'Welcome to my bar mitzvah," Paul Bronfman joked as he addressed more than 900 of Toronto's multicultural movers and shakers who gathered last week at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews.
In fact, Mr. Bronfman, along with his wife, Judy, and Phillip Crawley, publisher and chief executive officer of The Globe and Mail, were the recipients of CCCJ's Human Relations Award. Past honorees include Hilary Weston, Ivan Fecan, Sandra Faire and the Lakhani family.
Between each dinner course (with extra care given to dietary restrictions, natch), personalities John Derringer and Valerie Pringle offered lively banter while underscoring the organization's mission to eliminate discrimination, prejudice and bigotry. Music artist Chantal Kreviazuk performed a song she composed with her nanny, a refugee from Congo. Journalism student Tashauna Reid recounted how participating in the Canadian Centre for Diversity has changed her life. And anyone who took to the stage gave an unavoidable shout-out to U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.
The event raised more than $1.6-million toward educational programs, which may, one day, inspire this country's answer to Mr. Obama.
"Our dream is to be in every province and every territory, helping every child in Canada," said Amanda Sherrington, CCCJ's president and CEO. "Through evenings like these, that becomes possible."
1. The Bronfman children: Jonathan, Alexandra and Andrew Bronfman
2. Globe and Mail publisher Phillip Crawley, left, with Paul and Judy Bronfman
3. Scotiabank's Sabi Marwah with retired BMO CEO Tony Comper and his wife, Elizabeth
4. Apotex CEO Bernard Sherman and his wife, Honey, with Ivan Fecan, CEO of CTVglobemedia
5. Filmmaker Barry Avrich with singer/songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk
6. Bonnie and Charles Bronfman