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TORONTO More than 1,500 guests filled the backyard of a home in the exclusive Bridle Path neighbourhood on Saturday for the fourth edition of the Bridle Bash. The fund-raiser, organized by the Bridle Bash Foundation and planned by Mandell Entertainment Group, included a poolside concert with performances by Burton Cummings and the Carpet Frogs.
“For a backyard party, it's not what you would usually expect,” said Corey Mandell, who has been involved with the event since its inception in 2004. (The benefit is held every two years.) “This year I took over the entire production because we wanted to step it up. We created a TV show with red carpet footage cutting in with shots in the backyard. We used wireless video transmitters on site.”
“You're putting on a unique gala with all of the same elements [you would see in a hotel or at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre] but you're doing it in someone's backyard,” Mandell said, noting the logistics were particularly challenging because a new home is currently being built on the site. “The grounds weren't complete.”
Organizers, who began the load in on Friday morning, placed a red carpet in front of a step-and-repeat at the entrance to the home, which is owned by Bridle Bash founder Lorne Swartz. Mandell and his team erected a stage next to the swimming pool—which became a prime location for viewing the show—and set up a DJ booth with go-go dancers performing on an elevated platform among the trees.
“You need permits [from the city]; you need to have the police on board and the neighbours on board, which we had,” Mandell said.
Catering by Longo's included fresh fruit displayed in boxes laid at the foot of a tree, hamburgers, roasted corn, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Staff from RED manned the bars, sponsored by Pravda Vodka and Stella Artois. Tattoo artists from Freshcoat offered temporary tattoos, and staff from Dessert Divas handed out chocolate and vanilla cake lollipops. V.I.P. host Mike Chalut and CP24's Melissa Grelo hosted the event.
The Bridle Bash Foundation benefits Canadian charities that focus on health research, treatment, and support for adults and children. Funds raised this year will go to Giant Steps, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Reena Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Correction: The original version of this story has been updated to credit BMF Productions Inc. with providing the lighting, sound, and staging for the concert.