The Perks and Quirks of the Most Exclusive Parties: TIFF 2017

As the red carpets roll up and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) wraps for another star-filled season, the seen and heard on the TIFF party circuit is still a topic of conversation.

If there’s ever a time for an epic party, it’s during TIFF.

Offering no shortage of event planning inspiration, these are the quirks and perks of the most exclusive parties of TIFF 2017.

The Party Perks
Moet Chandon kicked off the festival with Moet House, a bubbly and pretty people-filled pop-up at Maquette in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. The much-photographed star of the show was a vending machine that dispensed mini bottles of champagne, offering ample Boomerang material and mild headaches the next day (and yes, they should have these at every event).

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Swarovski offered a unique activation at Producer’s Ball that featured NYC-based performance artists The Bumbys. The duo gave “a fair and honest appraisal of your appearance” by simply looking at you and typing out their impression on an old fashioned type writer. The well-heeled, cocktail-sipping guests were lined up all night to get their reading.

An amazing (highly Instagram-worthy) TIFF party moment happened during the Artist’s For Peace and Justice gala, when co-hosts Natasha Koifman, Paul Haggis, Ben Stiller, Cuba Gooding Jr., Yannick Bisson, Suzanne Boyd, Jackson Browne and Morgan Spurlock all stood up and literally served every guest dinner to demonstrate the #APJHereToServe theme and to drive home the message that we are all here to serve and help the world be a better place.

Of all the parties, Mongrel House – which transformed the historic Campbell House into a sprawling indoor/outdoor house party to celebrate Mongrel Media’s TIFF films – was the most interactive, thanks to features like live band karaoke and a ping-pong lounge, making for letting loose in ways you can’t at the sometimes stuffy cast parties. The nightly live music on the outdoor stage (which featured an assortment of performers, like the high-energy Clara Venice) helped the cause as well.

Live band karaoke at Mongrel House. Photo by Yannick Anton

The Drinks
Held in the historic Storys Building, (11 Duncan Street), RBC House was a hotbed for Hollywood elite – like Annette Bening, Warren Beatty, Kate Mara, Elle Fanning and Elvis Costello, to name a few– who graced the spot for many Ciroc cocktail-filled cast parties. Favourites included drinks like Star Struck (featuring Ciroc Ultra-Premium, Ciroc Red Berry, lime juice, blueberry juice, prosecco, agave and blueberries) and the Lights! Camera! Action! (featuring Ciroc Ultra-Premium, Ciroc Peach, Ceres peach juice, Ceres passion fruit juice and a mint sprig).

Grey Goose’s star power-filled cocktail parties and cast dinners saw famous faces like Collin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Page and Luke Evans at Soho House and The Citizen. At these events, an assortment of memorable Grey Goose cocktails were served, like the Director’s Cut (featuring Grey Goose Le Citron, St. Germain, fresh lemon juice, blueberry syrup and Angostura bitters) and the French 96 (Grey Goose vodka, Domaine du Canton Ginger liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, champagne and candied lemon zest). A staple throughout was also Grey Goose’s longtime signature “Le Fizz.”

At the Unicorn Store party, presented by Nespresso, guests enjoyed the “Pina Café” cocktail (Nespresso Intenso on ice, Cynar, Goslings, Oloroso, pineapple Gomme and chocolate bitters), which was created by Owen Walker and infused with an extra jolt of caffeine to help their “look awake” TIFF cause.

The Eats
As usual, Mongrel House was full of delicious talking points. Crowd pleasers included a DIY S’more station, maple syrup snow candy made on the spot and a gelato bar alongside the regular bar (not to mention, poutine for days). To soak up the specialty cocktails and other offerings of the open bar, were a selection of food stations from the St. Lawrence Market, including a work-of-art TIFF-themed watermelon that made its rounds on Instagram (seen in the top left corner in the image below) and an assortment of edible fruit art from Say It With Fruit.

Artistic fruit from the St. Lawrence Market. Photo by Yannick Anton

At the Soho House Grey Goose film parties, it was all about the comfort food. As usual, the addictive (and so diet-breaking worthy) mini aged cheddar truffle grilled cheese sandwiches were a hit during the film cocktail parties, as were the (slightly too large to be bite-sized) Korean fried chicken bites. Not surprisingly Soho House’s signature (and infamous) Dirty burgers went over well at cast dinners. At the family-style dinner for The Killing of a Sacred Deer – held on Soho House’s second floor Pantry – a refreshed looking Colin Farrell requested a second portion of the juicy, slightly sloppy bun-glazed cheeseburgers.

A Dirty Burger. Image by Savla Faire