TSVC Achievements

The TSVC has provided financial support to the TSO for the following:

  • The first Chair Endowment in Canada — for the Concertmaster in 1981
  • Endowment Chair for the Principal Flute Chair in 1983
  • Endowment for the Principal Trumpet Chair in 1991
  • Steinway concert grand piano in 1982
  • Lyon and Healy harp in 1997
  • Steinway grand piano, honouring the TSO 90th Anniversary in 2011
  • $100,000 to the TSO “Fund For the Future” campaign
  • Annual Corporate Sponsor of TSO concerts
  • More than 15 commissioned compositions
  • Sponsored recordings by Maestros Davis, Feldbrill, Herbig, Saraste, and Bernardi
  • Annual donations to TSO operations
  • Support for the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra
  • Financial commitment to TSO Education Programmes
  • In 2022, The Toronto Symphony Foundation (TSF) established the Toronto Symphony Volunteer
    Committee Endowment Fund for the TSYO Conductor (Toronto Symphony Youth
    Orchestra). This Fund will benefit the Toronto Symphony Orchestra by way of a gift in the
    cumulative sum of $1,000,000.  This gift was made in recognition of the TSO’s 100th Anniversary and in celebration of the TSVC’s 100th Anniversary.

TSO National Piano Competition

From 1982 to 2011, the TSVC sponsored a Piano Competition, and created the opportunity to encourage and foster the talent of young pianists. In the year 2000, the Piano Competition evolved into a National Piano Concerto Competition and became a biennial event. Cash prizes were awarded and the first prize winner was offered an opportunity to play a complete concerto with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Past winners:
1992 – Stewart Goodyear; 1994 – Lisa Yui; 1995 – Sonia Chan; 1996 – Nadine Attewell; 1997 – Ilya Poletaev; 1999 – Vicky Chow; 2001 – Darrett Zusko; 2003 – Sheng Cai; 2005 – Todd Yaniw; 2007 – Rozalyn Chok; 2009 – Alexander Seredenko; 2011 – Charles Richard-Hamelin.

The Letter Writing Campaign

The oldest continuing fundraising project, The Letter Writing Campaign, began in 1926. This initiative is the only one that all active TSVC members are encouraged to participate in. Originally, this project fundraiser raised funds by selling books of 10 season tickets for $10.

In 1955, letters were sent to non-donors of the Symphony or “Friends”, asking for donations of $1 to $5. In 1974, this “Friends” campaign was amalgamated into the TSO Sustaining Fund, and in the early 1980’s, it became known within the TSVC as “The Letter Writing Campaign”.

Rummage Sale

The Rummage Sale began as a fair held at a farm on Bayview Avenue in 1950, and was moved to Varsity Arena as it grew bigger and bigger. When it caused a major traffic jam on Bloor Street, the police asked the committee to hold the sale elsewhere. It was finally moved to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds where it was held in different buildings over the years. First it was in the Horticultural Building, then the Coliseum, and finally the Queen Elizabeth Building. The sale eventually consisted of 50 departments, each with its own convenor and approximately 1200 volunteers. Rummage and very select items were collected all year long and stored in various warehouses until the week prior to the sale when everything was moved to the sale location. Great fun, fabulous purchases, and camaraderie were the hallmarks of this springtime ritual, even if there were complaints of tired bodies and sore feet. Needless to say,this event raised thousands of dollars over the years for The Toronto Symphony. It was truly a sad day for many when, in 1990, the sale was discontinued, mainly due to the appearance of individual garage sales all over the city.

Dream Auction

The Dream Auction was initiated in 1975 and continued successfully for 14 years and made as much as $158,000 one year. A catalogue of imaginative dreams was inserted in a Toronto newspaper and could be picked up at CKFM as well as various locations throughout the city. The dreams were auctioned off over the radio station during the afternoons and evenings of one week in the fall. There was a continual flurry of excitement between volunteers, winners and radio announcers. Many months of preparation provided unbelievable experiences, great escapes, and wonderful purchases. The Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee and The Toronto Symphony benefited immensely from the publicity and the dollars generated to support music in our city.

In 1978 the first Dream Auction Gala was held with wonderful dreams being auctioned off during a fabulous evening of dining and dancing. These galas continued until 1989 when a gala Symphony Ball was held to celebrate the Symphony’s tour to the Far East and Australia. The following year the Symphony Ball was a wonderful evening of “Adventures on the Orient Express”. Subsequently, the galas became part of the Fine Wine Festival.

Advertising Supplement

The Advertising Supplement was born in 1964 and inserted that year in the Toronto Telegram. Ads were sold to businesses to showcase a model or celebrity with their own particular message. One year this project raised over $220,000. The project continued until 2002, when the publication evolved into a one page advertising feature in the national edition of the Globe and Mail. 16 business supported this initiative, entitled the Fanfare Page.

Over the years people in the Greater Toronto Area have seen these exciting ad publications included in the Globe and Mail and the National Post as well as the Telegram. What a great method of raising Symphony awareness!

Toronto Symphony Cookbook

Two Cookbooks have been created. “The Toronto Symphony Cookbook” printed in 1980 included recipes contributed by musicians, management and guest artists. In 1995 “The Symphony of Taste” was printed from a collection of recipes submitted by TSVC members and their friends.

For several years, Book Sales (in a business relationship with a book distributor) were held at various locations in the city. The considerable proceeds went to support the various Toronto Symphony Education Programmes.

Fantasy of Fabérge

One example of a fabulous fundraiser was Fantasy of Fabergé which was held in 1991. It included an exhibit of magnificent pieces of Faberge and his Contemporaries displayed radiantly in Roy Thomson Hall; lectures on Russian art and history; production of a limited edition poster; and a grand opening party attended by the Russian ambassador to Canada.

Chef Roger Vergé’s Gourmet Dinner

This extraordinary event was staged at Casa Loma in 1990. Roger Vergé, of famed Le Moulin de Mougins en Provence, France, arrived with his creative talent and his “equipe” of four executive chefs, forty-two chefs and forty service people, sommeliers and mâitre d’s. They presented with Mövenpick and Sutton Place the most lavish meal imaginable. The evening’s décor was resplendent with French lilacs flown in especially for the occasion. This extravagant event was filmed for the “Rich and Famous” programme of Robin Leach.

After Concert Parties

For years the volunteers held After Concert Parties in private homes or special locations to introduce visiting musicians to members of the enthusiastic Toronto audience and to celebrate that evening’s performance. TSVC projects are always planned to show strong community support for our great orchestra, and to strengthen the ties of friendship that exist among the members.