DATE: June 22, 2011
VENUE: Toronto Zoo, Toronto
AUTHOR: Tina Kessler
PHOTO CREDITS: 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.