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stargazing

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

Stargazing at the Toronto International Film Festival

CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE STARS AT A SWISH MOVIE GALA OR AT ONE OF THE CITY’S TRENDY DINING AND SHOPPING DESTINATIONS

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

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

 

Jasper’s Stunning Sights

Photo: Courtesy of SunDog Tours

Photo: Courtesy of SunDog Tours

By Afton Aikens & Jack Newton

Mountain Connector

SunDog Tours’ daily winter bus (to May) offers hassle-free travel to and from Jasper National Park. The Edmonton service accesses West Edmonton Mall or the International Airport. The Calgary/Banff/Lake Louise service cruises the famous Icefields Parkway, which offers spectacular views. Some highlights of this world renowned drive include:

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The Best Spots in Canada to Stargaze

2011-01-30 ORION NEBULA - Version A

The haunting Orion Nebua (Photo: Ken Lord)

With over 80% of Canadians living in densely populated urban areas, it’s inevitable that light pollution keeps most us from seeing the true beauty of the night sky. Away from the city, there is a different type of glow that fills the heavens: stars, nebulae and planets. To experience this spectacle first hand, check out this list of the best locations in the world to stargaze. Six out of 11 of them are right here in Canada, and may be a short distance from where you live or travel, such as Jasper National Park, Point Pelee, McDonald Creek Provincial Park in B.C., Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, Fathom Five National Marine Park on the Bruce Peninsula and Cypress Hills in the Prairies. Perhaps one day Wood Buffalo, Canada’s newest dark sky preserve, will be added to the list.

Let us know your favourite places to stargaze and share your own awesome travel photos on our Flickr Group or Pinterest boards.

 

LIKE STAR GAZING? YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY:
Say Hello to Canada’s Newest Dark Sky Preserve
12 Quintessential Canadian Road Trips
Go Glamping in Canada

Dark Jasper: Star Gazing Site

Pyramid Island courtesy The Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Since Jasper is now a designated Dark Sky Preserve, we recommend leaving the town lights behind for a visit to Pyramid Island (Map 5, 1H). Go in the afternoon for a Pyramid Lake snowshoe (walk where others have been), stoke up the fire pit for a wiener roast (bring wood) and later bask in the stars’ glory. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight for the stroll back across the footbridge to your car.—LS

Fundy National Park Becomes a Dark Sky Preserve

Jasper National Park is another Dark Sky Preserve. Photo by Thomas Pleiss.

By Carissa Bluestone

Last month, New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park was designated a Dark Sky Preserve (DSP) by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The park has always been a great spot for stargazing, what with its limited light pollution and trails that are accessible during winter months (when skies are clearer), but DSPs must make a concerted effort to keep artificial lighting at bay. A project to upgrade park lighting to to meet Dark Sky standards should be completed by 2013. Also planned are educational stargazing parties at Bennett Lake and the Chignecto South campground. (more…)

Set Your Sites On Stargazing

A meteor shower captured in the Okanagen. Photo by Darren Kirby

While we love s’mores and campfire chats, when camping the real show happens when the fire goes out and we can see all the stars. With all of Canada’s vast open spaces, it’s not hard to get away from the star dimming lights of the city and enjoy some star gazing. The Globe and Mail spoke to Canadian astronomy expert Terence Dickinson, who is also editor of SkyNews magazine, to get his stargazing secrets.

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