HEAD TO BLOOR-YORKVILLE TO CHECK OUT SOME OF THE EXCITING NEW SHOPS IN THE REVITALIZED MALL.
Yorkville Village is home to a variety of upscale shops as well as a Whole Foods.
At the beginning of this year, Hazelton Lanes rebranded itself as Yorkville Village, part of an on-going $100-million transformation by the property’s landlord First Capital Realty. Design firm Kasian is on board to make over the shopping hub into a “neighbourhood centre” that is anchored by Whole Foods. Some leading retailers have already taken up residence, including Montreal-based womenswear boutique Maska Mode, which imports ready-to-wear pieces from Italy; loose, fluid ladies apparel from Belgian label Sarah Pacini; and trendy menswear shop Philip has relocated to a more intimate space where it carries such coveted designers as Hugo Boss, Paul & Shark, Corneliani, and the philip private label. —Linda Luong Luck
CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE STARS AT A SWISH MOVIE GALA OR AT ONE OF THE CITY’S TRENDY DINING AND SHOPPING DESTINATIONS
Hailee Steinfeld stars in The Edge of Seventeen directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig. Photo courtesy of TIFF.
It wouldn’t be TIFF without the glitzy galas and big names walking the red carpet. Amy Adams is anticipated at the world premiere of Québécois director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, a sci-fi flick about the panic-filled reaction to alien spacecraft landing on earth. Catch even more drama—and perhaps a glimpse of Marky-Mark—at the gala presentation for Deepwater Horizon, a disaster story about the sinking of an oil rig by the same name. In Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is transformed into ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden who leaked thousands of classified documents to the press. Written and directed by Oliver Stone, the ensemble cast includes Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, and Nicholas Cage. Queen of Katwe featuring Oscar–winner Lupita Nyong’o is the uplifting story of a young Ugandan girl who follows her dreams of becoming an international chess champion. And finally, the coming-of-age story The Edge of Seventeen closes the festivities on September 18, starring Hailee Steinfeld as a high school student who becomes despondent when her older brother starts dating her best friend; Kyra Sedgwick co-stars as her clueless mom while Woody Harrelson dons the mentor role.
A Map to the Stars
This time of year, Toronto lives up to its name as Hollywood North what with the numerous opportunities for celebrity spotting. Get those cameras ready; you just never know who you’ll see when walking down the street.
The city’s luxe neighbourhood Bloor-Yorkville is a good starting point. Many stars make hotels in this area their home away from home during the festival. Do some window shopping at the likes of Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Holt Renfrew, where famous faces have been known to spend some down time engaging in retail therapy. Or grab a table at Yorkville favourites like La Société, Kasa Moto, Café Boulud, and Dbar for a star stakeout.
Hang out around the members-only Soho House (192 Adelaide St.) for a celebrity encounter, which is known to host private parties. The Lobby Lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel (188 University Ave.) has a decadent tea service, perfect for a languid afternoon watching for actors and actresses who are staying at the establishment. Located within walking distance to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and Roy Thomson Hall, the Ritz-Carlton (181 Wellington St. W.) has hosted the likes of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. Its Spa My Blends by Clarins and Deq Terrace & Lounge are both sure to attract A-listers looking to get themselves camera-ready before a premiere or unwind after a screening. Likewise at The Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington St. W.), which has previously been the residence of choice for Bradley Cooper and James Franco. The ultra hip Rooftop Lounge with a stunning view of the Toronto skyline is a popular party place. —Karen Stevens
VANCOUVER EXPORT KIT AND ACE BRINGS HIPSTER-CHIC FASHION—AND COFFEE—TO THE BLOOR-YORKVILLE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Kit and Ace is the ultimate hipster store in ritzy Yorkville. The Vancouver-based brand founded by stepmother-and-son team Shannon and J.J. Wilson is best known for its technical cashmere apparel. Catering to the creative class, the Toronto flagship encourages patrons to pick up a latte and pastry from the in-store café, Sorry Coffee Co.—a cheeky nod to Canadians’ apologetic nature—while perusing casual-luxury basics like fitted shirts (of the T-, button-up and crew varieties), plus soft pants and skirts. —Linda Luong
• Kit and Ace, 102 Bloor St. W., 1-844-548-6223; kitandace.com
• Map and reviews
LOOK BEYOND THE BIG BRANDS ON BLOOR STREET AND YOU’LL DISCOVER YORKVILLE’S ECLECTIC MIX OF LOCALLY OWNED UPPER-TIER BOUTIQUES, GALLERIES AND RESTAURANTS
Axe and Hatchet Grooming Club
1 Throw a stone in Yorkville and you’ll hit a highly credentialed salon; the pickings are slimmer for men in need of a new ‘do. Fortunately there is Axe & Hatchet, an unpretentious “grooming club” for perfectly executed old-school haircuts and shaves. 101 Yorkville Ave., 416-901-3634; axeandhatchet.com
2 Part of an elite group of spas highlighting treatments and products by Swiss brand Valmont, Spa at the Hazelton is one of Toronto’s most intimate retreats for facials, massages and more. 118 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6307; thehazeltonhotel.com/spa
3 Esteemed fashion plates George and Lisa Corbo curate trendy ready-to-wear attire for both sexes at George C, one of the couple’s three unique Yorkville boutiques. 21 Hazelton Ave., 416-962-1991; georgec.ca
INTERCHANGEABLE HEELS ARE ENGINEERED FOR COMFORT AND STYLE BY CANADIAN SHOEMAKER TANYA HEATH
After making a name for herself abroad, a Canadian designer now has a shop in her homeland. The eponymous Yorkville boutique of Tanya Heath carries her innovative interchangeable-heel footwear, which she started developing in 2009 with a team of 14 engineers and shoe technicians. The result is a shoe system offering maximum comfort with customizable style. Simply purchase a shoe base ($495 to $1,000) and then mix and match among four different heel heights ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 centimetres ($45 to $145), which can be locked in place with a simple click. —Linda Luong
• Tanya Heath, 138 Cumberland St., 416-962-7366; tanyaheath.com
• Map and reviews
INDULGE IN DESIGNER JAPANESE CUISINE WITHIN THE POSH YORKVILLE NEIGHBOURHOOD CONFINES OF KASA MOTO
Kasa Moto’s kinoko salad and stylish dining room
Toronto’s ritziest neighbourhood continues to up the opulence ante—this time with a supremely stylish spot for Japanese fare. Kasa Moto presents Yorkville’s demanding denizens with a menu of high-end, contemporary offerings, running the gamut from wagyu beef carpaccio to robata-grilled pork belly to black cod with ricotta miso. Sophisticated sushi and sashimi options are also available, naturally. The latest offering from the owners of The Chase and Colette Grand Café, Kasa Moto’s multiple spaces—a split-level dining room, second-storey bar and lounge, and grandiose rooftop patio—replicate its siblings’ tastefully posh interior design with plush seating, rich woods, hand-painted murals and more. —Craig Moy
• Kasa Moto, 115 Yorkville Ave.,647-348-7000; kasamoto.ca
• Map and reviews
EVEN MULTI-SPORT FANATICS NEED AN OCCASIONAL BREAK FROM THE NEAR-CONSTANT COMPETITION DURING THE PAN AM GAMES’ 17 DAYS. A FEW HOURS SPENT EXPLORING THE HOST CITY’S MYRIAD NEIGHBOURHOODS IS JUST THE TICKET!
La Cubana and Fonda Lola are among Toronto’s top Latin American restaurants (photos: Craig Moy)
Although they’re definitely the summer’s main event, the Pan American Games are hardly the only, well, game in town. Get the most out of your visit by setting aside some time—between checking out the basketball tournament, cheering on the triathletes and being wowed by wakeboarders’ stunts—to get to know Toronto’s compelling history, shopping hubs and cosmopolitan restaurant scene through these four downtown neighbourhoods.
The trendy clothes at Craft & Guile are sourced from fashion capitals like Los Angeles, New York and Paris
Who says shopping in Bloor-Yorkville must be an expensive endeavour? Not Chloe Liu and Jason Vallysedigh! The husband-and-wife team have opened Craft & Guile, a wallet-friendly boutique in the city’s toniest neighbourhood. Inspired by trends from Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Paris, the couple’s mandate is to bring to Toronto stylish garments from premium labels at reasonable prices. Among the brands carried here are Generation Love, Wildfox, Yumi Kim, Line & Dot, For Love and Lemons, Gypsy 05 and Edward Achour Paris. A small assortment of vintage items from the likes of Chanel, Hermès and Balenciaga is also among the offerings. Open daily. —Linda Luong
• Craft & Guile, 70 Yorkville Ave., 416-924-4369; craftandguile.com
• Map and reviews
We can thank the Swiss for many desirable exports like well-crafted watches and chocolate. Add one more item to the list with the opening of a standalone shop for menswear label Strellson. Though there are 55 such boutiques worldwide, the brand’s flagship Bloor-Yorkville location is the first in North America. Situated at the tony corner of Avenue Road and Bloor Street, the expansive store embraces its Toronto home with floor-to-ceiling photos of the city’s skyline as well as a nod to Switzerland’s iconic Matterhorn. Modern gents can expect to find contemporary apparel for work and play, and for the first time, Strellson’s own collection of eyewear, footwear and bags. —Linda Luong >> Strellson, 170 Bloor St. W., 416-927-7070; strellson.com
By ANA TAVEIRA
photo: Holt Renfrew
The snowflakes may be yet to fall, but another seasonal signifier is on full display in Toronto: the high-end establishments of Bloor-Yorkville have unveiled their enchanting light displays and charming decorations. The neighbourhood is already bustling as holiday shoppers get a head start checking off their lists at some of the most desirable international retailers—from Hérmes to Roots—and luxurious local designer boutiques. Unsurprisingly, one of the strip’s most heavily trafficked locations is posh department store Holt Renfrew.
Celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, the venerable company is thoroughly contemporary, but also respectful of traditions. One such tradition? Its annual holiday window display. This year’s concept, thoroughly thought out and beautifully executed by the Holt Renfrew visual merchandising team, sprawls across seven wide panes of glass and features mannequins decked out in the season’s must-have fashions and accessories, skating on imaginary lakes and riding well-heeled horses. Tracy Peters, Holts’ senior manager of national visual merchandising, describes the windows’ theme, “Let it Snow,” as rekindling feelings of the first time you saw the fluffy white stuff. With hundreds of hand-cut snowflakes the display triggers a sense of whimsical winter nostalgia.
photo: Holt Renfrew
If you like what you see, the designs on display are of course available inside the multi-level store. Footwear can be a great gift for friends, family and even yourself—how about Burberry boot to keep your toes warm, or some Louboutin pumps to draw attention at the office Christmas party? Designer accessories like ties, handbags and fragrances are also timely buys. Or perhaps you’re partial to seasonal favourites like sweaters, toques, scarves and jackets. Whatever your pleasure, Holts is sure to satisfy.
In the spirit of the season, the store has also paired with Italian label Missoni to provide a charitable gift. Limited-edition Missoni-designed plush bears and elephants are now available at Holt Renfrew locations across Canada; proceeds from the sale of these beautiful stocking stuffers help support OrphanAid Africa.
Just in time for bathing suit season, Eres has opened its flagship Canadian boutique. The sophisticated company has been making its “second skin” swimsuits and lingerie for more than 40 years; simple, graphic designs paired with high-tech fabrics and creative approaches to production—such as chain stitching and the flat assembly of pieces—have fostered a cult following. Drop in to see the Summer 2012 collection, which includes one-piece halter tops and strapless numbers, as well as two-piece suits with bandeau-style tops, cover ups and wraps in vibrant shades of plum, marigold and turquoise. Open Monday to Saturday. 126 Cumberland St., 416-921-3737.
If you don’t own a Porsche but aspire to possess one, you can (for now) do the next best thing: own a finely honed item from the Austrian company. Porsche Design has fittingly opened its first Canadian location in the city’s most affluent shopping district, Bloor-Yorkville. The 1,600-square-foot space carries an extensive range of the brand’s luxury goods, including men’s and women’s apparel, jewellery, watches, leather goods, writing instruments, fragrances, eyewear and even home accessories. Each piece fuses functionality with Porsche’s sleek aesthetics and technical innovations. Open daily. 77 Bloor St. W., 416-929-1800.