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Toronto

Weekend Roundup: October 31 to November 2

THESE WEEKEND EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES ARE GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOUR TIME IN TORONTO EVEN MORE MEMORABLE!

Evil Dead: The Musical opens on Halloween.

Evil Dead: The Musical opens on Halloween.

Friday, October 31

If Halloween is your favourite holiday, there’s no better time to catch clever and hilarious Evil Dead: The Musical, which opens Friday for a short run at the Randolph Theatre until November 9. While exploring an abandoned cabin in the woods, five college kids are turned into demons by an evil force. It’s up to housewares employee Ash (and his chain saw) to save the day. Tickets are $39.95 – $69.95. Visit evildeadthemusical.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

For a less raucous Halloween experience, book at Ghost Walk tour around Exhibition Place. You’ll explore the archives, horticultural building and other areas of the grounds as you learn about some of the ghostly experiences, such as a vanishing police officer and horse and whistling in hallways. The tour starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person, and must be booked in advance; call 416-263-3658 to register.

If you’re looking to avoid Halloween haunts, indie folk singer-songwriter Noah Gunderson will be serenading the crowd at The Horseshoe Tavern, with Owen Beverly opening. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $17.50; visit horseshoetavern.com to purchase.

Ron Bolt's Fire Beneath #3 Hawaii (2014), oil on board.

Ron Bolt’s Fire Beneath #3 Hawaii (2014), oil on board.

Saturday, November 1

Be among the first to see Ontario painter Ron Bolt’s gorgeous, detailed landscapes at the opening of “Earth, Fire, Water: Paintings of the American Southwest and Hawaii” at Loch Gallery. Visit lochgallery.com for more information.

If you’re interested in learning about other cultures, you won’t want to miss the Toronto South African Film Festival, which explores South Africa’s culture, history and politics. The festival boasts five screenings on Saturday afternoon and another four on Sunday, all at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall. Tickets are $18 per screening, or $120 – $182 for a festival pass. Visit tsaff.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

Showcasing the nine restored surviving silent films made by Alfred Hitchcock, the Toronto Silent Film Festival kicks off on Saturday with a screening of Blackmail at 7 p.m. at Royal Cinema. Hitchcock’s final silent film stars Anny Ondra as Alice White, a young woman whose relationship with an artist turns very dark. Tickets are $15, or $40 – $100 for a pass. Visit torontosilentfilmfestival.com for more details and to purchase.

Courtesy of The Toronto International Luxury Chocolate Show.

Courtesy of The Toronto International Luxury Chocolate Show.

Sunday, November 2

Indulge in decadent treats at the 4th annual Toronto International Luxury Chocolate Show on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Roy Thomson Hall. Learn how to make chocolate, meet top chocolatiers, pastry chefs and confectioners, cheer on contestants (or even sign yourself up as one) in chocolate-eating contests, watch truffle-making demos, watch as chocolate sculptures are made on-site, sample wine and chocolate pairings and more. Tickets are $15 – $25; visit torontochocolateshow.com to purchase and for more information.

Celebrate Latin American culture at Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at the Evergreen Brick Works. Celebrated in Mexico and other parts of the world, the festival honours the loved ones who have passed. Kids will love the calavera (skull) face painting, as well as live music, dance, a churro competition and more. Visit evergreenbrickworks.com for more information.

All good things must come to an end, even the International Festival of Authors. Get your fill of all things literary on the closing day of the festival, including readings by Charlotte Gray, David Bergen, Claire Holden Rothman and more. Tickets are $18 for each event. Visit ifoa.org for more information.

Find Designer Deals at Southern Ontario Outlets

The Outlet Collection at Niagara.

The Outlet Collection at Niagara.

Shopping for name brands at these destinations won’t break the bank.

Toronto Premium Outlets, located in Halton Hills, is a sprawling outdoor mall that boasts Canada’s first Hudson’s Bay Outlet, as well as Ports 1961, Restoration Hardware, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Hugo Boss and Ted Baker London.

Touting itself as the country’s “largest open-air outlet shopping centre,” the Outlet Collection at Niagara opened earlier this spring. Discounted goods from Pandora, White House Black Market, The North Face, Browns, Old Navy and Rudsak are among the wine-region retail hub’s enticements.

Vaughan Mills is a “luxury outlet” mall north of Toronto. Inside, you’ll find the likes of hr2 Holt Renfrew, the Disney Store, Browns, and factory stores for Gap, Banana Republic, J.Crew and Nike. —Linda Luong

Little Sister Serves up Traditional Indonesian Fare

Little Sister. Photo by Craig Moy.

Photo by Craig Moy.

At midtown bistro Quince, chef and restaurateur Michael van den Winkel is known for doling out vibrant, easygoing Mediterranean fare—plus the occasional rijsttafel, an elaborate colonial-era Dutch-Indonesian “rice table” featuring 20 or more dishes. At Little Sister, van den Winkel commits fully to the Southeast Asian portion of his culinary inheritance, presenting a well-considered menu of street-style small plates and traditional Indonesian indulgences—from flavourful chicken, pork and swordfish skewers to Javanese dark spiced braised beef. Snacking and sharing are encouraged at this casual, colourful restaurant, with tropically inspired cocktails plus wines selected by Master Sommelier John Szabo serving ably as social lubricant. —Craig Moy

• Little Sister, 2031 Yonge St., 416-488-2031; littlesistertoronto.com
Map and reviews

DaiLo Serves Up Eclectic Chinese Dishes

DaiLo's "Big Mac" bao. Photo by Jim Norton Photography.

DaiLo’s “Big Mac” bao. Photo by Jim Norton Photography.

The prize for this year’s most anticipated Toronto restaurant surely goes to DaiLo. Chef Nick Liu has been teasing his Asian brasserie concept for two years, but circumstances conspired to ensure that he lacked permanent digs until just a couple of months ago. It’s been worth the wait: the Chinoiserie-chic dining room is a stylish yet high-energy space in which to enjoy Liu’s eclectic dishes, which alternate between upmarket renditions of traditional Chinese fare (for example, sweet-and-sour pork hock with jellyfish slaw) and unabashed mash-ups like his “Big Mac” bao. Keeping with prevailing trends, DaiLo also accommodates smaller appetites: upstairs bar LoPan offers casual snacks and cocktails (try the five spice–spiked dark and stormy).
—Craig Moy

• DaiLo, 503 College St., 647-341-8882; dailoto.com
• Map and reviews

Gilding the Lily Brings Star Stylist’s Finds to Toronto

Gilding the Lily.

Gilding the Lily.

Stylist to the stars Annie Jagger is known for her edgy-meets-feminine aesthetic; it’s well reflected at her new Distillery District shop, Gilding the Lily. Though based in Los Angeles—the better to work with such celebrities as Bradley Cooper, John Hamm and Kristen Stewart—Jagger chose Toronto for her first retail endeavor because she felt there was a void in the local market: true to its “embellished” name, the boutique showcases eclectic items that have an added touch of luxury. Among the well-curated goods are diamond and gemstone cocktail rings from Arik Kasten, body chains from Jacquie Aiche and ear skimmers from Smith and Mara. The rest of the stock, displayed against a barn board-and-wallpaper backdrop, includes funky shades from Anna Karin-Karlsson, hats in a variety of styles from Gladys Tamez, candles from Himalayan Trading Post and handmade soaps from Big Sur Country Soaps. Open Tuesday to Sunday. —Linda Luong

• Gilding the Lily, 47 Tank House Ln., 416-360-5459; gildingthelily.la
Map and reviews

Leave a Love Lock in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District

Sweethearts can leave a love lock at the Love Installation in the Distillery District.

Sweethearts can leave a love lock at the Love Installation in the Distillery District.

In Paris, couples can secure their eternal devotion with a love lock on the Pont des Arts bridge. In Dublin it’s the Ha’penny Bridge, in Florence it’s the Ponte Vecchio and in Korea it’s the N Seoul Tower. Where can mad-for-you couples leave their mark in Toronto? A special Love Installation at the Distillery District is catching the hearts of lovebirds, encouraging those newly in love, recently engaged, just married or celebrating decades of couplehood to affix their affection. Conceived by one of the pedestrian-friendly district’s developers, Mathew Rosenblatt, the 30-foot-long by eight-foot-high fixture is made of steel and reclaimed lumber. A sign encourages visitors to initial their lock, attach it, kiss (each other, of course) and then throw away the key. Social media-friendly patrons can also share their token with the hashtag #DistilleryLove. (And since it’s a freestanding piece, the weight of all those locks won’t pose any structural concerns, unlike with the bridge in Paris.) —Linda Luong

Weekend Roundup: October 24 to 26

THESE WEEKEND EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES ARE GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOUR TIME IN TORONTO EVEN MORE MEMORABLE!

Art Toronto draws galleries, curators and collectors from around the globe.

Art Toronto draws galleries, curators and collectors from around the globe.

Friday, October 24

Get a good look at local and global contemporary art trends at Art Toronto, an art fair that draws curators and collectors from across the city and around the world. You’ll find paintings, sculptures and installations from emerging and established artists, as well as the “Next” showcase featuring new galleries that offer works priced at $10,000 or less. October 24 to 27, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Visit arttoronto.ca for more information.

Irish songstress Sinead O’Connor brings her distinctive sound to Massey Hall as she promotes her 10th album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss. 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 to $79.50; visit masseyhall.com for more information and to purchase.

Bargain hunters and fashionistas will want to check out Catwalk 2 Closet, the largest designer sample and end-of-season sale held in Toronto. Score men’s and ladies’ outerwear, apparel, footwear and accessories from 100 brands with discounts ranging from 50 to 80 per cent off. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Direct Energy Centre, Heritage Court, 100 Princes’ Blvd. Visit catwalk2closet.com for more information.

Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. Photo by Mike Kocza.

Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. Photo by Mike Kocza.

Saturday, October 25

Calling all boys and ghouls! Channel your inner undead spirit this Saturday at the annual Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade, which winds through the downtown core. Even if you’re not feeling the urge to don a scary costume, the people watching is always a riot. The parade starts at 3 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.); visit torontozombiewalk.ca for more details.

The chance to see a medley of musicians and proceeds going to a good cause sounds good to us. Feist, Billy Talent, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah Harmer, Hayden, Jason Collett, Lou Canon and more will take the stage at Massey Hall for the first annual Dream Serenade Benefit Concert in support of programs for children with special needs. This year, the concert will support The Beverley Street School and a family relief fund for caregivers. All ages. Tickets are $50 to $200; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

The 35th annual International Festival of Authors is in town October 23 to November 2, and Saturday boasts a lineup packed with readings. Acclaimed Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses his latest book with Canadian author Sheila Heti on Saturday evening. Earlier in the afternoon, a number of authors read from their latest works, including David Bezmozgis, Elyse Friedman, C.C. Humphreys, Shelly Oria, John Boyne, Matthew Thomas, Tim Winton, Ted Baris, Robert Glancy and more. Tickets for each event are $18; visit ifoa.org for further details and to purchase.

Dum Dum Girls.

The Dum Dum Girls play Lee’s Palace Sunday.

Sunday, October 26

The Dum Dum Girls bring their increasingly polished post-punk sound to Lee’s Palace, with Ex Cops and BB Guns opening. Doors 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50; visit collectiveconcerts.com for more information and to purchase.

Craft beer fans who haven’t purchased tickets for Cask Days (now sold out) can still sample some of the offerings on Sunday at the Evergreen Brick Works. “Last Call for the Cask” will feature any leftover beers from noon to 6 p.m. or while supplies last. Admission is $5 plus $5 for a festival glass for sampling; visit caskdays.com for more information.

Score vintage fashions at the Wychwood Vintage Clothing Show, where 30-plus vendors from Ontario and Quebec will be selling a range of goods, from clothing, jewellery and accessories to old textiles, linens, fabrics and quilts. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ArtScape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. Admission is $8 at the door; children 12 and under are free.

Feed Your Hunger for Pan-Asian Fare

Patois, Toronto. Photo by Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen Photography.

Sharing plates at Patois. Photo by Barb Simkova for Tara McMullen Photography.

If this month’s Hot Dining eateries aren’t enough to sate your appetite for Far East fare, the city’s recent Asian infusion is even more substantial. Pai represents yet another buzz-worthy boîte from Nuit and Jeff Regular, Toronto’s reigning Thai food champions, where chef Nuit serves up her signature offerings (khao soi, Massaman curry) plus other Northern Thai–style dishes. The culinary journey continues at Lucky Red (318 Spadina Ave., 416-792-8628), a bao bar from the owners of Banh Mi Boys that boasts steamed- or baked-bun sandwiches filled with pork belly, panko-crusted tofu, fried chicken and other trendy ingredients. Or indulge in some unexpected island hopping at Patois, which sees pedigreed chef Craig Wong present plates that draw on both Chinese and Jamaican flavours.
—Craig Moy

Explore Local and Global Art Trends at Art Toronto

Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

OCTOBER 24 TO 27 Get a good look at local and global trends in contemporary art at Art Toronto, the country’s premier gathering of curators and collectors from across the city and around the world. Whether your interest lies in paintings, sculptures or even installations, the popular expo has all the latest works from emerging and established artists represented by the likes of Toronto’s Diaz Contemporary, Vancouver’s Gallery Jones, New York’s Mike Weiss Gallery and Tel Aviv’s Zemack Contemporary Art. And if you’re really looking for the leading edge of modern art, visit the show’s “Next” showcase, which features galleries that have been in business for eight years or fewer offering innovative works priced at less than $10,000.
—Craig Moy

• Art Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.; arttoronto.ca

Get the Party Started: Toronto’s Nightlife Boasts Something for Everyone

THE RECIPE FOR A GREAT EVENING OUT IN TORONTO? AMAZING MUSIC, A BIG DANCE FLOOR AND A LITTLE SOCIAL LUBRICANT.
BY CRAIG MOY

The Drake Hotel. Photo by Connie Tsang.

The Drake Hotel is a hip west-end hub. Photo by Connie Tsang.

UP IN THE CLUBS

Toronto may not be Las Vegas or Miami when it comes to extravagant nightspots. But even in this relatively staid city there’s a clutch of people who know how to party—and a brace of impressive venues to host the revelry. Downtown’s nightlife nexus is generally bound by King and Queen streets, between Bathurst Street and University Avenue. Upstart Ace (425 Adelaide St. W., 416-504-1444) caters to the city’s trendy young professionals. It’s intimate, but there’s room to breathe, and for a premium you can keep it that way in a private booth. Similarly smaller scale is Media Bar, a chic nightclub-meets-social-club type of space where you can charge your iPhone while nursing your drink. On the other end of the spectrum are spaces such as Uniun—which attracts big crowds with its no-expense-spared ambience and guest appearances by top international DJs—and Exhibition Place’s Muzik nightclub, featuring such amenities as a beauty bar (with hair and makeup services for ladies) and an exclusive Grey Goose lounge.

That said, sometimes a discerning nightcrawler needs something more novel to get the blood pumping and the champagne flowing: hybrid bars-slash-nightclubs The Everleigh and Cabin Five attract attention by fostering a Canadiana-chic vibe, while Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon carries 10-gallon Stetsons, cowboy boots and bolo ties into the 21st century on the back of a mechanical bull. And then there’s Chill Ice House (page 27). True to its name, Toronto’s newest nightspot embraces our wintry weather: the lounge’s walls, furniture, bar and even its glasses are made of ice.

MIX AND MINGLE

Getting a nice, stiff drink in Toronto has never been difficult, per se, but these days it’s easier than ever. The really timeless tipples, of course, have long been kept alive at the leather-bound Roof Lounge, one of the city’s most venerated—and most comfortably traditional—hotel bars, while numerous neighbourhood establishments up the ante by using artisan ingredients in soon-to-be-classic and real-deal-timeless recipes. The Black Hoof’s Cocktail Bar (923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511) leads the pack in this regard, but you can’t go wrong ambling into the likes of Northwood (815 Bloor St. W., 416-846-8324), D.W. Alexander or Montauk (765 Dundas St. W., 647-352-4810), which has both Manhattans and negronis on tap. Speaking of time, bars such as SpiritHouse and Museum Tavern use it wisely to create barrel-aged cocktails—drinks that have gained smoother, mellower flavours by maturing in oak barrels for three to four weeks.

If it’s a more unusual sip that you seek, BarChef is a natural first-call: the city’s foremost envelope-pushing lounge is known for utilizing molecular techniques in its signature cocktails. Should those complex creations prove intimidating, rest assured that dialed-down, yet contemporary, drinks can be had at finer venues across Toronto. We recommend investigating the inventiveness of Momofuku Nikai and Cold Tea.

GET IN THE GROOVE

The city’s live music scene is ample and diverse. Use this handy guide to decide where you should go tonight!

Kool Haus, Phoenix Concert Theatre and Sound Academy: Toronto’s mid-size concert venues are known (though not always favourably) for their cavernous acoustics, as well as for their consistently varied bookings: one night might see British synth-pop stylists Bombay Bicycle Club, while the next could bring alternative rapper Ab-Soul to the stage.

Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace: In business for more than 60 years, the ’Shoe is a prime destination for scoping out emerging local talent—particularly those with a folk-rock or alt-country vibe—as well as bigger-name bands. Somewhat larger, Lee’s Palace attracts a range of established indie acts, including Beach House, The Wooden Sky, Cloud Nothings and Royal Canoe.

The Rex and Jazz Bistro: Toronto’s jazz scene isn’t necessarily as vital as it once was, but these downtown venues keep swinging. On top of its regular jazz and blues programming, Jazz Bistro also boasts a weekly Latin showcase and Sunday jazz brunch. Older and a bit rougher around the edges, The Rex nevertheless invigorates with a minimum of two shows every night.

The Hoxton: Each month, this urban-chic space hosts a decent number of big-beat EDM artists who know how to play to the clubby crowd.

Wrongbar: Eclectic DJs are the stars of the show at this Parkdale venue. The official schedule is sparser than at other spots, but musicians playing elsewhere in town have been known to drop by Wrongbar to spin some post-performance vinyl.

The Drake Hotel: This hip west-end arts-and-culture hub alternates between indie-rock concerts, DJ-directed dance parties, comedy shows and more.

The Tranzac: The Toronto Australia New Zealand Club (The Tranzac for short) has made a name for itself by regularly hosting a variety of hyper-local performers. The tunes tend toward the folksier end of the spectrum—with a smattering of contemporary classical and creatively improvised music—but often incorporate a somewhat experimental mien.

Celebrate Craft Beer in a Very Big Way at Cask Days

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

OCTOBER 24 TO 26 What began in 2005 as an intimate gathering of like-minded beer consumers on the back patio of Bar Volo (587 Yonge St., 416-928-0008) has now become one of North America’s largest celebrations of craft beer. Cask Days brings unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated brews to the masses, allowing breweries the chance to show off their hops. This year’s event has about 300 different cask-conditioned ales by 100-plus breweries from across Canada, the United States and the U.K., including Niagara Oast House, Nelson Brewery, Grizzly Paw, Microbrasserie Le Castor and Grand River Brewing. A special focus on California includes 30-plus breweries from the state. Not into ale? A number of ciders are available, too, as well as gluten-free beer options. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m., $35 and up; see caskdays.com to buy tickets. —Linda Luong

Score Deep Discounts on Fashions at Catwalk 2 Closet

Catwalk 2 Closet Olesya Feketa,via Shutterstock

Find deep discounts on designer samples and end-of-season stock at Catwalk 2 Closet.

OCTOBER 23 TO 26 What’s a retailer to do when it finds itself with a surplus of inventory and in need of room for new merchandise? Enter Catwalk 2 Closet, the largest designer sample sale in the city with 100 brands available to label-loving shoppers. Together under one roof, leading purveyors of men’s and ladies’ outerwear, apparel, footwear and accessories bring their available samples and end-of-season goods directly to the consumer at steeply discounted prices—ranging from 50 to 80 per cent off. Be prepared though—15,000 to 20,000 people are expected to attend the event over the course of four days, for items from the likes of Fred Perry, Oliver Spencer, Filson, Aigle and Northland Pro, and Canadian companies like Four Seasons Fur, Wayne Clark, Farley Chatto and Jennifer Torosian. Direct Energy Centre, Heritage Court, 100 Princes’ Blvd., Thursday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit catwalk2closet.com for more information. —Linda Luong