TORONTO Volunteer greeters in elegant designer gowns from Victoria Cheung and Gloria Chan met guests at the foot of the escalators in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the start of the 2007 Dragon Ball. The annual gala for 1,500, which rang in the Chinese New Year, supports the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation and Centre for Geriatric Care. “The Dragon Ball brings friends and family together for a wonderful reunion, but it is ultimately about our elders who need our support,” said foundation president Pauline Tong.
The event, dubbed Taste of the Divine, began with an onslaught of appetizers—10,000 pieces in total, including fire salmon sushi and dragon rolls from Thee Asian Kitchen, crispy tuna taco maguro tartare and pickles frisee from Doku 15, seafood bruschetta from Grand Island Seafood and Steakhouse, and of course, complete roast suckling pigs from Kingsley Chinese Restaurant. Entertainment included a $20 raffle for a Lexus IS250 sedan, a year of the pig-themed photo station, and a custom wishing fountain by designer Merrill Fung. One of 307 volunteers, Fung also supplied a tree of fortune, wheel of prosperity, and Chinese New Year flower market. An event highlight was the silent auction. The plethora of items for sale included a ground-floor retail space from Landmark, valued at $250,000.
For dinner, the MTCC's kitchen served filet of beef Wellington, winter greens, and poached tiger prawns and smoked salmon. Michael Burgess with the St. Michael's Choir School, the Lester McLean Trio featuring guitarist Michael Occhipinti, and the Chinese Dance Workshop provided the principal entertainment. Later in the evening, guests danced to the sounds of the Grooveyard band and dined—yet again—on a buffet from Ellen's Food Group, featuring midnight congee, sweet dumplings, and themed Chinese New Year delicacies.