Continuing a historic tradition of corporately sponsored holiday cheer, the 35-foot “Swarovski Crystal Wish Tree” was formally unveiled last night at the Eaton Centre.
The star-studded event––a Children’s Wish Foundation fundraiser hosted by Justin Trudeau (yes, the Justin Trudeau)––drew a sizeable crowd of shoppers. Very few members of the audience seemed to actually know what they were lining up to see, though, as the tree was hidden by an enormous curtain for the better part of the show.
Jackie Richardson (“Nana” from the Rogers phone commercials) kicked off the evening in fine style with a rendition of that old holiday standard, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” JT later joined her in a duet of what might have been “I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing.”
Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila joined Justin to co-host the show and help him unveil some celebrity-designed knick-knacks being auctioned off for charity. In an inspired bit of irony, Ms. Avila was the only presenter who did not sing at the ceremony, although her unflagging cheerfulness did manage to engage even the most reticent spectators.
Justin also made time for the company bigwigs whose large donations made this gigantic, sparkly tree possible to make their speeches. Was there also a giant novelty cheque? Yes.
After about an hour of build-up, the tree was finally unveiled to gasps and applause. See? It’s not really that hard to please Torontonians.
Photo of last year’s tree (it looks the same) by Ian Muttoo from the Torontoist Flickr Pool