The Brazilian Ball Says Farewell


By Joan Sheppard . Photos Teresa Oliveira


The 46th annual Brazilian Carnival Ball took place on September 15 in a Toronto Metro Convention Centre Ballroom that was transformed into a glittering Rio de Janeiro street party on New Year’s Eve, an appropriate setting for an event that bid Auld Lang Syne to the old and heralded the new. The first ball of its kind, the Brazilian Ball was founded in 1966 by Anna Maria de Souza, who brought a lot of skin and the vibrant spirit and excitement of Brazil to a conservative Toronto, for one exuberant fun filled night a year; a highlight of the Toronto social calendar, which benefited many worthy causes. Sadly, Anna Maria passed away in 2007, and husband Ivan carries on her legacy.

The Ball’s farewell performance included videos highlighting the work of the de Souza Institute, in association with the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, colorful, Brazilian Carnival dancers and costumes, and a Broadway worthy musical tribute to the ball’s 46 year tradition of sumptuous food, the Brazilian Carnival tradition, Samba dancing and fundraising; giving everyone a chance to reflect on the enormous contribution of Anna Maria and Ivan De Souza to the people of Ontario.

The De Souza Institute, established by the Government of Ontario in 2008 to honour Anna Maria de Souza, is where Ivan will now focus his attention and carry on the philanthropic work started by Anna Maria. Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the De Souza Institute focuses on the training of nurses (nearly 5,000 nurses have benefited from the de Souza Institute courses and workshops to date) who specialize in oncology and hospice palliative care, to better meet the psychological and social needs of patients living with cancer, and their families. In 2012, the De Souza Institute Foundation was launched, to support the expansion of the de Souza Institute courses to other health professionals and nurses across Canada. The Ball may be over, but Anna Maria’s spirit of generosity lives on.


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