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Where to Go Toronto

Nine of Toronto’s Best Views (and Photo Opportunities)


The view of downtown Toronto from Humber Bay Park West (photo: Craig Moy)

At street level, it’s easy to get a sense of Toronto’s busyness—its many packed restaurants, its workers hustling to and from their offices, its ever-present car traffic. What’s not always evident, though, is the megacity’s sheer scope. These prime vantage points and rooftop roosts show just how far the Big Smoke stretches.


The Addisons Residence Hosts Toronto’s Coolest House Party


Addisons Residence Toronto Nightlife

Blink and you might very well miss the city’s newest hangout. An unmarked bungalow—with a black door and a doormat that declares “The neighbors have better stuff”—is where you’ll find The Addisons Residence. Channeling the vibe of a cozy yet sophisticated Beverly Hills home, the former C Lounge space has been stylishly transformed into the abode of a fictitious preppy family, complete with vacation photos, potted plants, and shelves lined with books and board games. Three rooms each come with their own bar and atmosphere, but also allow party goers to move seamlessly from one space to another. The heart of any house party is the kitchen, and here countertops serve as tables for congregating with drinks that incorporate the likes of cereal, milk and jello. Later, take a seat on the chairs and benches scattered around the living room, which boasts a cocktail cart where beverages can be mixed upon request; it’s also where live shows take place. The more casual rec room has a foosball table, shuffleboard and air hockey, as well as several TV screens for catching sporting events, making it the ideal place to nosh on game-day staples like beer, nachos and wings.  —Linda Luong

• The Addisons Residence, 456 Wellington St. W., 416-260-9393; theaddisonsto.com
Map and reviews

You Are Here: Eat, Shop and Explore on the Danforth


Globe Bistro the Danforth Toronto

Globe Bistro


1 One of the longer-lived finer-dining spots on the Danforth, Globe Bistro plates contemporary Canadian fare à la carte or as part of affordable tasting menus. 124 Danforth Ave., 416-466-2000; globebistro.com

2 The simple concept of H2O Float Spa is to provide patrons with a serene space in which to, well, float—in private tubs or sensory deprivation–style pods. 138 Danforth Ave., 647-349-0426; h20floatspa.com

3 A Toronto institution for nearly 30 years, scruffy Irish-inspired saloon Allen’s serves consistently excellent burgers and pours from literally hundreds of whisky bottles. 143 Danforth Ave., 416-463-3086; allens.to


Where to See the Best Fall Colours Near Toronto


The fall colours can be seen in abundance on the Niagara escarpment (photo: Jeff S. PhotoArt)

The fall colours can be seen in abundance on the Niagara escarpment (photo: Jeff S. PhotoArt)

We may complain about the shorter days and the noticeable chill in the air, but one thing we can’t lament with autumn’s arrival is the beautiful change it brings to our parks and woodlands. While trees are, of course, reasonably abundant in Toronto, you really do owe it to yourself to take leave of the concrete jungle in order to view the most vibrant foliage. So pack a picnic (or just some sturdy hiking shoes) and head to these just-outside-of-town locations to be awed by the best fall colours near Toronto.


25 Indoor Ways to Enjoy Winter in Toronto


Winter in Toronto

Sure, you can bundle up and try to be a cold-conquering hero, or you can be a city insider with these 25 unique-to-the-city things to do and places to explore—all to ensure your ample enjoyment during winter in Toronto.


You Are Here: Eat, Shop and Explore in Yorkville

Once an enclave for the Bohemian and hippie crowds, historic Yorkville is now known for its tony mix of boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

The Spa at the Hazelton Hotel boasts a salt water lap pool, among many other luxuries

The Spa at the Hazelton Hotel boasts a salt water lap pool, among many other luxuries

1 For three decades, Il Posto has served up classic fine Italian fare in a traditional dining room. Buffalo mozzarella with vine ripened tomatoes, spinach and ricotta ravioli in a butter and sage sauce and roasted Chilean sea bass with an herbed crust are among the delectable offerings you’ll want to sample. 148 Yorkville Ave., 416-968-0469; ilposto.ca

2 Find original paintings, photography, sculptures and limited edition prints by Canadian and international artists at Liss Gallery. Established and up-and-coming artists are represented here, including Harry Benson, Greta Gibney, Mick Fleetwood, Ronnie Wood and Rachel Isadora. 140 Yorkville Ave., 416-787-9872; lissgallery.com

3 A luxurious oasis, The Spa at The Hazelton boasts a full menu of soothing and de-stressing options. Facial and body treatments feature Swiss line Valmont, and the Just for Him menu includes massages, facials, back treatment, sports manicures and pedicures. 118 Yorkville Ave., 416-963-6307; thehazeltonhotel.com/spa


What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events this November


The Bakelite Masterpiece, Geordie Johnson and Irene Poole, Photo by Cilla von Tiedemann

Geordie Johnson and Irene Poole in The Bakelite Masterpiece. Photo by Cilla von Tiedemann

ALL MONTH LONG Set in Holland following World War II, in The Bakelite Masterpiece an artist accused of selling art to the Nazis must prove his innocence by painting a work by Johannes Vermeer in front of a prosecutor and an art historian. Taragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $48-$53; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

STARTS NOVEMBER 4 Mirvish Productions brings The Shaw Festival’s production of Arcadia to the Royal Alexandra Theatre. This Tom Stoppard masterpiece juxtaposes the lives of residents of a country estate in the early 19th century and the present day, with themes spanning algorithms, chaos theory, botany and literature. Tickets are $25-$99; visit mirvish.com to purchase and for more information.

NOVEMBER 7 Aboriginal producer/DJ crew A Tribe Called Red mixes traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic music at The Danforth Music Hall. Tickets are $33.75-$44; visit thedanforth.com for more details and to purchase.


Get the Party Started: Toronto’s Nightlife Boasts Something for Everyone


The Drake Hotel. Photo by Connie Tsang.

The Drake Hotel is a hip west-end hub. Photo by Connie Tsang.


Toronto may not be Las Vegas or Miami when it comes to extravagant nightspots. But even in this relatively staid city there’s a clutch of people who know how to party—and a brace of impressive venues to host the revelry. Downtown’s nightlife nexus is generally bound by King and Queen streets, between Bathurst Street and University Avenue. Upstart Ace (425 Adelaide St. W., 416-504-1444) caters to the city’s trendy young professionals. It’s intimate, but there’s room to breathe, and for a premium you can keep it that way in a private booth. Similarly smaller scale is Media Bar, a chic nightclub-meets-social-club type of space where you can charge your iPhone while nursing your drink. On the other end of the spectrum are spaces such as Uniun—which attracts big crowds with its no-expense-spared ambience and guest appearances by top international DJs—and Exhibition Place’s Muzik nightclub, featuring such amenities as a beauty bar (with hair and makeup services for ladies) and an exclusive Grey Goose lounge.

That said, sometimes a discerning nightcrawler needs something more novel to get the blood pumping and the champagne flowing: hybrid bars-slash-nightclubs The Everleigh and Cabin Five attract attention by fostering a Canadiana-chic vibe, while Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon carries 10-gallon Stetsons, cowboy boots and bolo ties into the 21st century on the back of a mechanical bull. And then there’s Chill Ice House (page 27). True to its name, Toronto’s newest nightspot embraces our wintry weather: the lounge’s walls, furniture, bar and even its glasses are made of ice.


Getting a nice, stiff drink in Toronto has never been difficult, per se, but these days it’s easier than ever. The really timeless tipples, of course, have long been kept alive at the leather-bound Roof Lounge, one of the city’s most venerated—and most comfortably traditional—hotel bars, while numerous neighbourhood establishments up the ante by using artisan ingredients in soon-to-be-classic and real-deal-timeless recipes. The Black Hoof’s Cocktail Bar (923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511) leads the pack in this regard, but you can’t go wrong ambling into the likes of Northwood (815 Bloor St. W., 416-846-8324), D.W. Alexander or Montauk (765 Dundas St. W., 647-352-4810), which has both Manhattans and negronis on tap. Speaking of time, bars such as SpiritHouse and Museum Tavern use it wisely to create barrel-aged cocktails—drinks that have gained smoother, mellower flavours by maturing in oak barrels for three to four weeks.

If it’s a more unusual sip that you seek, BarChef is a natural first-call: the city’s foremost envelope-pushing lounge is known for utilizing molecular techniques in its signature cocktails. Should those complex creations prove intimidating, rest assured that dialed-down, yet contemporary, drinks can be had at finer venues across Toronto. We recommend investigating the inventiveness of Momofuku Nikai and Cold Tea.


The city’s live music scene is ample and diverse. Use this handy guide to decide where you should go tonight!

Kool Haus, Phoenix Concert Theatre and Sound Academy: Toronto’s mid-size concert venues are known (though not always favourably) for their cavernous acoustics, as well as for their consistently varied bookings: one night might see British synth-pop stylists Bombay Bicycle Club, while the next could bring alternative rapper Ab-Soul to the stage.

Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace: In business for more than 60 years, the ’Shoe is a prime destination for scoping out emerging local talent—particularly those with a folk-rock or alt-country vibe—as well as bigger-name bands. Somewhat larger, Lee’s Palace attracts a range of established indie acts, including Beach House, The Wooden Sky, Cloud Nothings and Royal Canoe.

The Rex and Jazz Bistro: Toronto’s jazz scene isn’t necessarily as vital as it once was, but these downtown venues keep swinging. On top of its regular jazz and blues programming, Jazz Bistro also boasts a weekly Latin showcase and Sunday jazz brunch. Older and a bit rougher around the edges, The Rex nevertheless invigorates with a minimum of two shows every night.

The Hoxton: Each month, this urban-chic space hosts a decent number of big-beat EDM artists who know how to play to the clubby crowd.

Wrongbar: Eclectic DJs are the stars of the show at this Parkdale venue. The official schedule is sparser than at other spots, but musicians playing elsewhere in town have been known to drop by Wrongbar to spin some post-performance vinyl.

The Drake Hotel: This hip west-end arts-and-culture hub alternates between indie-rock concerts, DJ-directed dance parties, comedy shows and more.

The Tranzac: The Toronto Australia New Zealand Club (The Tranzac for short) has made a name for itself by regularly hosting a variety of hyper-local performers. The tunes tend toward the folksier end of the spectrum—with a smattering of contemporary classical and creatively improvised music—but often incorporate a somewhat experimental mien.

Celebrate Craft Beer in a Very Big Way at Cask Days

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

OCTOBER 24 TO 26 What began in 2005 as an intimate gathering of like-minded beer consumers on the back patio of Bar Volo (587 Yonge St., 416-928-0008) has now become one of North America’s largest celebrations of craft beer. Cask Days brings unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated brews to the masses, allowing breweries the chance to show off their hops. This year’s event has about 300 different cask-conditioned ales by 100-plus breweries from across Canada, the United States and the U.K., including Niagara Oast House, Nelson Brewery, Grizzly Paw, Microbrasserie Le Castor and Grand River Brewing. A special focus on California includes 30-plus breweries from the state. Not into ale? A number of ciders are available, too, as well as gluten-free beer options. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m., $35 and up; see caskdays.com to buy tickets. —Linda Luong

Ontario Winery Profile: Strewn Winery

From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.


This week’s Ontario winery:

Established in 1997
Owner: Joe Will, president and founding winemaker. Newman Smith, chairman.
Winemaker: Dr. Marc Bradshaw

How big is your winery?
Strewn is a smaller winery with 26 acres of grapes grown from the winery’s lakeshore and inland vineyards, along with those purchased from a handful of other growers.

How many varieties of wine do you produce?
We produce nine varietals. We produce age-worthy Bordeaux-style red wines: Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our refreshing white wines include Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc. We produce Vidal, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine. The portfolio also includes the more affordable TwoVines and Cottage Block brands, premium varietals and single vineyard Terroir selections, many available only at the winery.

What are your three most popular wines?
Two Vines Riesling-Gewurztraminer, Strewn Barrel Aged Chardonnay and Rogue’s Lot (a blend of Cab Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc).

Tell us about the winery’s background.
Joe Will, founding winemaker has always had a passion for wine. While he working in other fields (journalism and public relations), he kept his passion for wine alive. In 1989 he had the opportunity to further pursue the business that stirred his soul. After working in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, Joe headed to Australia’s Roseworthy College at the University of Adelaide. Upon returning home Joe signed on as the inaugural winemaker at Pillitteri Estates and five years later opened Strewn winery with industry veteran Newman Smith. The mandate of the winery is to make premium VQA wines from grapes grown in the Niagara Peninsula.

Does the winery offer tours?
We offer complimentary public tours daily at 11:30 a.m., which includes a vineyard walk (weather permitting) followed by a tasting. We also offer French-speaking tours available by appointment. Private tours are available for groups of 10 or more for minimum of $5. Customized tours available for groups. Prices vary.

Ontario Winery Profile Strewn Estate BottlesIs there a retail shop on the premises?
We have a retail boutique that stocks wine related merchandise that make lovely eccentric gifts for the winelover and foodie.

What other amenities are on site?
The Wine Country Cooking School located within Strewn is a unique culinary experience for recreational cooks. Terroir La Cachette is the restaurant at Strewn where chef Alain Levesque combines French Provençal style of cooking with the best local ingredients, bringing together the finest the region has to offer.

Tell us something people typically don’t know or understand about wine production.
Contrary to popular belief, winemaking is a pretty un-romantic occupation! It’s exhausting, intense, involving crazy hours and insane temperatures, and is totally grubby work with black stained hands for many months of the year…but, like any forms of art, people embroiled in the production of wine are some of the most absolute super-charged passionate people you will ever encounter, and they wouldn’t have their job any other way.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
I feel that the wine consumer often overlooks serving temperature for most wines. Often white wines are served too cold – making them less aromatic and more acidic. Typically, more complex white wine, such as barrel-fermented Chardonnay should be served slightly warmer (10-13°C). Whereas, lighter-bodied and neutral white wines benefit from more of a chill (7-10°C). The common refrigerator is set to 4-5°C, so a good rule is to remove white wines from the fridge around 15-20 minutes prior to service.

With the advent of state-of-the-art heating and insulation systems, room temperature has increased. In turn, red wines are often served slightly too warm. Serving a red wine too warm makes them seem flabby and less fresh. Lighter reds are refreshing when served between 10-13°C and medium-bodied red wines are appropriately served between 13-16°C. Serving bigger, bolder and more tannic red wines too chilled will make them more astringent and bitter, so serving slightly below room temperature at 16-18°C is recommended. Placing most red wines in the fridge 15-20 minutes prior to service will benefit the wine and the consumer. Of course, if you like your wine warmer or colder, you should not forsake what you enjoy—after all, you paid for it and you are consuming it!

• Strewn Winery, 1339 Lakeshore Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, 905-468-1229
• strewnwinery.com; Facebook; Twitter @strewnwinery


Ontario Winery Profile: Viewpointe Estate Winery

From Pelee Island to Niagara to Prince Edward County, Southern Ontario’s wine-producing pockets are home to a bounty of vintners that craft high-quality Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Icewines and much, much more. Every Wednesday throughout the summer, Where Toronto profiles an Ontario winery whose bottles are worth seeking out, and whose vineyards are definitely worthy of a day trip from the big city.


This week’s Ontario winery:

Established in 2000
Owner: John, Steve and Jean Fancsy

How big is your winery?
We are a boutique winery producing between 7,000 and 8,000 cases of wine each year.

How many varieties of wine do you produce?
More than 15.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Viewpointe-Estate-BottlesWhat are your three most popular wines?
Auxerrois, Pinot Grigio and a Cabernet blend.

Tell us about the winery’s background.
We are a family-owned and -operated winery. As the Fancsy family diverged from the automotive industry in the late 1990’s, we wanted to fulfill a vision of a destination winery in the developing Lake Erie North Shore appellation. Family ties are strong here; the family had property in the area and spent summers at a family cottage on the lake near the winery. There is a passion for wine.

Does the winery offer tours?
Yes. Tours can be booked by appointment. The cost of a tour is $7 and includes tastings of 4 wines. Tastings are complimentary for small groups, and range from $3 to $5 depending on the size of a larger group. Please phone the winery for further details regarding pricing.

Is there a retail shop on the premises?
Yes, and a tasting bar.

Ontario-Winery-Profile-Viewpointe-Estate-TastingWhat other amenities are on site?
There is a fully equipped teaching kitchen—with a view no less! Viewpointe offers cooking classes throughout the year. There’s also an event space on the second floor of the “retail” building with a panoramic view of Lake Erie for weddings and many other events. We have a huge outdoor patio, where meals are served from May to October. There is a large elegant tent over part of the patio; large enough for events including wedding ceremonies. Lunches and special dinners are also scheduled on weekends and on special evenings during the winter season. The tasting bar/retail area offers seating for indoor dining as well as a panoramic view of the patio and lake. There is also an event space at cellar level, which can be utilized to host meetings, lectures and presentations. This room is connected to our barrel room, which is part of the tour agenda. Two of the winery buildings sit back from one of our vineyards. Many great photo opportunities can be had at events including the lake, sunsets, the vineyards, the barrel room and the grounds and buildings. Viewpointe also hosts and participates in seasonal events and activities

What is one piece of advice you’d offer someone wishing to have a better experience with wine?
Of course, first we would suggest a visit to the winery to drink up all of the factors to getting the most from your glass and bottle. Knowing the story, experiencing personally, and comfortably learning and deciding which wine is right for you can greatly enhance your wine experiences.

• Viewpointe Estate Winery, 151 County Rd. 50 E., Harrow, 519-738-0690
viewpointewinery.com; Facebook; Twitter @viewpointewines

You Are Here: Eat, Explore and Relax Along the Harbourfront

HTO Park

HTO Park

1  Inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, the Toronto Music Garden is a classical green space in both theme and execution: six meticulously tended “movements” are lush with trees, tall grasses and colourful perennials. The garden hosts chamber music performances on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer. 479 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com

2  Watch the boats (and planes) go by beneath a large yellow parasol at HTO Park. The sand-strewn site overlooking Toronto’s inner harbour lends a relaxed, beachy vibe to what was once a fairly nondescript stretch of lakeside real estate. 339 Queens Quay W.