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Review: One Night in La Dolce Vita

Toronto’s Square One Shopping Centre creates a memorable evening




Square One Shopping Centre, located in the heart of Mississauga just outside Toronto, hosted an evening event, “One Night in La Dolce Vita.” During the soirée, guests were whisked away on a Roman holiday as they delighted in the sights, sounds and flavors of Italy. The evening encompassed many buzzworthy elements, and the event planners worked to incorporate numerous elements to stimulate all five senses to the 1500-plus fashionable attendees.

Along with the benefit of driving traffic into the shopping center, the philanthropic event donated proceeds to a local hospital. The idea of a themed gathering paired with the concept of “social responsibility” would be close to the hearts of not only Gen Z shoppers, but also others in attendance.

Two wings of the shopping center were closed off to the public and guests entered into a grand rotunda via a red carpet aligned with greenery and statues, where they viewed projected images of the coliseum on the ceiling. Food stations that served handmade Italian meatballs, fresh seafood, delicious risotto and antipasto lined the center aisles of the mall, creating opportunities to mingle. Added touches, including lemon trees and a fountain created an intimate ambience which allowed guests to feel transported out of the regular shopping mall atmosphere.

A big crowd pleaser was an ice bar with chilled prosecco and a main bar that featured Italian-inspired cocktails. A trip to Italy would not be complete without a little amore, and by the mall’s garden wall, guests had the chance to recreate a romance novel cover by posing with a disheveled yet dreamy male model. The resulting photos brought smiles to faces and generated a big buzz on social media with the hashtag #SQ1LaDolceVita. The gentlemen were not left out, either, as there was an authentic barber’s station and whiskey bar. Zipping in and out of the party were various models of luxury cars, including Porches and the newest Ferraris. Needless to say, these hot wheels revved up the party.

As the night drew to a close, Milanese guest DJ Gian Luca Vacchi took to the stage, and his talents energized the already excitable crowd and concluded the evening.

Most importantly, this event exposed shoppers to brands with extended shopping hours, and this relaxing environment also allowed them to more easily connect with shop managers and staff. Conversations and a real sense of community ensued while sipping on champagne and snacking on delicate Italian pastries. 


No doubt, everyone at the party was thinking, “How will Square One top this with its next event?”

For more images of the event please click here.

Diane Spiridoulias is a passionate professor in the Visual Merchandising Arts program at Sheridan College in Canada. As a seasoned art director with over 18 years of experience, as well as maintaining a proven track record for translating complex ideas into slick, and successful designs for the beauty and fashion retail sectors, Diane is skilled in developing external client relationships, graphic design and styling. The diversity of her work reveals her ability to apply design skills in innovative ways that elevate brand and design excellence. Previous work experiences include Seven Continents and Sirens, a division of YM Inc. Diane holds a diploma from Sheridan in Visual Merchandising Arts and is currently working towards obtaining her Bachelor of Professional Arts Communication Studies at Athabasca University.

Karen Kritzer is a professor at Sheridan College where she is also part of the Program Support Team for various design courses. This career path has allowed her to balance teaching alongside freelance work, keeping her up to speed with the industry. As a small business owner and freelance visual merchandiser, Karen can relate to the everyday challenges that retailers face. Working with both top name brands and small independent retailers has allowed Karen to create unique action plans that achieve results for her clients. Just shy of 10 years with IKEA Canada, she worked as part of the Communications and Interior Design Team. Recently her work with CanGift Toronto as a seminar host, paired with retail consultations, has allowed her to keep in contact with entrepreneurs and retailers from across the country.





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