, Lobbyists and PR firms; bands perform, and Stoffer’s All-Party Party has become one of the most popular events on the Hill.
The bar is staffed by Ottawa’s firefighters, and the money raised with the sale goes to The Leukemia Society, around $7000 this year.
You can check out a few pictures here.
As for the food, which is what this blog is all about after all, here is a list of what was on the offer:
– Fresh vegetables platter and dip
– A selection of nuts at the bar
– Chips and Salsa
– Chicken wings
– Chicken tortilla rolls
– Curried spinach pastries
– Swedish meatballs
– Mini crab cakes
People were hungry and were basically attacking the poor waiting staff who never could make it very far into the room.
Nothing to say about the veggies, the nuts or the salsa. I also skipped the chicken wings, they seemed too saucy to eat while standing.
The tortilla rolls were interesting, a bit soft, but nice bit-size with a little bit of a zing. I would have dipped them in hot sauce if it had been possibile.
The spinach pastries were oven-baked, and they were uneven, some being really hot, some being kind of cold. The curry flavour was too powerfull for the spinach, but the texture was interesting.
The swedish meatballs were fine, nothing to say about them. The mini crab cakes were a bit better, but the fish sauce that came with was too thin to go well with it, a classic seafood sauce would have been better.
Nevertheless, considering the fact that over 2000 people showed up throughout the evening, they did a pretty good job of feeding the crowd.