OUR ARTS AND CULTURE EDITOR TELLS US WHERE TO GO
Photos by Megan Leahy
Arts & Culture
Hot Docs did the city a big favour in restoring Bloor Street Cinema, though I must admit some rainy afternoons I’d prefer to veg out to an old film over a documentary. Thankfully, on Sundays they feature the Back to the Bloor series and play cult movies as a tribute to the cinema’s history. And there’s always The Royal.
Add No One Writes the Colonel to my list of local haunts. On Sundays and Tuesdays they host Choir!Choir!Choir! for which upwards of 100 people spend $5 each for a piece of sheet music and divide into lows, mids and highs to belt out classic tunes. Did I mention they serve blended cocktails!
A few weekends ago I attended the Jane Austen Ball with three of my friends. After little more than an hour lesson on English country Dancing, we put on our gowns and headed to a local church for a ball attended by about 60 others dressed in costume. We are now addicted and looking forward to the Dances in High Park by twilight this summer. Look to the Toronto English Country Dancers for more information.
Aside from the Art Gallery of Ontario, Narwhal Art Projects in the Junction is my pick for the best gallery in the city. Right now I am very much looking forward to the Southern Salazar exhibition opening June 15 2012.
I live in Little Italy around the corner from Soundscapes where I pop in at least once a week to check out the new releases and featured albums. Their website is also a great source with a frequently updated list of upcoming shows in Toronto.
Sunday nights at The Dakota Tavern with The Beauties is still my go-to night for fun live music and dancing. Right now they also have Hot Rock on Wednesday nights featuring members of Flash Lightin’ & The Beauties playing Rolling Stones covers.
Tacos El Asador wins hands down for quick and delicious cheap eats. I always get the Beef Enchilada and plantains for dessert, but have recently discovered the yummy pork and pineapple combo, Al Pastor.
We just celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday at Fanny Chadwick’s where they make everything in house down to the ketchup. The restaurant is small and has a quaint cottagey feel.
Also on Dupont, Ezra’s Pound has delicious coffee and even better continental breakfast and treats.
Most recently I became obsessed with the brunch at L’Ouvrier Kitchen Bar at 791 Dundas Street West. A nice open and modern artsy space, the service is impeccable and the aged cheddar on raisin-walnut bread grilled cheese is too good to be true.
Patios & Bars
My friends and I have been regulars at the Victory Café for years. We have spent many summer afternoons enjoying the sunshine on their patio and then layered on the sweaters to camp out straight through last call. The beer selection is local and delicious, and the food is better than most pubs.
Three Speed is full of pretty faces and has a fun, packed backyard patio. Same goes for Ted’s Collision if you don’t mind good music played way too loud, and head to Cold Tea, tucked inside Kensington Mall, if you’re willing to wait in line.
Stella lacks a patio but has a great vibe akin to hanging-out in your “cool” friend’s parent’s basement. Their Dark and Stormy is my favourite cocktail in the city. Order it with a can of PBR to cut the burn.
First thing I recommend to tourists is a walk through the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. Starting on Bloor Street at the Royal Ontario Museum, walk south through Philosopher’s Walk-the winding path that hugs the east side of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Cut through the gates of Trinity College and check out the dining room if it’s open for a very “Harry Potter” feel. When you step out of the college, you’ll see the concrete abstract peacock that is Robarts Library on your far right. Cross Harbord Street and walk straight, passing Hart House. Now you’re in King’s Circle, the large field Tom Cruise jets across in the film “Risky Business.” If you keep heading south you’ll end up at College and Spadina with Kensington Market just around the corner.
For Torontonians who know the city well, some still might not be familiar with Wychwood Park, the private neighborhood and former gated community up the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport. The real estate is varied and awe-inspiring, including modern cottages and behemoth mansions. The area is so quiet and romantic it feels as though you’ve left the city.