Diary of the Week: Canada Stars in Awards Season Gala and the Snowflake Ball

By Michael Killingsworth and Jennifer Simpson

There’s no shortage of pre- and post-Oscar parties in Hollywood, but only one pulls out all the stops to toast north-of-the-border notables: Canada Stars in Awards Season. For its second annual celebration of excellence in TV and film — including Canadian artists nominated for upcoming Oscars and Canadian Screen Awards — Canada Stars turned the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills Hotel into a welcoming oasis for a cavalcade of revellers. Lost Girl beauty Anna Silk, filmmaker Norman Jewison and 90210 alum Jason Priestley were just a few fan favourites who walked the white carpet on a balmy Feb. 19 to mingle with Canadians, flaunt some patriotism and catch up with friends.

“I know a lot of people here,” Jason told Hello!, looking around the venue. Inside the luxury hotel’s ballroom, guests enjoyed cocktails and canapes as ETALK anchor Ben Mulroney oversaw brief remarks from representatives of the night’s cohosts (Telefilm Canada, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and the Consulate General of Canada); welcomed Chaz Ebert to the stage (alongside her fellow Legacy Award presenters, actress Sandra Oh and Helga Stephenson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television); and ultimately gave the last word to the night’s honorary chair, Will & Grace star Eric McCormack. With a mind to letting the party unfold without further ado, the Toronto-born leading man kept his moment in the spotlight brief yet memorable, staying true to the occasion’s nationalist theme by leading partygoers in a rousing rendition of our national anthem. O Canada, indeed! It was a proud day for our home and native land.

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The cold outside didn’t chill the romance of Ottawa’s annual Snowflake Ball. How could it? The event was held on Valentine’s Day, the theme was "Springtime in Paris" and love was in the air - in this case, much of it directed at the organizers of the annual event, the Jason family. After battling ulcerative colitis from the age of 10, 32-year-old Yael Jason lost her life last year as a result of complications from her illness. She was one of the original co-chairs of the splashy affair and the inspiration for the ball, which raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre and Screen Colons Canada. Well-heeled guests enjoyed a gourmet four-course meal, preceded by cocktails and followed by dancing and a fund-raising auction.

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