This Week In Toronto: Toronto Public Library's After-Hours Fund-Raiser, an Inflatable 'Thinking Emoji,' Assembly Chef's Hall's New Additions

BizBash's new Toronto column from Calvin Barr covers the week's biggest event news.

Toronto Public Library's annual Hush Hush fund-raiser featured book-theme decor including a ceiling installation of pages.
Toronto Public Library's annual Hush Hush fund-raiser featured book-theme decor including a ceiling installation of pages.
Photo: Henry Lin

TORONTO—Welcome to BizBash’s Toronto-based column, where Calvin Barr covers the week’s biggest local news. Got a tip? Get in touch!

Moves and Milestones
Lessner Gomez was named director of Toronto’s Cuba Tourism Board. The organization partners with Canadian tour operators, travel advisers, and hotels to promote Canadian travel and tourism in the country. Gomez brings 25 years of experience in the industry; he began his career in Cayo Coco, which attracts more Canadian tourists than any other Cuban region.

Don Alfonso 1890, led by chef Alfonso Iaccarino, was named the second-best Italian restaurant in the world by 50 Top Italy.

In Case You Missed It
A massive inflatable “Thinking Emoji” appeared in the Distillery District this weekend. The installation is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibit, “Age of You,” which challenges viewers to reflect on notions of individuality. The emoji will pop up in different locations across Toronto throughout this week.

Right to Play, in partnership with Sun Life Financial, held its sixth annual Heroes Gala fund-raiser on October 17 at the
Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The organization, which is celebrating 20 years, annually supports 2.3 million children around the world through community education and recreation programs. Guests were invited to place bids in a live digital auction that included Soulpepper theater ticket packages, V.I.P. Toronto Raptors experiences, and N.B.A.-issued basketballs signed by Pascal Siakam. The gala featured dinner and live performances by Cirque du Soleli and Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy.

Toronto Public Library Foundation raised more than $145,000 at its seventh annual after-hours fund-raiser Hush Hush, which took place October 19 at the Toronto Reference Library.  Book-theme decor took over the five-floor venue, which included reading- and literature-inspired photo stations. Catering was provided by Toben Food by Design, the Food Dudes, and Funnel Cake Express, along with cocktails from Spirit of York Distillery Co. The fund-raiser took place following the reopening of the St. Clair/Silverthorn library branch, which underwent a $3.3 million renovation. 

Venue Buzz
Assembly Chef’s Hall debuted two new food vendors this month. Los Co Vegan, led by Top Chef Canada contestant Elia Herrera, serves vegan Mexican cuisine, including bowls, pastries, burritos, empanadas, and smoothies. Fahrenheit Coffee, which opened its third downtown location in the hall’s main foyer, will provide specialty coffee drinks. The venue’s food market offers menus by more than a dozen high-profile Toronto eateries for private events throughout the year. 

Turn of Events
Elton John surprised fans when he showed up to greet them at the Toronto pop-up celebrating his tour stop in the city this week. The first 20 people in line were promised signed copies of the musician’s autobiography Me, which ended up being autographed in person.

“If the @torontolibrary chooses to go forward with providing public space and resources to a group that believes legal protections for transgender people should be up for public debate, they will certainly find themselves banned from participation in all @PrideToronto events.”

—Pride Toronto board member Christin Scarlett Milloy tweeted about Toronto Public Library’s decision to not cancel an event at the Palmerston branch featuring Morgan Murphy, a writer accused of spreading transphobia and hate. The event, slated for October 29, is being organized by the group Radical Feminists Unite.

On The Scene
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon drew some 25,000 runners on Saturday.

Let's see what's happening at your events. Tag #bizbashto on Instagram.

What's Next
A Halloween party for dogs will take place at the Redwood Theatre on October 26. Event ticket sales will go toward Redemption Paws, a Canadian charity focused on rescue and adoption services for dogs affected by climate change and natural disasters. The evening will include a best doggy costume contest, prizes, a bar, and Halloween treats.

Union Station announced it will open a free outdoor skating rink at Sir John A. McDonald Plaza on Front Street from November 29 to January 4. The space is presented by TD Bank—which also sponsors the Union Summer Market, which runs June through August. Free musical performances in the station’s historic west wing and complimentary gift-wrapping services are also planned at the building during the holiday season.

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