By Susan O'Neill Posted May 3, 2010, 2:22 PM EDT
TORONTO Live auction items like birdhouses in the shape of outhouses and toilet seats hand-painted by designers like Brian Gluckstein and Debbie Travis generated buzz among guests and raised awareness about the importance of colon cancer screening at the sixth annual Bottoms Up! fund-raiser, held Thursday in the Toronto Reference Library's new event space, the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon.
The event's signature “Silent But Deadly” auction and promotional materials encouraging prospective guests to “get off your butt and join us” also highlighted the theme of the benefit, hosted by the Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative Foundation in conjunction with Colon Cancer Canada. (The two organizations are in the process of merging.)
“We've always tried to take a very serious subject and give it some lightness and humour. Our tagline is 'Don't die of embarrassment, get screened for colon cancer,'” said Deborah Cotton, the foundation's executive director. “We have worked with fabulous ad agencies [over the years] to make it kind of cheeky.”
A putting contest highlighted the organization's upcoming golf tournament on May 18—the Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic, presented by Pentax—and attendees could purchase items like T-shirts and thong underwear bearing the words “Smart Ass.” The food also tied in with the theme, thanks to A La Carte Kitchen's sponge cake desserts, shaped like bottoms.
The benefit, hosted by Tyler MacLeod (producer of the documentary Sharkwater), drew 300 guests to the library. “Every year we try and take people where they've never been. The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon is fabulous. It's like a little gem that very few people know about,” Cotton said of the venue, which was dressed in the foundation's signature bright orange for the event.