Rockette ‘round the Christmas tree

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Reporter Fareen Qureishi finds herself in the middle of the BCE place surrounded by celebrity impersonators, free Chicken McNuggets, and a cheque for a million dollars. Follow her escapades as she discovers what it all has to do with Christmas.

Forget frantic shopping trips, decking the halls and eggnog-induced carols around the piano: Nov. 16 felt like Christmas enough to me.

While most of us are still in the lazy transition between fall and winter jackets and continually putting off bringing back the winter clothes (next year I’ve decided to just let them hang there all summer) the BCE Place, in honour of reaching the $1 million mark in donations to the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, threw a benefit for the charity, its tenants and the public.

And when the BCE Place decides to throw a party, they throw it right.

Promised entertainment for the night included a performance by the coveted Radio City Rockettes, (in town for their Christmas Spectacular show at the Hummingbird Centre) giving all those who are too thrifty to purchase real tickets a chance to boast they’d seen them. The illumination of 32 holiday “light curtains” in the Allen Lambert Galleria would also take place and, lastly, a performance by 2006 Canadian Idol runner-up Craig Sharpe would put the evening to bed.

I won’t lie, I was there for the Rockettes. But honestly, the entertainment never started and stopped. Not only was there enough complimentary food (donations optional) to satisfy even the most intense cravings, but the walking entertainment was curiously amusing. Beyond clowns and magicians there was an Elvis impersonator and breathing replicas of Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball (“We’re really sisters,” they confided in me) Austin Powers and Tina Turner who were the creators of many smiles for adults and children alike. There was even an open bar to loosen a few designer ties by night’s end.

The Rockettes rocked it hard core with a scintillating dance number. Their cherry-red, sequined Santa suits (lacking in material in the most appropriate places) and sharp moves high-kicked the audience into the cliché of the holiday spirit.

Anticipating sunset, the BCE Place got ready for the unveiling of the curtains of lights sure to shock the crowds even more than the swishing of snow-white, faux-fur-trimmed Rockette skirts. But they didn’t turn on.

The evening’s host, CTV news anchor Tim Weber, looked slightly alarmed. “Has anybody tested this thing?” he asked laughing faces, until the hall finally lit up, making me realize that the cozy feeling of the holidays really isn’t that far away.

All in all, success was the party’s major theme. The festive night allowed the BCE Place to top off their $1 million donation with a little something extra, put the tenants and anyone cutting across Yonge to Bay streets that day in the Christmas spirit, and, most importantly, supported a fantastic cause.

And me? Austin Powers yelled some lewd remarks in my direction. Not only did it keep me laughing, but it provided quite the confidence boost.

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