Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Book Lover's Ball Brings Back Glory Days of Literature

First inaugural Book Lover’s Ball a smashing success in support of the world’s busiest library

by Sharif Khan

The Toronto Public Library Foundation held its first inaugural Book Lover’s Ball fundraiser gala in support of the Toronto Public Library, the world’s busiest library with over 300,000 people visiting its 99 branches every week borrowing more than half a million items. Proceeds from the ball went towards “developing collections and services that promote reading and life long literacy.”

Held at the elegant The Liberty Grand Exhibition Place with over 500 who’s who guest attendees, The Book Lover’s Ball was a glamorous black tie affair that celebrated the written word in style and brought back the glory days of literature. The event kicked off with a VIP cocktail reception and silent auction held in an old-fashioned library on the balcony, followed by a divine dinner by celebrity chef Michael Stadtlander, a live auction and novel inspired fashion show, and dancing.

Event Chair and Publisher of McArthur & Company, Kim McArthur, congratulated publishers Thomas Allen and McClelland & Stewart on celebrating their 90th and 100th year anniversaries respectively. Canadian icon, Margaret Atwood, recipient of the prestigious Booker and Giller prizes and author of more than forty books, was awarded the Toronto Public Library Celebrates Reading Award recognizing her outstanding contribution to the enjoyment of reading.

Other celebrity authors also present included: June Callwood, Austin Clarke, Katherine Govier, Paul Quarrington, Ninno Ricci, Michael Winter, Canadian political writer, Peter C. Newman, Ken McGoogan, who was dressed up as the literary character John Rae in his novel, “Fatal Passage,” and Canadian South Asian author, M.G. Vassanji, recently made a member of the Order of Canada, and who with his wife, Nurjehan Aziz, founded publishing company TSAR (Toronto South Asian Review) for immigrants and new aspiring writers of literary fiction.

Honorary Chair and Toronto Mayor, David Miller recounted how his mother, who was a teacher and librarian, taught him to read at an early age. Books opened up a whole new world of adventures and dreams for him as a child and he stressed that every child should have access to books. Miller then went on to declare February as keep reading month in Toronto. (Not difficult to imagine considering over 60% of Torontonians have library cards). Canadian personality and Toronto Argonauts Coach, Michael “Pinball” Clemens went on to say how the library was an “equal access” opportunity for all and mentioned that “the only way to help others is to help yourself” by reading and educating oneself.

The silent auction included a 1st edition of “Harry Potter,” “The Complete Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis, and a stunning Tiffany 11.8 carat ring worth $15,000. The live auction offered a number of great escapes including accommodation at Bellavista, a Mediterranean-style, three-story villa overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

The novel inspired fashion show featured breathtaking designs based on classics such as Memoirs of a Geisha, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Great Gatsby, Gone With the Wind, and ended with a ravishing model adorned in a Mark Belford Couture gown gliding across the runway to a romantic solo violin rendition of Dr. Zhivago (sans Omar Sharif). It was an all around high class affair concluding with dancing to The Starz Band featuring Liberty Silver. James Frey and Paris Hilton were not invited...

The Toronto Public Library Foundation was established in 1997. Its mandate is to raise resources for the enhancement of collections, technology and programs of the Toronto Public Library. Heather Rumball is the President and Director of Development and can be reached directly at 416-393-7134.

Sharif Khan (http://www.herosoul.com; sharif@herosoul.com) is an avid book lover, motivational speaker, freelance writer, and author of Psychology of the Hero Soul, an inspirational book on awakening the hero within and developing people’s leadership potential. To reach Sharif directly, call (416) 417-1259.


At 12:55 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi, my name is Jen and I work in the Toronto Publib Library system. Staff were E-mailed regarding the ball quite early, and I really wanted to go. However, as I am a university student and only a part-timer, I could not afford to go. Thank you so much for your recap of the event; staff had access to photographs of the event, but not a personal account.

Just wait though, one day I'll be a librarian and you'll see me there!


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