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Walrus Foundation gala, Toronto

On Jan. 21, the Walrus Foundation hosted its seventh annual fundraising gala at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s Distillery District, drawing leading figures from the worlds of finance, industry, art and the written word. The evening, a gold-themed affair co-chaired by Franco-Nevada’s Pierre Lassonde and his wife, Janelle, raised over $500,000, funds that will go toward supporting the foundation’s commitment to writers, readers, artists, ideas and debate across Canada. Guests witnessed a ceremonial passing of the usuk (the Inuktituk word for a walrus penis) from the outgoing editor of The Walrus magazine, John Macfarlane, to successor Jonathan Kay. “Although he may no longer have an usuk, John will still have a place on the masthead as editor emeritus,” Shelley Ambrose, executive director and publisher of The Walrus, said to great ovation.

Post-dinner, Lassonde and former Ontario premier David Peterson took to the stage in matching gold jackets and invited attendees to take part in a reading of Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee. Among those spotted reciting the iconic Canadian poem (many from heart!) were Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, former Walrus Foundation Gala cochairs Maxine Granovsky Gluskin and Ira Gluskin, artist Douglas Coupland, philanthropists Donna Slaight, Emmanuelle Gattuso, Nancy Lockhart and Nona Mac– Donald Heaslip, Bonnie Brooks of Hudson’s Bay, writers Lawrence and Miranda Hill, James Eaton of Weatons Holdings, Fogo Island Inn creator Zita Cobb, SkyService vicechairman Tim Casgrain, Andrew Lapham of The Blackstone Group and his wife Caroline and Calgary power couple Douglas Mitchell of Borden Ladner Gervais and his wife Lois, founding partner of Rainmaker Global Business Development.

From left, Gala co-chairs Janelle and Pierre Lassonde with Shelley Ambrose. (Photos by Tom and Aline Sandler)

From left, John Macfarlane and an usuk-wielding Jonathan Kay.

From left, Vanessa Mulroney, Jorn Weisbrodt and Caroline Lapham.

Miranda and Lawrence Hill.

Umbra’s 35th-anniversary party, Toronto

Umbra, the Toronto-based home-ware design company, marked 35 years in the biz with a celebration and unveiling of a retrospective at its recently revamped flagship just off Queen Street West in Toronto. Party-goers at the Jan. 21 fete included Umbra design director Matt Carr, industrial designer Karim Rashid and wife Ivana, photographer George Whiteside, Gap visual director Ian Swan and makeup artist/Alexa Chung confidant Misty Fox and her daughter, Violet. The 375-plus guests were treated to live entertainment courtesy of The Snakes, a band started by Umbra’s co-founders, Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan, in 1967.

Karim Rashid and Ivana Puric. (Photos courtesy Umbra)

Umbra co-founders Les Mandelbaum and Paul Rowan (both centre) perform with their band, The Snakes.

Artist and photographer George Whiteside.

Umbra’s director of design, Matt Carr.

Misty Fox with daughter Violet.