Diary of the Week: Mariah Carey lights up Toronto, Great Jewellery Heist, Grand Cru, Camp Oochigeas and more

Alison Eastwood and Jessica Pollack

All Toronto wanted for Christmas was... Mariah Carey! Hudson's Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue made that dream a reality for hordes of excited fans as they celebrated the flagship holiday window reveal in truly festive style. After remarks from Mayor John Tory, the diva took the stage to a chorus of ecstatic screams, clad in a red mermaid gown with a pink sash and bow. After belting out two seasonal tunes, including "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which concluded in a haze of fireworks and confetti, the singer spent some time at Saks mingling with a who's who of Toronto socialites and influencers. And just like that, she was off again, to spread her cheer in a land far away...

The Ritz-Carlton was all a-glitter as the Great Jewellery Heist took over its ballroom for an elegant daytime affair that saw Toronto movers and shakers place bids for charity. Now in its sixth year, the Heist – which auctions off an array of jewels gifted by generous benefactors – is always a lively gathering, especially when the auctioneer is style star Jeanne Beker, who can tell you exactly why you should bid on a beautifully bejewelled elephant brooch! The lunch was hosted by TV personality Amanda Lang and presented by CIBC, with funds going to the Sinai Health System’s Bridgepoint care facility. Guests even got to take home some extra bling in the form of Canadian-made Hillberg & Berk earrings. A real jewel of an occasion!


A feast for the senses, the Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival cast a web of impeccably crafted cuisine and vintages across the city for the 12th year running, as 17 top chefs (think Daniel Boulud, David Hawksworth and Jason Cox) hosted 500 high-profile guests for exclusive culinary experiences. Founder Todd Halpern's delectable fundraiser culminated in the annual Grand Cru Culinary Appreciation party at the Capitol Event Theatre. But the most toothsome part had nothing to do with food at all; it was the $1.5 million raised for University Health Network (UHN) - particularly its Arthritis Program, Multi-Organ Transplant Program and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. We'll toast to that!

Summer camp is a treat for any kid, but there’s a little extra magic for those heading to Camp Oochigeas (Ooch). The Ontario camps, which operate year-round, offer a much-needed getaway for children affected by cancer, where they can continue their treatments while enjoying traditional camping fun. With the help of supporters, the Imagine the Magic gala in Toronto raised $1.2 million for the cause. Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson performed, accompanied by campers. But the most unforgettable moment went to young Summer Kavelman, daughter of co-chairs Karen Fonn and Dennis Kavelman, who committed $3,500 to sending a child to camp for two weeks.

The Canadian Opera Company's gala fundraiser, Centre Stage, was in perfect pitch as guests celebrated the country's brightest voices at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The featured event, an annual vocal competition, saw judges singing the praises of Vancouver's Simone McIntosh, who walked away with top honours (and a $5,000 award!). Nota Bene chef David Lee built a culinary progression that rose to a crescendo of beef tenderloin with foie gras, truffle and Madeira, which attendees washed down with Trius wine. Definitely a high note on the arts calendar!

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