Diary of the Week: Alec Baldwin at TIFF, Grand Prix, Governor General's Awards and UNIQLO

By Jessica Pollack and Jennifer Simpson

"I've always felt like a stranger in a strange land," said Alec Baldwin when he stopped by TIFF's Bell Lightbox to regale a rabid audience with anecdotes from his seasoned career and spot-on impressions of directors like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. As part of the festival's annual Summer Soiree, the 58-year-old reminisced on Hollywood, Toronto's beloved film festival, his film-obsessed father and his beloved family with moderator Johanna Schneller before the crowd flocked to the Artscape Sandbox for a cocktail party. And as the curtain closed on another blockbuster of an event, Alec bounded into the future, which he hopes may contain an Oscar but where his family will forever be front and centre. "My legacy now is my kids."

For one of the splashiest parties on the Grand Prix circuit, Ritz-Carlton Montreal was back with Pfaff McLaren for an annual sold-out fete that fills the Oval Room, Oval Terrace and Palm Court with a who's who of well-heeled revelers. With ticket prices ranging from $325 to $425 per person (with $10 per ticket benefiting UNICEF, the city's finest were treated to an endless Moët & Chandon champagne bar, gourmet food and dessert stations and a soundtrack by cellist Philip Sheppard (whose credits include a McLaren F1 symphony) and celebrity DJ YO-C.

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Gov. Gen. David Johnston was one of many stars fêted at the annual Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Gala at the National Arts Centre. He and wife Sharon were fresh off a flight from London, where they’d been celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday, and were treated to a rendition of “Happy Birthday” in advance of his 75th. Also honoured that night were Inuk singer Susan Aglukark, tenor Ben Heppner, film producer Robert Lantos, choreographer Marie Chouinard, playwright Suzanne Lebeau and philanthropist John D. McKellar, who was toasted on stage by his actor son Don McKellar. And while Ben Heppner, who now hosts a CBC Radio program, was thrilled to be among those listed, he couldn’t help but quip over the idea of a lifetime achievement award: “I’m not done yet.”

Uniqlo Canada COO Yasuhiro Hayashi gave editors and influencers a taste of what's to come at Airship 37, in Toronto's east end, as the brand debuted feather-light quilted jackets and vests, cashmere sweaters, proprietary Heattech leggings and more. In addition to the feast for the eyes, a sushi chef was on hand preparing tasty nibbles (how many pieces of spider roll are too many?) while Yasuhiro welcomed the wine- and juice-sipping crowd at three separate points during the day. But the excitement has already been building for months! Suffice to say we're ready. And last but not least, the Design Exchange's iconic trading floor was transformed into an auction-lover's dream as co-chairs Jake Gold, Suzanne Dimma and Mark Challen invited guests to party along the theme of Original Collector's Night. Replete with unique, show-stopping pieces, the popular event saw bidders bring out the big guns in both live and silent auctions, with proceeds benefiting DX's education programs, curatorial initiatives and the preservation of the permanent collection.

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