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Best of Canada

The 5 Best Pizzerias in Toronto

BY LINDA LUONG

    The Honey pizza from Pizzeria Defina with fior di latte, gorgonzola, pickled pear and roasted pecans (photo: Pizzeria Defina)

The Honey pizza from Pizzeria Defina with fior di latte, gorgonzola, pickled pear and roasted pecans (photo: Pizzeria Defina)

A bit of dough, some tomato sauce, cheese and an assortment of meats and vegetables may be all it takes to make a classic pizza, but that doesn’t mean just anyone can make a delicious one. There’s an art to making this dish that originated in Naples, Italy; these establishments—our choices for the five best pizzerias in Toronto—consistently serve up culinary masterpieces on thin crust.

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2014 Where to Dine Awards: Toronto’s Best Restaurants, Chosen by You

Toronto’s restaurant scene is vast and plentiful, with thousands of eateries spread across the city. Not sure where to start your culinary adventure?
Take a cue from other visitors with our annual Where to Dine Awards, which highlight Toronto’s best restaurants as selected by our readers. Or get a taste for what’s new and hot right now with our editors’ picks.  BY LINDA LUONG & CARA SMUSIAK

Colette Grand Café (photos: Liam Mogan)

Colette Grand Café (photos: Liam Mogan)

EDITORS’ PICK
COLETTE GRAND CAFÉ
Picture the charm and elegance of a beautiful Parisian bistro married with the refreshing fare of the Côte d’Azur and impeccable service, and you’ve got Colette Grand Café. The Thompson Hotel’s bistro encompasses a dining room, bar and cafe that seamlessly flow together thanks to a palette of warm blues and whites complimented by ashy woods and white marble. Executive chef Michael Steh and pastry chef Leslie Steh (a husband and wife team) have crafted beautiful menus that delight the senses. Though a splurge, the weekend buffet brunch is well worth it, with a lush spread of cheeses, meats, seafood, crepes, carving and omelette stations, salads, fruit and parfaits and more, plus an array of delicious, delicate pastries.
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TIFF Takes Film Fans on Stanley Kubrick’s Odyssey

Although in life Stanley Kubrick was something a recluse, shying away from interviews for his movies, posthumously the oeuvre of one of cinema’s most innovative directors has been laid bare for all to discover, dissect and admire.  BY LINDA LUONG

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining

OCTOBER 31 TO JANUARY 25  One of the film industry’s pioneering individuals is the sole focus of a new exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. On a global tour since 2004 when it first opened at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany, “Stanley Kubrick” is a multifaceted exploration of the influential director’s career. Despite such critical hits as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and his last film, Eyes Wide Shut, and being admired by his 21st-century peers (including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen), Kubrick never received the industry’s highest accolade, an Academy Award, for his directorial work. (He did, however, win an Oscar for special visual effects for 2001.)

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

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

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.

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Vancouver’s Cool Commercial Drive

By KRISTEN MORAN

Nestled in the heart of East Vancouver, Commercial Drive boasts nearly 350 shops and restaurants along a 22-block strip, but we focussed on a few blocks in the centre of the action

Deliciously authentic pizza from Lombardo's Pizzeria & Ristorante. (Photo: Daniel Henshaw)

Deliciously authentic pizza from Lombardo’s Pizzeria & Ristorante. (Photo: Daniel Henshaw)

No place better captures the essence of the neighbourhood known as Little Italy than Lombardo’s Pizzeria & Ristorante. Stop in for mouthwatering thin-crust pizzas that are made with fresh, local ingredients and cooked in a wood oven. La Grotta Del Formaggio is a delightful little deli that serves more than just your average sandwich. Choose from an array of delicious toppings like roasted red peppers, tapenade and havarti cheese, and create an unforgettable custom-made sandwich. (more…)

There’s Still Time to Explore Ontario’s Parks and Outdoor Spaces This Summer

BY CRAIG MOY

Sandbanks Provincial Park (photo: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation)

Sandbanks Provincial Park (photo: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation)

According to the 2011 census, 81 per cent of Canadians now live in urban areas. In Ontario, that number is even higher—86 per cent. And yet a significant part of our national identity remains tied to the frontier, the wilderness. We may live in condos and work in cubicles, but our hearts still yearn for open spaces.

Fortunately, Ontario boasts bounteous natural expanses (national and provincial parks, as well as locally administered conservation areas) for exploration and recreation. Many of these sites are within reasonable distance from the Greater Toronto Area, but not so close as to be overrun with visitors.

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Strike Out from Toronto for an Ontario Craft Beer Road Trip

BY DAVID ORT

Block Three Brewing Company is worth the drive to St. Jacobs (photo: Block Three Brewing Company)

Block Three Brewing Company is worth the drive to St. Jacobs

A distinctive feature of any craft beer is that the personal touch of its brewer tends to be quite obvious. In the past few years, more and more Ontarians have joined the club of brewers, adding their own signature to the local beer scene. In Toronto, beer drinkers have an exciting number of opportunities to taste the interesting new lagers, porters and ales being produced outside the city, but there’s not nearly enough retail space for those of us looking to purchase more than a pint or two at a restaurant. That’s a compelling reason, I think, to pack the car and spend a few days discovering some of the province’s best breweries for yourself.

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Freewheeling Fun: Roller Derby in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

The Chinook City Kill Jills (in yellow) take on Fernie's Avalanche City Roller Girls (Photo: Steve Recsky Photography)

The Chinook City Kill Jills (in yellow) take on Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls (Photo: Steve Recsky Photography)

Sparkle Motion. Negative Nancy. Crimson Shivers. These rough and tumble nom de zooms are a tongue-in-cheek nod to the 1970s heyday of roller derby, a full-contact, roller-skate sport now experiencing a North American renaissance. Artfully rugged, fast-paced and surprisingly strategic, matchups see each team’s “jammer” score points by lapping the opposing team’s “blockers” on an oval flat track. In Calgary, these matches are held at indoor community halls surrounded by floor-level spectator seating. Sparkle Motion, aka Claire Lacey, is a member of Calgary’s co-ed Chinook City Roller Derby league. She skates on its women’s team, the Kill Jills, and coaches new recruits.

What position do you play?
I play all positions. I love the speed and single-mindedness of jamming, as well as the physicality and strategy of blocking.

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2014 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Hawksworth Restaurant serves up delectable dishes such as roasted halibut with potatp gnocchi, eggplant and English peas. (Photo: KK Law)

Hawksworth Restaurant serves up delectable dishes such as roasted halibut with potatp gnocchi, eggplant and English peas. (Photo: KK Law)

They came. They dined. And they voted. Where’s well-travelled readership weighs in on Vancouver’s vibrant and ever-expanding dining scene. We join them in congratulating all of our winners and finalists, who celebrate daily the freshness, local flavours and genuine hospitality that define our truly welcoming community. (more…)

2014 Where to Dine Awards: Whistler

By SHERI RADFORD

Polderside Farms duck at Araxi. (Photo: Steve Li/Araxi)

Polderside Farms duck at Araxi. (Photo: Steve Li/Araxi)

From casual pubs to hip après-ski spots to white-linen dining rooms, Whistler’s restaurant scene has everything taste buds could desire. Where’s well-travelled readers weigh in with their flavourful finds in our annual Where to Dine awards. (more…)

On A High Note: Calgary’s Intimate Live Music Venues

By RACHAEL FREY

Hired Guns play to an excited crowd at the Ironwood Stage & Grill (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Hired Guns play to an excited crowd at the Ironwood Stage & Grill (Photo: Jason Dziver)

When the sun sets, the sound of live music and laughter escapes the historic Garry Theatre just east of downtown Calgary. The comfortably worn-in brick heritage building that’s home to the Ironwood Stage & Grill, a music club featuring live performances every night of the week, with two shows daily on weekends. It seats 140 yet maintains a cozy, intimate vibe.

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5 French Finds

By TIM PAWSEY

Steak tartare topped with an egg yolk, at Bistro Wagon Rouge. (Photo: KK Law)

Steak tartare topped with an egg yolk, at Bistro Wagon Rouge. (Photo: KK Law)

Bistro Wagon Rouge Beef cheeks Bourguignon, cassoulet and steak frites are just some of the top draws at this East Side diner, reinvented and rediscovered by locals.

Les Faux Bourgeois This bustling room brings new life to the unlikely backwater of Kingsway and Fraser. Go for the tarte flambée, choucroute, duck confit and more.

Salade de Fruits Cafe South Granville’s worst-kept secret is a tiny space in Le Centre Culturel that packs ’em in for frogs’ legs and coquille St. Jacques.

Provence Mediterranean Grill Polished West Side retreat not far from UBC welcomes with a sunny disposition and classic variations such as West Coast bouillabaisse, prawns provençale and more.

The French Table Long-time downtown chef Hervé Martin pulled up stakes for South Main and never looked back. Go for the croque monsieur, Burgundy fondue and friendly but polished service.