MTLFundraiser – Maskarade 2013

A perennial not-to-miss gala fundraiser and soirée, the Farha Foundation’s MASKARADE evening returned to the halls of Marché ...

A perennial not-to-miss gala fundraiser and soirée, the Farha Foundation’s MASKARADE evening returned to the halls of Marché Bonsecours, and proved to be a truly glittering affair, replete with all the high style, who’s who guest list of 450 VIPs, and rocking good party we’ve come to know and anticipate after fourteen editions.

With the goal of continually bringing attention to the social stigma still attached to the disease, as well emphasize that there remains no cure despite treatment options available today, the year’s foremost HIV/AIDS fundraising soirée takes place once a year in February, with a different theme chosen in memory of Founder Ron Farha. 

The activities and entertainment revolve around the theme and include a welcome cocktail with passed appetizers, gourmet dinner, luxurious silent auction with all profits going to the Foundation, engaging performances, and the chance to Harlem-shake your thing on the dance floor after-party.   This year’s do was no exception.

Arriving guests donned their masks and red ribbons and headed upstairs to the pre-dinner cocktail reception.  This featured signature soirée drinks, namely a Maskarade Bloody Caesar, courtesy of PURvodka, as well as SAQ-sponsored champagne.  Event caterer Ristorante Beatrice more than wet our appetites with a plentiful mix of top-quality hors d’oeuvres.  No doubt this set the tone for a glam evening as we mingled, caught up with familiar faces, made new contacts, posed for a few media photographers, and snapped more than a few shots of our own. 

From here it was across to the grand hall for a viewing of the silent auction prizes and the placing of first bids before sitting to dinner.  After seeing many a silent auction I can say this one was among the top given the high-value and sheer ‘covetability’ of the prizes - his and hers winter coats from Moose Knuckles, a pair of photographs by renowned artist-photographer Deborah Samuel, two dinners for four people at Café Ferreira (including wine), a dream trip for 2 people to Doha, Qatar, including two business class tickets aboard Qatar Airways, and two nights at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Montreal Hotel.  

As guests were seated, veteran event MC Sonia Benezra opened this edition of MASKARADE with a moving call to action in the continued fight against AIDS, and proceeded to welcome the event’s Honorary Chairpersons Andrew Torriani, president and CEO of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal and his wife Arlene to join in a seated onstage chat with Evelyn Farha, Foundation Honorary President, and Linda Farha Foundation Volunteer Spokesperson.  

This year’s event inspired us with a call to future generations.  Speaking with Linda Farha, Foundation spokesperson, I was impressed to hear how the focus of this year’s event was on today’s youth, and how they could be motivated to impact tomorrow and help advance the eradication of HIV/AIDS.

Post speeches, we all settled in for the fun stuff: socializing/wining/dining!  The 3-course dinner with poured red and white wine flowed from a pair of perfectly grilled colossal shrimp, to a generous filet mignon with vegetable medley, and ended with individual red velvet cheesecakes – despite large portions throughout I managed my way through thanks to how delicious everything was.  Overheard from one Holt Renfrew high up was that serving 450+ guests dinner with courses hitting the table almost simultaneously and at the same temperature is no easy feat, but that it was masterfully executed.  Again, masks off to the organizers!

Throughout, singer J.D.Fortune, former lead singer of INXS, as well as Scott Frodham, choreographer and performer, entertained us and, as the party wore on night players moved to sip cocktails and network at the back bar and while DJ Donald Lauture kept the party going. 

Of course, where there’s the MTL who’s who, there must also be MTL fashion, and this evening certainly didn’t disappoint. 

With Normand Ciarlo, Divisional Vice President for Holt Renfrew Montreal

With Veronique Dahan looking very hot in sequins

Crédits : Mathieu Savage, Kristoffer Laurin-Racicot, Mylène Ménard et Denis Nadeau
More pictures : Farha Foundation Facebook page


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