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Toronto neighbourhoods

You Are Here: Eat, Shop & Explore in Yorkville

LOOK BEYOND THE BIG BRANDS ON BLOOR STREET AND YOU’LL DISCOVER YORKVILLE’S ECLECTIC MIX OF LOCALLY OWNED UPPER-TIER BOUTIQUES, GALLERIES AND RESTAURANTS

Axe and Hatchet Toronto Yorkville

Axe and Hatchet Grooming Club

1 Throw a stone in Yorkville and you’ll hit a highly credentialed salon; the pickings are slimmer for men in need of a new ‘do. Fortunately there is Axe & Hatchet, an unpretentious “grooming club” for perfectly executed old-school haircuts and shaves. 101 Yorkville Ave., 416-901-3634; axeandhatchet.com

2 Part of an elite group of spas highlighting treatments and products by Swiss brand Valmont, Spa at the Hazelton is one of Toronto’s most intimate retreats for facials, massages and more. 118 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6307; thehazeltonhotel.com/spa

3 Esteemed fashion plates George and Lisa Corbo curate trendy ready-to-wear attire for both sexes at George C, one of the couple’s three unique Yorkville boutiques. 21 Hazelton Ave., 416-962-1991; georgec.ca

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You Are Here: 13 West Queen West Spots to Check Out Right Now

QUEEN STREET IS SUPER-COOL FOR PRETTY MUCH ITS ENTIRE LENGTH. WEST OF TRINITY BELLWOODS PARK, THE STRETCH KNOWN AS WEST QUEEN WEST IS PARTICULARLY CROWDED WITH CACHET-ENHANCING CAFÉS, BOUTIQUES, GALLERIES AND RESTAURANTS.

West Queen West Toronto Dandylion Restaurant

Dandylion restaurant, chef Jay Carter’s recent addition to the West Queen West strip (photo: Craig Moy)

1 Partake in chef Jay Carter’s sophisticated, ingredient-focused cooking at his intimate Dandylion restaurant. 1198 Queen St. W., 647-464-9100; restaurantdandylion.com

2 The Theatre Centre is a champion of innovative new works in a historic library. From August 10 to 26 it hosts Monday Nights, a participatory drama slash pick-up basketball game. 1115 Queen St. W., 416-534-9261; theatrecentre.org

3 Chef Vittorio Colacitti’s restaurant, The Good Son, aims to please by drawing together the corners of the culinary world. The ambitiously cosmopolitan carte prioritizes seasonal and local ingredients, but uses them in varied dishes such as jerk shrimp, bulgogi short ribs and a half-dozen wood-fired pizzas. 1096 Queen St. W., 416-551-0589; thegoodsontoronto.com

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Pan Am Games: Neighbourhoods to Explore During Your Downtime

EVEN MULTI-SPORT FANATICS NEED AN OCCASIONAL BREAK FROM THE NEAR-CONSTANT COMPETITION DURING THE PAN AM GAMES’ 17 DAYS. A FEW HOURS SPENT EXPLORING THE HOST CITY’S MYRIAD NEIGHBOURHOODS IS JUST THE TICKET!

Pan-Am-Games-Toronto-Neighbourhoods-West-Queen-West

La Cubana and Fonda Lola are among Toronto’s top Latin American restaurants (photos: Craig Moy)

Although they’re definitely the summer’s main event, the Pan American Games are hardly the only, well, game in town. Get the most out of your visit by setting aside some time—between checking out the basketball tournament, cheering on the triathletes and being wowed by wakeboarders’ stunts—to get to know Toronto’s compelling history, shopping hubs and cosmopolitan restaurant scene through these four downtown neighbourhoods.

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You Are Here: What to See, Do, Eat and Buy in Liberty Village

MZTV Museum of Television (photo: Craig Moy)

MZTV Museum of Television (photo: Craig Moy)

The condos are still going up in this west-end neighbourhood, but a number of restaurants, boutiques and other businesses have done more than enough to establish themselves.

1  Broadcasting impresario Moses Znaimer’s significant collection of rare, vintage television sets can be viewed, by appointment, at the MZTV Museum of Television & Archive. 64 Jefferson Ave., 416-599-7339; mztv.com

In Liberty Village, School is best attended on weekends. The academically themed spot gets top marks for its brunch, including pancakes with black- and blueberry compote and super-cheesy bacon French toast. 70 Fraser Ave., 416-588-0005; schooltoronto.com

3  Fashion-forward femmes find favour at Vocado, a contemporary boutique that makes updating your seasonal style as simple as flipping through a friend’s closet. Pick out everything from Wildfox printed t-shirts to J Brand jeans to well-heeled footwear by Dolce Vita. 121–171 East Liberty St., 647-347-7153; vocado.myshopify.com

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You Are Here: What to See, Do and Eat on Bremner Boulevard

The CN Tower's EdgeWalk

The CN Tower’s EdgeWalk

1  Toronto’s skyline-defining monument, the 553-metre CN Tower, is among the world’s tallest freestanding structures. Peer way up and you may spot thrill-seekers taking part in an EdgeWalk, which allows daring individuals to traverse the perimeter of the building 116 storeys above street level. For a less precarious bird’s-eye view, guests can dine at the revolving restaurant 360, which boasts the world’s highest wine cellar. 301 Front St. W., 416-868-6937; cntower.ca

2  Adjacent to the CN Tower is the Rogers Centre, home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. The stadium was the first in the world to have a retractable roof; it’s open in good weather when Jose Bautista, Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and their teammates are running the bases. 1 Blue Jays Way, 416-341-1000; rogerscentre.com

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Chef at Home: Ricardo Larrivée

If you like the affable, comforting persona of chef Ricardo Larrivée from his Food Network Canada show Ricardo and Friends, you can now bring him home with you. Sort of. The bilingual Quebec-based host—episodes of his popular series are filmed in the Chambliss home Larrivée shares with his wife and three daughters—has launched a line of cook- and bakeware available at Sears. The complete collection consists of pots, pans, utensils, and even storage containers. A frequent visitor to Toronto, Larrivée shares his thoughts on this city.

What are your favourite places to visit when in Toronto?

I love the antique stores in Yorkville. Also the Royal Ontario Museum, Pusateri’s, Stillwater Spa, and Kensington Market (at Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West) for its food, bars and ambience. (more…)

Essential to Toronto: The Action’s at Harbourfront

Photo by Mark Bradshaw

Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, Harbourfront Centre is a vibrant hub for family activities and cultural happenings. More than 4,000 events take place here annually, from contemporary theatre and music at the Enwave Theatre—including two performances by songstress Sarah Slean with the Art of Time Ensemble (May 24 and 25)—to visual arts exhibitions at The Power Plant, plus film screenings, readings and more. In warm weather, visitors can stroll the boardwalk, and children can take a spin on the artificial Natrel Kinder Rink year-round. After working up an appetite, enjoy a casual bite at Lakeside Eats restaurant or the World Café, which offers international cuisine throughout the summer. And don’t forget to stop by the Centre Shop for unique Canadian crafts and design products to take home with you.

You Are Here: Uptown Yonge

This northerly section of Yonge Street mixes name-brand and upscale-independent shops, restaurants and a bustling vibe that’s both urbane and neighbourly.


View You Are Here: Uptown Yonge in a larger map

North 44

NAME RECOGNITION The first and arguably most revered of top chef Mark McEwan’s four Toronto businesses, North 44° has been an uptown destination for more than 20 years. Longtime McEwan protégé Sash Simpson runs the kitchen at this refined restaurant, and dishes out contemporary classics like roasted squab, pan-seared Dover sole and herb-crusted ostrich.

LOCAL TREAT An alternative to the area’s abundant chain coffee shops is La Bohème Café Patisserie. Though relatively spacious, the room is often filled with patrons indulging in Te Aro coffee and fresh-made tarts, French pastries, and savoury snacks like sandwiches and quiches. If the weather is suitable, opt for a seat on the secluded back patio.

PUT ON THE RITZ The valets at Centro get a workout most evenings as the venerable restaurant attracts Toronto’s big spenders to its swanky space. Lately, chef Jason Carter has reinvigorated the menu with striking seasonal flavours—dishes range from mozzarella ravioli to a creamy lobster thermidor—while a long wine list has international vintages at many price points.

Pistachio (photo by Gizelle Lau)

GREEN GOODS Organic, sustainable, biodegradable—just a few of the adjectives that can be applied to the wares at eco-friendly gift boutique Pistachio. Here, environmentally aware consumers can peruse natural beauty products, small items for the home, children’s toys and more. A selection of social stationery and fair-trade chocolate treats help make your purchase complete.

HOME BREW Health- and flavour-conscious uptowners have made the Yonge Street location of David’s Tea a neighbourhood staple. Upon entry you’ll be offered a tea-of-the-day taste, but be sure to pick up a few sachets, too. The sheer variety—from delicate Bai Hao Yin Zhen white tea to delightful Cream of Earl Grey—can be overwhelming, but enthusiastic staff are always ready to offer up their favourites.

THE EYES HAVE IT Ladies look luxurious at Pretty in the City. The slim and trim beauty bar is known for its eyelash extensions—a signature treatment guaranteed to add movie-star glam—but also deals with hair elsewhere through shaping, tinting and waxing. Shellac and Gelish polishes are used for manicures and pedicures to ensure up to two weeks of non-chip colour.

You Are Here: Harbord Street

With welcoming restaurants, cozy, independent cafés and specialty boutiques, this short strip offers a bit of small-town charm in the big city.

View You Are Here: Harbord Street in a larger map

CAFFEINE FIX Award-winning barista Sam James has long been a driving force behind Toronto’s indie java movement. His eponymous Sam James Coffee Bar is known for its personal service and superior beans. Order a classic espresso, find a new favourite like a soy or chai latte, or select the science lab–style siphon coffee for a true artisanal experience.

Sam James Coffee Bar

CREATIVE CERAMICS Clay Design has offered its high-quality, Canadian-crafted wares at the corner of Harbord Street and Brunswick Avenue since 1980. From mugs to vases and everything in between, pottery lovers are certain to find that perfect piece for the kitchen or dining room. Resident artists are pleased to offer knowledge on different styles, shapes and functions.

TREAT YOURSELF Chef Donald Duong has catered to the Queen of England, Pope John-Paul II and Barack Obama; his talents are evident in the delectable creations at DT Bistro. Take your pick of numerous sweet treats including cakes, tarts, strudels and parfaits, or savour brunch, lunch and dinner in the bistro’s casual-chic environs.

CASUAL GOURMET Childhood friends Jean-Charles Dupoire and Sylvain Brissonnet pair well as the respective chef and sommelier at Loire. Named for the region once called the “garden of France,” this restaurant nods to French culinary tradition, but its dishes are thoroughly modern and utilize many Ontario-sourced ingredients.

Splendido's front-of-house bar

CROWDED HOUSE The diminutive Harbord Room pays homage to Canadian-style cuisine in bar bites and contemporary staples made with seasonal, organic products. The formula must be working: the dining room is often packed with enthusiastic foodies enjoying chef Cory Vitiello’s favoured fare. As the weather warms up, request a table on the secluded back patio.

PREMIUM VENUE One of Toronto’s top fine dining destinations, Splendido specializes in locally flavoured delicacies that are sure to excite the senses—chef Victor Barry’s offerings include a foie gras parfait, liguine with mussels and clams, and suckling pig boudin noir. It’s a great special-occasion spot, and groups can reserve the private “Cellar” to dine amongst the restaurant’s collection of wines.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This April

3. Ultra

1 Celebrating Prince William’s wedding on this side of the pond with a cup of the royal wedding blend tea from Majesteas.

2 The quiet confines of the Toronto Sculpture Garden.

3 Dramatic 15-foot-tall renderings of roosters in the dining room at Ultra.

4 Crispy thin-crust pizza from Mercatto.

5 A rejuvenating soak in the hot green tea pool at Body Blitz Spa.

8. Woodbine Racetrack

6 The retractable roof at the Rogers Centre—you can gaze at stars in the sky or at the Toronto Blue Jays on the field.

7 Heading lakeside to explore the Harbourfront.

8 The thundering sound of hooves on opening day at Woodbine Racetrack.

9 Admiring the “Canada” bowl, circa 1725, the first depiction of this country in ceramic, at the Gardiner Museum.

10 The adventurous rotating menu at Beast, which has included oven-roasted bone marrow.

11. Purdy's Sweet Georgia Browns

11 Sweet Georgia browns from Purdy’s—toasted and salted pecans with caramel and milk chocolate all in one morsel.

12 Warm and doughy bagels from St. Urbain at St. Lawrence Market.

13 Getting lost in the curated stacks at Type Books, a favourite of resident bibliophiles.

14 The fervor of the “scramble” at Yonge and Dundas, where you can cross the street in any direction.

15 Designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran’s favourite things—an international collection of goods from New Zealand to Sweden at Seventy-Seven.

13. Type Books

16 Reveling in the smooth sounds of jazz at The Trane Studio, named for saxophonist John Coltrane.

17 Inventive Japanese fare at Ginza Sushi, with offerings like sashimi boats.

18 Seeing the city on your own schedule with Gray Line’s Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour.

19 Local retail therapy at Shopgirls, which stocks items by many Toronto fashion, accessory and decor artists.

20 Sampling a variety of vintages courtesy of Eight Wine Bar’s “buck an ounce” program on Friday nights from 4 to 9 p.m.

19. Shopgirls

21 The homey interior of Bobbette & Belle, where framed whisks and vintage plates adorn the walls as art.

22 Slurping back a freshly shucked oyster from Rodney’s Oyster House.

23 The upscale diner ambience of The Counter, which serves all-day breakfast and more.

24 Strolling along Canada’s Walk of Fame and counting how many names you recognize.

25 Inspecting the intricate and ornate silver art deco doors of the Design Exchange.

26. Real Sports Bar & Grill

26 Catching playoff hockey action at the ultimate man cave, Real Sports Bar & Grill.

27 Tracing the career of silent film star Mary Pickford in an exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

28 Shopping for vintage finds for less at Haute Classics. You might find classic Chanel and Chloé pieces.

29 The melodious church bells of St. James Cathedral.

30 Soaking in the academic vibe on the University of Toronto’s bustling campus.

Yours to Discover: Day Two

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.

FAVE NABES
Get a taste for some of Toronto’s vibrant ethnic enclaves in our slideshow.

Participating in a private or small-group walking tour is one of the best ways
to get to know the town. The Toronto experts at A Taste of the World, Genova Tours
and Tour Guys are more than happy to guide you.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This March

2. Thomas and Friends

1 Taking a bite of a delicious ice cream sandwich for dessert at Marben—even in winter.

2 Having fun with the kids—and a big blue tank engine—at Thomas and Friends, live on stage from March 18 to 20.

3 Indulging at the Toronto Wine and Cheese Show, which runs from March 18 to 20.

4 The tweedy atmosphere at Nicholas Hoare—perfect for bibliophiles.

5 Seeing Swan Lake performed with unerring grace by Russia’s famed Mariinsky Ballet.

7. Elmwood Spa

6 Applauding top Canadian musicians as they get deserved praise at the 40th annual Juno Awards on March 27.

7 Rejuvenating skin, muscles and mind at Elmwood Spa.

8 Singing and swooning along with songbird Sarah McLachlan on March 17 and 18.

9 Marrying French and Japanese culinary delights at Forte Bistro’s new sushi bar.

10 The selection of whimsical modern and classic toys from Kidding Awound.

12. The Chef's House

11 Learning all about the vital importance of water at the Royal Ontario Museum’s newest exhibition.

12 Helping George Brown College culinary students hone their skills by dining at teaching restaurant The Chef’s House.

13 Ordering daring fare like pig-face tacos at the Black Hoof.

14 Finding fashionable, organic and oh-so-soft clothes for little ones at Mini Mioche.

15 Being in the audience as Janet Jackson sings her hits at the Sony Centre on March 12.

16. The art of Tim Burton

16 Exploring a world-renowned director’s creative process at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s massive Tim Burton exhibition.

17 Admiring the skills of Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo, who joins the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on March 23 and 24.

18 Answering the call of the wild from March 16 to 20 at the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show.

19 Picking up spring wardrobe staples at the two-storey H&M on Bloor Street West.

20 Embracing our love of French fare with dishes like milk-poached veal and sautéed sweetbreads at Auberge du Pommier.

23. Secrets From Your Sister

21 Examining the colourful works of ceramicist Betty Woodman at the Gardiner Museum.

22 The savoury-sweet taste of cashew chicken at Golden Thai, one of the city’s most venerable Southeast Asian eateries.

23 Finding the perfect cup size with a personalized fitting at lingerie boutique Secrets from Your Sister.

24 Oohing and aahing as Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan flies in for another dunk at the Air Canada Centre.

25 The adorable meerkats in the Toronto Zoo’s African Rainforest pavilion.

24. DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors

26 Marvelling at the stories of Robert Munsch, performed live by Solar Stage Children’s Theatre from March 5 to 20.

27 Exploring the varied indoor and outdoor attractions—from a skating rink to a shopping centre—in the Harbourfront area.

28 Sipping a cocktail at Avenue’s commanding onyx bar.

29 Getting a runway-side seat to see the latest couture trends—LG Fashion Week starts March 28.

30 Spotting all the intricate details in Scott Conarroe’s latest landscape photos at Stephen Bulger Gallery.