By David Weisz
Photography by Danielle Preston
Toronto’s public institutions are always in dire need of funding, and Toronto Public Library is no exception. As the busiest urban public library system in the world, a steady flow of public donations is needed to serve the millions of visitors each year. Avid readers have no fear: if The Book Lover’s Ball is any indication, you can loosen your grip on those book jackets. We’re going to be just fine.
The 6th Annual Book Lovers Ball, held at the historic Fairmont Royal York by the Toronto Public Library Foundation, hosted a large gathering of Canada’s most celebrated literary authors and their patrons. Among the notable people gathered: Robert Herjavec (of Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank fame), Jian Ghomeshi (CBC Radio’s Q), Rose Reisman, Rebecca Eckler, Les Stroud (Survivorman) and literally dozens of other esteemed guests.
By 6:30 p.m., the initial reception area was buzzing with media and book celebrities. In the centre of this excitement, celebrity chef Marc Thuet oversaw a throng of white-clad chefs, doling out trays of salmon roulades to eager guests. The Ontario room, on the other hand, was on the verge of exploding. Groups of guests surveyed a silent auction, boasting everything from copies of Survivorman DVDs to all-expense paid vacations in France (it was also the only place to score cocktails after dinner began and the best place to catch some candid pictures).
Dinner was held at the Fairmont’s Canada Room, which easily held the 300+ guests. Each table was comprised of about 10 patrons, as well as one celebrity author (denoted by their pre-school style red chairs). Despite the size of the crowd, there was enough room left over for a full-sized fashion runway. Wait, what? You didn’t misread that last line. Books are sexy, people, as the night’s main event took strides to demonstrate. By 9:30 p.m., after guests had sated their appetites with some exquisite desserts (the Tiramisu Expresso Crepes looked particularly tasty), guests were treated to a fashion show inspired by popular novels, such as Elizabeth Hilbert’s Eat Pray Love, Midnight and the Dragon Café by Judy Fong and Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s debut novel, Secret Daughter. The show boasted designs by Samuel Dong, Nadya Toto, Shan, Envers, Romona Keveza, Waxman and Hugo Boss. It was an unorthodox yet stunning end to a great night of fundraising for the Toronto Public Library.
For more information about The Book Lover’s Ball, please visit http://www.bookloversball.ca/