CANFAR’s Paint the Town Red: Red ribbons, red lips and red hot makeouts

Between the red ribbons, red-clad young professionals (YPs) and red wigs on drag queens, Saturday’s CANFAR Young Professional Council charity event succeeded in its namesake mission to paint the town red (though some people clearly didn’t get the red clothing memo). Held at he Burroughes Building, Paint the Town Red is a YP-run initiative designed around the hope of a future without HIV/AIDS and to raise money and awareness for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).

The venue, draped in red (obviously), welcomed an assortment of easy-on-the-eyes YPs seemingly from all industries, many of whom had carried the evening on from afternoon patio cocktails on what was Toronto’s first day that finally felt like spring. If you missed dinner somewhere in between, the event had you covered with ample food stations… so you didn’t have to shamelessly chase down the waiter with his tray of rapidly dwindling hors d’oeuvres again like at the last charity event when you arrived starving. We actually left pretty full, forgoing our usual Saturday late-night stop at Poutinis or The Counter. In fact, the food was the best part. 

There was one catch to the fully-loaded food stations, though. If you were on the gluten-free bandwagon, your options were considerably less extensive. Unless, of course, you opted to eat around the roll part of the addictive mini lobster rolls from Emma’s Eatery, indulge in only the Texas smoked pulled pork or Brazilian Redeye BBQ beef-filled insides of the stuffed gourmet buns from Hot Bunzz (making for an ambitiously messy mission), or just the topping from the savoury mushroom-topped tarts by the Galette Girls. You could also suck it up and scrap the “gluten allergy” that you made up in your head for the evening with things like sugary Glory Hole Donuts (because it may be weird to just lick the sugar).

Another highlight, especially for tiny condo-dwelling YPs thanks to smaller canvases, was the silent art auction. It featured the works of up-and-coming talents at prices that can actually be classified as affordable art, unlike many other events where what is classified by some as “affordable” may still set you back a couple grand. A raffle included prizes from notable brands like Porter, Swarovski and the beloved Food Dudes (did you check out our recent inside look into their Pantry, by the way?)

If you wanted to feel better about indulging in the tempting grub upon arrival, you could always grab a mini juice from Greenhouse Juices or work it off on the dance floor to the sounds of danceable favourites from both now and way back in the days of better hip-hop (minus Drake, obviously… we like him) and those wild high school house parties. DJ Cal of Salacious Sound and free-flowing drinks served up by hot bartenders (well, once you got your drink tickets and the accompanying pack of Dentyne gum and Swedish berry candy) meant a sea of red, fit, dancing bodies late into the evening. As the temperatures rose, more than one steamy makeout session was spotted in the now-rowdy crowd; in the elevator, on the dance floor and in some of the dark corners. We guess the spring weather does that.

Of course, it was all for a good cause. The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research is Canada’s only independent charitable foundation dedicated to eliminating AIDS through research. The CANFAR Young Professional Council is a group of young Toronto professionals dedicated to assisting CANFAR in its mission to end AIDS. Since 1987, CANFAR has awarded more than $18 million to HIV and AIDS research projects.

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

All photos provided by Orchard (

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