Every two years, the Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation holds one of the most engaging fundraisers in Toronto – The Wellspring Henderson Hoedown! Bringing together some of the city’s top philanthropists and supporters, the event features everything western themed, from décor, design and entertainment all while raising money for services that help individuals and families deal with cancer.
Founded in 1992, Wellspring is an innovative network of community-based cancer support centres that collectively offer over 50 different programs. Wellspring provides support, coping skills, and education at no charge and without need of medical referral to individuals, family members and professional caregivers living with cancer.
"The Hoedown was created in 1993 by the late Mark Henderson, who was an early Wellspring member, peer volunteer, and Board Director. This fun, western-themed event reflects Mark's hopeful spirit and love of family, friends and country music", said Lynda Morrison, CEO of Wellspring. "It's become our signature event, and we're so grateful for the incredible support Wellspring receives through this unique and highly entertaining fundraiser."
This year, the event graced the Canadian Ballroom at the legendary Fairmont Royal York Hotel and featured an incredible performance by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo. The team at 5th Element Events joined forces with Wellspring to design and execute the themed evening. Stagevision Inc. handled all the AV and lighting inclusive of a fantastic white draped backdrop covering the entire north wall of the ballroom as well as custom lighting designs that enhanced the atmosphere for the entire evening.
It’s not easy transforming a luxury hotel into a Western themed venue, but using incredible antique props like barrels, wheels, crates, foliage, fences mixed with custom bars, textures, faux suede linens and denim linens, the team at 5th focused on one thing, transforming the space into a WILD WILD WEST playground!
As guests approached the reception area, they were greeted by dressed cowgirls, a moving table full of custom drinks and two fully painted live cowboys that shifted gently every so often. The main feature was the silent auction inside the Ontario room. Inside was an 18’ custom wood paneled bar with vignettes of hay barrels, wheels and hangman signs draped with Wellspring branded foam core posters. Antique barrels, boots and wheels added to the like, making the bar a true spectacle. In the middle of the room, Wellspring brought a mechanical bull that guests may ride by donating money to the cause. Inside the Toronto Room, 5th Element Events built a custom photo booth with a wood panel backdrop, red swinging saloon doors, hay and antique barrels mixed with costumes that guests dressed in. Guests donated more money to receive their pictures in a spectacular wooden frame – A great take home to remember the evening and cause!
The showpiece of the event was the main ballroom! Sixty tables were draped in brown pintuck linens with Beige roughed chair covers, hemstitch napkins and a centerpiece that featured bright orange Gerber Daisies, purple Iris and green berries. The vases were individually wrapped in stitched rope that wrapped around candles at the base. The stage featured a wonderful mixture of wood fencing, crates, wheels, saddles and Barrels that acted as the backdrop for Jim Cuddy’s performance.
When the doors to the main ballroom opened, two aerialists dressed as cowgirls hung from the ceiling on either side of the stage and performed a wonderful array of movements to start off the evening. After all was said and done, the Wellspring Henderson Hoedown raised over 1.3 million dollars, breaking their record from two years prior.
Music, conversation and laughter filled the air on February 16th as the tenth annual Winterfolk Festival kicked off its official launch party at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. Presented by not-for-profit organization, The Association of Artist for a Better World, and running from February 17th to the 19th, volunteers, media and artists were treated to a night of music at the hotel’s Monarch Pub. Attracting close to 7000 people per year, the event is free and is run solely by the support of volunteers, granting agencies, and a series of fundraising events throughout the year.
Since its inaugural year in 2002, founder Brian Gladstone, a musician himself and one who has a large passion for music and its power to change the world, has seen his Winterfolk Festival vision evolve from an event he begged musicians to join, to a festival that has musicians begging him to participate in. With a mission to “entertain, educate, enlighten, engage, and encourage [the] community about various folk music styles”, Gladstone and his team set out to create a stage that could give emerging young artists the privilege and opportunity to use their words and music to change the world for the better. Deeming himself a child of the 60’s, when folk and roots music was more mainstream than it is today, Gladstone realized the power of music and how it was a catalyst for social justice around the world.
Although new challenges arise constantly, the process of organizing Winterfolk has become more streamlined as each year has passed. With a core team of six organizers (consisting of a festival director, publicist, volunteer coordinator and an artistic committee), organizing generally starts 6 months before the festival start date. After a venue and theme is established (this year being “Alumni”) the team starts to plan. For the past nine years, Winterfolk situated itself within certain areas of Toronto where several establishments were being used throughout the weekend. The festival was held around the Danforth and Broadview area for the last six years, and it was a win-win situation for both the businesses in the area and the festival itself. There was an increase in revenue for the restaurants and bars during the industries generally slow winter season, and it brought awareness to the event. However, with that said, Gladstone felt the festival was outgrowing this kind of set-up so organizers tried an entirely different route and set up a meeting with the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto for its tenth year. This particular choice in venue allowed the festival to stay in one spot for the weekend, and it provided a more credible, mainstream feel to the event. Around 65 volunteers helped to fuel the event this year, taking charge in such areas as monitoring the sound boards, stage managing, selling CD’s, collecting money, and running the instrument check-in.
After establishing a theme for the festival, organizers start to gather the talent. Auditions are held throughout the Greater Toronto Area where to date they have evaluated over 1500 artists in the ten years. There are four sets of live auditions that see only two people get selected per audition (with over 1000 people applying this year). Organizers look for people who create buzz, generate publicity and are established within the folk/roots music community. Artists from Australia, England, Yukon, BC, New Jersey and California have come to play at this event over the years, proving how successful this event has become. In addition to the live auditions, Gladstone gathers artists from his open stage nights at The Monarch Pub, and publicist Beverly Kreller gathers artists she deals with through her company, Speak Music. Jazz FM radio-host Laura Fernandez, who also helps organize the event, selects musicians from the hundreds of CD’s she receives throughout the year.
Additionally, Gladstone receives and accepts over 500 online or email submissions, and MySpace music links from various artists around the city, and many music organizations and establishments that promote music around the GTA, such as the Seneca music program and The Moonshine Café in Oakville, ON, are offered stages at the festival to “increase their public visibility and membership, offer exposure for their events” and meet their musical goals. When the auditioning process is completed, 150 artists are selected and each musician gets paid. Funds to pay the artists and to run this event are raised through fundraising conducted throughout the year and grants and sponsorship provided by organizations such as SoCan Foundation, Long & McQuade, Canadian Heritage, Trillium Foundation and Toronto Arts Council.
As another fundraising activity, CD compilations are created through many song submissions organizers receive from various musicians and are sold throughout the world. Benefit concerts are held, and monetary contributions from artists around the globe are collected. As well, Gladstone receives close to 300 tracks each year from artists that pay to have their songs considered for the CD compilations.
To market this event and to increase exposure, many marketing tools are used. Gladstone touched base with many roots and folk radio stations around the area, such as Jazz FM 91, and HOWL CIUT 89.9, and ensured the artists they chose for the event were featured on the radio programs through interviews conducted and songs played. NOW Magazine did a big feature on the festival, and media outlets such as Eye Magazine, The Toronto Star, and Globe & Mail included Winterfolk in their publications. Close to 1000 posters and 5000 postcards were created and distributed around the GTA, and 50,000 festival programs were handed out prior to the festival and at the door. Direct emails were sent out to the contacts in their extensive database, and the utilization of Twitter, Facebook, and their website proved to be successful mediums to create buzz about the event.
To learn more about the Winterfolk Festival please visit http://www.abetterworld.ca/.
Long & McQuade – http://www.long-mcquade.com/
Delta Chelsea – www.deltachelsea.com
Socan – http://www.socan.ca/
Toronto Arts Council – http://www.torontoartscouncil.org/
Trillium Foundation – http://www.trilliumfoundation.org/
Canadian Heritage – http://www.pch.gc.ca/
Jazz FM 91 – http://www.jazz.fm/
Seneca College – http://www.senecac.on.ca/
DATE: February 16-19, 2012
AUTHOR: Lianne Gravitis
PHOTO CREDITS: Victoria Ilgacs
VENUE: International Centre/Congress Centre, Mississauga ON
AUTHOR: Lianne Gravitis
Anita Schachter, VP of the Regional Gift Shows, which include Montreal and Alberta, offered some sound advice for anyone wanting to get into this industry. Beginning her journey within a small publishing company, Schachter moved her way into the giftware world by accident. Initially volunteering for a show held by her company, Schachter found she enjoyed this type of work and eventually became a full-time coordinator and show manager for various shows. Shows of such magnitude can be stressful and Schachter suggests that being a multi-tasker and a people person is an absolute MUST to succeed in this industry.
Facilities: International Centre & Congress Centre (provide space, retail food, cleaning services; parking)
Show Décor: Freeman Decorating
Bussing: Pacific Western www.pacificwesterntoronto.com
Registration: GSC Services & Conexsys
Security: GSS Security & Tonegar Security http://www.gss-security.ca/
First Aid: Tonegar Security (http://www.tone-gar.com)
Electrical: ShowTech Power & Lighting http://www.showtech.ca
Daycare: Umbrella Central Daycare Services http://www.umbrelladaycare.com/
Outdoor Rentals: CRS
Hydration Station: Event Water Solutions
Compostable Wares: Green Shift
Stage & Crew: Straight Street
Trojan, Via Rail Canada, Proud FM, Barefoot Wine, OPSEU, Tourism Toronto, Bruno Ierullo
Viagra, OLG, Transat Holidays, UV Vodka, eska
Pizza Pizza, York Federation of Students, PODS, Courtesy Chevrolet
CP24, NOW, IN Toronto, OUTLooks, Toronto Star, CTV, OUT TV
Snoezelen For Autism
Savia D’cunha, OnSite Reporter, canadianspecialevents.com
Sensations and Sound, a benefit concert was held on June 28th at Maja Prentice Theatre in Mississauga. Emily Hastings-Speck, a teacher at Dixie Public school in Mississauga put the event together for the first time, The sensory room is for children with autisms and developmental disorders.Multi-sensory therapy provides stimulating, yet relaxing, activities that gives the individual a sense of personal control without the demand for a particular performance outcome. The school will create a special environment for this purpose, using a variety of technologies that, collectively, are known by the brand name “Snoezelen.”
A fully equipped Snoezelen room commonly contains a mirror ball and colored spotlights (which project moving colored shapes around the room); a projector (which throws abstract or reminiscent images onto the walls); fiber-optic sprays or curtains (which change color and can be held or caressed); bubble tubes (a moving stream of bubbles in an illuminated tube of water which vibrates when touched); a music system (to play restful or favorite music); an aroma-therapy diffuser; panels of interactive knobs and switches that trigger sounds or lights when activated; and a variety of hand-held objects that offer particular tactile or visual sensations. Other equipment may include ball pools, soft-play areas, lighted mirrors and rugs, and remote control devices that enable individuals to exercise some degree of choice and decision making while in the environment. Sensory materials give visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and proprioceptive stimulation.
For two months Speck put out posters, communicated with local businesses, community centers, neighborhoods, social media, and service centers for children with autism. The sold out 200-seated theatre featured the Essentials, an award-winning Canadian Acappella band performed at the event. The group was chosen because their music is universal and appeals to every age group. A silent auction was also held with theatre tickets, Blue Jays & TFC tickets, passes for Medieval Times, gift baskets, an in-home wine seminar and autographed pointe shoes from the National Ballet among others.
Ticket sales made over $5,000 and the goal was to raise $20,000 to cover the costs for sensory equipment required.
June 25 – 26, 201, Toronto Centre Island, Toronto
Tina Kessler, canadianspecialevents.com OnSite Reporter
How do you make an already successful event even more successful? By constantly adding to your event repertoire and offering your attendees more value for their money. By doing so you’ll encourage your repeat attendees to return as well as entice newcomers. You’ll keep everyone on their toes as they discover more exciting things to do at your event and send everyone home with a smile on their face.
The hugely popular Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival celebrated its 23rd year on June 25 & 26 on Toronto Centre Island. Put on by the Toronto Chinese Business Association and sponsored by President`s Choice, it introduced 2 new festival features: the “Summertime Art Studio“ and the “Pan Am Village“. Support from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism & Culture made these new festival features possible.
The “Summertime Art Studio“ showcased the talent of local artists and artisans and offered tutorials. The “Pan Am Village“ presented the best cultural artefacts, displays, music and tastiest food from Latin America and the Caribbean. The main stage featured performances by local talent from various ethnic backgrounds and celebrated the diverse community that is Toronto.
While many will have come to Centre Island to see and participate in the dragon boat races, they will have been pleasantly surprised by the other festival features that awaited them. Families could easily spend the day on the island cheering on the over 170 teams and 5,000 paddlers in the races, taking in a few performances on the main stage, visiting the various booths at the Summertime Studio and sampling some of the mouth watering jerk chicken at the Pan Am Village.
Events as we know must constantly evolve to be successful. By introducing two new features, and thereby enriching the festival experience, the 23rd Annual Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival made its already successful event even more successful.
June 24 – July 3, 2011, David Pecaut Square, Toronto
Tina Kessler, canadianspecialevents.com OnSite Reporter
Imagine a hot summer in the city. You’re putting on a 2 week festival with live entertainment and while the evenings and weekends have very high attendance, the weekdays seem to only attract a few attendees. You’ve tried the lunchtime concerts in the park, but usually only get a few families or passersby. But you want to attract not only those who have the day off, but those who are working, those heading outside to enjoy the weather while having lunch. Since they are already outside, why not give them something to enjoy while they eat their lunch? Or better yet, set up some food vendors to sell them lunch. Then, everyone can sit in the grass in the sun, or at tables in the shade and enjoy the live entertainment.
Remember you’re in the city. And the nearest park is too far away. You want people to be less than 5 minutes away so they have time to spend their whole lunch break there. Where can you have live entertainment in the middle of the day in downtown Toronto with trees and a grassy area that isn’t a park and that`s convenient for a large group of people? David Pecaut Square.
Nestled between Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall on King Street West between John & Simcoe Streets, David Pecaut Square (formerly Metro Square) was the ideal location for the 25th Annual Toronto Jazz Festival’s mainstage. No stranger to festivals, David Pecaut Square is an ideal venue for outdoor concert-based events in the heart of downtown Toronto and also served as the ‘Hub’ for ‘Luminato’ in June of this year. With free lunchtime and after-work concerts, the festival gave jazz lovers and others the chance to enjoy great music in the city.
The soothing sounds of the Sienna Dahlen Quartet drew crowds of people in during lunchtime on Thursday June 30th for a relaxing lunch in the Square. Some stayed in the shade and enjoyed the music from afar, while others sat in chairs on the grass, basking in the sun. With the grass beneath their feet and the trees surrounding the mainstage, they almost forgot they were in the city and that only a half hour ago the phones were ringing off the hook and their bosses were yelling at them.
I`m sure many appreciated the free lunchtime entertainment and would absolutely stop by after work, or return in the evening or on the weekend, bringing friends and family with them. David Pecaut Square is a hot venue you should definitely consider for your next outdoor event.
For more information about the Toronto Jazz Festival visit: www.torontojazz.com
June 22, 2011, Toronto Zoo, Toronto
Tina Kessler, Canadianspecialevents.com OnSite Reporter
Photos: Tina Kessler and Janis Rees, Kaleidoscope Photography
You might not think of the Toronto Zoo as an event venue, especially for culinary events, but in fact, it was the perfect venue for the 2nd Annual Toronto Zoo Seafood for Thought Fundraising Event. This unique culinary conservation event helps to educate and inform consumers, and businesses, on the importance of making choices for healthy oceans. Proceeds from the event support Toronto Zoo’s Conservation Fund for projects that will protect wildlife and wild spaces.
Attendees were greeted by Explorer Bear, the Zoo’s mascot as well as zoo staff and various zoo animals including a 23 year-old endangered bald eagle. The Zellers Discovery Zone Splash Island splash pad was transformed to accommodate a series of tents featuring the best of sustainable seafood tastings prepared by Toronto’s top chefs. A live 4 piece jazz band provided a pleasant ambiance as attendees moved from tent to tent sampling the delicious offerings. Local wineries and breweries were also in attendance, as well as the Cheese Boutique, providing samples of their local cheeses.
The uneven landscape and permanent fixtures of the splash pad could have been a nuisance, but were instead incorporated into the event theme. The large sprinklers shaped like different sea creatures became extra attendees and were a welcome addition for all children in attendance. Blue and black dressed tables and blue and silver chiavari chairs were well placed among the icebergs and logs of the splash pad, providing additional seating. The sea theme was also incorporated into the floral arrangements with blue flowers and seashells.
As attendees savoured the sustainable seafood delights, they were also encouraged to take part in the silent auction. With items including dinners & shows, paintings, admissions and hotels, spas & getaways everyone was sure to find something of interest to help support the Zoo’s Conservation Fund. Presenting sponsor Loblaw Companies Limited set up an educational tent for attendees to learn about the limited number of fish in the sea.
The 2nd Annual Toronto Zoo Seafood for Thought Fundraising Event did an excellent job of raising awareness and funds to protect wildlife but also showed the versatility and uniqueness of the Toronto Zoo as an event venue.
June 17-19, 2011, Port Credit Memorial Park in Mississauga
Savia D’cunha, canadianspecialevents.com OnSite Reporter
The ground was sun-drenched at Port Credit Memorial Park in Mississauga. A carnival with jugglers, balloon artists, stilt walkers, strolling characters, face painters, clowns, foods of the world, kids events, music bands, and sixty assorted vendors and crafters opened up the 15th annual Mississauga Waterfront Festival. The festival took place from June 17 -19, 2011, over Fathers’ day weekend.
The main target audience was families and concert fans. Great Canadian Dad contest winners read “Why My Dad Is Great” letters. EcoMedia, Canada’s environment friendly media company, set up recycling bins throughout the park. Earth Rangers, an organization dedicated to saving habitat around the world, had a meet and greet with live animals. The Discovery Patch Children’s Interactive Musuem had 15 different stations promoting the use of recycled products. The children also had a petting zoo, pony rides, and water bubble rides where the children entered a giant water bubble.
The Canadian bands playing at the festival were The Sprit Of The West, A Foot In ColdWater, Goddo, and solo artists such as Steve Page from the Bare Naked Ladies and Brian Howe, the former lead singer of Bad Company. The international bands consisted of a British band called the Truffles. Beatle fans were treated to a Beatles experience with memorabilia and Sergeant Pepper costumes.
Chairperson, Pat Anderson and a team of 16 people organized the event in twelve months. There were 200 volunteers and a turnout of 50,000 people on the weekend. The pricing for the festival’s 15th anniversary was attractive and dropped down from $25 the previous year to $15 this year for adults and $10 for children and seniors. There were 75 sponsors with Platinum Plus sponsors being the main ones.
The Event Manager/Artist, Patti Jannetta Baker, has been in the entertainment industry for twenty-five years and is a performer, songwriter, and Juno nominee.
Out of 3,000 festivals in Ontario, Festival and Events Ontario has awarded The Mississauga Waterfront Festival with the best media, marketing and promotional campaign for nine years in a row.
MetalWorks Production Group put the staging, lighting, audio, main stage, and auxiliary set-up together.