We told you it was going to be a good party. As promised by founder and co-host Paul Etherington, motionball ThreeSixtyFive Gala presented by AIR MILES Canada was hands down the best motionball gala yet. Besides the fact that we saw so many familiar faces from Toronto’s young professional (YP) social circles, this year’s gala scored top points on our Notable radar in terms of venue (The Liberty Grand has never looked better), entertainment and overall vibe.
motionball is a non-profit organization that benefits the Special Olympics Canada Foundation (SOCF) through a series of nationwide sporting and social events, including the motionball galas, like #mb360, which marked the 13th annual Toronto event. To date, motionball has raised $4 million dollars for Special Olympics Canada. It is always a must-attend on the YP charity circuit and this year was no exception.
We kicked the evening off on the red carpet, where we chatted with Etherington’s co-host Carmen Electra, the longtime bombshell of our generation (gents, we know you had her poster on the walls of bedrooms past), and she discussed everything from what we can expect from her new album and her charity involvement, to how she stays energized and what is always in her fridge…all of which you will find out tomorrow right here on notable.ca.
An acoustic guitar/vocal performance got the evening off to a good start, while still sober and civilized guests sipped drinks and enjoyed passed food and tiny gourmet doughnuts. Fun favourites were played from artists like Marc Cohn, John Mayer and Tom Petty that had the crowd singing along between bites and banter with both old friends and strangers.
The sprawling rooms of the Liberty Grand were named after seasons, a reminder of the gala’s 365 theme, which is an attempt to draw attention to the cause year-round. Further driving home that point, upon entry, guests were introduced to motionball’s brand new Yellow Card Campaign, which was unveiled via interactive stations where they were encouraged to sign up to commit to removing the “r word” from their vocabulary, the word being retard or retarded. The goal of the Yellow Card campaign is to ultimately end the use if the “r word” completely, and the campaign will now live on at events and via social media.
Event highlights included the Under Armour Fashion Show, which featured borderline acrobatic models, who showed us just how they got those bodies in top shape with things like stacked push-ups and other impressive body bending tricks.
A performance by Carmen Electra that revealed that, despite the days of dancing with the Pussycat Dolls now behind her, the 41-year-old bombshell (yes, still) retains that signature sultry energy as she performed a song from her album called “Werq.” When Cabbie Richards introduced Electra, he told the crowd that she “occupied a space in the imagination of many people” and referred to her as an icon before she hit the stage in a performance complete with ample hair flipping and even some twerking.
Front and centre for the show was a dapper Taylor Remond, who we met shortly after when he joined us at a booth for a little in-seat dancing, singing and laughs. He was just one of the Special Olympic athletes in attendance at the event, and his truly beautiful spirit, dedication to athleticism and perseverance served as reminders of what the evening was really all about once the fancy dresses and suits came off. The triple threat athlete competes in track and field, basketball and swimming.
In a separate upstairs area was the silent auction, which included things like a travel package for two to the Azores Islands valued at $10,000, a chance to play and have a session with tennis star Daniel Nestor, trips to Vegas, New York City and Mykonos, signed jerseys from Sydney Crosby, Kessel and other athletes, spa packages, hotel stays, restaurant certificates and even a Keith Richards signed guitar, among dozens of other hot items.
Spirits and energy ran high throughout the evening, thanks to the sounds of DJ Efsharp, DJ Dopey & DJ Don Mescal (along with the free flowing vodka and Red Bull), with their selection of very singable favourites from both now to way back…almost to the days that Electra was on Baywatch. Accompanying music videos played on a large screen above the stage. The entertainment was complete with live performances by Skratch Bastid, Running Red Lights.
As promised, there were zero wait times at the bar, coat check or even for cabs this year as many guests grabbed one to hit their respective late night destinations (even if that meant bed). A handful of guests flooded into The Counter at the Thompson Hotel for some shameless comfort food and to compare pictures and highlights of an event that truly was one for the books. Until next year…
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#LYNL (Live Your Notable Life)
Images by: Kalen Hayman