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Toronto

3 New Bars With Premium Drinks and Snacks

THESE RECENT ADDITIONS TO TORONTO’S BAR SCENE BOAST SUPERIOR SIPS, INVENTIVE SNACKS AND MORE THAN A LITTLE SOPHISTICATION

Bar Batavia Food copy

Photo Credit: Renée Suen

Chic and just a bit sinful, Bar Batavia pours no-nonsense cocktails accompanied by Dutch-Indonesian nibbles.

 

 

 

bar begonia

Photo Credit: Kayla Rocca

 

Bar Begonia traffics in country-bistro fare served from afternoon through to late-night. Cocktail guru Oliver Stern handles the elegant, if rather pricey, libations.

 

 

 

 

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Craft beer is the drink of choice at Bar Hop Brewco. The two-storey-plus-rooftop-patio destination offers dozens of small-batch beers plus inventive eats—like nachos served in a roasted pig’s head.

—Craig Moy

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

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 JULY!

The Draken Harald Harfagre set sail from Norway in April to be part of Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival

JULY 1 TO SEPTEMBER 18  The Group of Seven is well known for its Canadian landscapes, and as one of its founding members, Lawren S. Harris was recognized for his stark depictions of the Arctic and our nation’s northern regions. A new exhibit presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario, curated by actor, comedian, musician and writer Steve Martin, along with Andrew Hunter and Cynthia Burlingham of the AGO, examines Harris’s legacy. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris, sees more than 30 works by Harris drawn from public and private collections, including his early works of his Toronto neighbourhood.

JULY 1 TO 3  Head to the shores of Lake Ontario to celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday as the Redpath Waterfront Festival sails into the city. Hop aboard a fleet of majestic vessels for tours, including the El Galeón from Spain, the Pride of Baltimore II, four Canadian Brigantines (the STV Fair Jeanne, St. Lawrence II, TS Playfair and STV Pathfinder), and two of the Royal Canadian Navy’s defence vessels (the HMCS Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay). Particularly spectacular is the largest Viking ship in the world, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, which set sail from Norway at the end of April following a route travelled 1,000 years ago. On July 3, catch the Parade of Sail, the grand finale with all of the boats sailing along the harbour.

JULY 2 TO 24  For three weeks this summer, parks and restaurants in Queen East fill with the sweet sounds of blues, Latin, calypso, fusion and more as the Beaches International Jazz Festival takes over the lakeside neighbourhood. The free event boasts extensive programming that includes live mainstage concerts at Woodbine Park, art and photography displays, food trucks, and, for the first time in the event’s 28-year history, a salsa festival.

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Saks Fifth Avenue Opens in Toronto

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE COMES TO TORONTO WITH LOCATIONS AT CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE AND CF SHERWAY GARDENS

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE'S CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE 10022-SHOE SALON (PRNewsFoto/Saks Fifth Avenue)

The Shoe Salon at Sak’s Fifth Avenue at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Photo credit: David Pike, Newswire)

The hotly-anticipated debut of Saks Fifth Avenue was met with much rejoicing by local fashionistas with the opening of its flagship location on Queen Street (there is also a second location at Sherway Gardens). The famed American retailer known for its emphasis on luxury offerings and pristine customer service pulled out all the stops for its Canadian launch, including a dazzling lighting fixture in the fragrance department and a Murano glass display in the ladies shoe department, home to Saks’ signature 10022-Shoe experience. Count the likes of shop-in-shops from Céline, Saint Laurent Paris, Bottega Veneta, Chopard and Boucheron, alongside such exclusive brands as Nest, Meira T, Orsini and Marli among others. —Linda Luong Luck

 

Highlights of the 10th Edition of the Luminato Festival

The James Plays Trilogy (credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan)

JUNE 10 TO 26  For the last 10 years, the Luminato Festival has captivated audiences with a range of dance, music, theatre, literature and visual arts. In all, the event has commissioned nearly 100 new works of art, and hosted more than 3,000 performances by 11,000 artists from 40 countries, and inspired a cultural dialogue about the nature of art and how it can be shared and consumed by the masses. The milestone is a bittersweet one however: it also marks Jorn Weisbrodt’s swan song as the organization’s artistic director, a position he’s held for the last five years.

For the first time in the event’s history, it’s taking up residency at The P.L. Hearn Power Generating Station (440 Unwin Ave.) in the Port Lands, which will house a 17-day programming hub that includes a 1,200-seat theatre, a second floor art gallery, a stage for music and dancing, along with a beer garden, bars and restaurants.

Among this year’s highlights—and North American premieres—is the award–winning video installation Situation Rooms (June 10 to 19), in which the audience donning earphones and equipped with iPads—become the protagonists, seeing first hand the lives of individuals from different countries whose lives are shaped by weapons and violence, including an Israeli soldier, a Pakistani lawyer and a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Scotland’s reign under three generations of Stewart kings during the 15th century is the inspiration for The James Plays (June 16 to 26), a trilogy of theatrical works written by Rona Munro. The only North American stop for this touring production from The National Theatre of Scotland examines the nature of Scottish culture and independence. The three works, James I—The Key Will Keep the Lock, James II—Day of the Innocents, and James III—The True Mirror, can be seen independently or in its entirety over 11 hours in a single day.

Modern dance work Monumental (credit: Yannick Grandmont)

In Monumental (June 15 and 16), a dark and somber take on modern life is presented through dance and music. Oppression, isolation and mistrust are among the themes explored by Vancouver–based company The Holy Body Tattoo, who is backed by music by Montreal’s post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Weisbrodt’s farewell season includes a special show by his spouse, Rufus Wainwright. For the first time, Toronto audiences can see Rufus Does Judy (June 23 and 24), a homage to Judy Garland’s 1961 spectacle at Carnegie Hall. Wainwright has previously mounted the production in New York, London, Paris and Los Angeles.

For a complete schedule of Luminato programming, visit luminatofestival.com.

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

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 JUNE!

Le Petit Prince is a new work commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada. (credit: Barbara Cole)

JUNE 1 TO JULY 3  Pride Toronto commemorates two monumental firsts this year: a 30-day celebration of diversity with the kick off of Pride Month beginning on June 1, and for the first time in Canadian history, when a sitting prime minister, Justin Trudeau, marches in the Pride Parade on July 3 joined by Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne and Toronto mayor John Tory. All month long, some of the city’s leading cultural organizations, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Harbourfront Centre, host a variety of events in conjunction with Pride Month.

JUNE 3  National Doughnut Day means that a visit to Jelly Modern Doughnuts is a must for gourmet goodies in such flavours as maple bacon and s’mores.

JUNE 4 AND 5  Head to Historic Fort York and Garrison Common for Field Trip, a two-day, family-friendly event, featuring live concerts, art displays, comedy acts, a marketplace and lots of food. Among the scheduled performers are The National, Basia Bulat, Jazz Cartier, Robyn, Kalle Mattson and Brave Shores among others.

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Hops of Fun: 7 Stops for a Refreshing Pint of Craft Beer

CRAFT BREWING CONTINUES TO BE A BIG BUSINESS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, WITH A GROWING GROUP OF INDEPENDENT BEER MAKERS PRODUCING NEW EXCITING ALES, LAGERS AND STOUTS, AND EVER MORE CUSTOMERS DEMANDING THE SMALL-BATCH BEVERAGES AT THEIR LOCAL WATERING HOLES.

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Photo Credit: Amsterdam BrewHouse

In Toronto, both supply and demand have noticeably increased over the past half-decade. Though corporate beers remain predominant, most respectable establishments now serve at least a couple of options for more discerning drinkers, and connoisseurs can look to any of the bars and brewpubs recommended below for some truly memorable beer-based experiences.

1 Indie Ale House is a straightforward name for a joint that specializes in decidedly non-standard bevvies. Look for rare releases like its “Fates and Furies” series—barrel-aged beers brewed using ancient techniques.

2 Though relatively new, Bloordale’s Burdock has already established itself as a microbrewery and resto-bar to watch. Eight taps pour its “approachably experimental” offerings while the kitchen serves gourmet comfort fare.

3 Still a foodie favourite, Bar Isabel is also very well known for its craft beer list, which, among other things, has many bottles from top-tier Quebec brewers Trou du Diable and Dieu du Ciel.

4 Toronto hipsters’ beers of choice come from Bellwoods Brewery, which offers exceptional drinks—the Farmhouse saison and Witchshark IPA are both classics—in its brewpub and bottle shop.

5 Amsterdam Brewhouse is a massive Harbourfront hub—with three lakeside patios—for enjoying beers by Toronto’s oldest independent brewery. Try a flight of four beers, or see what’s new in the tanks.

6 Family-owned Bar Volo is one of the city’s more venerable spots for craft brews. Can’t decide from among the 100-plus taps and bottles? Its house line of cask-conditioned ales are always intriguing. (Volo is closing it’s Yonge Street location in September; a new location is yet to be announced.)

7 Just outside the Financial District, Beerbistro entices area hot shots with brasserie-style fare and a massive selection of everything from local lagers to trappist ales.

Niagara is for Everyone: A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME FUN IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT AND KEEPING YOUR KIDS ENTERTAINED WHILE TRAVELING AS A FAMILY.

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No visit to the region is complete without seeing the falls. The sight is awe-inspiring from afar, but it’s even better to feel the thundering spray aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which carries poncho-donning passengers to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and past the American and Bridal Veil falls. Or experience the action from the observation decks of Journey Behind the Falls, which traverses 45 metres down through bedrock to the foot of the falls where 2,800 cubic metres of water crashes to the ground every second.

Feel like diving right into the water instead of just watching it? Waves Indoor Waterpark is an expansive playground with kiddie pools and slides that are as tall as three storeys.

Butterfly Conservatory NPC_6067Immerse with nature at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory or Bird Kingdom. The former is home to more than 2,000 tropical winged creatures, while the latter is the largest indoor free-flying aviary in the world. Experience animals of the amazon at the Rainforest Café, a family-friendly restaurant adorned in a canopy of trees and animatronic elephants and gorillas serving up pint-sized portions of hot dogs, burgers and pasta.

 

hershey-milkshakeHershey’s Chocolate World is a perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up. All manner of cocoa confections can be found here from chocolate-dipped strawberries and pretzels to cookies and milkshakes. Of course, there’s a lot of goodies to take home, too, including Kisses, Reese and Jolly Rancher products.

— Linda Luong Luck

 

 

 

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

Romance at the Falls

Niagara is for Everyone: Romance at the Falls

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME ROMANTIC IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT TO THE HONEYMOON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

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Soar over the region’s lush landscape with a tour from Niagara Helicopters, which lands at one of several wineries including Hillebrand Estates and Peller Estates for lunch and a tour.

Stay on land but retain the romance with a horse-drawn carriage ride in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sentineal Carriages offers 30-, 45-minute and hour-long narrated tours through Old Town.

Stop and smell the roses—all 2,400 of them!—at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Spread across 40 hectares, the grounds are lushly maintained with the likes of rhododendrons, azaleas and vegetable and herb plantings. NPC_3716

 

Get pampered and unwind with a couples massage. Both The Spa at White Oaks and Spa on the Twenty offer side-by-side massages, but the latter can also teach couples the proper techniques to knead out each other’s knots. For a truly indulgent experience, book the Time for Two service at Five Lakes Spa Aveda, which includes a massage, facial and pedicure for two.

Have a romantic dinner amongst the stars at the Revolving Dining Room at Skylon Tower, which is perched 236 metres above ground offering a spectacular view of the falls, which is particularly pretty at nighttime when it’s illuminated.

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

Simons Says to Visit Square One

SIMONS  COMES TO ONTARIO WITH A NEW LOCATION AT SQUARE ONE SHOPPING CENTRE MISSISSAUGA

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Originally founded in 1840 as a dry goods store in Quebec City, the family-owned Simons has expanded to include 12 locations across Canada. It’s new venture in Mississauga at Square One Shopping Centre is a two-storey 110,000 square-foot space housing the company’s trendy but moderately-priced apparel and housewares from its own private label as well as a mix of international designers like Cédric Charlier and Vivienne Westwood alongside rising Canadian talent. Toronto-based design firm Figure3, who worked alongside Simons’s longtime partner Lemay Michaud, have created distinctive departments for its different collections, such as graffiti art and porta potty fitting rooms for Djba, which is geared towards young men, while suspended wire clouds denotes its iFive activewear.

—Linda Luong Luck

Chabrol: A Tiny French Bisto in the Heart of Yorkville

SMALL BUT MIGHTY CHABROL SERVES UP EXCELLENT SOUTHERN FRENCH CUISINE

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The buttery, unforgettable tarte aux pommes.

Chef Doug Penfold knows Spanish food. For years he’s served some of the city’s best tapas at midtown institution Cava. Turns out he’s equally passionate about French fare, as evidenced by his cooking at Chabrol, a tiny bistro Penfold launched with Cava co-owner Niall McCotter. Set back from the bustle of Yorkville Avenue, it’s an elegant hideaway for unfussy indulgence. Order and aperitif and some oysters, then spoil yourself with the rich wild mushroom and artichoke ragout—plus the chef’s acclaimed tarte aux pommes for dessert.—Craig Moy

 

•90 Yorkville Ave., 416-428-6641; chabrolrestaurant.com
Map and reviews

Global Eats

EXOTIC YET AUTHENTIC FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE IN TORONTO. HERE, YOUR PASSPORT TO PALATE-PLEASING DISHES FROM SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND.

Fried chicken at Omaw

Bar Fancy

Omaw riffs on Southern American cooking like no other restaurant in the city. Inspired by Carolina cooking, chef Matt Blondin slings plates of aged wagyu with beef fat vinaigrette, baguettes topped with pickled mussels and creamed corn, and recently he’s been winning crowds with heaping plates of his signature buttermilk fried chicken.

88 Ossington Ave., Toronto. 416-477-5450; omaw.ca

 

Pastries at Lucullus Bakers & Roasters

Lucullus’ third outpost brings 26 years of European pastries and Chinese breads in a posh boutique setting in Markham. The selection varies daily but you can expect an assortment of stuffed croissants along with steamed baskets of dumplings, and of course the iconic bo lo bao (pineapple buns).

31 Elm St., 416-792-1886; 7750 Kennedy Rd., 905-513-1188; lucullusbakery.com

 

Octopus at Bar Isabel

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Photo by Nicole Kim.

Chef Grant van Gameren was cooking up whole octopus at his Spanish restaurant Bar Isabel long before cephalapod reached mainstream fame. It’s a dish he can’t remove from the menu, grilled tentacles swimming in a tomato sauce with chunks of chorizo and Israeli couscous. Once you’re done mopping up the bowl, finish with some basque cake.

797 College St., 416-532-2222; barisabel.com

 

Rabbit Stifado at Mamakas Taverna

Classic Greek cooking with a facelift is what Chris Kalisperas does best at Ossington hotspot Mamakas. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the rabbit stifado. Kalisperas braises whole legs of rabbit in red wine, mirepoix, bay leaf, cinnamon and peppercorns for a few hours. It’s finished off in a pan with roast cippollini onions and parsley and served with a purée of local sunchokes.

80 Ossington Ave., 416-519-5996; mamakas.ca

 

Thali at Indian Street Food Company

A visit to Hemant Bhagwani’s midtown restaurant is a must if you want a true representation of street food prevalent in India’s many railways stations and roadside stalls. The rotating daily thali is a sublime experience, a mound of rice and freshly baked naan is served with a half a dozen dips and curries that take you on a flavour-packed trip of salty, tangy and spicy.

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Thalis at Indian Street Food Company include a variety of flavourful curries and dips .

1701 Bayview Ave., 416-322-3270; indianstreetfoodco.com

 

BBQ-Glazed beef tongue at Diwan

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The gorgeous dining room of Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum.

At the Aga Khan Museum, where chef Mark McEwan has recently taken over the food and beverage services, tuck into a vibrant Middle Eastern-themed menu while enjoying sprawling views of the Aga Khan Park. The top sandwich on the menu sees cooked beef slathered in a barbecue reduction and served with an East African salsa and pepper aioli on sourdough.

Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4670; agakhanmuseum.org

 

Curry udon with shrimp tempura at Menami

This new Sanuki udon house is putting out some of the best Japanese noodle bowls in the city. Kagawa-style artisanal “big fat noodles” is what MeNami specializes in, hand cut with a soft, al dente bite, tossed in a variety of broths (there are 15 versions in total). The signature bowl is the curry udon, noodles drowning in a rich clear broth, topped with vegetable and shrimp tempura.

MeNami Japanese Udon House and Sake Bar, 5469 Yonge St., 416-229-6191; menami.ca

 

Torta Cubana at Torteria San Cosme

Ever since restaurateur Arturo Anhalt laid eyes on a former cafe space in Kensington Market, the owner of Milagro restaurant wanted to open a traditional Mexican torteria. Nearly everything on the menu is sourced from the market, tucked generously into soft breads called pan teleras. The crowd favourite is the Cubana: thick slices of smoked ham and chunks of adobo pork are bathed in gouda and coated to the rim with a chipotle sauce.

181 Baldwin St., 416-599-2855; sancosme.ca

 

Quail and Foie Gras at Scaramouche

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Sacramouche specializes in upscale French dining.

Upscale French dining doesn’t get any better. Keith Froggett’s longstanding Scaramouche restaurant has set the standard for refined food and service in this city. They continue to entice diners night after night with dishes like the quail and foie gras. It’s a decadent dance of sweet and savoury notes with stuffed quail, double smoked bacon, and sauternes raisins drenched in foie gras jus.

1 Benvenuto Pl., 416-961-8011; scaramoucherestaurant.com

 

Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken at Maha’s

A family-run Egyptian restaurant near Little India is redefining what it’s like to brunch in the city. Imported drawings and fixtures dress the tiny dining room with a menu that is all about flavour and getting your hands messy. The quintessential Maha dish is a messy tower of slow marinated chicken dripping in mayo and garlic sauce, covered with onions, tomatoes and parsley.

226 Greenwood Ave., 416-462-2703; mahasbrunch.com

Suresh Doss is a Toronto-based food and drink writer. You can follow him on Twitter @spotlightcity or Instagram @suresh.

 

Explore Photography at the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival


THE SCOTIABANK PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL INCLUDES VENUES ALL OVER THE CITY, WITH PHOTOGRAPHS IN GALLERIES, MUSEUMS AND URBAN SPACES.

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At the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Sarah Anne Johnson’s Chillin’ at the Void is part of a series depicting outdoor music festivals as metaphors for Dionysian counterculture and the communal rejection of modern-day social norms.

 

MAY 1 TO 31 Toronto’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival draws attention to the creation and consumption of photo-based images and the challenging questions they pose—about the nature of memory, the formation of identity and much more. This year’s 20th-anniversary event promises to be as diverse and provocative as ever, with hundreds of exhibitions that, among other things, depict the industrial-scale accumulation of a newspaper photo archive (at the Globe and Mail headquarters), explore the scientific applications of photography (Edgar Leciejewski’s “scanographs” of birds at the North York Civic Centre) and use the banal to underscore the absurdity of superstardom (prints from the UofTDrizzy Instagram account, which photoshops Drake into mundane collegiate scenarios, will be installed throughout the city).

In all, the festival is both a snapshot of the state of contemporary photographic practice and a large-scale mediation on the act of truly seeing the world around us—for what it is (and isn’t), what it was and what it could be.

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Edgar Leciejewski’s ornithological scanographs—on display at the North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.)—upend our expectations of scientific objectivity, favouring aesthetic concerns over strict representation.

 

Diane Arbus_A Young Man and his Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park

Diane Arbus’s A Young Man and His Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park is one of 300-plus images in “Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s,” a monumental Art Gallery of Ontario group show that captures the changing face of the U.S. during a period of social and political upheaval.