For the 25th anniversary of the Teddy Bear Affair, the Children’s Aid Foundation tried something new with a conceptual Canadian theme: “With Glowing Hearts.” “We wanted to go in a different direction and create more moods and feelings this year,” said Meg Sethi, manager of events at the Children’s Aid Foundation. About 1,100 guests attended the gala on Saturday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Sethi decided to focus on the seasons as a representation of Canada. “It was really important for it to not be so literal. We didn’t want it to look like Canada Day,” Sethi said. Using sound effects and lighting, Sethi created what she called “a multisensory experience” of each season. For spring, clear umbrellas and beads hung from the ceiling and the sound of falling rain played in the background. The Children’s Aid team created a fake lake with projections on a screen and the floor for summer. Auburn colours and Ontario harvest vegetables decorated the fall area. While each season in the cocktail reception was distinct, they were all held in one open space.
The draped-off dining room represented winter and blue lighting gave the space an icy feel. “Designing and creating the perfect centrepiece to represent Canadian winter, while keeping it elegant and avoiding the 'winter wonderland' concept, was a challenge,” said Sarah Downing, director of event logistics at Decor & More. The centrepieces incorporated white hydrangeas and roses, silver spheres, dogwood, and red berries. A tower of 1,000 white teddy bears lined the back of the room, which guests could purchase for a chance to win $35,000 worth of Tiffany jewelry.
The gala ended around 1 a.m. after a performance from Juno winner Johnny Reid. The event raised $1.5 million for the Children’s Aid Foundation.