THE INVITATION: TIFF’s last great nights

Scott Speedman at the ET Canada party. Story by Emily Blake. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

TIFF never ends in a flash of lights. It sputters and flares and peters out. The tired troops of media, publicists, and film folk whittle their party schedules from three or four a night to one or two a night. Being a slightly lazy sort myself, on Tuesday and Wednesday (my last night of revelry), I was a one party per night girl.

Not to say I didn’t choose carefully. When an invitation came in from ET Canada, arguably the biggest kahuna of celebrity journalism in our fair city, to attend a party for a film called Good Neighbours starring one Scott Speedman (or, as I still think of him, Ben from Felicity), my choice was made.

Upon arrival, my decision was rewarded. As the party was being held at ET Canada’s TIFF headquarters atop a parking garage on Cumberland, we were to be escorted to the top in golf carts. On we clambered for an experience akin to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland—except I was wearing a short skirt, full makeup and flying over speed bumps rather than bouncing through Toad Hall.

I’m as happy as a kid with a snickerdoodle. We wander through, get cocktails, and hunker down on the patio to gawk and gossip. The party is only just beginning—a photographer friend tells me that the only celebrity there so far is “Miss Canada”—so we give the crowd of young party people our undivided attention. A mostly young and clubby crowd, we spot welcome familiar faces (Anita of I Want I Got and Andrew Sardone of NOW slip by), and faces that we wish weren’t familiar (Oh, hi Craig from Bachelor Pad with your amazing mane of hair).

We cross the real McCoy stars on our way out as they arrive on the red carpet. Scott Speedman is dreamy, Jay Baruchel adorable, and Emily Hampshire luminous. Our chariot arrives and down we go again, laughing hysterically as we nearly fly off the seats of our trusty cart. No matter where you are, a golf cart will always, always make it better.

Three faces of ET Canada.

The following night, my chosen party had another interesting form of transportation. Since the event—a gathering to celebrate The Bang Bang Club hosted by FILLER Magazine and Avedawas being held at Aveda founder Ray Civello’s glam Bridle Path pad, luxury coaches were booked to usher guests from the downtown core. After a smooth ride uptown (albeit one that reminded me a bit of prom night), we debarked at the glass house Aveda built.

Inside, it felt a bit like a house party. All the familiar TIFF faces (Shinan, Lainey, Jen McNeely), who we had seen at every stop along the party train, had wound up lounging on the velvet couches, surveying the scene from the best vantage point (poolside, of course), or getting a jump on the yummy snacks in the kitchen. Perhaps set at ease by the luxe surroundings, the film’s stars Ryan Phillipe and Malin Ackerman mingled freely.

It was a perfect night—just cool enough to signal impending fall—and everyone there seemed to know it. Jokes were sparkling, cocktails flowed, the dance floor heated up, old friends embraced, and new friends were born out of a mutual relief and satisfaction. TIFF is over, long live TIFF!

Read more of The Invitation here!

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