When the number of Elvis sightings in and around the City of Ottawa became too great to ignore, Elvis enthusiasts – Earl McRae, Moe Atallah, and Ervin Budge, met over breakfast at the Newport Restaurant on April 1, 1989 and established The Elvis Sighting Society. All three, inspired by their love for Elvis (and a darn good breakfast), wanted a place where fans could gather and share their memories of the King and stories about Elvis sightings.
The three knew, of course, that contrary to popular opinion (and petty details like police and coroners' reports) the King was very much alive. They were also aware that, thanks to strenuous workouts and a healthy diet, he looks more like the "old Elvis" we first knew and loved. And they laughed at the tabloids' feeble efforts to sell newspapers by running "recent" photographs of Elvis. Would someone trying to be anonymous get himself up in sequined jump suits and strut about with his guitar strung over his shoulder?
The Elvis Sighting Society was just that in the beginning. It was Elvis’ own words that made it more. They turned the society from a mere sighting group into an organization dedicated to helping out in the community.
"My Momma, Daddy and I moved many times when I was a child in Tupelo and Memphis. We were dirt poor, and we kept getting evicted because Daddy couldn't pay the rent. Often I wouldn't know in the morning where I'd be laying my head in the night. I know what it's like to be hungry, to be in need.".
Elvis' words inspired The Elvis Sighting Society to do what it can for other youngsters and their parents as they encounter life’s challenges. Officially incorporated with a charitable status on May 17, 1999, the society channels its efforts into raising funds for those in need. Volunteers sit on the board of directors and on committees as they raise money through special functions such as the Blacktie Beanfest.
Although Elvis is not always able to attend our FUNdraising events, he applauds our efforts, and the community responds by helping us help others. .
The Elvis Sighting Society has earned its share of publicity, including a 20-minute feature on CTV's current affairs program W FIVE. The founders have been on countless radio and television talk shows in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and Australia. Local, national and international newspapers have covered the society. http://www.yourottawaregion.com/news/news/article/914092 http://gulfnews.com/life-style/people/elvis-lives-on-1.125192
Founding members of ESS Earl McRae, Moe Atallah, Ervin Budge
Earl, a well-known, respected, and award-winning Ottawa based newspaper columnist, was the key founder and played an invaluable role in promoting The Elvis Sighting Society. His passion for the King was evident when he wrote his first article on Elvis and his ties to the Newport Restaurant in 1989, and over the years grew stronger. The scribe of the society, Earl had, it is rumoured, every book ever written about Elvis and every record the King made.
And then, on October 15th, 2011 The Elvis Sighting Society lost Earl. He is missed...so very much missed.
Better known as Budge or Budgie, he has worked diligently to put The Elvis Sighting Society on the map. His fundraising abilities are extraordinary, and he is remarkably skilled at mobilizing the community to work together to raise money for charity. Budgie is also a snooker master, and since 1978 he has won more than his share of championships in Canada, the United States, England, and Bermuda. In 1975, he became the founding director of the Canadian Snooker Control Council, and in 1990, the National Capital Region formally recognized his talents by setting up the Ervin Budge Classic, a tournament which honours his skills as well as his work as a promoter of the game.
Moe's story is a case study in how hard work and perseverance breed success. He arrived in Canada in the mid 1970s with $30 dollars in his pocket, and today he is the proud owner of Moe's World Famous Newport Restaurant. Moe is quick to lend a hand to worthy causes in the community that has given him so much. His dedication and generosity certainly have helped The Elvis Sighting Society grow and prosper. His restaurant is a shrine to the King, from the Elvis Room to the Elvis Table to all the Elvis memorabilia that delight diners. Photographs of the King and his fans, along with plates, plaques and clocks, adorn the walls, while letters of support and newspaper articles fill the remaining space. Along with providing us with a place to gather to honour Elvis, Moe generously donates prizes and provides food for various events.
Elvis Lives Lane
In October 1991, the King was honoured by Ottawa City Council as they voted 11 2 to call an unnamed street Elvis Lives Lane. This inconspicuous lane runs right behind Moe's World Famous Newport Restaurant or as we like to call it, Graceland North. The lane has been visited by many celebrities including President Bill Clinton's mother who chose to visit this site over all of the many other attractions in Canada's capital.