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  • What is the Vancouver Military Dinner?
    The Vancouver Military Dinner is an event held annually in Vancouver, BC, focused on raising awareness of the Canadian military, its traditions, customs, missions, and personnel. Each year, we bring together approximately 100 veterans, sailors, soldiers, aviators, special forces operators, and local Vancouverites from all walks of life, fostering understanding and encouraging bonds between individuals who, in many cases, would not normally meet. Each event features two guest speakers: One from the leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces, and one from a featured organization or charity that we select each year. These speakers provide our guests with the rare opportunity to meet and hear from senior military personnel in an intimate setting, while also learning about the important work of organizations dedicated to making life better for veterans and service members.
  • What makes the Vancouver Military Dinner different from other events?
    The Vancouver Military Dinner is certainly not the only military or military-themed event in BC. Our friends in the local Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) community host numerous events throughout the year, ranging from the BC Military Gala's annual ball, to the smaller, unit-focused mess dinners of individual regiments and units. As we stand for awareness and celebration of the CAF and its traditions, we fully support, encourage, and often attend these events! Our identity and uniqueness stem from the structure, mission, and intimacy of our event: We strive to maintain a 50-50 balance between the civilian and military communities, allowing these two segments of society to learn from and celebrate each other. While our event is open to all, we keep it somewhat small, maintaining an atmosphere where each guest can realistically meet and speak to every other attendee. We are focused on encouraging relationships and awareness, both of the CAF and of the incredible work being done by various organizations to support our veterans. We feature different, highly-placed, and interesting guest speakers each year. Previous guest speakers have included the Royal Canadian Navy Rear-Admiral overseeing all military forces in BC and the Major-General in charge of Canadian Army forces in the west, while our charity guests have joined us from such illustrious organizations as Soldier On, Honour House, and the Veterans' Memorial Manor. The Vancouver Military Dinner runs in the style of a modified mess dinner. This style of dining - which encourages a unique mix of lively banter and solemn respect for tradition - is as well-known to military personnel as it is obscure to civilians. Whether in uniform or not, our guests experience a truly unique meal every year! We're proud to fill a unique (and vital, if you ask us) role in the diverse tapestry of military events in this city and province.
  • Is this an official military event?
    No. Our organizing committee is made up of a passionate mix of veterans, civilian professionals, and serving members, who conduct the Vancouver Military Dinner on our own volition. We are not an official Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or Department of National Defence event. That said, personnel from all services attend our event, sharing their experiences with their fellow guests. We're deeply indebted to the CAF for the immense support that we receive every year from ships, units, regiments, and bases around BC, as well as for the senior leaders who take the time to attend and speak with us every year.
  • Is the Vancouver Military Dinner a fundraiser?
    Yes and no. Our core mission is to raise awareness of the Canadian Armed Forces, and to bring Canadians closer to those who serve. That will never change. However, all proceeds generated by the event are donated to that year's Featured Charity or Organization. Additionally, guests are provided the opportunity to make additional donations, or to participate in fundraising activities such as silent auctions or wine pulls. To date, the Vancouver Military Dinner has generated more than $100,000 for causes that support veterans and CAF members, a testament to the generosity of our guests. There is no expectation of additional donations. Your presence is more than enough, and any additional contribution - while deeply appreciated - is voluntary and optional.
  • How are ticket prices determined?
    We work hard to keep ticket prices low, while delivering a top-tier dining experience in a truly beautiful venue. While all proceeds support our Featured Charity, we will never overcharge, and ticket sales from most Vancouver Military Dinners generate just enough to cover our costs. In general, tickets for military personnel are heavily-discounted, with most military tickets sold at or below cost. This is our way of saying 'Thank you' for your service. Discounts are also available for veterans, allied servicepeople, and first responders.
  • My spouse or partner is joining me. Which ticket should they purchase?
    Vancouver Military Dinner tickets should be purchased individually. For example, a military officer attending with a civilian spouse should purchase one military and one civilian ticket. While we would love to discount spouses and partners, we simply cannot. Military tickets are heavily-discounted, and selling more of them than we've allocated would leave us unable to pay for the event. We acknowledge the important role that military spouses play in the defence of Canada, and thank you for your understanding.
  • What's your cancellation policy?
    Cancel anytime prior to 14 days before the event for a full refund! If you need to cancel within the 14-day window, we'll still do everything we can to refund you, but can make no guarantees.
  • How is the event conducted?
    The Vancouver Military Dinner is conducted in the style of a military mess dinner, modified to suit the needs of our unique event. Following cocktails and conversation, diners are led into the dining room by a bagpiper, and exposed to the many wonderful traditions and customs inherent to formal military dining. Diverse tables, balanced between military and civilian guests, encourage conversation and the sharing of experiences. The dinner president oversees the event, guiding diners and encouraging light-hearted and humorous banter. The event also features formal toasts, featuring the music of the various units, regiments, and branches of those present. A poignant toast to the fallen follows, allowing all present to reflect on those we've lost. For military personnel: It's not your average mess dinner. For civilians: It's unlike any dinner you've ever had. And don't worry - you can get up to use the bathroom whenever you like!
  • What do I wear?
    Appropriate clothing is an important of part of military events, which can be seen in the diverse array of uniforms worn by those who serve. Like military mess dinners, the Vancouver Military Dinner is black-tie. Appropriate clothing includes tuxedos, ball gowns, dark suits, and cultural formalwear. While we know that not everyone owns formalwear in this day and age, guests are asked to kindly adhere as closely as possible to the dress code. Dress for military personnel is mess dress 2, 2A (as appropriate to the season), or 2B. For 2024, authorities delegated by the Commanders of the Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force, as well as the Canadian Army have authorized mess dress for retired CAF members attending our event! If you're an honourably-released veteran who wants to wear mess dress, feel free to do so as long as it's worn correctly, and with the accoutrements and insignia appropriate to your status at release.
  • Can I wear my medals, decorations, or order insignia?
    Absolutely! You've earned your medals, and you deserve to wear them proudly. Veterans and those who have received awards or decorations that of the Canadian Honours System are encouraged to wear miniature medals and decorations in accordance with regulations published by Her Excellency, The Governor General. Guests are asked to please only wear insignia and medals approved by Rideau Hall, and to refrain from wearing any unofficial decorations that may be confused with Canadian Honours.
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