By Lily Li
Photography by Ryan Emberley & George Pimentel
The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) held its 26th edition of its largest annual fundraising event, Bloor Street Entertains (BSE), on the eve of World AIDS Day on November 30, 2022, in Toronto. The theme of this wondrous evening was “A Global Affair.” The night was co-chaired by the Honourable Scott Brison, vicechair, BMO Wealth Management (and former Member of Parliament), along with his husband Maxime Saint- Pierre, private equity and angel investor, and Candice Sinclair, philanthropist, and raised a whopping $1.4 million dollars to fund all areas of HIV/AIDS research. Guests convened at a range of prestigious boutiques and fashionable locations in the Bloor-Yorkville area for the evening’s events, meeting at Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Sentaler Atelier, Tiffany & Co., Holts Café, Peter Triantos Art Gallery, Four Seasons Hotel and others. Dinner at these posh locations was provided by some of the city’s top chefs, including chefs from Toben Food by Design, Four Seasons Hotel and Park Hyatt.
As a committee member, I was thrilled and honoured to attend an event at a Four Seasons Hotel Private Residence hosted by real estate developer and philanthropist Peter Gilgan. CANFAR’s chief executive officer Alex Filiatrault and his husband, Dr. Graham Smith, were also in attendance. During the evening, CANFAR’s national ambassador Ashley Rose Murphy delivered a heartfelt speech in which she spoke about how she was born with HIV and became an advocate for the cause. The dinner was beautifully curated by Toben.
After a sumptuous meal, all BSE guests gathered at the after party held at the Four Seasons Hotel, where they were invited to take part in the silent auction and enjoy some remarkable performances by Queen of the North, Brooke Lynn Hytes and Canadian dance music sensation Rêve!, sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, Labatt and Pace Law.
This spectacular evening was presented by returning Signature Partner BMO and lead partners including Mantella Corporation, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, Tiffany & Co., Bloor-Yorkville BIA and Yorkville Village.
Currently in Canada, one person acquires HIV every four hours. Thirteen percent of Canadians living with HIV are unaware of their status. CANFAR was founded in 1987 and aims to end Canada’s HIV epidemic by leading national strategies to increase prevention, testing, treatment and linkage to care, and to end HIV stigma. Over the past three decades, the foundation’s donors have supported research that has changed the lives of those living with HIV. CANFAR’s work would not be possible without the support and generosity of all the generous donors and volunteers.
Street Entertains. Learn more about this fabulous initiative and CANFAR’s work at canfar.com.