We were greeted by a mask-wearing harlequin setting the theme of “Venetian Masquerade Ball” for the twenty-second annual Starlight Children’s Foundation Gala 2017 sponsored by Toys”R” Us and Babies”R” Us Canada at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Some of the VIPs in attendance at this event were four of the six new television personalities from the “Real Housewives of Toronto”: Roxy Earle, Ann Kaplan Mulholland, Joan Kelley Walker, and Jana Webb.

Rick Campanelli, co-host of Entertainment Tonight Canada, shared the red carpet with Tara Spencer-Nairn of “Corner Gas” and “Miss Canada.Rick was also the Emcee for the evening. After being offered a glass of champagne, we enjoyed lamb chops, Caprese salad skewers, bruschetta and salmon on pumpernickel topped with dill in the Venetian decorated reception area.

En route to visit the room filled with silent auction items, we saw costumed acrobats and Italian guitarists perform. Auction items included travel packages to Hawaii, Florida or open tickets to anywhere in the world donated by Air Canada. There were many other sponsors for this fundraiser; Great Blue Heron Casino, Barrick Gold Corporation, Michaels Canada, Bloom Lanys Professional Corporation, Hasbro Toys Canada, Mattel Canada and YTV (Corus Entertainment). “Flash”, the Limited Edition Collectible Starlight Bear for 2017 was available for purchase.

Starlight Children’s Foundation collaborates with experts to improve the lives and health of kids and families around the world. With more than 1,750 health care facilities and pediatric hospitals around the world including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, serving millions of children every year. Starlight Children’s Foundation provides a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home; collaborating with leaders and innovators in pediatric healthcare, entertainment, and technology.

Last year’s Starlight Children’s Foundation Gala 2016 had an “Under the Sea theme and raised over $860,000. This year’s hope was to exceed the amount. As could be expected for a “Venetian Masquerade Ball,” dinner for the evening had an Italian theme; antipasti, roasted pumpkin, butternut squash and sage ravioli, and roasted Caprese stuffed chicken breast. The desert tasting featured amaretto cheesecake, white chocolate pannacotta and tiramisu with bing cherry compote and were served during the entertainment.

If this wasn’t enough, there was an after-party that went on until 1:00 a.m., after all, “Our lives are one masked ball” according to the Phantom of the Opera. For more information about the Starlight Children’s Foundation, please visit their website: http://starlightcanada.org

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