Toronto's Top Benefits 2010

By Susan O'Neill April 5, 2010, 9:50 AM EDT

Brazilian Carnival Ball

Photo: System 4 Productions, Inc.

1. Canfar’s Bloor Street Entertains
More than 800 guests attended a series of 23 simultaneous dinner parties, prepared by Toronto’s top chefs and hosted in boutiques and galleries throughout Yorkville, on November 25 for the 14th annual benefit to support Canfar. An after-party at the Royal Ontario Museum attracted close to 2,000 guests. This year’s event takes place November 24.

2. Bell Gala
The 18th annual Bell Gala adopted a fairy-tale theme for the 2009 event, which gave more than 1,800 guests (including 100 celebrities) the chance to see performances from artists such as Our Lady Peace and headliner Natasha Bedingfield. This year’s benefit takes place October 14 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

3. Massive Party
The redesigned Art Gallery of Ontario hosted its fifth annual Massive Party for a sold-out crowd of more than 1,600 guests in April 2009. Riot police wielding billy clubs, models dressed as hippies, and installations from contemporary artists like David Armstrong and Jay Isaac added to the “Massive Uprising” theme. The benefit returns to the A.G.O. on April 8.

4. Toronto Public Library Foundation’s Book Lover’s Ball

The fifth annual gala, held at the Fairmont Royal York on February 11, featured a literary-inspired runway show and drew more than 600 guests, including 50 of Canada’s top authors.

5. Design Exchange Black and White Gala
The museum honoured BlackBerry maker Research in Motion at the 2009 benefit, which adopted a “Commotion” theme and featured a Tron-inspired laser show. The 2010 event date had not been set at press time.

6. Villa Charities Foundation’s Venetian Ball

Organizers of the 16th annual Venetian Ball, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, drew a record crowd of 1,500 guests (up from 800 in 2008) and used elaborate decor to recreate the Piazza San Marco at last October’s gala, which featured a surprise performance by Frankie Valli. The 2010 event takes place October 16.

7. Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery’s Power Ball

The Power Plant marked the 11th anniversary of this ball with a performance by the Toronto Roller Derby and installations by artists such as Paul Zingrone, who created a car crash with two donated Oldsmobiles. Power Ball 12 takes place on June 3.

8. Brazilian Carnival Ball

Oversize teddy bears filled the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the ball, held to benefit the SickKids Foundation in April 2009. The 43rd annual event drew more than 1,600 guests. The event returns to the M.T.C.C. on May 8 to benefit Toronto East General Hospital.

9. Boobyball
Created by social club the Society in 2002, the Boobyball drew a crowd of 1,200 guests to Atlantis in October for its eighth annual celebration, a cruise-themed evening in support of Rethink Breast Cancer. Details for the 2010 event had not been confirmed at press time.

10. Ontario Science Centre’s Innovators’ Ball
More than 1,300 guests attended the centre’s “Femme Fatale” fund-raiser, for the first time sponsored by LG Electronics Canada, in 2009. Renowned chef Susur Lee created the menu for the third annual gala, which took a cue from the centre’s “Science of Spying” exhibit. This year’s ball, “An Evening of Magic and Enchantment,” is May 6.

11. The Rally for Kids With Cancer Scavenger Cup

More than 20 luxury car owners paired up with celebrity navigators for the second annual rally, which expanded to Los Angeles and Miami in 2009. Held in September, the two-day event includes a cocktail party, brunch, scavenger hunt, and gala, and is held in support of the SickKids Foundation at the Hospital for Sick Children. The 2010 event is scheduled for September 24 and 25.

12. Pencer Brain Trust Gala
Last year, organizers of the ninth gala in support of the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre called on Bill Fulghum to fill the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex with eye-popping colour for a benefit dubbed “Simply Chic.” The 2010 fund-raiser takes place May 26.

13. Mount Sinai Hospital Auxiliary Gala
Earth, Wind & Fire performed for a crowd of 750 in a room filled with more than 100 mirrored balls at the auxiliary’s May 2009 benefit, which adopted a ’70s theme and raised $500,000. The gala returns to the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place on May 25. The band Chicago is slated to perform at the Windy City-themed gala.

14. National Ballet of Canada Gala
The ballet company adopted a “White Hot” theme for its fourth annual fund-raiser at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in June 2009. More than 1,800 guests were treated to a performance by principal dancer Chan Hon Goh prior to an onstage V.I.P. dinner for 500, catered by Mark McEwan. The 2010 event will adopt a Russian theme at the Four Seasons Centre on June 8.

15. Grocery Foundation’s SuperGala
Jerry Seinfeld and KC and the Sunshine Band entertained guests at this benefit for Kids Help Phone and the foundation’s Toonies for Tummies campaign on January 30. The event, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, drew more than 4,000 guests.

16. Children’s Aid Foundation Teddy Bear Affair
More than 840 guests raised $1 million for the foundation at 2009’s swing era-themed benefit, held in November at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese and Kevin Frankish co-hosted the evening, and singer Matt Dusk performed. The event takes place in November.

17. Look Good Feel Better Ball
The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation hosted its 18th annual ball at the Fairmont Royal York in November 2009. The gala, which attracts 700 guests annually, has raised more than $8 million to support women with cancer since its inception. Details for the 2010 event had not been confirmed at press time.

18. Reach for the Rainbow’s Crystal Ball
This gala returned to the Toronto Congress Centre North in November 2009 for the 23rd annual ball, which adopted a fantasy theme and featured a performance by Mary Wilson of the Supremes. The venue will host the 2010 event on November 20.

19. Yee Hong Foundation’s Dragon Ball
The foundation marked the arrival of the Year of the Tiger with the 21st annual Dragon Ball, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on February 6. The event, which attracted more than 1,500 guests, has raised more than $17 million for the foundation over the years.

20. Queen Street Unmasked
In October, the third outing raised close to $600,000 for the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health redevelopment project. The event included a series of private dinners at restaurants and galleries along the Queen West strip, followed by an after-party at Maro in Liberty Village. Details for the 2010 event were not available at press time.

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