Book Lovers Party in the Stacks

The Toronto Public Library Foundation’s annual fundraising event may be called the Book Lover’s Ball, but today’s library boasts way more than just books.

The Toronto Reference Library (TRL) is headquarters for the city’s nearly 100 branches. Not only can you find books and other media in the expansive five-story space (over 400,000 sq. feet), the TRL offers a Digital Innovation Hub. Kids and adults have access to design classes, 3D printers, 3D scanners and a variety of design software (printing fees apply). Starting your own business? Their business plan series and other small business seminars can get you started. Ready to self-publish your own book? Thanks to Asquith Press you can print a high-quality paperback (fees apply). But in fact, today’s library offers countless services – most of them free – for every walk of life.

In case you missed it, the library is cool, man. (Perhaps why 72% of our city’s residents use it.) How do you make it even cooler? Add cocktails, dinner and a DJ, and forego the “shushing” for a night.

The Book Lover’s Ball has raised over $3.6 million since it started in 2006. In its 10th year the event became an historic opportunity to “Party in the Stacks” of the Toronto Reference Library. Dinner guests mingled amidst the bookshelves over fare from renowned chef Jamie Kennedy. The After Dark after party brought the literary scene to life with Celebrity Author Speed Scrabble, a Prose Store, dancing, desserts served by “librarians” on book return carts and other literary-inspired activities.

The Book Lover’s Ball happens only once a year, but guess what? The library is almost always open. Now, where did I put my library card?

Photos by George Pimentel, mostly.

Fifty Shades of Pink

Last week I hit the recently renovated Arcadian Court for a rather unusual lunchtime event, the 9th annual White Cashmere Couture for the Cure show. The event pairs designers up with the task of creating fabulousness out of seemingly endless reams of pink and white bathroom tissue. 

The White Cashmere Collection 2012 stars 15 top Canadian designers who crafted runway gowns and accessories 100% pure, soft and luxurious Cashmere Bathroom Tissue. This year one of my clients, MMCrystal, took part, bringing her Swarovski crystal-magic to a few bathroom tissue accessories. After snacking on pink popcorn in the lobby, we settled into seats laden with pink gift bags. The show opened with a some candy-coloured floss acrobatics. Check out the full Cashmere photo stream here.

MMCrystal boa & Rod Philpott dress
Even the shoes were bathroom tissued!
Michelle Merizzi of MMCrystal with Rod Philpott of Rodney Philpott Designs

The runway show is just one part of the fundraiser in support of The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Check out photos of the Cashmere BT Couture collection at and vote for your favorite design. Cashmere will donate $1 to The Foundation for every vote, up to $10,000, in the winning designer’s name. Plus, voters will be entered in a draw to win one of four $2,500 shopping sprees. Voting is open from September 19 through November 19, 2012.

Giles, George & Margaret

Earlier this month I was fortunate to work on a new fashion fundraiser, Lunch with Margaret and George, to raise money for The Princess Margaret’s Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre. The brainchild of Toronto boutique George C owners, George and Lisa Corbo, it featured a runway presentation of Giles Deacon’s spring 2012 collection. Guests were treated to a champagne lunch at Scarpetta in the Thompson Hotel followed by an old-school atelier show and a live silent auction.
Giles Deacon could be your new best friend. (Wait, please mine.) It’s impossible not to like him when he’s so easy going and nice. And getting to see his work up close and on models was a treat – feather headdresses don’t come around Toronto too often! The event raised $200,000 for the Princess Margaret. There is already buzz about who will be featured next year, but I’ll bet they are on the racks at George C. I just hope they are as nice as Giles.
Giles Deacon
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Giles Deacon spring 2012
Girls modeled the silent auction items live

All photos by George Pimentel.

Need that? Shop for the Cause

Local design shop Nathalie-Roze leaped into action this week to plan Shop for the Cause, a fundraiser for Haiti. Three locations around the city are accepting donations of gently used items to compile with new/used donations for (what may be) the biggest and oddest sale of the season.

We’re expecting some great surprises, since charitable efforts like this often bring out the best from people’s closets. If you’re planning to shop Saturday, arrive early! And spend like your mama is making you…it’s the least we can do.

Details on the FB event page –

Please note! Only Nathalie-Roze is accepting donations on Friday. Locations include:

Nathalie-Roze & Co.
1015 Queen St. East (Leslieville)
Accepting donations Tues. thru Friday, 11- 7
*Open until 8:30pm on Thursday night (Jan 21st)!!*

Peach Berserk
507 Queen St. West (near Spadina)
(416) 504-1711
*Accepting donation Monday thru Thursday, 10-7

Lilliput Hats
462 College Street (just West of Bathurst)
(416) 536-5933
*Accepting donations Monday thru Thursday, 10-6