Fundraising in Manitoba: The Bud, Spud & Steak

April 13th, 2009 by Emma Durand-Wood

So, we’ve already covered wedding socials here on Winnipeg o’ My Heart, but it’s time to cover another type of fundraiser: the Bud, Spud & Steak.

I’m sure this isn’t unique to Manitoba, but none of us had ever heard of it until we moved here. In Alberta, pancake breakfasts and “beef on a bun”- type fundraising events are commonplace. In BC there is a fun run for every cause and charity under the sun.

But I offer this super-scientific evidence that it must be a fairly Manitoban thing: the first 20 hits in Google for  “Bud Spud & Steak” are from Manitoba organizations.

What is a bud, spud & steak? Just as it sounds, it’s a fundraising dinner where you buy a ticket that entitles you to a, um, beer (a.k.a. Bud), potatoes (a.k.a. spud) and some red meat (presumably, steak).  Word on the street is that there is usually also a chicken option available (good news for a non-red-meat-eater like me!). Presumably you’d get some salad or veggies with that, too. Looks like the standard ticket price is $10-$15.

Other than this, though, I don’t know much about the ol’ bud, spud & steak. What else goes on at such an event – can anyone fill us in on more details? And what are some other common Manitoba fundraising models?

5 Responses to “Fundraising in Manitoba: The Bud, Spud & Steak”

  1. This is a great blog. Living here, it’s easy to miss or take for granted all of our unique cultural quirks and customs that stand out for newcomers.

    In my experience, Bud, Spud and Steak events are usually held in a dance club/bar in the early evening. The bar will usually host the event for a very reasonable cost since it fills the place during an off-peak time, usually by folks who’ll stick around long enough to buy a second or third drink.

    The events are similar to socials in that there are often silent auction and door prizes, occasionally a speech or two, and some dance floor boogyin’. The food is usually edible (don’t expect gourmet cooking!) and, when they say “Bud,” you usually really are limited to a Bud or maybe one or two other choices. But you have a great time, support the cause or the person, and maybe win some tupperware or golf stuff in the draws!

  2. The Bud and Spud thing is relatively new to Manitoba, an import from the American bars that from what I’ve seen showed up first in the bars of the CanadInn chain as an after work thingy.

    It certainly isn’t a long standing Manitoba social tradition, any more than wing nights or shrimp at Smitty’s are. IOW it’s just the hospitality industry attempting to promote their business. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    I’ve heard it referred to as the working man’s version of Surf and Turf in the United States – as if some people need an excuse to drink beer and eat – LOL

  3. Emma says:


    I was thinking of the Bud, Spud & Steak more in terms of an event held to make money for a non-profit group or cause (sports team, church mission, building project, etc). I didn’t realise that it’s also a popular restaurant event.

    One thing’s clear: Manitobans love their meat, potatoes, and beer! 😉

  4. Meat, potatoes, and beer? Hell that’s for touristas.

    We have some absolutely fantastic ethnic food restaurants, and a few that are the kind of places that you take someone special to, for that “just right” ambiance.

    Don’t overlook St. Boniface eateries. There’s not quite as good a selection of places as there once was, but there’s at least three on my list that have provided a few great evenings as well as a couple of memorable ‘let’s do lunch sometimes’ times.

    Sadly my house of perfect sauteed frog legs – La Grenouille, is long, long gone, and I haven’t got quite brave enough to try whipping up some Buffalo frog legs (which ironically have nothing to do with the big shaggy oxen that flourished here).

    Although buffalo burgers were once a big attraction at Charleswood Days, I’m not sure if they still have them since beefalo is a specialty of a butcher shop just off Regent Avenue across from Kildonan Place.

    I’ve just gained 20 pounds thinking about food!

    Thanks for reminding me – it’s been a long time since I tried to eat everything on Deen’s Caribbean menu with a few house brewskies – TGIF here I come!

  5. Janelle says:

    Harrison – I normally don’t do stuff like this, but I do feel that there are some corrections needed…Buffalo Burgers were sold at the Buffalo BBQ days that used to be held at Unicity Mall Parking lot…Charleswood In Motion Days (aka Chuck N’ Mo) was something completely different. And sadly although Winnipeg has A LOT of restaurants…very few of the are noteworthy of a great meal.
    The Bud Spud and Steak has been around for quite some time – long before the Canad Inn Hotels – and they are used as fundraisers for sport teams, school field trips overseas, many people use them to generate funds to help pay for costly medical treatments or to aid in benefit for those struggling with medical issues.

    I don’t want to sound like a downer in this note – I truly enjoy living in Winnipeg, most of the time, but when it comes to anything “good” other than our quirks…there isn’t much here IMO.

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