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The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Power Ball XX: Carousal, May 31, 2018 Toronto

This year marks two major milestones for the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery: 30 years of operation devoted to contemporary art and 20 years of Power Ball, the gallery’s annual fundraising party, where wild themes and the outlandish are not only celebrated, but expected. “Leave your baggage behind and join the party,” a playground slide operator said on May 31, as guests (myself included) literally slid into a preparty reception. Art installations and activities inspired by the carousal theme were conceived by Sam Bompas and Harry Parr of Bompas & Parr. The big-ticket event drew a mélange of familiar faces with family foundations, lively scene regulars and some of the wonderfully wild self-created personas that make Toronto so fun. The mood at this gathering is casual – instead of the typical formal dinner near-synonymous with fundraising galas, guests enjoy a smushed VIP cocktail where drinks flow, the music is loud and guests become part of the festive installations. Later in the evening, the floodgates to the main party opened and guests wandered the gallery taking in the Instagram-bait art on offer. Italian fashion house Max Mara, owner of the Collezione Maramotti, an impressive company owned collection of contemporary works, returned as the presenting sponsor.

Face The World Foundation 28th annual gala, June 4, 2018, Vancouver

On June 4, the return of Sir Tom Jones to the gala in support of the Face The World Foundation was a full circle moment for the yearly fundraiser. The Welsh entertainer-extraordinaire was present 28 years ago for the inaugural bash, which has gone on to raise more than $18-million for around 350 small organizations throughout British Columbia that focus mainly on aiding children, women and seniors. Among them are Rise Women’s Legal Centre, Union Gospel Mission and Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. The to-do was founded by Jacqui Cohen, president of Army & Navy, “Canada’s Original Discount Store” founded in 1919 by her grandfather Sam Cohen. The dedicated hostess opened her swish Point Grey Road abode on the edge of English Bay once again for the event, where 200 guests drank, dined and bid, collectively raising $700,000 for the foundation.

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