Starlight Children’s Foundation™ Canada Goes Under the Sea for 2016 Fundraising Gala

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March 29, 2016

Rick Campanelli Returns as Host for 21st Annual Event

Toronto (March 29, 2016) – Get ready to explore the wonders of the ocean as Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada dives into the deep blue for this year’s ‘Under the Sea’ themed fundraising gala. Rick Campanelli returns as emcee and over 700 guests are expected to attend the now sold-out event taking place on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel at 100 Front Street West Toronto.

Presented by Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada, Starlight’s gala raises funds in support of in and out-of-hospital programming for seriously ill children across Canada.

From the moment guests enter the venue, they will find themselves submerged in a sea of blue with all the trappings of marine life. Featuring mermaid statues, sand sculptures, a calypso band, a harpist, live stage show, colourful costumes and other underwater delights, ‘Under the Sea’ promises to be an unforgettable aquatic adventure. The event will also include an after-party Tiki Bar and DJ as well as a photo booth and raw Oyster bar.

“The gala is one of our most exciting and fun-filled events,” commented Brian Bringolf, Starlight’s Executive Director. “In addition, the children and the stories you hear on a night like this feeds your soul.  You walk away with the desire to hug your own children just a little longer and a little tighter when you hear how much Starlight children go through and how important Starlight is to their lives. Last year our Starlight programs were used 400,000 times by hospitalized and seriously ill children.”

Starlight Kids

Starlight kids presenting a $22,000 donation they raised themselves at 2015 gala. Altogether $500,000 was raised.

Celebrities scheduled to attend this year’s gala include event host and TV personality Rick Campanelli, actor and comedian Gerry Dee (Mr. Dee), actress Lauren Holly (Motive), actress Tara Spencer-Nairn, musician Tyler Shaw, vocalist Simone Denny, Love it or List It’s Hilary Farr and David Visentin, fitness expert and former Argonaut Jonathan Hood, The Next Step’s Victoria Baldesarra and from Degrassi actress Ana Golja and actor Ricardo Hoyos, among others.

Returning as Presenting Sponsor are Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada, who have been Starlight Children’s Foundation sponsors for 18 years and to date have raised over $15.5 million through various charitable initiatives. This includes its Annual Star Campaign where customers of Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us can donate to Starlight at the cash register. Each holiday season Toys“R”Us sells the Starlight Bear which will also be on sale at this year’s gala, and for the second year in a row, Toys“R”Us has hosted the 3-minute Dash, which is a fun timed shopping spree for families with seriously ill children in cities across Canada.

“Supporting children and families when they need it most is at the core of our philanthropic efforts and we are proud of our long-standing partnership with Starlight Children’s Foundation,” said Mary Hewton, Vice President of Human Resources, Toys“R”Us, Canada. “The funds raised at this year’s gala and throughout the year by our customers, vendors and team members will go a long way in bringing much needed programs and services to children facing serious illnesses and their families.”

Starlight Canada welcomes an extensive group of sponsors in support of the 21st annual gala. These include: Presenting Sponsors Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Canada; Diamond Sponsor Great Blue Heron; Gold Sponsors Air Canada Foundation, Michaels, Bloom & Lanys Barristers and Solicitors and Barrick Gold Corporation; and Silver Sponsors YTV, Dorel, Hasbro and Mattel.

Since its inception in 1995, the Starlight gala has raised over $6,000,000 making it one of the largest sources for fundraising. Watch a video from last year’s event here:

For media accreditation, photos or interview requests, please contact:

Daphna Nussbaum
Storia PR

Karen Nussbaum
Storia PR

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About Starlight Children’s Foundation:

Starlight Children’s Foundation™ Canada is part of Starlight’s global network, serving seriously ill children and their families through partnerships with more than 160 healthcare facilities. Over the past 25 years, Starlight has become a leading global charity that partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world. Collaborating with innovators in pediatric healthcare, entertainment and technology, Starlight provides a unique blend of family-centered programs and services from hospital to home.

About Toys“R”Us Canada:

Toys“R”Us (Canada) Ltd., and Babies“R”Us are part of Toys“R”Us, Inc., the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Toys“R”Us, Canada operates over 82 stores across the country. For store locations and convenient online shopping visit or

About the Air Canada Foundation:
The Air Canada Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on the health and well-being of children and youth, was launched in 2012. It offers both financial and in-kind support, through travel assistance, to Canadian registered charities.  Core programs include the Hospital Transportation Program which donates Aeroplan Miles to pediatric hospitals across Canada enabling children to access medical care unavailable locally and the Volunteer Involvement Program which recognizes the involvement of employees in their local community by providing airline tickets to the registered charities in support of their fundraising initiatives.  The Foundation in collaboration with the airline also engages directly in fundraising activities such as the Every Bit Counts program which encourages customers to donate loose change of all denominations onboard flights or through airport collection containers. The Foundation also offers continued support to major health-related causes that benefit Canadians and is an active participant in international humanitarian relief activity as the need arises.  For more information about the Air Canada Foundation, please visit or the 2014 Corporate Sustainability Report, Citizens of the World, online at

About Great Blue Heron Charity Casino:

The Great Blue Heron Charity Casino, located in scenic Port Perry Ontario, first opened its doors in 1997 and has steadily developed into one of Ontario’s premier casino destinations. With 550 exciting slots, 60 thrilling table games and award winning dining, the Great Blue Heron Casino is the closest casino to Toronto. The project is operated by a partnership consisting of Casinos Australia International, the Steiner Group and Sonco Gaming Inc. on behalf of the Mississauga’s of Scugog Island First Nation and OLG. Visit

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