Diary of the week: Mad Hot Ballet, Luminato, Fete Champetre and Thrill of Ascot

By Jessica Pollack and Jennifer Simpson

With MAC Cosmetic’s Frank Toskan and partner Darren Zakreski at the helm, there was no doubt that the National Ballet of Canada’s ninth annual MAD HOT BALLET fundraiser would be a colourful affair. With “Lost in Venice” as its theme, guests like philanthropist Suzanne Rogers, co-chairs Mark and Vanessa Mulroney, H Halston fashion director Cameron Silver and model Yasmin Warsame mingled with members of the company among masked stilt walkers and a life-sized gilded birdcage. After a spectacular performance curated by artistic director Karen Kain, a select 600 attendees dressed to perfection filed their way into a feather-bedecked dinner catered by Mark McEwan’s North 44. But the splashy soiree wasn’t the only thing that gave the company something to dance about – at the end of the night, $1 million had been raised to their benefit.

Meanwhile, a bevy of beautiful people from the worlds of art and society gathered in the usual abandoned power generator in Toronto for the annual Luminato kick-off, this year with special guest - and ever-fabulous '60s icon - Charlotte Rampling as guest of honour. Shinan Govani reports on the picture-perfect affair.


Hats were the order of the day for the 27th annual Fête Champêtre, held in the garden of the expansive residence of German Ambassador Werner Wnendt and his wife, Eleonore Wnendt-Juber. “Ottawa is a city full of music, and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra is an important part of that,” the ambassador told his well-heeled guests of the party’s beneficiary. Eleanor had just returned from the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and she and Norwegian Ambassador Mona Brother lent a spirit of competition to the evening’s meal – Norway’s win would mean salmon, Germany’s win would mean German Riesling. It was a tie in the end, so the two pooled their resources to offer a who’s who of guests in beau chapeaux potato pancake with smoked salmons and veal with mushrooms, all while a trio of strings played in the background.

With the Royal Ascot in full swing, London came calling and fashionable Canadians keenly donned their best toppers at Best Buddies’ Thrill of Ascot fundraiser. Hats of every shape and colour descended on Woodbine Race Track for the ninth annual affair and it’s stellar cause – ensuring that schools and communities are accepting of those with intellectual disabilities. Whether it was due to the heartfelt performances or the heady ambience of the racetrack, guests were feeling generous and the stylish soiree raised $385,000 – and, soon, the spirits of even more children across the country.

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!