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Entertainment District

Dine Like a Star During TIFF

LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO REFUEL AFTER SPENDING A FEW HOURS IN A DARKENED THEATRE? FORTUNATELY TORONTO’S DINING SCENE IS AS IMPRESSIVE AS THE FILM ROSTER—AND THERE MAY JUST BE A RECOGNIZABLE FACE OR TWO AT THE NEXT TABLE.

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Grab a drink or dinner at the chic Drake One Fifty during the festival and keep your eyes peeled for famous faces.

In addition to being home to TIFF headquarters and theatres such as the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra, the Entertainment District is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to restaurants. Enjoy the California-style vibes and say hello to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at Montecito, a joint venture between Ghostbusters filmmaker Ivan Reitman and chef Jonathan Waxman. The internationally-inspired menus at Hush and Luma win over moviegoers, with such offerings as maple glazed salmon and grilled quail respectively. Hearty Italian fare can be found at Buca, which serves house-made pastas among other favourites. The upscale Nota Bene is a downtown favourite for chef David’s lee’s impeccable menu, as well as the extensive gin list.

Catching a flick at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre? Both JaBistro  and Richmond Station are within walking distance. Feast on beautifully-plated fresh sashimi and sushi at the former, while the latter is co-owned by Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich with a seasonally-changing menu. The Chase has seafood-themed offerings like Arctic char, octopus and king crab, while further afoot, the Drake One Fifty is an ultra hip spot in the Financial District serving the likes of squid ink pasta and suckling pig porchetta.

—Karen Stevens

Hot Art: Nuit Blanche’s All-Night Viewing Party

All Night Convenience is among the interactive displays at this year’s Nuit Blanche

SEPTEMBER 29  Artistic inspiration isn’t subject to the whims of a nine-to-five schedule. It occurs at any time and in any place. During Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, creativity happens overnight, as thousands of residents and visitors descend with the sun to engage with more than 40 commissioned art installations in and around the Entertainment District, City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square, Ryerson University and the intersection of King and Church streets. (An additional 100 independent projects will be displayed across the city.) Among the most intriguing of these dusk-to-dawn displays are All Night Convenience, a 300-square-foot “store” created by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky that grows darker as patrons carry away its illuminated retail goods, and Museum of the Rapture by Douglas Coupland, which explores the separation of mind and body through a labyrinth of signs and living tableaux in an underground parking lot. Begins at 7 p.m., free admission; click here for more information.

Staff Picks: 5 Unmistakable Moviehouses

The TIFF Bell Lightbox is a sleek shrine to cinema (photo by Maris Mezulis)

Everyone loves going to the cinema. Whether you want to take in the latest Hollywood blockbuster or prefer to catch a though-provoking documentary, these Toronto movie theatres are great venues at which to screen your favourite flicks. (more…)

Hot Dining: Thai Fare Favourite

photo by Craig Moy

It just got easier to taste some of Toronto’s best Thai cuisine. Husband and wife restaurateurs Jeff and Nuit Regular have opened a more accessible offshoot of their tiny Sukhothai. In the heart of the Entertainment District, Khao San Road, serves up a full carte of chef Nuit’s lauded dishes. Chief among them are her pad Thai ($12 to $16)—which causes one to forget the ketchup-saturated versions that are all to prevalent in this city—and khao soi, which balances sweet and spicy in a bowl of beef or chicken with noodles and coconut milk ($13). Velvety Thai-style iced tea makes for a refreshing palate cleanser.

Chef at Home: Ricardo Larrivée

If you like the affable, comforting persona of chef Ricardo Larrivée from his Food Network Canada show Ricardo and Friends, you can now bring him home with you. Sort of. The bilingual Quebec-based host—episodes of his popular series are filmed in the Chambliss home Larrivée shares with his wife and three daughters—has launched a line of cook- and bakeware available at Sears. The complete collection consists of pots, pans, utensils, and even storage containers. A frequent visitor to Toronto, Larrivée shares his thoughts on this city.

What are your favourite places to visit when in Toronto?

I love the antique stores in Yorkville. Also the Royal Ontario Museum, Pusateri’s, Stillwater Spa, and Kensington Market (at Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West) for its food, bars and ambience. (more…)

You Are Here: Entertainment District

Day or night, the glow of marquee lights and cheering spectators ensures Toronto’s central hot spot is full of life. From the first pitch on the ball diamond to the final curtain call, this area’s top attractions, theatres and stadiums—not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs—are the city’s crowning glory.
View You Are Here: Entertainment District in a larger map

TREAD LIGHTLY Spread across 13 blocks, Canada’s Walk of Fame is a tribute in granite to the country’s finest. More than 120 Canadians have been honoured since 1998, including actors William Shatner and Mike Myers, directors David Cronenberg and Ivan Reitman, singers Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall, and comedian Eugene Levy.

Princess of Wales Theatre

FIT FOR ROYALTY Named in part for the late Princess Diana, the horseshoe-shaped Princess of Wales Theatre is an example of superior craftsmanship: Venetian terrazzo floors, mahogany from Africa adorning the arches and handrails, glass and tile mosaics, and more than 10,000 square feet of murals by American artist Frank Stella covering the ceiling, proscenium arch, lounges and lobbies. Over the years, Tony Award–winning productions such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon have played here to rousing applause. Next month the curtain rises on Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical.

A CENTURY OF SHOWS The oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, the Royal Alexandra Theatre is as known for its beaux-arts style architecture as it is for the esteemed names who have taken to its stage: Édith Piaf, Orson Welles and Martin Short have all made audiences laugh, cry and burst into thunderous applause. The venue itself is impressively appointed with Italian marble, carved walnut and cherrywood, gilded plaster and crystal chandeliers. Presently, the 1980s hair-metal love story Rock of Ages is bringing down the house.

Roy Thomson Hall

APPEALING TO THE EARS The unique, curvilinear glass exterior of Roy Thomson Hall makes it an oft-photographed site. But the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is more than just a pretty facade. Renovations in 2002 made it one of the city’s most acoustically stellar concert halls. The TSO kicks off its 89th season with Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony no. 2 on September 23. Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir help bring the piece to life.

SYMBOL IN THE SKY The CN Tower may have lost the title of world’s tallest free-standing structure, but it remains the pinnacle of this city’s unique skyline. At a commanding 553.33 metres tall, this communication tower—built by the Canadian National Railway in 1972—offers aerial views from several vantage points. The SkyPod presides over an unparalleled view at 447 metres, while upscale restaurant 360 dishes up a revolving panorama at 351 metres.

SPORTS CENTRAL Adjacent to the CN Tower is another iconic element of Toronto’s downtown landscape. The multi-purpose Rogers Centre is home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, and was the world’s first stadium with a retractable roof. In addition to cheering sports fans, music lovers also pack the field for raucous concerts by such bands as Bon Jovi and the Jonas Brothers. Take a one-hour guided tour to see a luxury suite, press box and the Blue Jays Hall of Fame.