Celebrity-spotting can be like bird-watching. For denizens of the Toronto International Film Festival, it took patience, a good eye, and a memory for shapes and names. But the reward came in seeing the real stars and directors strutting in their full plumage. Tom Hanks, AÍ Pacino, Cher,
Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Anjelica Huston,
Helen Mirren and Kevin Bacon were just a few of the species who were scheduled to fly in for the 10-day festival. “Jeesh,” moaned one Toronto driver last week, “I nearly ran Kathleen Turner over when she was crossing the street. Wouldn’t that make a great headline? ‘Turner deploys airbag.’ ” But a more certain method of garnering sightings was
Delaney, Czerny; attending the 18 festival galas and scores of Lishman (far left), affiliated parties. At Roy Thomson Hall, all the Daniels: festival stars of Fly Away Home—a heartwarming celebrity-spotting movie based on Canadian sculptor Bill Iishman’s work to help Canada geese relearn to migrate—were at the opening night gala last week. That included a relaxed-looking Lishman himself, along with actor Jeff Daniels, who portrays the Lishman character in the movie, and Anna Paquin, who plays his daughter, looking far more sophisticated than her 13 years. As well, Dana Delaney, Daniels’s fictional girlfriend, was at the gala, accompanied for the second consecutive year by Canadian actor Henry Czerny, last seen in the summer blockbuster Mission: Impossible. The only ones missing at the Fly Away Home gala were the geese themselves. But then, nobody wanted to do any bird-watching in town last week.
Making money from a major loss
It all started for Wendy Buckland and Barb Nicoll with a haircut. The two Burlington, Ont.-based entrepreneurs have created a cottage industry—out of a home office and with no borrowed money—by sharing their achievements in the battle of the bulge. Hairdresser Buckland, 43, struggled with her weight for more than 10 years before starting a weight-lifting and lowfat food regimen in 1992, which finally resulted in the lean body she wanted. She passed her exercise and nutrition tips on to clients, including Nicoll, 31, who was trying to lose 60 lb. after the birth of her first child, Jake, in 1994.
Within five months,
Nicoll had lost the weight and now runs marathons. In May,
1995, she and Buckland
started giving fitness and nutrition seminars around Ontario to help others change their lifestyles. ‘We tell people to do it for how you feel, first,” says Nicoll, “and how it makes you look, second.” The seminars were a huge success, leading to a nationally distributed food line, You Won’t Believe This Is Low Fat—including the Bikini Brownie—and a get-fit book, Armed and Dangerous, which Key Porter is publishing next month.
A superhuman flight
Some speakers are worth the effort. When The Hospital for Sick Children and The Toronto Hospital kicked off a $21 -m i I lion neurosciences research fund-raiser last week, they went to great lengths to make sure they had their Superman: Hollywood star Christopher Reeve. It took more than six months of letters and phone calls to guarantee the presence of Reeve, who took up the cause of spinal-cord research after he fractured a vertebra in his neck in a riding accident in May, 1995, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. The next hurdle: securing a Challenger jet to whisk Reeve from his suburban New York City home to Toronto. The Challenger is the only private aircraft that can comfortably accommodate Reeve’s "Sip ’n’ Puff” Quickie P300 wheelchair—which he can manoeuvre simply with his breath—as well as his touring entourage of two nurses and a couple of personal attendants. After numerous inquiries, campaign organizers found plastics manufacturer Johnson Controls World Services Ltd. of Milwaukee willing to donate the use of its corporate jet. The organizers’ persistence paid off. Reeve delivered an inspirational address, pleading for more support from researchers and the public. “None of us wants to be a burden,” he said. “We want to be productive members of society, and the only way to do that is through research.” Then, Superman flew home.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.