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Toronto

Embrace Fall With Comfort Food

AS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS STAY WARM WITH THESE FALL FAVOURITES

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Get your fill of delicious carbs with the fungi pasta at Ardo. Photo by Adam Mazerall.

Say hello to fall with these hearty comfort foods.

  1. You won’t go hungry with the toothsome Arcadian Court chicken pot pie, which is served with mashed potatoes and scratch gravy at Bannock.
  2. Head to Harlem Underground for the savoury-sweet combination that is fried chicken and waffles, a beloved Southern dish.
  3. With handmade gnocchi, local mushrooms, heirloom carrots, and creamy stracchino cheese topped off with shaved black truffle, the funghi pasta at Ardo is a decadent answer to any carb craving.

The Bloor Street Culture Corridor

THE STRETCH OF BLOOR STREET BORDERED BY BATHURST STREET AND BAY STREET HAS BEEN DUBBED THE “BLOOR STREET CULTURE CORRIDOR.” IT TAKES ABOUT 30 MINUTES TO WALK FROM ONE END TO ANOTHER, BUT THERE’S A WEALTH OF PROGRAMS EXHIBITS, RESOURCES, AND PERFORMANCES TO DISCOVER.

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Head to the Gardiner Museum for exhibitions like True Nordic and view works like this vase by Jean Cartier. (Collection of the Gardiner Museum, gift of Léopold L. Foulem.)

  1. The multi-purpose 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education is a space for everything from ‘zine fairs to live performances, such as the unscripted Like Mother, Like Daughter (October 24 to 30), which explores the stories of newcomers’ parent-child relationships. 918 Bathurst St., 416-538-0868.
  2.  Housed in a heritage building and former church dating back to 1888, the Randolph Centre for the Arts features a number of theatre and music performances year-round. Check the calendar at randolphcentreforthearts.com for upcoming shows and events. 736 Bathurst St., 416-924-2243.
  3.  Informative and captivating motion pictures await at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-3123). The century-old movie house presents Canadian as well as international documentaries year-round, in addition to hosting independent film festivals, screening series, and other special film presentations. 
  4. For more than 30 years, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir have skillfully performed music from the baroque and classical eras among others, often providing a unique take on time-honoured pieces. Catch one of their shows at the historic Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, like Christophe Coin’s October concertos by Haydn and Boccherini. Visit tafelmusik.org or call 1-866-882-9844 for a schedule.
  5. Footwear aficionados can explore four galleries at the Bata Shoe Museum, which contains more than a thousand shoes and related artifacts. The collection All About Shoes has an impressive assemblage of 20th-century footwear from various celebrities, like a pair of Elton John’s monogrammed boots, as well as sneakers, high heels and more from almost every culture in the world.
  6. Spend a day at the Royal Ontario Museum —one of the largest institutions in North America—perusing suits of armour, ancient Greek pottery and rare
    prehistoric creatures, among many other fascinating artifacts. Along with the permanent collection, which includes 6,000,000 items, check out a newly discovered dinosaur in the triceratops family, and the colourful exhibit by glass artist Dale Chihuly, on through to January 2017.
  7. Enjoy one of the world’s oldest art forms at the Gardiner Museum, which is dedicated to ceramics. Drop in for a clay class and the True Nordic exhibit on Scandinavian design.
  8. Tour the Japan Foundation’s public gallery, home to exhibits on graphic design, visual art, and handicrafts from the far East. The cultural centre also boasts a library of about 20,000 items along with free screenings and lectures.  —Karen Stevens

Enjoy Fresh Lobster at Ibs.

LOBSTER LOVERS WON’T WANT FOR REASONABLY-PRICED OPTIONS AT LBS.

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Thanks to careful prep by the chef the lobster at lbs. comes out of the shell easily, eliminating the fuss of enjoying the crustacean.

Feast on fresh lobster at lbs(The name, which stands for “Lobster,” “Burger,” and “Salad” is pronounced “pounds”). The short menu has four feature items at only $22 each: the 1.25 lbs. lobster, lobster roll, a burger topped with aged cheddar and bacon, and a lobster salad. Sit back at the large bar and quench your thirst with refreshing cocktails and a rotating selection of non-alcoholic custom sodas. And if you still have room, order the popular lobster poutine made with rich gravy. For crustacean-lovers on the go, the take-out window at the back serves Sam James coffee, as well as lobster rolls and ice cream sandwiches.  —Karen Stevens

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in October 2016

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Kids can play, build, and discover at the interactive Lego Imagine Nation Tour.

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN OCTOBER!

OCTOBER 1  Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that transforms Toronto streets into a public gallery, returns for its 11th edition on October 1 featuring more than 80 projects. For 12 hours from sunset to sunrise, see the likes of sculptural works, dance, films, photography, interactive displays, and more at various locations including Nathan Phillips Square and along the Waterfront. Among the exhibits is Asalto Toronto by Daniel Canogar which is part of a broader display that examines metamorphosis and transformation, while Oblivion, including the piece Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi, explores the cosmic universe as both a state of being and a state of nothingness.

OCTOBER 1 AND 2  Head to Heritage Court at Exhibition Place for the Toronto Vintage Show, which is the largest event of its kind in the city. Find vintage apparel for both men and women, as well as handbags, footwear, jewellery, and accessories.

OCTOBER 3, 4, 6 AND 7  Hello, can you hear her? It’s Adele. And she’s here for four shows at the Air Canada Centre, performing hits for her chart–topping album 25.

OCTOBER 6 TO NOVEMBER 5  The Canadian Opera Company opens its 2016/17 season with two of the genre’s greatest works: a new production of Bellini’s Norma, which sees Sondra Radvanovsky and Elza van den Heever sharing the titular role of the Druid high priestess who breaks her vow of chastity for a Roman lover only to have him forsake her for another woman. Meanwhile, Handel’s Ariodante is a tragic love triangle fraught with jealousy and dishonesty between Prince Ariodante, his betrothed Ginevra, and the Duke of Polinesso, who wants to break them up.

OCTOBER 8 AND 9  Toronto’s very own Aubrey Drake Graham, better known as Drake, headlines two hometown shows at the Air Canada Centre as part of his Summer Sixteen tour, with special guests Future, Roy Woods, DVSN, and others.

OCTOBER 9  Eighties pop star Rick Astley, best known for the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” tours in support of his latest album 50.

OCTOBER 14 TO 16  Fans of the classic building toy can’t miss the first-ever Lego Imagine Nation Tour, a hands-on experience for the family that is the largest event of its kind to ever come to Canada. With more than a dozen pavilions, there’s something to keep young minds—and hands—occupied, including a bridge building competition, a master builder lab, and a brick pit with a mountain of pieces in an assortment of sizes and colours. Life-sized models, such as an eight-foot-tall Marvel Super Heroes Avenger, as well as Star Wars and Minecraft model displays are also part of the exhibit.

OCTOBER 15 AND 16  Scottish stand-up comic Danny Bhoy has audiences in stitches as part of his Commonwealth Comedian tour.

TO OCTOBER 16  Don’t miss closing night on Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, Luzia. The company’s 38th production transports audiences to a vibrant land inspired by Mexico, rich in colour, lush landscapes and exotic creatures. The title of the show fuses the Spanish sounds for light (luz) and rain (lluvia), an apt name as both elements play a role in this spectacle, whether it’s cyr wheel or aerial artists spinning and swinging through a drizzle, or birds jumping through a series of hoops.

OCTOBER 20 TO 30  Wordsmiths from the Emerald Isle are the focus of this year’s International Festival of Authors, which brings contemporary writers, poets, and more from around the world for 11 days of readings, interviews, lectures, discussions, and book signings. This year’s lineup includes such CanLit luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Emma Donoghue, Yann Martel, and Maureen Hynes, as well as Takashi Hiraide, Lola Lafon, and Robert Kanigel. Running until December 22, a special exhibit on graphic novels complements the event, featuring the works of Chris Oliveros, Nick Drnaso, Jon McNaught, and Nina Bunjevac.

OCTOBER 20 TO 29  Henry Purcell’s first opera, Dido and Aeneas, brings the desolate life of the widowed Queen of Carthage to the stage. Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta and tenor Christopher Enns star as the ill-fated couple who embark on a racy affair that ends abruptly when the Trojan prince disappears. The Toronto Children’s Chorus provides musical backup for the show in a nod to the 17th-century performance at which students from the Josias Priest’s school in London also sang.

OCTOBER 22  Australian singer Sia, known for such radio-friendly songs as “Elastic Heart” and “The Greatest,” is on a North American tour with special guests Miguel and AlunaGeorge.

OCTOBER 24 Powerhouse singer Mariza brings traditional Portuguese music and new favourites to Roy Thompson Hall.

OCTOBER 24 & 25  Alt rock superstars Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth (with Edwin once again on lead vocals) team up for a cross-Canada tour, headlined by The Standstills .

OCTOBER 28  The beloved identical twin sister duo Tegan and Sara fill Massey Hall with their catchy pop anthems about love and relationships. 

TO OCTOBER 31 Head to Canada’s Wonderland for a scare at the Halloween Haunt. 20 haunted attractions including mazes, scare zones, and live shows, and the popular ZOMBIES 4D Interactive Dark Ride mean that you’ll have a terrifying time as you dodge the 700 monsters prowling the park. (Not recommended for children under 13.)

SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS IN OCTOBER Kids of all ages will enjoy Camp Spooky at Canada’s Wonderland. Every weekend in October Camp Spooky features daytime activities like mazes, trick-or-treating, a kids’ Halloween costume parade and much more (included with park admission)!

 

Culture Crawl: Nuit Blanche 2016

EXPERIENCE ART AND CULTURE ALL NIGHT LONG AT NUIT BLANCHE ON OCTOBER 1ST.

Daniel Canogar's project Asalto Toronto

Daniel Canogar’s project Asalto Toronto.

Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that transforms Toronto streets into a public gallery, returns for its 11th edition on October 1 featuring more than 80 projects. For 12 hours from sunset to sunrise, see the likes of sculptural works, dance, films, photography, interactive displays, and more at various locations including Nathan Phillips Square and along the Waterfront. Among the exhibits is Asalto Toronto (pictured) by Daniel Canogar, which is part of a broader display that examines metamorphosis and transformation, while Oblivion, including Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi, explores the cosmic universe as both a state of being and a state of nothingness. —Linda Luong Luck

 

 

Don your Lederhosen: Oktoberfest Celebrations

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Watch Bavarian-style dancers at Octoberfest Toronto. Photo by Tom Pandi.

Since the first festival more than 200 years ago, Oktoberfest has become a popular celebration worldwide—and Toronto is no exception. Get your Bavarian fun fix at these three events.

  1. September 30 to October 1 For two days, Oktoberfest Toronto transforms the grounds of Ontario Place into a Munich-style party featuring folk dancers, non-stop polka music, plenty of food, and a selection of German and European beers. Visit torontooktoberfest.ca for more details. Festivities include a tapping of the keg party and an “Ein Prosit” party for the over 19 crowd. All ages will enjoy Saturday’s Volksfest Carnival, which features games, hat-decorating, rides, and contests.
  1. September 30 to October 9 With traditional beer hall decor, a keg-tapping ceremony, and “oom-pah-pah” bands, the party at Amsterdam BrewHouse strives to be as the close to the real thing as you can get outside of Deutschland. Enjoy your favourite sausages and soft pretzels, as well as a special beer brewed on site and served in one-litre steins. Make sure you show up early, as tickets are limited, and most of the seating is first-come first-serve.
  1. For a modern take on the German beer hall experience year-round, visit WVRST. There’s a wide selection of sausages—try the likes of bison, kangaroo and duck—paired with an even wider selection of local craft beers and ciders. —Karen Stevens

 

Uniqlo Comes to Toronto

LOCATIONS SET TO OPEN AT CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE AND YORKDALE  SHOPPNG CENTRE THIS FALL

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Stock up on all the essentials when Uniqlo opens this fall.

Uniqlo is poised to satisfy a desire for minimalist imports from Japan with the opening of its first Canadian boutique. Established in 1984, the much-loved Japanese brand boasts more than 1,700 stores worldwide, including Hong Kong, Germany, France, Australia, Russia, and the U.K. The apparel company is best known for its functional yet affordable and well-made basics for men, women, and children. A multi-coloured palette makes mixing and matching effortless amongst a selection of athleisure, work, sport and lounging separates, including its signature cashmere sweaters and ultra light down jackets and vests.  —Linda Luong Luck

Nordstrom Comes to Toronto

LUXURY SHOPPERS HAVE EVEN MORE OPTIONS WITH THREE NEW NORDSTROM LOCATIONS FOR TORONTO IN THE WORKS

The new Nordstrom carries upscale brands like Alice + Olivia .

The new Nordstrom carries upscale brands like Alice + Olivia .

The battle for Toronto shoppers heats up this fall with the opening of Nordstrom. After Saks Fifth Avenue debuted earlier this spring with much glam fanfare, the Seattle-based Nordstrom has opened the first of three Toronto locations, starting with the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in September (now open), followed by a second outpost at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in October. (A third venture at CF Sherway Gardens is set to open in 2017.) The CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship is among one of five in North America, and is a sprawling 220,000-square-foot space spread over three levels featuring concierge services, personal wardrobe and makeup stylists, alterations, valet parking, certified shoe and bra fitters, and free delivery within the downtown core. Shoppers looking to refuel have three eat-in options: the full-service Bar Verde, the casual lounge Habitant, and coffee shop Ebar.

—Linda Luong Luck

 

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

29 Fun Autumn Activities

FALL IS UPON US, AND WITH IT COMES AN ABUNDANCE OF ACTIVITIES TO HERALD HARVEST SEASON. WHETHER IT’S PICKING APPLES, SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT PUMPKIN, OR TAKING A HIKE TO ADMIRE THE FALL FOLIAGE, THERE’S PLENTY TO DO IN AND AROUND THE CITY.

Head to Whitamore’s Farm for some colourful pumpkins.

How Do You Like Them Apples?

1. Visit Dixie Orchards (14309 Dixie Rd., Caledon; 905-838-5888) for nearly two dozen varietals of apples, including ambrosia, Cortland, ginger golds, mutsu, Spartan, and tolman sweets.

2. Situated on 100 acres in the Oak Ridges Moraine, there are approximately 14,000 trees at Nature’s Bounty (651 Scugog Line 2, Port Perry; 905-985-2096) growing the likes of gala, honey crisp, elstar, and jonagold among the more than 20 types of apples. Don’t be surprised if you encounter some sheep; the owners have a flock that roam free.

3. Though the Niagara region is best known for its wines, the area’s unique ecosystem also allows for many different types of fruit to be grown here. Year round, Parkway Orchards (15000 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake; 905-262-5097) has pick your own offerings including cherries, peaches, plums, and apricots, and in September and October, apples are in season.

Head for the Patches

4. Gourds of all shapes and sizes are available at Albion Orchards (14800 Innis Lake Rd., Caledon; 905-584-0354) come October, perfect for making pies or carving jack-o-lanterns. In September, visitors can pick apples starting with the farm’s famous Paula reds.

5. Dive deep into the field for a pumpkin at Stonehaven Farms (7388 Guelph Line, R.R. #3, Campbellville; 905-878-1870), or head to the Kids Zone for a straw bale or corn maze, and wagon ride tours.

6. Although pumpkins, squash and gourds in all shapes and sizes can be found at Howell Family Pumpkin Farm (2878 Holland Rd., Fonthill; 905-892-3918), the Niagara-area spot also has numerous activities like a scarecrow display, a corn maze, rides, shows, and two trails through their Carolinian forest.

Fun for Everyone

7. West of Toronto, be prepared for long line ups to get into Chudleigh’s. In addition to its apple orchards, the family-owned farm has tractor-drawn wagon rides and a huge hay maze. Don’t leave without trying their famous apple blossoms, which are baked from scratch.

8. North of the city, Whittamore’s Farm (8100 Steeles Ave. E., Markham; 905-294-8200) is a family favourite. Nestled next to the Rouge River Valley, the 220-acre farm boasts a corn maze, wagon rides through the Spooky Forest, a spider web climb, and the popular Pumpkinland—watch as Farmer Frank catapults the orange-hued squash during a weekend cannon show.

9. Located along the picturesque Niagara Escarpment, Springridge Farm (7256 Bell School Line, Milton; 905-878-4908) hosts its annual Harvest Festival from September 24 to October 30. Wagon rides to the corn trail, straw bale jumping, a spooky boo barn, and scenic views from the Escarpment lookout ensure there’s never a dull moment.

See Fall Foliage

10. There’s no better way to see the radiant fall foliage than being in the thick of it. Go tree top trekking at Bruce’s Mill Conservation (3297 Stouffville Rd., Stouffville; 905-887-5531), where Aerial Park has five courses comprised of zip lines, wooden bridges, Tarzan-style swings and more. Little ones can visit Treewalk Village, an enclosed space with a network of tunnels and a Treewee Walk obstacle course.

11. Similarly, Heart Lake Conservation Area (10818 Heart Lake Rd., Brampton; 416-661-6600) has an Aerial Game Park with eight courses, 75 games, and 10 zip lines, including an impressive one that is 1,000-foot-long that flies right over Heart Lake.

Be Selfie-ish: Incredible Photo Ops

12. The pedestrian and cyclist thoroughfare Humber River Arch Bridge (southwest of Lake Shore Boulevard and Park Lawn Road) is set against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Ontario. Located at the southern end of Lakeshore Boulevard West, this bridge connects to the Waterfront Trail.

13. High Park offers many photographic opportunities, whether it’s beside Grenadier Pond, in one of the beautiful gardens, amidst the oak trees, or even with the capybaras at the High Park Zoo.

14. Hop aboard a ferry to the Toronto Islands, where shutterbugs can have capture the cityscape, as well as beaches and nature, but the best view is of the skyline at sunset.

15. The beautiful perennials, roses, wildflowers, rhododendrons, rock gardens and arboretum at Edwards Gardens (755 Lawrence Ave. E.; 416-397-1340) provide a lush backdrop for seasonal photos. There’s also a greenhouse, wooden bridges, a waterwheel, fountains, and many walking trails to explore, too.

16. For industrial-looking images, try Evergreen Brick Works, a former quarry and brick manufacturing site. Restored buildings feature graffiti-style art and the adjacent parkland has a number of scenic ponds.

17. In addition to the fascinating exhibits about Islamic, Iranian and Muslim art inside the Aga Khan Museum, the grounds provide a visually-stunning backdrop, including the reflecting pool and the dramatic front façade designed with Brazilian granite.

18. Rouge Park offers a true change in scenery, with beaches, farms, nature trails and more for endless exploring.

19. Niagara has much more to offer beyond the magnificent falls. The Dufferin Islands (7400 Portage Rd., Niagara Falls; 905-354-1721) are a secluded area with a picturesque archipelago connected by bridges and footpaths.

20. The Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens has 40 hectares of meticulously-cared for gardens, including more than 2,400 roses. Pose among ponds and an arboretum chock full of ornamental trees and shrubs.

21. At the Scarborough Bluffs, follow about 15 kilometres of easy trail along the shores of Lake Ontario for a view of the eroding cliffs.

A Walk in the Woods

22. Get a panoramic view of the Niagara Escarpment at Mount Nemo Conservation Area (5317 Guelph Line, Burlington; 905-854-0262) in Burlington. Watch turkey vultures soar and, on a clear day, see as far as the CN Tower.

23. Soak up some history at Woodend Conservation Area (905-788-3135), which is thought to have been a vantage point for British and American armies during the war of 1812. Follow the trail as it descends and then ascends the escapement. Finish at historic buildings with structural elements that date back to the late 1700s.

24. The Humber Valley Heritage Trail begins at the headwaters of the Humber River outside of Caledon and follows the Humber River Valley south for 15 kilometres through wetlands, pine forests, and ancient Hemlock groves.

25. Extending for approximately 200 kilometres from the Niagara Escarpment to the Trent River, the Oak Ridges Moraine (905-833-6600) is an elevated area of land with a wealth of wildlife, geological features, and hiking trails. The Oak Ridges Trail Association offers guided hikes through various sections; see oakridgestrail.org for a schedule.

Chasing Waterfalls

26. The ominously named Devil’s Punch Bowl (1-800-665-445) is the third highest waterfall in Hamilton at 37 metres in height. The Stoney Creek section of the Bruce Trail or the Dofasco 2000 trail leads hikers to this unique water feature.

27. Along with many outdoor activities, the Elora Gorge (7400 Wellington County Rd. 21, Elora; 519-846-9742) has a scenic trail. Take a trek on a cedar-lined path ending with a waterfall that drops from 22-metre-high limestone cliffs.

28. You don’t have to be a hardcore hiker to snap a shot of DeCew Falls (2714 Decew Rd., St. Catharines), just a short walk from the parking lot. The two-step waterfall first plunges from a 20-metre drop, while the second is smaller (but still picturesque) eight-metre cascade.

Take the Scenic Road

29. With more than 890 kilometres of main trail (follow the white signs) and 400 kilometres of side trails (look for the blue signs), The Bruce Trail (905-529-6821) is Canada’s longest-marked hiking route. It follows the Niagara Escarpment from the Niagara Peninsula in Queenston, north to Tobermorey. While many nature lovers concentrate on specific regions or day treks, some more experienced hiking enthusiasts can take the footpath from end to end as it passes through St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills, Walters Falls, Owen Sound, and Wiarton, among others.

—By Linda Luong Luck and 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

 

A Celebration of Cinema: TIFF 2016

EXPERIENCE ACCLAIMED MOVIES AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR FAMOUS FACES AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.

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