TORONTO For the fourth annual LG Innovators’ Ball, held at the Ontario Science Centre on Thursday, organizers took a cue from the magical world of a famous wizard, serving bubbling cocktails to guests and entertaining attendees with fire breathers and magicians during a benefit inspired by “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” and called “Midnight Spell: An Evening of Magic and Enchantment.”
“Our history has always been to take whatever exhibit we have at the time and use it as an inspiration point,” said Matt Wiesenfeld, director of annual giving and a member of the centre’s event team. However, due to intellectual property laws, the planning committee couldn’t use the Harry Potter name or logo in promoting the event—a stipulation organizers were happy to work within.
“Harry Potter lives in his own world. The event is for adults. We want it to be fun and edgy,” said Wiesenfeld, who worked alongside honorary co-chairs Joe Natale and Melissa Martin. The evening began with a V.I.P. cocktail reception and dinner for 500 guests and continued with an after-party attended by more than 1,100 people.
“It’s a little bit darker than it’s been in the past,” Wiesenfeld said of the decor, handled for the first time by Jeffry Roick of McNabb Roick Events. For the reception, sponsored by Telus, Roick filled a series of tall glass tubes that flanked either side of a purple carpet (a nod to the sponsor) with greenery to create a forest-like canopy at the entrance to the lounge space. Iconic props from the Harry Potter films, including replicas of Harry's glasses, his wand, and a Quidditch ball, were set beneath the glass tops of the cocktail tables throughout the room. A tree adorned with purple flowers and hanging tea lights sat in the middle of a round bar, lit in green.
Jamie Kennedy catered the dinner, held in the venue's Great Hall and hosted by eTalk's Brian Mulroney. Organizers hung black draping to block out the natural light, and Roick topped tables with black linens and centrepieces featuring vases filled with bubbling blue water that held arrangements of branches with pincushion protea flowers. Magician Greg Frewin performed during the meal, and guests bid on live auction items including an advance screening of the upcoming Harry Potter film for 40 people.
The evening's enchanted theme continued in the Westin Family Innovation Centre, the site of the after-party. Guests toured the Harry Potter exhibition, sampled smoking cocktails featuring Mistystix dry ice stir sticks, and danced to music from DJ Bellosound. Food stations from Gourmet Cuisine included risotto station, curry, Chinese, and desserts like salted caramel and raspberry French macaroons, lemon meringue beehives, and chocolate ganache profiteroles.
Since its inception, the LG Innovators’ Ball has netted about $1 million to support the Ontario Science Centre’s community access and outreach initiatives, which keep programs affordable and accessible. This year, a number of new fund-raising initiatives became part of the event. CIBC Children’s Foundation challenged dinner guests to donate $1,000 each to the Adopt-A-Class program, announcing it would match funds raised at the event up to $15,000. And title sponsor LG Electronics Canada purchased 300 tickets for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto to attend the Potter exhibition, which opened to the public April 9.