Last Sunday Dignitas hosted the annual Cinema Against AIDS Toronto black tie gala in support of both Dignitas International (the organization that I work for) and amfAR. It was an amazing evening – lots of fun, energy and excitement and we raised a bunch of money to help bring medical care to those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and to help support continued research for a cure.
We held the event at the well known Carlu in Toronto – our third year at this venue – and once again it looked fabulous. The Carlu has quite a history -and you must read about it by going to the Carlu website. The building at the corner of Yonge and College in downtown Toronto (now known as College Park) was the vision of Timothy Eaton and was the original Eaton’s Department Store. Sadly the great depression did not allow for the completion of the full vision however, the 7th floor of this now designated National Historic Site has been brought back to its glory days by my good friends Jeffry Roick and Mark Robert who have restored it making it the premier event venue in Toronto. You might recognize it from Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” video and the film “Cinderella Man” as both were filmed among many other movies at the Carlu.
The evening featured a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor who was founder of amfAR and a strong advocate in the fight against AIDS when it was not popular to be so. And in a nod to Elizabeth Talyor the whole room was bathed in the colour purple – her signature colour – the colour of her eyes!
We have held this event at The Carlu for the last three years and every year Jeffry Roick brings in a new design for the lighting in the centre of the room and this year the design was outstanding.
The theme for the evening in keeping with the tribute to Elizabeth Taylor was “Hollywood Icons” and pictures of these well known movie stars were placed around the foyer and on the tables. The foyer was designed to have that “60’s” feel – the era in which so many of these “icons” were in their prime. And of course – the purple carpet – a nod to Ms. Taylor again!
Being a creative soul myself – I am of the belief that your surroundings – the decor – the aura of the room – plays a role in the feel and the success of the evening. LIghting, colour, texture, all support by creating an atmosphere that provides the energy needed to pull people together. The room was buzzing with excitement – people could hardly stay in their seats – the interaction – the conversation – the joy and laughter – all enhanced the evening and opened people’s hearts to be generous and supportive. Being a lover of beauty – this event was beautiful in every way – and most of all it was beautiful because people opened their hearts and their wallets to support the work of both Dignitas and amfAR. I am so grateful for this!