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Dine Like a Star During TIFF



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



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


A Celebration of Cinema: TIFF 2016


Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in La La Land. Photo courtesy of TIFF.

Each September, film buffs and hopeful celebrity-spotters alike flock to the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, the annual star-studded event that runs from September 8 to 18. This year’s line up has 49 special presentations and 19 gala screenings, offering a variety of films from Canada and around the world.

Opening up the festival is the world premiere of the The Magnificent Seven, with an all-star cast including Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Byung-hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Vince D’Onofrio, and Jody Mullins. Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern remake sees outlaws, hired guns, bounty hunters and other ne’er-do-wells banding together to protect a small town against a greedy villain.

Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan brings his Cannes Grand Prix-winning film It’s Only the End of the World to the festival. The story about the reunion of a dysfunctional family stars French actors like Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux and Nathalie Baye. Canadian author Carol Shields’ best-selling novel, Unless, makes its way to the silver screen starring Oscar–nominated Catherine Keener as the mother of a runaway daughter who becomes a panhandler on the streets of Toronto.

In another literary adaptation, Philip Roth’s 1997 crime drama American Pastoral is brought to life through the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also stars alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning. Similarly, television host and rapper Nick Cannon can be found both behind the camera and in front of it in King of the Dancehall, a musical set in Jamaica.

Other special presentations include Lion, starring Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and Dev Patel, which is based on the true story of a man who used Google Earth to locate his birth parents 25 years later. Fans of The Rolling Stones can get satisfaction by getting a backstage glimpse of the legendary English rockers in a new documentary Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Or, get your fill of the current POTUS before he leaves with office with Barry, a biopic about Barack Obama’s college days. Crazy, Stupid, Love co-stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are paired together once again in Damien Chazelle’s musical, La La Land about a jazz pianist and aspiring actress who fall in love.

How to get Into the Festival

Single tickets run from $25 to $49, with rush tickets from $20 to $40. A number of packages can also be purchased starting at $85; see tiff.net, call 1-888-599-8433 or visit the Steve & Rashmi Gupta Box Office at 350 King St. W. for complete options.  —Karen Stevens

Q&A: TIFF CEO Piers Handling on the Film Organization’s First 40 Years


TIFF Piers Handling

TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling (photo: George Pimentel / WireImage Getty for TIFF)

What have been some of the most memorable moments of your career with TIFF?

Coming to the first festival was obviously very impactful for me. I was pulled by a section of new German cinema that they’d programmed. New German cinema in the ‘70s was perhaps the most important emerging national cinema in the world. So that’s what pulled me here. And the audience: I really felt like there was an audience here of people like myself, who were crazy about film, and really crazy about quality, international, foreign-language film, which was what was driving me at that point in time in my career.


The Toronto International Film Festival Marks 40 Years of Movies


TIFF Toronto International Film Festival TIFF 2015

(photo: courtesy of TIFF)

Four decades is a long time in the life of any art form or industry—especially one as fickle as filmmaking. It’s rather exceptional when a single person or institution can not only enter but also remain in the cultural conversation across multiple generations. Yet it’s a feat that the Toronto International Film Festival has managed to pull off.

Marking its ruby anniversary this year, TIFF (which runs from September 10 to 20) continues to be one of the global movie business’s most significant annual events, an affair at which hundreds of the world’s most exciting motion pictures are introduced not only to industry insiders, but to everyday film fans seeking cinematic stories from new voices and auteurs alike.


Best Stargazing Spots at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival


There are better ways to spot celebs at TIFF than by waiting behind the red-carpet ropes (Photo: Christopher Harte)

Toronto is truly at its finest when it plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) each September. The streets buzz with pride as locals share their favourite haunts with an influx of visitors. And while stars are masters at surreptitiously sneaking through the streets unnoticed, frequenting some key spots just might increase the odds of finding yourself accidentally-on-purpose across the room from your most admired luminary. (more…)

Pick Your Flicks at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival!

Click this image to see a full-resolution version of our TIFF 2012 “Films to Follow” chart

By Craig Moy and Ana Taveira

From September 6 to 16, this city becomes an enormous set for a cast of directors, producers, actors, executives, critics and cinephiles, all of whom have assembled for the hotly anticipated Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF’s main attraction, of course, is screenings galore, but it’s always a challenge to choose which of the 300-plus films to target. After all, the festival is only 10 days long. Fortunately, we’ve devised a handy flowchart with more than 30 of the most hotly anticipated dramas, thrillers, comedies and documentaries on the TIFF marquee. Once you’ve made your selections, you can check out the full film below! (more…)

Weekend Roundup, September 9 to 11

Friday: The Vegetarian Food Festival offers up a huge harvest (photo by Michael Cannon)

Friday, September 9
Discover new recipes and products at the 27th annual Vegetarian Food Festival at Harbourfront Centre. Dedicated salad-heads and cooks simply looking for new ideas are invited to view demonstrations and visit exhibitors and vendors during this weekend-long festival.

Catch American Idol winner Scotty McCreary and the rest of the season 10 cast as their American Idols Live! tour rolls into Air Canada Centre. The show includes individual performances and energetic group numbers like Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You” and a Journey mash-up.

Get ready for your dream wedding at Canada’s Bridal Show held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The country’s premiere bridal event features hundreds of vendors, a fashion show, and amazing door prizes.

Saturday: Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, is one of the many films screening today at TIFF

Saturday, September 10
Get excited for the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival! From September 8 to 18 over 300 films are screened from all over the world. See this year’s highly anticipated films and maybe catch a glimpse of celebrities like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling who are all set to attend.

Enjoy the Fall spirit with the 35th annual Cabbagetown Festival. In celebration of the community, the streets are filled with a variety of entertainers, food vendors, and a lively parade.

See country music super star Keith Urban on his 2011 Get Closer world tour. Accompanied by The Perry Band, Urban is sure to please the crowd at the Air Canada Centre with his memorable hits.

Sunday: Rock out with Pearl Jam (photo by Karen Loria, Pearl Jam Ten Club)

Sunday, September 11
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of iconic rock band Pearl Jam at their Air Canada Centre concert. The band just kicked off the Canadian leg of its tour with plans to rock the arena for two nights. (The new Cameron Crowe-directed documentary Pearl Jam Twenty is also screening at TIFF.)

Kick up your heels as Kew Gardens hosts The Beach Celtic Festival. The east-end event embraces Irish and Celtic culture through traditional dances, music, and food.

Support emerging and established artists at the Sunnyside Beach Juried Art Show and Sale. Within the historic  Sunnyside Pavillion—along the shore of Lake Ontario—you be privy to a variety of visual arts, installations, and live music during the final day of the event.

Weekend Roundup, March 4th to 6th

Friday: Witness the grace of Russia's Mariinsky Ballet

Friday, March 4
Marvel at Russia’s legendary Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov Ballet) as its skilled dancers float across Sony Centre stage in Swan Lake, arguably the world’s most popular ballet. Accompanied by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, this production of a beloved classic is sure to please the whole family.

Two hundred independent and emerging artists have gathered in Toronto this weekend for The Artist Project. Chat with the artists about their processes and inspirations as they display their paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations and more.

Listen in on La Voix Humaine, a fantastic one-woman play written by renowned poet, author and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. On stage at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, this drama details a mysterious phone call placed to a woman by a lover who abandoned her.

Saturday: Lucinda Williams takes the stage with Levon Helm

Saturday, March 5
Steep yourself in Americana tonight as Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm brings his Ramble on the Road tour to Massey Hall. The former singer and drummer for The Band is joined by renowned roots artist Lucinda Williams, who is scheduled to perform a full set of her own, too.

Scour a treasure trove of the past at the Absolutely Vintage Show and Sale at Maple Cottage. Top vintage shops including Gadabout and Eclectisaurus have combined their collections of clothing, jewelery and antiques in a smorgasbord of unique fashion and accessories.

Tonight represents theatre goers’ final opportunity to catch the Canadian Stage Company’s Saint Carmen of the Main. This Greek tragedy with a Canadian twist tells the story of a young performer who leaves Nashville and returns to her roots in Montreal, where she sings of the hustlers and whores who attend her nightclub shows and sees those on the fringes of society become the heroes of her songs.

Sunday: Slip through the fog curtain to learn about water at the Royal Ontario Museum's latest exhibition

Sunday, March 6
Drink in every last drop of tantalizing information as the Royal Ontario Museum presents Water: The Exhibition. Through this comprehensive show, visitors can learn about water’s importance as an essential resource thanks to hands-on activities, live animal displays and much more.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a little bit early at the Tiff Bell Lightbox, which today presents the Toronto Irish Film Festival. Its day-long slate of films from the Emerald Isle—and Canada, too—honours the Irish and their cultural contributions to the visual media. 

Considered by many to be one of the world’s finest classical ensembles, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra offers an applause-worthy program of Schubert, Wagner and Bartók tonight at Roy Thomson hall. Master conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the orchestra to mastery in grand Viennese style.

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 10

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: Saint Louis Blues, an unlikely musical that follows a road trip through Senegal, and 25 Carat, in which a car thief and big-time crook and struggle to escape the life of crime.

The venue: Cineplex Odeon Varsity at Manulife Centre, movie theatre where patrons aged 19 and over can receive full in-seat service during Varsity VIP film screenings.

What to do while you wait for doors to open?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 10 map in larger size

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 9

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: A young peasant who struggles to start up a vineyard at the turn of the 19th century gets help from an angel in The Vintner’s Luck, and a family squatting in Amsterdam get a taste of the ups-and-downs of communal living in My Queen Karo.

The venue: Cumberland cinema in the posh neighbourhood of Yorkville, bound to be star-studded during TIFF.

Where are you going to go to catch a glimpse of a celebrity?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 9 map in larger size

Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF—Day 8

Red carpets, nightly parties, fans’ faces obscured by continually clicking cameras—looks like the Toronto International Film Festival is back in town. Each day of the TIFF we’re not only listing our daily flick pick, but we’re mapping the hottest attractions, restaurants, and shops and services that are just steps from the screening spot.

The films: A free outdoor screening of U2: Rattle & Hum, which follows the iconic Irish rockers on their 1987 North American tour; and BAND, a multi-disciplinary film-based art installation complete with post-punk band Deerhoof live in concert.

The venue: Yonge-Dundas Square, located at the southeast corner of one of the city’s liveliest intersections.

If you want something different to what’s offered at the Square, where can you go?

View Festival Fare: 10 Days of TIFF–Day 8 in larger size