Photography by George Pimentel

Power Ball 2019: See Inside One of Toronto’s Most Anticipated Social Events

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery recreated Ernest Hemingway's favourite speakeasy for their 21st annual gala.

During prohibition, a city’s best speakeasies were also its best kept secret. Toronto’s 21st annual Power Ball might be the exception. One of the Toronto social calendar’s most-Instagrammed events, last night’s high-profile fundraiser for the Power Plant was themed The 21 Club. A bit of historical context: 21 Club was a prohibition-era speakeasy–complete with a hidden entrance, secret password and plenty of drinks–which counted Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemingway as guests during its heyday.

Following suit, the Power Plant partnered with Holt Renfrew to welcome members of Toronto’s fashion and art scenes into a modernized 21 Club to raise funds for the gallery. This year, there was no separation between the party and the art thanks to installations like Sarah Keenlyside’s Centerpiece, a performance art piece that “celebrated the beauty and craft of service.” Held alongside overflowing buffets in the main hall, presentation reimagined fine dining with can-canning waiters balancing serving trays, a marching band and bartenders doing aerial gymnastics on the chandelier while pouring champagne.

Photography by George Pimentel

For a more under-the-radar dining experience, guests crossed the hall to grab Pad Thai from Planta in Bruno Billio’s Tron209, which took a 1920s speakeasy and lit it up with a futuristic blacklight to reveal secret entrances. For late-night eats like fried chicken and french fries from Arthur’s Restaurant, guests could enter by opening a secret door hidden behind a mirror.

Not to be upstaged by the food, there were also a lot of Instagram opportunities like Sarah Zanchetta’s Sweet Digs, a balloon-filled, pastel maze made in collaboration with Bumble Bizz, and a white hallway lined with frames made of neon lights. Outside, partiers gathered a roulette table, placing bets in hopes of winning enough chips to buy themselves something from the candy bar.

To see all the most photographable moments from last night’s party, scroll through the gallery below.