What a privilege it was to attend last night’s Toronto United Church Council’s 6th annual HEART & VISION AWARDS CONCERT held at the Metro United Church in downtown Toronto. My client, Urban Source Creative Catering, kindly invited my photographer Gabriella and me to attend this extraordinary event that celebrated the social activist work and lives of two great Canadian women: SHIRLEY DOUGLAS and JACKIE RICHARDSON.
Apart from her acting career (and being Keifer Sutherland’s mum), SHIRLEY DOUGLAS has spent most of her life supporting Civil Rights and Anti-War movements, and, being the daughter of Tommy Douglas, the founder of Canada’s healthcare system, she continues to fight for our rights for free and accessible health care. She speaks on behalf of the Toronto Health Coalition and Canadian Health Coalition.
Ms. Douglas (pictured above) has been awarded 4 honourary doctorates, has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, won numerous film & TV awards incl. the Lifetime Achievement Award from ACTRA, a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
JACKIE RICHARDSON (pictured below) has become one of Canada’s most respected musical stars – a jazz, R&B and gospel icon – whose passion for singing has inspired her daughter, KIM, who joined her mum on stage for a roof-raising duet, to pursue her own singing career. Starting in the 60’s as a member of Motown’s girl group The Tiaras, Jackie has performed on concert stages across Canada and appeared on TV, theatre, film and radio. Truly a unique and powerful voice, Jackie has shared her talent and vision with numerous charitable organizations and has a long-standing relationship with the Regent Park School of Music.
There were several exciting musical performances that had the audience jumping to their feet in rousing applause including Thom Allison, Jacob Meinnis, Alana Bridgewater and Julie Michael & Heather Bambrick who were joined by Joe Sealy, Jason Jestadt and Diane Leah from the “orchestra pit”.
As the concert & awards drew to a close, Julie And Thom led us out of the church and downstairs to the deelish treats prepared for us by URBAN SOURCE CREATIVE CATERING.
As everyone gathered in the cosy church basement, it felt like a real loaves & fishes moment as Rev. Doctor John Joseph Mastandrea (below R) helped share the nibblies.
Many of the Toronto United Church Council members enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres …….
…..especially the “cheesy balls” which were particularly popular, thanks to my raving to everyone within earshot that they were the best cheesy balls in the city! Having attended so many soirees over the past month or so, I can honestly say Urban’s “cheesy balls” are THE BEST! And see – everyone else thinks so, too…
Peter Mazzotta, publisher of Let’s Eat Out (LEO) Magazine joined in the festivities and he and his wife (below with me) thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and food.
And I certainly enjoyed meeting members of the Metro United Church congregation – such lovely, generous folks.
I started feeling like a groupie when I chanced upon Jacob who had thrilled the audience earlier with his rousing renditions of Someone Saved My Life Tonight and In My Life. He truly is a very talented singer…and looks strangely like Modern Family’s “Cam” don’t you agree?
I was also thrilled to run into old friend and fellow cast member from The Rise & Fall of Tony Trouble (Canada’s first made-for-cable TV movie) and ex-Nylon, MICAH BARNES. I screamed out one of my fave lines from the film, “Jorge, dahlink” and it was like we were back on set and Micah was swinging me from the chandelier at the old Park Plaza (now Hyatt)!
Lots of great photo opps with some of my favourite ladies…thanks, Gabriella, for capturing these memories for me.
I’d like to give a big shout out to two fabulous ladies who kept everything flowing so smoothly last night. Our host and MC, TABBY JOHNSON (below L) was such a joyous presence in the pulpit, and the quietly efficient ALI HAYES (below R) who managed a fabulous volunteer team and kept us all organized.
Again, a big THANK YOU to the Urban Source Creative Catering team and the Toronto United Church Council for presenting such an awe-inspiring awards concert. Please visit our hosts’ websites: http://www.urbanCatering.com http://www.tucc.ca