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22nd Annual Bloor Street Entertains, Toronto

In Canada, there are some 2,000 new HIV infections every year. That’s about one new infection every four hours. CANFAR, which works to support research and develop youth awareness and HIV prevention initiatives, recently held its 22nd annual Bloor Street Entertains event on Nov. 28. The beloved end-of-the-fall-social-season gathering raises funds and some still-needed awareness for the cause by pairing the luxe retailers that line Toronto’s tony Bloor Street West with some of the city’s top culinary forces. Since its founding, the event has raised more than $21-million for HIV and AIDS research, funding more than 400 hundred projects across Canada. Yours truly was a guest this year of Hugo Boss, where Craig Harding of Campagnolo and La Palma fame was on kitchen duties. Around the table on the store’s third floor sat a couple dozen devoted awareness-raisers, including CANFAR’s founding executive director Roger Bullock, who came together for a reunion of sorts, helmed and hosted by CANFAR board member Leeanne Weld Kostopoulos. The group were among the first wave of CANFAR’s young supporters, known then as the CANFAR JRC (a.k.a. the Junior Committee), who organized (among other gatherings) the Eight Ball, which kicked off in the late 1980s and ran for a decade – raising moer than $1-million for the cause along the way. Later, dinner goers and throwers came together at the Four Seasons Hotel for the after party, where among those making the rounds were CANFAR’s newly installed chief executive Alex Filiatrault and real-estate pro Jimmy Molloy and his wife, style writer Bernadette Morra, who served as gala co-chairs.

UNICEF Water for Life Gala, Calgary

A couple of weeks earlier, north of $1-million was raised at Calgary’s 26th annual UNICEF Water for Life Gala on Nov. 3. Statistics shared during the evening were staggering: According to UNICEF, 663 million people around the world lack access to safe and sustainable sources of water. The organization, which was founded in 1946, currently works in 100 countries to improve the situation. Last year alone they provided nearly 14 million people with clean water and 11 million with basic toilets. The impressive sum raised at the evening, which was co-chaired by Hanita Simard and Andrea Gerencser, will specifically support work in Uganda, where UNICEF is providing water and sanitation infrastructure in secondary schools, efforts which to date have benefited nearly a quarter of a million girls.

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