An enchanting evening of wine and whales at Toast to the Coast 2013

Also published in The Vancouver Observer

An elegantly dressed crowd, BC wine, top Chefs preparing Ocean Wise canapés and…illuminated jellyfish.

This isn’t a sentence you see strung together frequently, but it was a reality last Friday at the Vancouver Aquarium. Toast to the Coast, an anticipated annual event, brought together more than 500 individuals for a delicious fundraising event. Through ticket sales, a “spin it to win” wheel and a diverse silent auction, an incredible $100,000 was raised to support the Aquarium’s conservation, research and education programs. The silent auction alone raised more than $22,635 due to the extensive variety of items catered to a wide demographic. Items included activities, such as a day at the shooting range followed by dirt bikes and Howe Sound beer, as well as R and R weekends, with two nights accommodation at some of the poshest hotels in the province.

Toast to the Coast 2013

Over the course of the night, guests indulged in canapés that were rapidly prepared by twelve of the city’s most prominent Ocean Wise restaurants, such as Yew Seafood and BarTUC Craft KitchenTableau Bar Bistro and the Shangri-La Hotel. Items ranged from the decadent but delicate Cardamom spiced albacore tuna from Mica Restaurant, to the fresh and supple ceviche scallop with cilantro pudding from The Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Winery.

Xoxolat satisfied the guests’ chocolate craving, while Soirette Macarons and Tea presented an impressive spread that included seahorse-shaped cookies that were too adorable to eat.

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Near each grazing table there was a table where one could quench their thirst with a sampling of wine. Wineries included, but weren’t limited to, Rustic Roots Winery, Howling Bluff Estate Wines, Tinhorn Creek Vineyard, Poplar Grove Winey, Fort Berens Estate Winery and Niche Wine Company.

A new addition to this year’s event was the Russian vodka bar on the terrace that boasted a dolphin ice sculpture for chilling the libation. Guests had the option of having a shot or a mixed drink, which was an additional charge from the ticket. Due to the chilly, autumn weather, there were many Caesars ordered with guests drawing warmth from the tabasco sauce.

Toast to the Coast 2013

While there is no shortage of fundraisers or food and wine events in Vancouver, it’s not everyday that you get to sip on a glass of wine as you gush over sea otters or watch an octopus “dance”. I’m already looking forward to next year’s soiree, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.

Toast to the Coast 2013

November is Ocean Wise month so keep an eye out for events, including the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. 

For more high resolution photos from the event check out my #TTTC set on Flickr. 

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