On Saturday, June 4, 2016, McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg transformed its magnificent gallery grounds into an elegant and extravagant outdoor party for its fifth annual signature fundraising event, Moonlight Gala 2016. Bringing together over 500 art lovers, corporate leaders, notables, and scrumptious food from top restaurants and caterers, this year’s fundraiser also celebrated the gallery’s 50th anniversary season.

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Supporters of the night had the chance to experience McMichael’s special exhibition program titled 50/50/50 before the public. The 50/50/50 took guests on a journey to explore McMichael’s art in fifty-year leaps, stretching backward and forward from its founding years in the mid 60s. As part of the new program, the gallery has also launched three distinct complementary exhibitions, the A.Y. Jackson: Tom Thompson: Wounds of War, the Colleen Heslin: Needles and Pins, and the Jack Bush: In Studio, which is available from June 4, 2016, to January 8, 2017. In addition to opening daily, the gallery will also be open every Thursday night from July 1, 2016, to October 21, 2016, to mark the milestone.

Moonlight Gala 2016 mcmichael 50th anniversary
Moonlight Gala 2016

Emceed by CTV News Toronto co-anchor Ken Shaw, the star-studded event included performances by Juno Award winners, Divine Brown and Sean Jones, live music by pianists Terence Gowan and Teo Milea, violinist Sarah Davidson, the gala’s favourite jazz band, The Collective, DJ Odario Williams, and a live auction hosted by Canadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker. While enjoying the captivating entertainment, guests feasted on gourmet food prepared by Aura by Cashew & Clive, Beretta Kitchen, Encore Food with Elegance, Presidential Gourmet, On the Move, Seventh Heaven, and Pusateri’s. Signature dishes like scallop risotto, Artic char, and 12-hour smoked apple wood short ribs were on the menu. Dapper gentlemen also enjoyed cigar with premium Scotch tasting in a sunny corner.

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Sponsors of the main event had the chance to browse through and bid on an array of incredible silent auction items including the “refuge 1993” painting by Charles Robb, a vacation package to any North American Fairmont Hotel & Resort with two Air Canada Business Class return tickets, a one-week vacation package to Paris, and a priceless experience with the Murdoch Mysteries’ cast & crew.

By purchasing a $100 gift card from Merit Travel, attendees also had a chance to win a $10,000 travel gift card, provided by Merit Travel as well.

For the first time, Moonlight Gala held an after party called Moonlight Gala After Dark, with tickets selling for only $150 each to engage young professionals from the GTA and York regions. Juxtaposed against the tranquil and picturesque natural landscape, the vibrant after party had guests dancing under the stars till late night.

The annual fundraiser supports the incredible works of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, an agency of the Government of Ontario and the only museum and gallery dedicated to interpreting the history and experiences of all Canadians, including art created by the Inuit, Metis and First Nations people. The McMichael ranks among the top public galleries in Canada with over 110,000 annual visitors. its permanent art collections consist of over 6,000 Canadian artworks, and proceeds from the Moonlight Gala 2016 will go directly to the conservation and preservation of them.

(photos by Tanya)

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