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Le Papillon on Front

Weekend Roundup, April 30 to May 2

Mark the coming of May in the traditional style of our ancestors: laughter, fun and celebration. This weekend, Toronto invites you to take your pick amongst skating, musicals, tours,  fine dining and more.

Friday: Kurt Browning and friends skate their way to Sears Stars on Ice (photo by Stephan Potopnyk)

Friday, April 30
Reach for the heavens while applauding at Sears Stars on Ice, where you can witness first-hand the art of figure skating as interpreted by such Canadians as Kurt Browning, Jeffrey Buttle and our beloved 2010 Olympians, Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Nosh on traditional public-house favourites like nachos or poutine at the Mill Street Brew Pub. Happy Hour goes late into the evening with a variety of artisan beers, wines and whiskies.

Mark the final day of Keep Toronto Reading month with a trip to a local public library. Attend readings by various authors of books, poetry and plays at the Diaspora Dialogues event.

Saturday: See Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate at the Stratford Festival (photo by Andrew Eccles)

Saturday, May 1
Indulge in the English canon’s finest at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, a short drive away in the picturesque town of Stratford. Enjoy productions of the Bard’s romantic comedy As You Like It, as well as the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me, Kate (itself an interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew) and a magical staging of Peter Pan.

Dig into a hearty Mexican burrito at Hernando’s Hideaway. Or sample many other Mexican delights—faijtas, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos and more—at this ebullient Old Town restaurant.

Discover the latest addition to Canadian painter Michael Adamson‘s abstract art oeuvre at his Moore Gallery exhibition, entitled Distant Relation.

Sunday: Elicia MacKenzie stars in Rock of Ages (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Sunday, May 2
Catch the musical love story Rock of Ages in its second week of performances filled with rockin’ ‘80s hits like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.

Savour French cuisine at the brasserie-style Le Papillon on Front. Quebecois dishes like tourtière are a specialty, and the restaurant also boasts a huge menu of savoury crepes.

Take a stroll through Toronto on 100-plus tours as part of Jane’s Walk, which wends through the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Indulge in the Black Creek community walk, peruse the Annex or grab a bite to eat in Kensington Market while viewing the city through experts’ eyes.


You Are Here: Front Street East

Old Town’s main artery is a bustling hub of social activity—part of the city’s oldest neighbourhood, it offers an array of fine establishments. Globetrot the world through your taste buds, take a picture in front of one of the city’s landmark sites or catch an award–winning show.

Click on any map marker for more information on Where’s neighbourhood favourites.

View You Are Here: Front Street East in a larger map


Best of Brunch

Weekends are meant for leisurely pursuits, and a long, languid meal is an ideal way to spend time in Toronto. Relish comforting, familiar fare while soaking up the local ambience at these restaurants.

The Drake Hotel's Corner CaféDRAKE CORNER CAFÉ
THE SCENE Located in the deservedly hyped West Queen West hotel where the city’s hipsters (artists, musicians, style makers) gather to exchange cutting-edge ideas, it’s as much about the cultural substance as the sustenance here.
ORDER UP Pastry chef David Chow’s hand-rolled blueberry scones have been declared the city’s best by foodies and critics alike. The curious combo of chicken and herb waffles may raise eyebrows, but it’s a surprisingly savoury selection. And for sheer amusement, order one of the vibrantly coloured smoothies with equally bright names, such as the “raspberry beret” or “famous blue raincoat.”
GO Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eggs Benedict at Le Papillon on FrontLE PAPILLON ON FRONT
THE SCENE Traditional Quebecois and French fare is the specialty at this Old Town staple. Bright, street-facing windows shed pools of light into a dining room with exposed brick, red leather-clad seats and pink floral banquettes.
ORDER UP Although the menu abounds with mains such as Atlantic salmon, steak frites and tourtière, Le Papillon was originally conceived as a creperie back in 1974. Choose from nine tantalizing concoctions, ranging from the regional crepe bourguignon (French beef ragout marinated in red wine from Burgundy) to veggie varietals like crepe aux asperges (asparagus and cheddar cheese in a béchamel sauce).
GO Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Frank<br>photo by Edward PondFRANK
THE SCENE At the Art Gallery of Ontario, this Frank Gehry-designed resto boasts walls paneled with Douglas fir—one of the architect’s trademark materials—and is furnished with minimalist Danish tables and chairs. A zigzag bar and an installation by famed American painter and sculptor Frank Stella set the vibe for cultured comfort cuisine.
ORDER UP Highlighting locally sourced ingredients, executive chef Anne Yarymowich’s menu has many mouth-watering dishes, including the roasted buttercup squash and cheddar souffle served with caramelized russet apples and an apple cider reduction. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the chocolate-espresso bread pudding served with brandied sour cherries and vanilla whipped cream.
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

THE SCENE Housed in a converted turn-of-the-century warehouse, the interior upholds an airy feel with minimal adornment. Imposing, factory-sized windows bathe the room with light, casting flecks of shimmer off the stainless steel communal table that faces the open kitchen.
ORDER UP Tuck into a croissant with nutella and banana or get your caffeine fix with fresh doughnuts served with chocolate-espresso dip. Fortifying yourself for a big day? Try the Kentucky hot brown: bourbon-glazed turkey, French toast, double-smoked bacon and tomatoes served with béchamel sauce.
GO Saturday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

And if the lineups are too long at those restaurants, fret not! There are dozens more eateries in the city that are eager to appease your appetite. Among them:

BONJOUR BRIOCHE Drop by this Leslieville boîte for flaky Parisian pastries and chocolate croissants that are worth the calories. (Tuesday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

EDWARD LEVESQUE’S KITCHEN Be prepared to wait patiently at this Leslieville hot spot where locals line up early for the banana pancakes. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Joy Bistro's Eggs TeddyJOY BISTRO Hungry hordes congregate at this yellow-fronted space for a gluttonous selection of eggy mains: Benedict, Benentine, Florentine, Norwegian and house-favourite Teddy (poached eggs, peameal bacon, grilled onions, spinach and tomatoes on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce). (Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

LE PETIT DÉJEUNER This small, bohemian bistro with sparkly green booths serves honest fare like light and crispy Brussels-style waffles and heavenly apple coleslaw. (Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

OKAY OKAY This retro diner with all the trimmings—TVs with dials and worn leather booths—serves generous portions of fluffy blueberry and banana pancakes or eggs Brunhilde, a poached-egg dish with asparagus, smoked salmon, hash brown patties and horseradish hollandaise sauce. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

SWAN Red-leather stools, Formica tables and a vintage Coca-Cola cooler nod to the nostalgic diner ambience, while the small menu offers comforting omelette specials. (Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)