A LOOK BACK AT A FEW OF THE DINING TRENDS THAT IMPACTED TORONTO RESTAURANTS AND FOODIES OVER THE PAST YEAR
Delicious on-trend offerings from Roselle Desserts, Canoe and Fresh Off the Boat got our attention in 2015 (photos: Craig Moy; Cindy La; Fresh Off the Boat)
In recent years it’s been fairly easy to pinpoint the developments that most influenced Toronto’s diverse but fickle eating-out industry. Not too long ago, “Middleterranean” fare was all the rage. Before that it was vegetables that took centre stage (or, if you will, centre plate). And most locals no doubt recall the days when charcuterie dominated all dining discussion.
Trend spotting in 2015 has been more challenging—in part because the city saw a relative slowdown in restaurant openings, cooling the pace of change. But if you look closely, it’s still possible to discern some characteristics that have lately defined Toronto’s food scene.
WHERE TORONTO READERS HAVE VORACIOUS APPETITES (IT TAKES A LOT OF FUEL TO SEE AND DO EVERYTHING THE CITY HAS TO OFFER). EACH YEAR, YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE DINING ROOMS AS PART OF OUR WHERE TO DINE AWARDS. THESE ARE THE RESTAURANTS THAT EARNED YOUR ACCLAIM IN 2015.
The Sultan’s Tent offers a unique night out for visitors to Toronto (photo: Liam Mogan)
The Sultan’s Tent & Café Moroc
This richly decorated restaurant remakes Old Town Toronto as an ageless Barbary Coast encampment, where visitors dine in colourful splendour while partaking in traditional French-Moroccan hospitality (including nightly belly dancing shows). The three-course prix fixe, featuring the likes of a couscous salad, braised lamb shank and assorted tagines, is particularly popular for groups. Guests seeking a more subdued experience can savour a languid lunch or afternoon mint tea at the Casablanca-inspired, front-of-house Café Moroc.
THE BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN TORONTO FOR 2015 ARE A POTENT MIX OF FINE-DINING RESTAURANTS AND EASYGOING ESTABLISHMENTS
Kasa Moto’s ambitious Japanese spread helped to make it one of best new restaurants to open in Toronto in 2015 (photo: Liam Mogan)
Toronto’s dining scene is renowned for its diversity; its best restaurants are lauded for combining fresh, local flavours with culinary inspirations from around the globe. But it’s a tight market (the city’s foodies are a fickle bunch) and newcomers need to offer both high-quality cooking and a dash of conceptual creativity to really stand out. Fortunately, a select group of establishments rose to the challenge, and in doing so became our favourite pizza parlours, gourmet cafés, seafood spots and fine-dining spaces to debut in 2015.
THESE SOUTHERN ONTARIO RESTAURANTS PROVE THAT TORONTONIANS AREN’T THE ONLY ONES WHO APPRECIATE A GOOD MEAL
The Drake Devonshire Inn’s dining room boasts picturesque four-seasons vistas (photos: Kayla Rocca)
Torontonians tend to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about food and drink. And why wouldn’t we? This city’s collection of restaurants, cafés, snack spots and cocktail bars is arguably both the most varied and highest quality in the country. That said, the culinary borders of Canada do extend beyond Toronto’s city limits: Montreal and Vancouver are also renowned foodie towns, and closer to home, Southern Ontario hot spots like the Niagara and Muskoka regions, Stratford, and Prince Edward County also cater to discerning tastes. But you needn’t take our word for it. Hop in your car and discover these road trip–worthy Ontario restaurants for yourself.
THE LEAD UP TO HALLOWEEN INEVITABLY BRINGS OUT BONE-CHILLING, SPINE-TINGLING, GOOSEBUMP-INCITING STORIES OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, SPOOKY SIGHTINGS AND HAUNTED TORONTO DESTINATIONS. FEELING THE URGE TO INDULGE YOUR INNER GHOSTBUSTER? HEAD TO OEN OF THESE SIX SCARY SPOTS IN THE CITY—IF YOU DARE.
Old City Hall is said to be haunted by the ghosts of two convicted criminals (photo: Eric Parker)
Depending on who you talk to, both Robert Turpin and Arthur Lucas are said to haunt one of two different locations in Toronto: Old City Hall and the Don Jail. Turpin and Lucas were the last two individuals in “Muddy York” to be sentenced to death for their crimes. As one story goes, the penalty of death by hanging was delivered in a courtroom at Old City Hall where the men now roam, sometimes tugging at judges’ robes. Alternatively, the men haunt the gallows of the Old Don Jail—where many inmates were treated poorly while the prison was in operation from 1964 to 1977, and in whose open courtyard hangings were carried out.
THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE REALLY EARNS ITS NICKNAME AS VIBRANT FALL COLOURS EMERGE ACROSS THE REGION’S ABUNDANT PARKS AND CONSERVATION AREAS—ALL JUST A SHORT DRIVE FROM TORONTO
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.
WARM WEATHER BRINGS OUT THE ABSOLUTE BEST IN TORONTO. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR TIME IN THE CITY—AND MAKE SOME INDELIBLE MEMORIES WHILE YOU’RE AT IT—BY VISITING THESE UNIQUE SUMMER ATTRACTIONS. BY CRAIG MOY
The Evergreen Brick Works offers myriad environmentally focused summer activities (photo: Craig Moy)
THE EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS
5 Unique uses for an Old Factory
The formerly industrial, now eco-conscious heritage site known as the Evergreen Brick Works positively hums with activity.
• Hunt down the venue’s unique art works, from the hard-to-miss “living map” in the Commons to the preserved graffiti in the kilns.
• Take the kids to learn about the environment through outdoor play at the Chimney Court Children’s Garden.
• Trod the trails that wind through the 40-acre greenspace behind the Brick Works. Climb to the lookout for an impressive view of the downtown skyline.
• Enjoy a nourishing gourmet meal—made with local and sustainably harvested ingredients—at Café Belong.
• Peruse farm-fresh produce and more at the farmers’ market every Saturday and Sunday morning.
ONTARIO’S AGRITOURISM ATTRACTIONS OFFER LOCALS AND VISITORS ALIKE A FARM-FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON OUR RENOWNED AGRICULTURAL BOUNTY.
BY RENÉE SUEN
(Monforte Dairy cheese photo: Renée Suen)
Finding seasonally fresh food in Toronto isn’t hard: nearly every restaurant menu and produce shelf boasts of the bounty. Ontario is blessed with more than half of Canada’s highest quality farm land, and most of it is a mere hour or two’s drive from the GTA. No matter if you’re a dilettante cook or a full-fledged foodie, it’s easy to connect with the province’s primary tastemakers to learn about land stewardship, food security, and sustainable aqua- and agriculture, all while marveling at the picturesque surroundings. So fill up the tank, plug in your favourite playlist, and embark on an adventure that’ll leave you satisfied, but also hungry for more.
OUR ALL-SEASON GUIDE TO THE ABSOLUTE BEST LOW-COST AND FREE THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO WITH KIDS IN 2015. BY CARA SMUSIAK
Toronto is a fantastic city to explore with the whole family—especially as the weather starts to warm up. These 25 low-cost and free things to do in Toronto with kids offer many opportunities to get everyone outside, regardless of the season, though indoor activities abound, too, for days when the climate is uncooperative.
THESE TORONTO INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS WILL HELP YOU SEE THE CITY (AND OTHER LOCALES, ON OCCASION) FROM ITS STREETS, PARKS, GALLERIES, RESTAURANTS, AND EVEN ITS ROOFTOPS
Photo by @smaku
This month’s Contact festival has us in a photographic frenzy. But the best shooters aren’t always found in art galleries. Follow these Torontonians on Instagram to get some of the greatest views of the city.
@smaku Designer and creative director Taku Kumabe shoots Toronto landscapes, many along the waterfront. He’s got a great eye for sunrises and sunsets, too.
@shawnmicallef The noted urbanist walks Toronto (and other cities), capturing some of its lesser-known but still storied spaces. Periodic pics of his dog, the “Young Citizen,” too.
@agotoronto The Art Gallery of Ontario’s official feed offers a behind the scenes perspective on its shows and events, while sharing third-party photos that use its exhibition-specific hashtags.
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 MAY!
Among the things to do in Toronto this month: Check out Second City’s new show; see Ben Heppner in the Titanic musical; sample sake at Kampai Toronto; or peek inside the halls of power during Doors Open
ALL MONTH LONG The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival has long been defined by its annual theme, an umbrella under which its exhibitions—these days numbering more than 200, on display across Toronto—could assemble, provoking discussion about the medium and its impact on the way we see ourselves. This year, the event is notable for its lack of a theme. It’s anything goes, though Contact’s guiding principle remains in place: the world’s most innovative photo-based art, collected in a single city, and available to be seen by one and all. Drop into venues including MOCCA, the Contact Gallery and the Ryerson Image Centre to view some of Contact’s primary exhibitions, or check out the full list of shows at scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
EXPLORE THESE TORONTO ART DISTRICTS TO DISCOVER EXCELLENT GALLERIES AND SOME OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY WORKS FROM CANADA AND ABROAD
Olga Korper Gallery, just south of the Junction Triangle Toronto art district (photo: Olga Korper Gallery)
Think Toronto’s renowned public museums offer some cool views? Numerous commercial galleries have equally striking artworks to ponder—and purchase, if you like what you see. There are dozens of great galleries downtown—from edgy indie outlets to venerable fine-art dealers. Make the most of your browsing time by heading to these five Toronto art districts, which boast a significant collection of exhibitors within close proximity to one another.