A surprise $1-million donation helped the Toronto East General Hospital raise funds at a comedy gala Thursday that saw headliner Jerry Seinfeld perform.

Celebrities, professional athletes, and local dignitaries attended the black-tie event at the Allstream Centre near Lake Shore Boulevard.

Canadian actor Will Arnett hosted the gala, entitled "Laughter is the Best Medicine," as the master of ceremonies. Just for Laughs regular Derek Edwards was the first performer of the night, and Golden Globe award winner Seinfeld closed the evening with an hour of comedy.

"It does feel better not just when you know you're making people laugh, which feels good, but maybe doing a little good beyond that," Seinfeld said.

Other notable guests included MP Julian Fantino, Toronto police chief Bill Blair, councillor Doug Ford, and NHL players Brad Boyes and Eric Lindros.

Arnett and his family were honoured for their long-term support for the hospital, and Arnett was named Toronto East General's first-ever "Honourary Doctor" at the event.

"What better way to return home to Toronto than to support a hospital that has meant so much to my family," he said.

A highlight of the event was a surprise donation from the Jain family, which announced its $1-million donation to the hospital at the event.

"My parents wanted to show their appreciation by giving a small gift to the hospital and hope that it will go a long way in raising awareness of the talent we have within our community," Ajay Jain said at the event.

The money raised will go towards the hospital's $211-million redevelopment project, which includes the establishment of an eight-storey patient care centre. The hospital has raised $45 million through donations so far.

The comedy gala featured a live auction to raise funds, and items included a trip to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England and a trip for four to New York.

BMW was one of the event sponsors, and donated a 328i sedan for an end-of-night draw. Ticket sales for the draw also helped fundraising efforts at the event.

Hospital board chair Michael Burns said the hospital "exceeded our greatest expectations" with the gala, raising $3 million by the end of the night.

"It was an unforgettable night, with a very positive surge to our capital campaign," he said.