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Style Fundraisers in Toronto and Montreal help hearts and minds

18th Annual Grand Bal des Vins-Cœurs, Montreal

It’s been said that a bit of red wine is good for your heart, and though that claim seems to be perennially debated, the concept served as the inspiration for the 18th edition of Grand Bal des Vins-Cœurs, an annual fundraiser that draws oenophiles for an evening in support of the Montreal Heart Institute, an affiliate of Université de Montréal. The latest edition was held inside Windsor Station on Sept. 6, and by night’s end contributed an impressive $1,735,000 for the cause, contributing to the more than $260-million raised by the foundation since 1977. The money will support the institute’s research projects and specialized care, as well as technological advancements and professional training. Lino A. Saputo Jr., who chairs the the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation’s board of directors, took to the stage to honour Jean-Pierre Léger, chairman of the Groupe St-Hubert Inc. board, with a medal of honour in recognition of the philanthropist’s contributions to Montreal’s community-at-large and to the foundation; funds donated by the Fondation de Claire et Jean-Pierre Léger were used recently to purchase a state-of-the-art PET/MRI machine, which will allow the institute’s team to better and more quickly detect heart disease.

Sunshine After Dark, Toronto

The next week, in Toronto’s east end, the recently opened Broadview Hotel was the place to party in support of Project Sunshine Canada. The organization, which also has chapters in the United States, China, Kenya and Israel, sends trained volunteers (currently more than 15,000) into medical facilities to provide recreational, art and social programs (think book clubs, crafts and cooking classes), for young patients and their families. The organization serves more than 100,000 children internationally, and here in Canada offers programs in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. The Sept. 13 event, dubbed Sunshine After Dark, served as the new, more casual and contemporary incarnation of the Sunshine Ball, thrown in Toronto for the past 11 years. The sit-down dinner was replaced with drinks, dancing, an auction and a sweeping city view, all of which provided ample appeal to make this fresh incarnation a success.

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