The vibe at the 19th annual motionball Toronto Gala presented by the AIRMILES Reward Program on Friday, February 7, was nothing but exciting. Over 2,500 celebrities, young professionals and Special Olympics athletes attended the event at the Liberty Grand. The theme was aimed to bring back the ‘20s in their best Gatsby-glam and the gala raised over $300,000 for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation.
Special Olympics supporter Tessa Virtue took to the stage with gala host, CityTV’s Devo Brown, and announced a pledge drive where she would match every donation — raising $30,000 in a matter of minutes. Special Olympics figure skater Nicole Vespa, who joined Tessa last year on her Rock the Rink Tour also made an appearance.
Gerry Dee, host of Family Feud Canada got on stage after, opening up a family spot on his show this season for a donation to the cause, which led to another $10,000! Thanks to Karl Wolf and Brenda Mullen, the crowd was treated to a Kobe Bryant tribute “After All”, and later back to their feet with “Africa” before the main event.
There were 7 live entertainment acts across two grand ballrooms courtesy of entertainment sponsor Stella Artois. In addition, guests also got to experience specialty cocktails from Bee’s Knees and an exclusive bar and photo opp courtesy of Bumble.
The food was catered by national sponsor Pita Pit, which provided delicious late-night bites for the attendees. A luxury silent auction was held as well, with a chance to win round-trip Air Canada flights anywhere in the world. But the highlight of the night was definitely the chance for supporters to meet the true celebrities of the event, the Special Olympics athletes.
Notable attendees: Tessa Virtue, Gerry Dee, Devo Brown, Karl Wolf, Jennifer Hedger, James Duthie, Natalie Bitove, Karl Hale, Jamie Gutfreund, Pooja Handa, Bill Coulter, 30+ Special Olympics athletes.
All photos by Ryan Emberley and Kennedy Pollard