"This is a party for the people who give a shit about the city," a partygoer tells me. He's well-dressed in an outfit of spotless white, staccoted by considered notes of black glasses, shoes and tie. Almost immediately, he reconsiders the remark, weighs its bite, and after a brief pause, offers delicately: "This is a party for people who care about the city."
The party in question was Toronto the Good, where "savoir faire" goes a bit further than a Tuesday night soiree.
The yearly gathering organized by ERA Architects, Spacing Magazine, Toronto Society of Architects and [murmur] kicks off the city's Festival of Architecture and Design. But more than that, Toronto the Good is a cotillion where likeminded (read: green) groups are presented to the well-connected and well-dressed members of the new urban eco-conscience.
This year's debutantes, Toronto Cyclists Union and Media Lab Toronto, teamed up to create an interactive installation where a rider sits atop a stationary bike and pedals her way through a projection of Toronto.
Copies of A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Montreal were available for perusal in preparation for the release of a Toronto companion volume in 2010.
And, in a practice that has become custom at Toronto the Good parties, there was also an enlarged map of Toronto where partygoers could mark their favourite spots to eat and favourite spots to get food on the go.
But the main event here was undoubtedly the people.
As I walked around the party, catching snippets of conversation, I heard the familiar idioms of green, sustainability, awareness, and critical thinking being bandied about. But they weren't being issued by your typical ecological set. No, the jewelry was Tiffany's, not hemp, and the shoes brogues, not birks.
Green, it seems, is no longer granola. It's glamour.