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Liberty Village

Bugigattolo Kitchen Offers a Warm Welcome



photos: Tonya Papanikolov

Liberty Village continues to grow, adding new businesses and condo units as quickly as anywhere else in the city. With Bugigattolo Kitchen, the neighbourhood has also gained a few more seats for its hungry denizens—18 seats, to be precise (plus 25 more on a soon-to-be-winterized patio). Of course that’s hardly a replacement-level figure, but the refurbished industrial boîte’s cozy confines tend to foster a conviviality that’s hard to find at some of the area’s larger dining rooms. Here, you’re never more than a few feet from chef Quin Josey, who prepares Southern Italian bites behind the counter of a small open kitchen. Drop in with a few friends for a light lunch of butternut squash soup and prosciutto pizza (or heartier options like house-made lasagna), or pop by on your own and strike up a mid-afternoon conversation with someone new—over an expertly pulled espresso, naturally.  —Craig Moy

• Bugigattolo Kitchen, 54 Fraser Ave., 416-583-3895; bugigattolokitchen.com
Map and reviews

10 Toronto Shops for Unique Holiday Gifts


Brika Yorkdale

Brika’s pop-up shop at Yorkdale Shopping Centre is open until January

The motto at Brika is “a well-crafted life,” which sums up the store’s concept: it sells well-made items designed by artisans instead of mass-produced goods. Originally an online business, there’s now a standalone store on Queen West, as well as a pop-up shop at Yorkdale Shopping Centre open through January 2016. Here, shoppers can pick up a beverage and baked goods from the café, and then peruse jewellery, home accessories and more from such designers as Cabin + Cub, Farewell Paperie and Most Modest. The Yorkdale outpost also feature a handy wrapping station for parceling up your purchases, as well as a colouring wall to encourage a bit of some self-expression.


Bonus You Are Here: Liberty Village

Earlier we offered up a half-dozen of our favourite shops, restaurants and services
in Liberty Village. Of course, there are many more where those came from!

Bar Vespa (photo by Alexandra Grigorescu)

TASTE OF ITALY Everything—from the decor to the beer on tap to the pizza-dough flour—is distinctly Italian at Bar Vespa. On the menu: classic Italian comfort food including the Pancetta and Goat Cheese Pizza and their sweet and savoury Butternut Squash Ravioli. And unlike neighboring restaurants, Bar Vespa boasts a kids’ menu, too. Enjoy lunch or dinner in their brick-walled dining room or gather on the patio for some house-made gelato.

DESIGNER DEN California-based decor store West Elm has only one location in the Canada and it just happens to anchor the shopping experience in Liberty Village. Here you’ll find everything for the modern home, including furniture, bath and bedding, lighting and kitchen and dining items. With a variety of multifunctional options and great designs, you’ll never be short of ideas for any of your spaces, big or small. (more…)

You Are Here: Liberty Village

Don’t be fooled by this area’s industrial outlook. Its factories and warehouses have been repurposed as chic studios, restaurants, and retailers, creating a balance between modern urbanity and old-school charm.

School Bakery and Café (photo by Alexandra Grigorescu)

HIGH MARKS From the wall of clocks to the clipboard menus, School Bakery and Café sure knows how to play up its theme. Some of the cocktails are even served in science flasks! Satisfy your comfort food cravings with crowd pleasers like the super cheesy cheddar French toast, plus a variety of salads, sandwiches and a filling brunch spread.

CORNER POCKET Though it’s a hot spot for big events and parties, the Academy of Spherical Arts is open daily for individuals and smaller groups, too. After a delicious meal, head over to one of the antique pool tables—some of which were made in the same building in the early 1900s. (more…)

Hot Art: 44 Wide Mounts Your Memories

With digital cameras now an essential travel tool, it’s become a cliché that you’re bound to take almost too many photos on your trip—images that will be scanned through by friends and family and quickly forgotten. Ensure your best shot doesn’t get lost in the shuffle by taking it to 44 Wide. This Liberty Village printing house and gallery offers unique services to help preserve and showcase your images. Its “Camera to Canvas” ($180) service prints your photo on a high-quality 16-by-20-inch canvas that’s then protected, wrapped and mounted by hand. Or opt for “Photo to Frame” ($270), which sets your image in a wood frame and allows you to add your own personal sentiment on the back. No matter how you display it, your picture is sure to look its absolute best—every photo is treated to hands-on enhancement by professional re-touchers.

Weekend Roundup, April 1st to 3rd

Friday: Peruse funky bowls by Carolyne Brouillard and many other items at the One of a Kind Spring Show

Friday, April 1
Artists, designers and shoppers unite! The always anticipated One of a Kind Spring Show has begun, and runs through to this Sunday at Exhibition Place’s Direct Energy Centre. Here, 450 artisans offer unique, handmade art, clothing, accessories and designs for purchase. This year, the show features a Muskoka Artists Marketplace as well as workshops and seminars on home design.

In the same vein, the International Home & Garden Show also takes place this weekend at the International Centre, just west of Toronto. Hundreds of home experts, interior designers and landscaping professionals will be on hand for consultation, offering thousands of products and ideas to help freshen up your home this spring.

A new Major League Baseball season begins tonight as the Toronto Blue Jays go to bat against Minnesota Twins. The game at the Rogers Centre is officially sold out (yes, all 50,000 seats), but you can catch the game with the locals at Real Sports Bar & Grill or Wayne Gretzky’s.

Saturday: Rod Steward joins Stevie Nicks for an evening of song (photo by Mark Seliger)

Saturday, April 2
Catch Toronto FC in the second game of its fledgling Major League Soccer season, as the boys in red square off against Chivas USA from Carson, California. The match starts at 1 p.m. at BMO Field, just steps from the popular Liberty Village neighbourhood. Before the game, fill up on some comforting brunch dishes at School Bakery & Café or Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts offers two chances (at 2 and 8 p.m.) to hear A Little Nightmare Music, with classical musicians and YouTube sensations Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo. The duo has taken the world by storm with their unique and hilarious theatrical show that combines classical music with popular culture.

On Saturday evening, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks bring their Heart & Soul Tour to the Air Canada Centre. A “can’t-miss” concert event, the distinctive singers are slated to perform hits from their catalogs, as well as some duets.

Sunday: Partake in historical fare at Fort York (photo by Webguy63)

Sunday, April 3
History is made fun at Fork York National Historic Site, in the heart of downtown Toronto. The heritage site hosts a Historical Food Tasting and Tea experience from 1 to 3 p.m., including samples of old-fashioned food recipes from the fort’s restored 1826 kitchen, plus tea and the freedom to explore the rest of the site.

Starting today, a new exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario features the evolution of 20th-century Inuit art. Inuit Modern: the Samuel & Esther Sarick Collection showcases more than 175 works, including pieces by David Ruben Piqtoukun, Kenojuak Ashevak, Karoo Ashevak, and Lucy Tasseor.

In support of Raising the Roof’s Youthworks initiative, the All-Star Comedy Cabaret is just one aspect of this weekend’s April Fool’s Weekend of Comedy festival. Taking place at 7:30 p.m. at The Second City, the fundraiser is hosted by Steve Patterson of CBC’s The Debaters and features comedians like CBC’s Pete Zedlacher (Just For Laughs, The Hour), Almost Heroes’ Ryan Bellevill, CityTV’s Jonny Harris, David Merry, Evan Carter and Shaun Majumder.

Hot Shopping: Healing Concoction

Like most of us who do several things at once, the lotion you put on your skin can also be a multitasker. At BodyFood, owner Irene Spedaliere, a member of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, has developed a skincare line that nourishes your dermis while delivering properties that combat colds, fight acne, insomnia and stress, prevent aching joints and muscles, or simply to lift the spirit. Pull up a seat at the aromatherapy bar of her Liberty Village retail spot for a custom blend comprised of essential oils and all natural ingredients, making it a suitable product for infants and children, too. If you don’t have time for a personalized potion, pre-made lotions, scrubs, butters, soaps, washes and lip balm are also available.

Fashion Week, Day One

Calling all fashionistas! Strap on your stilettos and strut your way to the city’s most stylish event, LG Fashion Week. This season’s jam-packed schedule is bursting at the (very chic) seams with designer runway shows and exclusive parties. All week long Where Toronto brings you highlights from the hottest spring 2010 collections and tips on where to shop right now for all your wardrobe must-haves.

The runway shows don’t officially start ’til Tuesday, but today there’s still plenty of fashionable fun to be had.

Holt Renfrew

Holt Renfrew

This evening, Holt Renfrew hosts an exclusive LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’Oréal Paris kick‐off cocktail party. Media darlings mingle with prominent Canadian designers presenting highlights from spring 2010 collections at the top retailer’s Bloor Street flagship store. The opening night celebrations continue at Fashion Week’s new King West–district headquarters, where L’Oréal Paris hosts 100 Years of Beauty, a runway show featuring a vignette of chic looks from the classic cosmetics brand.

Holt Renfrew Media Cocktail, 5 p.m. 50 Bloor St. W.; 100 Years of Beauty by L’Oreal Paris, 9 p.m. 1030 King St. W. Both events by invitation only.

If you aren’t lucky enough to attend the invite-only parties, you can still get your fashion fix throughout the week.

During the day, head to Yorkdale Shopping Centre to shop for all your favourite designer fashions and marvel at up-and-coming photographers, stylists and models as they stage elaborate photo shoots in the mall’s centre court.

At night, see and be seen at Fashion Week’s hottest bash, The Official. Hosted at Maro by the F-list, this week-long party promises five über-stylish nights of fashion, music, art and beauty for the public as well as fashion insiders.

Monday to Friday. Doors open at 8 p.m., $20 or free with Fashion Week laminate pass. 135 Liberty St.

For more Fashion Week coverage, visit Toronto Life‘s Style Blog and FASHION magazine.

Frugal Faves: The AGO and Casalife

There’s so much to see and do in this city, but after a while, admission fees, restaurant bills and shopping sprees start to add up. Where Toronto helps you get the most out of your trip without burning a hole in your pocket. Check back each week for our thrifty tips on discounted tickets, exclusive sales, free events and more.

Visit the AGO's Galleria Italia (and more) for free on Wednesday evenings.

Visit the AGO's Galleria Italia (and more) for free on Wednesday evenings.

Free Admission at the AGO
The recently revamped Art Gallery of Ontario displays more than 4,000 pieces spanning many centuries of artistic expression in Canada and around the world. You can view this impressive collection free of charge every Wednesday evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The complimentary admission grants visitors access to all of the museum’s permanent collections as well as entry into some special exhibitions, including Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, a showcase of 80-plus works created between 1926 and 1933 by the influential sculptor. With only two and a half hours to take in 110 galleries, you may have to pick and choose; a must-see is the Galleria Italia, a serene glass- and Douglas fir-enclosed sculpture space that spans the entire length of the museum.

The AGO is free on Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. year-round. Otherwise, it’s open Tuesday to Sunday; adult admission $18.

Moving Sale at Casalife

Big changes are happening this month at Casalife, one of Toronto’s most prominent contemporary home decor retailers. An expansion of the company’s Liberty Village flagship store means that its Vaughan Mills location will be closing down at the beginning of November. As a result, both locations are offering a 20 to 75 per cent discount on all in-store items. Shoppers can expect huge savings on a range of small-scale furnishings suited for condo-dwellers, including great deals on stylish accessories like pillows, throws, table lamps, vases and bowls.

Casalife’s moving sale is on now through November 1. Call 416-922-2785 for more details.

Start Planning Now: Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Returns!

A luchador climbs the steel cage in Shaun El C. Leonardo's <em>Battle Royal</em>, to be presented at this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche.

A luchador climbs the steel cage in Shaun El C. Leonardo's Battle Royal, to be presented at this year's Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (photo by Ricky Auyeung).

How would you prepare to stay awake from dusk until dawn? Would you train by gradually depriving yourself of sleep over a series of nights? Or you could try the opposite approach and seek a surplus of shut-eye leading up to the all-nighter, in the hope of stockpiling your 40 winks. (But how much is enough? 80 winks? 120?) And of course, there is the middle way: frequent doses of caffeine.

Whatever your preference, you’ll want to start planning now, as the countdown to Toronto’s fourth annual “all-night contemporary art thing,” Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, officially began today, with the announcement of its 2009 programming.

The event, beginning on the evening of October 3 and continuing through to the next morning, unites Torontonians (and visitors—last year, more than 100,000 people travelled to the city specifically for Nuit Blanche) in a celebration of creativity. Three “zones”—the areas in and around City Hall and Yonge-Dundas Square, the Financial District, and Liberty Village—play host to 46 diverse, curated installations that not only offer artistic expression through such contemporary media as sound, video, light and performance, but also seek to incorporate site-specificity and, in some cases, viewer interaction as part of the creative experience.

Among the projects Where Toronto can’t wait to see:

  • Geoffrey Farmer’s The Blinking Eyes of Everything, which is said to induce hallucinatory visions through the use of stroboscopic “dream” machines;
  • Battle Royal, a performance piece by Shaun El C. Leonardo employing a steel cage, 20 blindfolded wrestlers and a “fight to the end”;
  • D. A. Therrien’s Beautiful Lights: Four Letter Word Machine, whereby four gigantic light sculptures flash “codes, DNA sequences and elemental words” from between City Hall’s two towers; and,
  • The financial-forces metaphor Wild Ride, organized by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan—two midway rides set up in the middle of Bay Street physically manifest the ups and downs of the free market. Bonus points for hubristic synergy: the rides are staffed by recently downsized businesspeople.

This year’s Nuit Blanche promises to be more accessible than ever before, with the TTC providing all-night service along the downtown sections of the Bloor-Danforth and Yonge/University/Spadina subway lines. Road closures in key areas (such as a large portion of Bay Street, between Gerrard and Front streets) are also a boon to bipedal art lovers, and the fact that the individual projects have been placed closer together means that you can see much more during however many hours you choose to spend looking at this city in a whole new (night) light.