In support of the Yee Hong Foundation, this year’s 27th annual Dragon Ball fundraising charity gala was bigger and better than ever.
On February 6th, 2016 with over 1,000 guests and media in attendance, as usual Canada’s notable politicians business and community leaders were in attendance. This included John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Xue Bing, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, and Ms. Kathy Chan, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Norm Kelly and Olivia Chow.
Starting off with a Grand Reception, there was a wide variety of premium treats including sushi, Carmen’s Steakhouse, Katsura, Spoon & Fork, and Bake Code, Chatime as well as a MacCallan whiskey tasting.
Two years ago at Dragon Ball 2014 it was Mayor Rob Ford who got guests into paparazzi/selfie mode. Topping that at this year’s Dragon Ball 2016 the timing worked out so that Prime Minister Trudeau was able to fly into town and make it to help celebrate Chinese New Year with the Chinese-Canadian community. Understandably, media were under embargo about his secret arrival. Paparazzi and guests waited anxiously for the charismatic PM at the Metro Convention Centre. Even the famous former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion at 94 years old stood and waited patiently with us for Trudeau’s arrival down the escalators.
When he finally arrived with his security detail it was a pretty well-controlled circle of cameras and cell phones. Trudeau and McCallion held hands, laughed and even participated in a traditional eye-dotting ceremony following a lion dance performance.
Trudeau also had time to give a speech about the importance of the Chinese community in Canada. “… Tonight whether you’re dining with family and friends, dragon dancing, exchanging gifts or bidding on the many outstanding silent and live auction items here for you tonight, I wish you all an outstanding [year]. May your year be filled with hope, prosperity, and good fortune. Thank you again for your warm welcome tonight…. Gong Hey Fat Choy.”
Ushering in the Year of the Monkey, guests witnessed a grand choreographed martial arts performance inspired by “Journey to the West” (Monkey King) by the Chinese Collective Arts Association.
We also heard from Wendyz Zheng, a Canadian singer-songwriter who gave us an energetic mini-concert demonstrating her singing skills.
Then to end off the evening we had a Midnight Buffet which actually thankfully started earlier at 11pm or so. I finally got my first try at Uncle Tetsu and apparently it was also Norm Kelly’s first time.
Dragon Ball was an excellent way to celebrate Chinese New Year. Check out our photos from Dragon Ball 2015, 2014 and 2013.
All photos by James Shay and Nick Lee