By Susan O'Neill Posted November 17, 2008, 3:41 PM EST
TORONTO Although ticket sales for this year’s All That Glitters Gala—held Thursday at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex—slowed when the stock market hit a low in October, Marc Ralsky, director of volunteer and regional affairs for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, expected the organization to reach its $500,000 fund-raising goal. More than 900 guests attended the benefit, which adopted a “Jet Set” theme and offered attendees the choice of dining in Los Angeles, London, or Paris. “It was first come, first serve,” Ralsky said of the ticketing for the themed rooms, noting that organizers sold different levels of sponsorship as royal-, first-, and executive-class tickets.
“Tickets were selling really, really fast, and then once the stock market crashed, we had no more sales. It just stopped,” Ralsky said. “Corporate tickets we had no problem with. We were on target with our corporate numbers. It was the individual tickets we had problems with.” The fact that the benefit fell on the same night as events being held at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum may also have impacted individual decisions, he said, noting that ticket sales picked up again just prior to the event. Ralsky reported that people who attend the foundation’s benefit typically have some connection with Crohn's and colitis. “We don’t attract the general public to events just because it’s the place to be,“ he said. “We’re trying to change that, so we upped the ante this year by bringing Solutions With Impact on.”
The event-management company designed the gala dinner around three destination cities. Palm leaves topped tables dressed in turquoise and white, and statues of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean stood at the entrance to the Los Angeles room. A red phone box, oversize poster of Big Ben, and centerpieces featuring crowns on red pillows added to the British feel for guests who dined in the London room. Mini replicas of the Eiffel Tower topped tables in the Paris section.
The theme continued with the meal, catered by the venue. The first course, dubbed “L.A. Chic,” included a grilled vegetable and goat cheese parcel. The second course, called “The Londonista,” featured traditional beef Wellington and lemon herb crusted breast of chicken served with butter-glazed white and green asparagus, black trumpet mushroom jus, pommery mustard foam, and minted pea coulis. France provided the inspiration for the third course, called “Ooh la-la Paris,” which featured a brown sugar and calvados glazed apple galette served with caramel ice cream.
The evening’s entertainment included performances by RyanDan, Matt Dusk, and Jully Black. Organizers placed video screens in each of the rooms to ensure guests felt connected throughout the evening and could watch all of the performances, Ralsky said. DJ Joe Dert played at the South Beach-themed after-party sponsored by Air Canada Vacations. Event sponsors included the Printing House, The Globe and Mail, CTV, Mercedes-Benz, Danier, MAC, and 104.5 Chum FM.