TORONTO Eco-friendly Direct Energy Centre was an appropriate setting for business tycoon and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson to launch the Canadian arm of his Virgin Unite charitable organization. The event, titled Midnight Magic, was dark and mystic, with entertainment by illusionist Criss Angel and burlesque performer Dita Von Teese.
Large urns overflowing with red orchids and black magic roses from Décor & More lent a Gothic feeling to the space, with dark globe centerpieces filled with roses, crystal, and twisty vines adding to the effect.
Guests needing a break could rest in small intimate lounges in the lobby and the V.I.P. area. Red throw pillows accessorized the black leather furniture in these welcoming spots.
Centerplate Catering and Food Services started dinner with a starter of grilled marinated bocconcini on a cucumber nest of baby lettuces and cherry tomatoes with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and pesto dressing. The main course was thyme glazed supreme of chicken, baby osso buco on swirled sweet potato, and Yukon Gold mash and carnival vegetables.
Rounding out the meal was a dessert of warm chocolate volcano cake on a pool of crème anglaise with a raspberry white chocolate cloud and a praline wafer.
Angel entertained attendees with a death-defying escape performance, while Von Teese unveiled her titillating new Black Swan dance.
Large gargoyles high above the crowd kept watch as the revelers enjoyed themselves late into the night.