Toronto Has a Big Old Hollywood Night Out

Cynthia Cheng

Marilyn?  Bogie?  What are these dead actors doing in Toronto?  No, they have not come back to life.  Instead, these were celebrity impersonators greeting guests at the “red carpet” entrance to Big Night Out, a gala and fundraiser celebrating the Toronto Chapter of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, a mentorship program with a very long history in Toronto.  Big Night Out 2009 was Big Brothers and Big Sisters Toronto’s 39th. 

Held at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex on Thursday, June 4, the event was hosted by Colin Mochrie and his wife, Deb McGrath, both very well known in the Canadian and international comedy scene.  (Colin Mochrie has been seen in a variety of television programs over the years, including This Hour has 22 Minutes and Who’s Line is It Anyway? and Deb McGrath is probably most well-known as the hyperactive mayor in CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie). The “old Hollywood” theme was definitely at its full-force. In addition to old Hollywood stars, four vintage cars were parked at the entrance. The “old Hollywood movie stars” also posed for pictures with guests.

Over 500 guests attended the event, including celebrities as well as people involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, past and present.  Many were honoured that evening.  There were plenty of celebrity guests including former Canadian Idol contestant, Eva Avila, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Donovan Bailey as well as ET Canada hosts Cheryl Hickey, Rosey Edeh, Roz Weston and Kim D’Eon.  Former “little brother” and current CFL player, Mike Labinjo arrived with his “big brother,” Frank Giffen.  

The gala included a cocktail party, dinner, live entertainment, awards (six were given out to pairs of Bigs and Littles) and a silent auction.  Live entertainment was provided by artists such as George St .Kitts and Jamie McKnight.