Our mission is to raise money for a variety of important causes in healthcare, research, culture and education in both Toronto and Brazil.Learn More
Interested in attending the Brazilian Carnival Ball? Learn more about sponsorship packages, table booking and individual tickets, or get in touch to contact us about how you can get involved!
Anna Maria de Souza
As the Founder, President and CEO of the Brazilian Carnival Ball, Anna Maria for more than 42 years organized and involved herself selflessly in various fundraising activities for a number of charitable institutions in Canada. Her principle commitment was the Brazilian Carnival Ball, which she founded in the basement of a church in 1966.
History of The Ball
The Brazilian Ball has had a history of friendship and togetherness since its modest beginnings in 1966. Early on, the committee consisted of only six to eight people. One of them, artist Pat Fisher, spent weeks painting murals of Brazilian scenes to make the ballroom look magnificent. Brazilian music, new to Toronto, had everyone on the dance floor all night long! The samba kept our guests coming back year after year.
Others in the early group included Michael Connor, a graphic artist, who designed our home-made invitations, and the very attractive Bernice Sintzel, who worked at the time for Gino Empry, who was responsible for the tremendous coverage the Ball received in the newspapers and magazines each year. Arthur Carman, owner of Carman’s Restaurant, always hosted a lavish reception for the press. No wonder that in 1975 the Ball made the front page of The Globe and Mail. Gino Empry persuaded the Imperial Room in 1974 to stage the Ball for the first time. We had a four-course dinner at a cost of only $6.50.
In those early years, our decorations were made along with boisterous chatter and hard work in Catherine Leggett’s basement. And then after an entire day of decorating the room and a night of dancing, we were faced early the next morning with taking down the decorations — not an easy task! At the end of all this feverish activity, we would gather for a delicious brunch and the conversation was the same every year. Wasn’t the Ball the best ever! How could we possibly do better? And yes, we have done better every year. Thanks to outstanding co-chairmen and chairmen over the years who believed in the charities they represented and gave an entire year of devotion and hard work.