The 17th annual Toronto motionball gala returns to offer a great excuse (for an amazing cause) to swap the Netflix and sweats for something a little fancier and emerge from hibernation.
On February 2nd, the Liberty Grand will fill with the city’s young professionals from every background (it’s a prime breeding grounds for personal and professional connection-making) for a glittery night of celebration in support of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation (SOCF). For those in the dark, the SOCF helps those with intellectual disabilities recognize their skills, hopes, and goals through sport via their support of Special Olympics Canada.
Anyone who has experienced the motionball gala over the years knows that it’s an annual staple on the social calendar of the city’s moving and shaking set and one of Toronto’s longest-running galas dedicated to young people. They also know that tickets will sell out this year, as they always do (seriously; you should scoop yours up ASAP). Guests can expect specialty cocktails (naturally, an open bar is a given), a luxurious silent auction filled with tempting finds, 10 live performances (including world renowned electric violinist Dr. Draw), a raffle for two flights to any Air Canada destination (which sounds pretty amazing on this dead-of-winter day), and a heartwarming performance by a Special Olympic athlete.
Speaking of Special Olympic athletes, one of best part of the evening is that 25 of the athletes are in attendance, offering the chance for guests to interact directly with those who benefit from the various motionball initiatives.
The motionball gala is the type of event where you’ll bump into everyone from high school friends, to coworkers and clients before they disappear into the crowds at the sprawling venue, not to be seen again for the evening. Refreshingly, the motionball gala has always attracted a mixed bag of young professionals…and now, not-so-young professionals too, as those who were there from the beginning have all grown up, with their entry-level days now a vague memory.
Brothers Mark, Sean, and Paul Etherington started the motionball not-for-profit back in 2002 when they noticed a lack of integration between the Special Olympic supporters and the benefitting athletes. It has since grown to become so much more than the hot-ticket Toronto gala. motionball is now a multi-faceted national charity with 24 integrated social and sporting events in 16 Canadian cities that run throughout the year. Once careers begin to take off, babies are added to the equation, and to-do lists start to consume, it’s difficult to sustain a popular and well-attended charity event – especially at this magnitude – but the Etherington brothers have done it. There are few young professional-started Canadian charities that have had as much momentum and impact at motionball continues to have.
Along the way, motionball has attracted the sponsorship of major corporate supporters like AIR MILES, Molson Coors, Under Armour, Pita Pit, Campari, and Etherington Generations.
The work and dedication of the Etherington brothers to the cause has not gone unnoticed. They have just been recognized with the Meritorious Service Medal, presented by the Governor General’s office to those who have made Canada proud through their remarkable contributions. The brothers are recognized for the $9-million that has been raised to date and their relentless dedication to supporting Special Olympics Canada and Canadians with intellectual disabilities.
The goal of the motionball gala is to raise $300, 000 in one night. Tickets are $160 an available online.