FLARE Was There: Bliss Ball 2012
Saturday night’s Bliss Ball—held underneath an enormous white tent (dubbed the Innovation Dome, with gasp-inducing ceiling projections) at Toronto’s historic Fort York—attracted the A-list, as well as Toronto’s most generous humanitarians, to raise money for SickKids hospital. Hosted by the Dilawri family, the event raised nearly $7 million.
Celebrity chef Mark McEwan was charged with feeding the 500 guests, sending out dumplings, sushi and lobster among other delicacies before his main event: a three-course meal served atop real tree-ring charger plates on nature-inspired tables that lent the evening a magical forest feel.
Between courses, actor Martin Sheen, assisted by Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Selita Ebanks (in a stunning, beaded Blumarine gold and tangerine gown) presided over the auction where attendees bid $10,000+ on luxury trips and sports packages. Former residents of The White House Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager took the stage to praise SickKids and the Canadian health care system; a brave beneficiary of the Patient Amenities Fund delivered a moving speech about its effect on her childhood; and performances by the night’s MC, former Barenaked Lady Steven Page, and YouTube sensation Maria Aragon rounded out the dinner entertainment.
After dessert, headliner Jennifer Hudson took the stage, belting out classics including the song that won her an Oscar, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” and a Whitney Houston montage, eventually inviting the chuffed crown onstage with her. After some inner debate, this editor finally plucked up the courage to walk up and boogie with J-Hud. A hug from the star before I descended back into the crowd confirms one of two things: I am, in fact, as good a dancer as I thought I was; or the singer has a heart of gold. I’m hoping it’s both.