On December 13, Equitable Bank surprised its 650 staff and employees with an unconventional holiday party at The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. The two-person event planning team, headed by Evan Babins, along with the company’s social committee, wowed guests with a Fire and Ice theme that was carried throughout the decor, entertainment, and even the food and beverage stations.
The theme came from someone on the social committee who had pitched the idea for close to a decade, according to Babins.
“One of the people on the committee had been trying to pitch the idea of fire and ice for seven years,” he said. “And it just turned out that they had gone with a theme that was more popular in years’ past. I started working here in the middle of last year and when they pitched fire and ice again, I loved it and ran with it.”
According to Babins, what attracted him to the theme was that it was out of the ordinary.
“You always get those same old, same old themes. Everyone knows what’s going to happen at a Vegas event for example. With fire and ice, it’s so generic, yet so specific.”
Babins added that the theme wasn’t revealed until the week of the event.
“We didn’t tell anyone the theme until a week before. It was the second biggest secret of the event. We didn’t want people to have preconceived notions. We really wanted that wow factor to be there.”
Babins said the reaction of the guests was the highlight of the event.
“Generally we usually have tables of ten and you’re sitting with people you know or may not know, with a DJ and a dancefloor. And this year we flipped that on its head. We really wanted to give people that shock value. We really made it completely different. That really plays into the company mantra. As the ‘challenger bank,’ we wanted to challenge ourselves internally, and prove that events don’t have to be the same year after year.”
When people walked into the room, they were stunned, Babins said. And they immediately took their phones out to take photos of all the features.
“When people walked into the room, they were expecting what they’d always seen, and that wasn’t the case,” Babins said. “We had cozy couches, high tops, and rectangular tables. We gave people the autonomy to decide where they want to sit.”
The show-stopping piece of the night was the 16-ft ice bar that was the focal part of the event.
“So let’s say you wanted a rum and coke, the bartenders would pour the rum down the luge to get chilled and have the glass waiting for it at the bottom,” he said.
The entertainment for the night, of course, included a fire-eating performance, as well as a speed painter who created a fire and ice themed painting. The music was provided by 4KORNERS, the official DJ of the Toronto Raptors.
The food also matched the theme — including flame-torched s’mores for dessert.
Babins said the night went off without a hitch and that everyone had a fantastic time.
“People were beyond amazed, and the dancefloor was packed the whole night. And for a bank party – that’s not really typical. People are already asking what we’re planning next year. “
Planning by: Equitable Bank
Submitted by: Evan Babins, manager of event planning, Equitable Bank
Event: Equitable Bank’s Holiday Party
Venue: The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel
Decor + Furniture
4Korners provided by The 194 Group
Dancefloor/Marquee Letters/Swing Set
Dance Floor Decor
The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel