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Toronto

Patrick Bernatchez Spends Time at the Power Plant

THE POWER PLANT SHOWCASES A PAIR OF MULTIPLATFORM INSTALLATIONS BY MONTREAL-BASED ARTIST PATRICK BERNATCHEZ

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Stills from Chrysalide (detail) and Lost in Time (detail) by Patrick Bernatchez

JANUARY 30 TO MAY 15 The passage of time may be a fairly common theme in the creative arts, but Montreal’s Patrick Bernatchez gives the motif a distinctive twist. Time is an inextricable component of his multidisciplinary artistic practice; each series in his overall body of work is designed to show how his process and ideas—and in certain cases, subjects—evolve over the course of months and years. This is clear in the two work cycles comprising Bernatchez’s “Les Temps inachevés,” selections from which are now on display at The Power Plant. (A more comprehensive version of the exhibition just wrapped up at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal).

Chrysalides, for example, examines growth, transformation and decay in a trilogy of video works plus a sound-and-photography installation that focus on the Fashion Plaza, an industrial building that once housed the artist’s studio, but which has recently undergone gentrification. Even more thematically explicit is Lost in Time, which attempts to encompass time in all its dimensions—through a feature-length film, photographs, musical creations and a unique watch, whose single hand takes a millennium to complete a full rotation. Its title translated in English as “Unending Times,” the exhibition encompasses past, present and future—both conceptually and literally.  –Craig Moy

• The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949; thepowerplant.org
Map and reviews

10 Museum Shows for a Cultured Spring

DON’T MISS THESE UNIQUE NEW AND ONGOING EXHIBITIONS AT SOME OF TORONTO’S TOP MUSEUMS!

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Abbas Kiarostami’s exhibition, Doors Without Keys, continues at the Aga Khan Museum through to March 20 (photo: Craig Moy)

The permanent collections at Toronto’s major cultural institutions are always worth exploring, but this season their limited-run shows are also very compelling. From two distinct displays of doors to an anthropological examination of tattoo art, there’s something for everyone at these unique new museum shows.

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Quick Pick: 3 Toronto Florists for a Romantic Bouquet

NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN TORONTO, IT’S EASY TO MAKE A ROMANTIC GESTURE WITH A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

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A flower arrangement by Sweet Woodruff

This Valentine’s Day, or at any other time of year, surprise your beloved with a lush arrangement delivered to their hotel room before a special night out. Though Toronto has many talented florists, these are among our favourites.

1 Lisa Collins and her team at Sweet Woodruff are known for elegant, timeless arrangements that are especially popular with brides. 889 Dundas St. W., 416-362-8883; sweetwoodruff.ca

2 Apricot Flowers, a modern Mount Pleasant–neighbourhood shop is where owner Cathy Kim creates vibrant arrangements in tone-on-tone shades. 621 Mount Pleasant Rd., 647-347-2044; apricotflowers.com

3 Quince Flowers owner Rosemary Jeffares creates refined but contemporary bouquets by mixing beloved blooms with exotic varietals. 660 Queen St. E., 416-594-1414; quinceflowers.com

—Linda Luong

10 Gifts from the Heart for Valentine’s Day 2016

THESE VALENTINE’S DAY GIFTS ARE SURE TO WARM YOUR LOVE’S HEART

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Make sure you turn the tap (err, cufflink) on the left by choosing wisely from our Valentine’s gift list

They say it’s the thought that counts, but few people have ever turned down a beautiful store-bought product either. We’ve selected this small group of favourites—from local and international brands—to help ensure your Valentine’s gift-shopping experience is a smoking-hot success.

—Linda Luong

6 Effortlessly Romantic Things to Do in Toronto

IT’S EASY TO CREATE EVERLASTING MEMORIES WITH YOUR SWEETHEART WITH THESE NO-FUSS ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO

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Afternoon tea at Deq, a visit to the AGO, and skating at Nathan Phillips Square—just a few of Toronto’s effortlessly romantic things to do

Forget the chilly temperatures outside. Instead, embrace winter and its seasonal delights. And embrace each other, too by exploring a new destination—or revisiting a longtime favourite—and indulging in a few easy-to-do, good-for-two activities.

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Get Hyba Activewear by Reitmans at the Eaton Centre

REITMANS’ HYBA LINE OF ACTIVEWEAR ENCOURAGES FASHIONABLE FITNESS AT THE EATON CENTRE

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Did you make a get-in-shape resolution for 2016? Head to Hyba for affordable fitness apparel for women in a range of petite-to-tall sizes. The label’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre pop-up shop, which is open until March 31, comes courtesy of parent company Reitmans and features colourful performance pieces in three categories: the Go-Getter for high-intensity workouts, the Mindful Mover for yoga, and the Fun Seeker for athleisure looks.  —Linda Luong

• Hyba, CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 416-598-2065; reitmans.com

13 of the Most Unique Cafés in Toronto

VISIT ANY ONE OF THESE UNIQUE TORONTO CAFÉS FOR HIGH-QUALITY COFFEE AND DECADENT BAKED GOODS—PLUS BONUSES LIKE AMAZING AMBIENCE, SUPERIOR SERVICE, GREAT VIEWS AND EVEN BOARD GAMES!

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Boxcar Social makes its coffees and espresso-based beverages with a often-changing selection of beans from world-renowned roasters (photo: Boxcar Social)

Is a proliferation of cafés any indication of a city’s success? It’s not hard to argue in favour of the idea. Those who pass time at coffee shops necessarily have the leisure to do so. Leisure implies financial comfort, freedom—at least temporary—from work. Others, of course, use cafés as de facto workspaces, with caffeine helping fuel their creative contributions to the economy. And then there are the café owners themselves, who must be sufficiently confident in a city’s commercial vitality to have opened their businesses in the first place.

Ever dynamic, downtown Toronto hosts innumerable independent coffee-sipping spots. Many of the most popular, like Dark Horse, Sam James, Crema and Jimmy’s, are successful enough to support multiple locations across the city. There are far more excellent cafés than can reasonably be counted here, so let’s just say we hold the 13 places below in high regard—not only for their beverages, but for their delicious snacks, congenial ambience and other intangibles, too.

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Salute The Commodore in Parkdale

THE COMMODORE BRINGS SEAFOOD AND NAUTICAL STYLE TO THE WEST END

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The Commodore’s subtly nautical dining room (photo: Joel Gale)

The eastern portion of Parkdale (or, if you prefer, farther-west Queen West) continues to be a focal point for interesting, low-key eating experiences: hipster taco hub Grand Electric still draws crowds, while Chantecler and recently christened Miss Thing’s have cachet, too. The Commodore is one of the newest additions to this worthy group and boasts many of its hallmarks, including a designer—but not too designer—dining room, highly curated cocktail and craft beer program, and an overall intimate vibe. A menu highlighting smaller, shareable portions is also de rigeur for the region; in this case it champions unique seafood-forward dishes like swordfish crudo with sea asparagus and crispy chicken skin, brown butter–sauced shrimp, and squid ink and calamari ragu risotto. Without going overboard, the restaurant accentuates its naval nomenclature and ocean-going offerings with an interior reminiscent of a ship’s hull, and an above-the-bar assemblage of lights that could pass for the suckers on a squid’s tentacles.  –Craig Moy

• The Commodore, 1265 Queen St. W., 416-537-1265; commodorebar.ca
Map and reviews

Quick Pick: 3 Design Events This Month in Toronto

JANUARY OFFERS DESIGN LOVERS AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO DISCOVER THE LATEST TRENDS IN DECOR, FURNISHINGS, CONCEPTUAL PRODUCTS AND MUCH MORE

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Toronto’s Studio Woolf and curator Sara Nickelson created Untitled (Idolization Space) for this year’s Come Up to My Room

Light-fixture lovers, ergonomic-chair enthusiasts and conceptual-space aficionados have much to celebrate this month in Toronto, thanks the return of three major design events.

JANUARY 23 & 24 The biggest, of course, is the Interior Design Show, an en masse expo featuring the brands and products that will set the trends in home and business styling for the year to come. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., 416-585-8000; interiordesignshow.com

JANUARY 18 TO 24 The Toronto Design Offsite Festival offers a more experimental counterpoint: across the city, galleries and boutiques host installations that aim to create a dialogue around edgier, independent design being practiced locally and abroad. Various venues; todesignoffsite.com

JANUARY 21 TO 24 Arguably even more immersive is Come Up to My Room, an annual artistic takeover of the Gladstone Hotel. This year’s edition includes a re-creation of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom, a bathroom that explores identity through African barbershop signs and murals, and another suite that makes explicit the sanctification of our modern, image-obsessed culture. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 647-792-5961; comeuptomyroom.com

—Craig Moy

Jaeger-LeCoultre Opens at Yorkdale

NORTH TORONTO’S YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE ADDS WATCHMAKER JAEGER-LECOULTRE TO ITS ROSTER OF THE WORLD’S MOST LUXURIOUS RETAILERS

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The elegant confines of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new Yorkdale location

Upscale Swiss timepiece retailer Jaeger-LeCoultre has set up one of its two new Canadian boutiques at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Since its 1833 founding, the company has become renowned for its ultra-thin movements and watch-making ingenuity. Enthusiasts can discover iconic items from the brand’s history as well as new collections, including the Reverso, Rendez-Vous, Duomètre and the Deep Sea, in a hushed, chandelier-lit space awash in warm tones of caramel and chocolate brown. —Linda Luong

• Jaeger-LeCoultre, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-789-2334; jaeger-lecoultre.com
Map and reviews

The Hottest Heated Patios for Winter in Toronto

THESE DISTINCTIVE HEATED PATIOS MAKE OUTDOOR DINING HIGHLY DESIRABLE DURING WINTER IN TORONTO

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The Drake Hotel’s heated Sky Yard patio has been transformed into a cozy, contemporary legion hall for winter (photo: the Drake Hotel)

Whether or not you accept the science behind climate change, there’s no denying that Toronto experienced an unseasonably warm end to 2015, with temperatures reaching the low teens all the way up to Christmas. But now it seems winter’s chill (a modest version of it, at least) has indeed taken hold, ensuring that on most days it’s preferable to be indoors rather than out. Of course, even on the coldest of days there are those of us who yearn for a bit of fresh air and a view of the (slate grey) sky. A handful of Toronto restaurants are set up to oblige our “outdoors, indoors” desires with their popular heated patios.

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Nathan Phillips Square Skating is a Toronto Tradition

STRAP ON SOME SKATES AND TAKE A SPIN ON THE PUBLIC ICE RINK AT NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE

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Nathan Phillips Square skating is especially enjoyable at night, beneath the city lights

Although the recent weather hasn’t exactly been frosty, a spin on the skating rink at Nathan Phillips Square remains a quintessential winter-in-Toronto activity. Located in front of City Hall, the reflecting pool is transformed into a frozen paradise for both novice and advanced skaters, and is particularly beloved by families. The rink is open daily, but is especially pretty (and romantic) at nighttime when the concrete beams overhead—known as the Freedom Arches—are lit up by a cascade of twinkling lights. Access to the rink is free if you have your own skates, but rentals are also available (adults $10, kids age 12 and under $5; helmet rentals are $5).  —Linda Luong

• Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W.; nathanphillipssquareskaterentals.com
• Map and reviews