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Hot Dining: Get Out and Eat with the Culinary Adventure Co.

Chef Scott Savoie leads Culinary Adventure Company tours (photo by Kyla Zanardi)

Navigating Toronto’s vast dining scene can be daunting, especially if you’re only in town for a few days. A great way to get acclimated is to join one of the many diverse foodie tours offered by the Culinary Adventure Company. Experienced chef Scott Savoie leads hungry guests through a veritable smorgasbord of eating, drinking and learning opportunities on weekly walks through neighbourhoods like Leslieville—including stops at Table 17 and fishmonger Hooked Inc.—and Little Italy, which could feature cocktails at the members-only Toronto Temperance Society and tastings at top restaurants such as Acadia. Or paddle to the Toronto Islands with chef Savoie for a picnic dinner with local Ontario ingredients. Tours start at $50 per person; call 416-565-1730 or click here for further details.

Hot Shopping: Objects and Accents to Love

Award-winning artist Christine Flynn’s new boutique, Love the Design, offers yet another reason to venture to Leslieville. The aesthetically pleasing gallery-shop is where vintage and modern styles seamlessly co-exist in furniture, such as rustic dining tables and sofas, found objects like a 1920s doctor’s cabinet, and home accents including hurricane lamps and Italian dinnerware. Flynn’s photographic talents are also reflected here, in images hung throughout the space. From urban views of subway signs and hydro lines to pastoral landscapes and studies of horses and stags, her works alternate between intimacy and detachment. Flynn’s Love the Card stationery line also offers custom consultations on-site.

Hot Dining: New French Standard

No matter the prevailing trends, fine French food never goes out of fashion; it’s always notable when a new purveyor of la cuisine pops up. The latest in this city is Le Rossignol, a petit bistro located at the western edge of residential Leslieville. The restaurant has all the touchstones of Parisian intimacy—white linens, warm yet discreet lighting—and such classic fare as cassoulet ($19) and moules et frites ($17) to match. Chef Jeremie Seguinot does, however, add a few twists, courtesy of the archetypically Canadian ingredients in dishes like bison tenderloin ($26), braised wild boar chop ($27) and striped bass ($20).

Yours to Discover: Day Five

Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four.

Hit these streets to satisfy your every culinary craving.

OSSINGTON AVENUE For some real local flavour, this hip strip offers diverse, indie-chic restaurants.

View Yours to Discover: Restaurant Rows in a larger map

HARBORD STREET An eclectic, tucked-away treat of a street featuring worldly cuisine.

View Yours to Discover: Restaurant Rows: Harbord Street in a larger map

QUEEN STREET EAST Residential Leslieville’s main drag is home to a multitude of welcoming eateries with real neighbourhood character.

View Yours to Discover: Restaurant Rows: Queen Street East in a larger map

Foodies can get the inside scoop with a unique jaunt to gourmet shops in the hip West Queen West neighbourhood, courtesy of ChowBella. Culinary concierge Trina Hendry introduces guests to specialty spice traders, tea merchants, macaron makers and more on this three-hour Sunday stroll.

You Are Here: Leslieville

The many families in this re-gentrifying residential neighbourhood flock to its main strip, Queen Street East, for an assortment of independent shops, cafés and more.

View You Are Here: Leslieville in a larger map

MORNING GLORY Get cozy at Lady Marmalade, an eclectic café that serves up all-day breakfast and lunch options to a dedicated clientele. Comfortably retro—like a grandmother’s kitchen—this eatery delights with market-fresh local fare including organic breads and fair-trade coffee, waffles, and signature “bennies” made with free-run eggs.


IMBIBE IN STYLE One of Leslieville’s real hidden gems, Swirl is a vintage-chic wine bar in a converted apartment above a pet supply store. There’s no kitchen; instead you’ll find delectable preserves, cheeses and charcuterie-style options like duck rillettes—shredded duck confit with garlic, Cointreau and brandy—best enjoyed, of course, with a few glasses from the succinct yet sophisticated list of wines.

TOT SPOT A no-fuss, all-natural early-years boutique with an urban sensibility, Baby on the Hip has made a name for itself with organic clothing—in materials like bamboo and soybean fibre—BPA-free toys and accessories, and even packaging that’s mindful of the user and environment. It’s a one-stop shop for both parents and gift givers in a family-friendly pocket of Toronto.

DRESS IT UP Vintage-style frocks ranging in style from daywear to cocktail-party flair are showcased at Doll Factory by Damzels. The Queen East boutique’s house brand features a rock ‘n’ roll flavour with feminine touches. Labels like Betty Page and Pin Up Couture also find space on the colourful racks, along with handbags, hats and 1970s-and ‘80s-inspired memorabilia.

Charley Harper's Springer Spaniel is available at Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing

UNIQUE GRAPHICS Pop into gallery-like shop Telegramme Prints and Custom Framing to ogle the handcrafted lithographs produced using antique presses, just as they were during the golden age of poster art. Pick out a classic fine-art print preserved on museum-quality paper, or admire modern screenprints by artists like Shinzi Katoh and Charley Harper. These vibrant pieces will stand out on your walls for years to come.

FABULOUS FINDS A long-standing neighbourhood treasure trove, Gadabout is a near-infinite source for anything and everything one could imagine from the world of fashion and accessories. Buttons, beads, bracelets and broaches are among the thousands of items squeezed between designer couture that could date to the late 19th century.

Hot Shops: Baked Goods by Bobbette & Belle

Homey Leslieville is even more appealing with the opening of Bobbette & Belle, a 3,000-square-foot space devoted to artisan pastries. The first sweet shop from cake designer Allyson Meredith Bobbitt and former Canoe executive pastry chef Sarah Bell includes a production facility and a retail café. The duo is known for their award-winning wedding cakes, but here, their whoopie pies and brightly coloured French macarons have become signature confections. Exclusively for the holidays, packaged gift sets containing these two treats, plus hand-painted letterpress cookies, are available in three colour themes: traditional red, green and white; romantic pink and green; or ice-cool blue, white and silver. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
1121 Queen St. E., 416-466-8800.

Weekend Roundup, December 4th to December 6th

December is finally here! ‘Tis the season to eat, drink, shop, skate and be merry at festive holiday performances.

Friday: Spend an evening at the Distillery Historic District

Friday: Spend some time at the Distillery Historic District

Friday December 4th
Pick out gifts for little loved-ones at the Distillery Historic District’s Children’s Trunk Show shopping event, then spend the evening walking the area’s cobblestone laneways and admiring its seasonal light display.

Get into the festive spirit at the Friday After Five event hosted by the Gardiner Museum. This special holiday happy hour features Christmas cocktails and a tourtiere poutine created by celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy.

Partake in a 72-year-old seasonal tradition at the Church of the Holy Trinity—its Christmas Story performance brings the nativity to soul-stirring life.

Saturday: Tea at the Royal York

Saturday: Tea at the Royal York

Saturday, December 5th
Take time for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and nibble on finger sandwiches, mincemeat tarts and other holiday treats. Visitors can also take home decadent goodies from the on-site Festive Bakery.

Meet new friends while learning how to pry open shellfish at the singles oyster shucking, tasting & wine pairing night at Leslieville gastro-pub Prohibition.

Sing along with Weezer and other alternative-rock superstars—the Air Canada Centre hosts radio station 102.1 The Edge’s Jingle Bell Rock concert.

Sunday: Eva Avila portrays Maid Marian in Robin Hood

Sunday: Eva Avila portrays Maid Marian in Robin Hood

Sunday, December 6th
Enjoy a festive afternoon at Roy Thompson Hall as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.

Strap on your blades for Harbourfront Centre’s HarbourKIDS: SK8 festival at Canada’s largest artificially cooled outdoor ice rink.

Follow Robin Hood as his merry men as they engage in eco-conscious hijinks in the Ross Petty production of Robin Hood: The Environ-Mental Family Musical.

Weekend Roundup, November 20th to 22nd

Whether you’re craving wild elk meat, festive holiday cookies or a classic Eggs Benedict, we’ve found a plethora of delectable events to please your palate.


Friday: Gourmet Food & Wine Festival

Friday: Indulge at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.

Friday, November 20th
Sip shiraz like a sommelier and savour fine edibles among a sophisticated crowd at the city’s most popular Bacchanalian extravaganza, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.

Laugh out loud at the wacky family dynamics on stage in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, an original Canadian musical-comedy based on a true story.

Watch some movies with a cause at the annual Breast Fest Film Festival, a compelling initiative that endeavours to raise awareness of issues surrounding breast cancer, showing at the Royal Ontario Museum. (more…)