With World AIDS Day on December 1st, it’s only fitting that we talk about CANFAR – the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research – Canada’s only independent charitable foundation dedicated to eliminating HIV and AIDS through research. Every year around this time, CANFAR holds Bloor Street Entertains – its largest fundraising event, bringing an evening of glitz and glamour to the generous donors.
This year, Bloor Street Entertains was held on Tuesday, November 25th, transforming 23 different venues in Bloor-Yorkville, from clothing stores to private residences, and jewellery shops to coffee spots, into private dining halls. With Sarah, our gracious escort and guide for the night, we had the chance to visit 15 of the 23 locations. Each component of the table setting was meticulously chosen – the tables and chairs, tablecloths, napkins, tableware, silverware, glassware, flowers, you name it – were all picked to beautifully complement the aesthetic of each venue.
Each place was extremely impressive in its own right, but there were a few personal standouts. First was Swarovski – famous for its cut glass and crystalware. The red, grey and black colour motif popped in the sea of white and blue, while the transparent chairs and modern style silverware blended in perfectly. Another standout was William Ashley – you’d expect a store that sells fine dinnerware to shine, but it went even beyond, with its elegant gold-rimmed glass plates and rustic wooden box centrepieces.
Two more standouts were Roots Canada and a private residence. At Roots, the dinner area was on the second floor overlooking the main store floor. It was very cool to see the dining setup against a backdrop of Roots clothing and merchandise – it’s just not something you see often. Finally, there was a gorgeous private residence, whose owner generously made available for hosting a Bloor Street Entertains dinner; it had a very welcoming and warm atmosphere. Really, all of the locations were spectacular, so be sure to check out more photos below.
The dinner menus at each venue were prepared by a different chef and restaurant, so attendees at each location had a tailored culinary experience to go with their unique surroundings. Among the notable chefs was Chef Rob Gentile from Bar Buca – recently named by EnRoute magazine as one of Canada’s best new restaurants. With so many places to visit, unfortunately we were only able to catch glimpses of the culinary delights served that night, including this dessert from Chef David Chrystian of Hotel Le Germain, that guests enjoyed at Nespresso.
After the dinners, guests headed to the Royal Ontario Museum for the aptly named Crash the Crystal after party. There the night continued with drinks and canapés, and lots of live music and dancing. A silent auction was also held to continue the fundraising efforts.
Bloor Street Entertains is one of the most exclusive and spectacular events in Toronto, and we’re very glad to have covered it once again. This year’s co-chairs – Brian Porter of Scotiabank and Megan Porter – should be proud of the over $5M raised for HIV and AIDS research by the 2014 edition of Bloor Street Entertains.
Photos by John Tan except where indicated