Seneca Students Transform Seven Toronto Retailers for Bloor Street Entertains


Stellson – Seneca Professor Nicole DiCarlo and her students played with the menswear aspect of this illustrious brand. Centrepieces were constructed from vintage belts wrapped around cylindrical vases. Custom menus were punctuated with bow ties and red ribbons, a reminder of the event goal. Credits – Photography by Alex Bruce, floral design by Seneca College, rentals by Higgins Rentals, with assistance by Yellowhouse Events.

By: Lisa Pires, Seneca College

Students from Seneca College’s Event Management – Event and Exhibit Design graduate certificate program converted Yorkville retailers into luxury dining spaces for Bloor Street Entertains last month. Working in partnership with CANFAR (the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research), Seneca transformed seven downtown locations into intimate and lavish dining rooms, in which high-profile guests enjoyed gourmet, four-course dinners prepared by Toronto’s top chefs.

This year the annual black-tie event involved a total of 20 Yorkville boutiques, which raised funds for CANFAR on the eve of World AIDS Day on December 1. The venues Seneca worked on included Liss Gallery, Hugo Boss, Victorinox Swiss Army, Rimowa, Harry Rosen, Strellson and the Gardiner Museum.

Seneca has been involved with Bloor Street Entertains since 2005 and it has been a key component of the Event Management curriculum since 2006.

Liss Gallery – Seneca Professor John MacBride and students drew inspiration from exhibiting artist Thomas Arvid, . The team extended the theme of his artwork into the decor. Roses and cedar were wired to large pieces of grapevine for the centrepieces. Cork accents in the candleholders and the bar carried the theme throughout the venue.- Credits – Photography by Alex Bruce, floral design by Seneca College, rentals by Higgins Rentals, with assistance by Yellowhouse Events.

“Seneca and CANFAR have a unique relationship that has lasted nine years and continues to grow,” said John MacBride, Professor and Program Co-ordinator of Seneca’s Event Management – Event and Exhibit Design program.  “Bloor Street Entertains has become living curricula in our classroom and we are incredibly grateful to CANFAR for their support.”

CANFAR in turn is grateful for Seneca’s participation.   “The partnership between CANFAR and Seneca has been longstanding and very successful,” said Stephanie Rullo, Manager of Communications and Marketing at CANFAR. “The faculty of Seneca’s Event Management program have a deep understanding of the event, and their staff and students bring their professionalism, creativity, and innovation to the event each year.”

Seneca student Nadia Spinosa said her work on the Victorinox Swiss Army location at Bloor Street Entertains put the skills she learned in class to the test.   “Sitting in a classroom and hearing stories takes my learning so far, but being on location and getting the chance to observe the chaos around me really puts those lectures into action,” said Spinosa.  Spinosa also enjoyed the experience of assisting with all aspects of the event.

Victorinox Swiss Army – Seneca Professor Brian Wickens and students suspended florals from the ductwork in the ceiling and reflected them in arrangements on the table. Custom runners were made from ribbon. Menus carrying the corporate logo completed the look.Credits – Photography by Alex Bruce, floral design by Seneca College, rentals by Chairman Mills, with assistance by Yellowhouse Events.


“Making the connection between what I’ve learned in class and what I did preparing for Bloor Street Entertains helped give me a very well rounded understanding of seeing an event through from start to finish,” said Spinosa. “I got to experience that preparation beyond set up and strike, and I got to see firsthand how all of the small details come together to make an event really memorable.”

Find out more about Seneca’s Event Management program at and learn more about Bloor Street Entertains at