It’s that time of year again, when celebrities descend upon our city in droves, filling the streets with fancy cars and paparazzi. The actors show up to screenings, pose for photos and talk at the Q&As, and then sort of evaporate. Aside from walking around and being “sighted” in Starbucks around Toronto I had to wonder what else they get up to while they’re in town. Parties to be sure, and there’s the time that Colin Farrell changed the life of a homeless man. But it turns out that in between galas, interviews and cocktails they spend their time receiving presents. That’s not a joke: every day media and PR companies are luring celebs into “gifting lounges” across the city. Ostensibly to offer them free goodies, but with the aim of promoting our local businesses. It might seem crazy, but rich as they are even Hollywood’s biggest and brightest can’t say no to some swag, and it’s the perfect opportunity for PR companies to proudly display their clients wares. I had to know more, so this weekend I visited some of the city’s top celebrity gifting lounges to get a taste of the high life. Here’s a rundown of just a few of these lounges happening all over town.

Tastemakers Lounge
Who: Rock-It Promotions
Where: InterContinental Hotel
What: La Senza underpants, cupcakes, Demeter Perfume (scents like Cannabis Plant and Funeral Home), a Tiffany’s charm stamped Yorkdale Mall’s GPS co-ordinates, Bobble eco bottles.
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TDotTV Lounge in support of CANFAR
Who: Williams Public Relations
Where: Bata Shoe Museum
What: Prairie organic vodka, cupcakes, LazyPants, Cheeky Monkey nail polish, and condoms – lots of condoms (it is in support of AIDS prevention after all).
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Premier Celebrity Gift and Style Lounge
Who: B.A.D PR
Where: Ritz Carleton
What: Swim ‘n Strut hoodie bathing suits, This Bag Is A Dress (as seen on TV!), cupcakes, Pandora charms, Canada Pooch doggie coats (adorable!).
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Canadian Film Gift Lounge

Who: First Weekend Club
Where: Royal York
What: Classic Edge shaving gear, more cupcakes, Stella Margaritis jewellery, Lolë yoga gear.
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Real TV Films Social Media Lodge
Who: Vocab Communications
Where: The Pinnacle showroom on Adelaide
What: Smart Mouth mouthwash, titika sportswear, Trebeccani shoes, yet more cupcakes.
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It was a whirlwind of goods presented by local PR firms. For Tastemakers in particular this is their 8th year of hosting lounges. And they’re not limited to TIFF, but crop up at every major industry festival (the MMVAs for example). The shine a light on some of our local businesses and charities, and give the stars a taste of the culture that we have to offer. They come from all over the world and will be leaving with CN Tower cufflinks and bras featured on Dragon’s Den. Bizarre and indulgent as it may sound, it’s a great way to support local business. The stars sure seem to love Toronto, and if it keeps them coming back each year then I say break out the swag!