Travel the world in Toronto
Bazaars Bring The World To Toronto
By Leah Macpherson
A dynamic part of Toronto’s colourful cultural mosaic, bazaars bring the exciting and exotic flavours of the world to the heart of the city.
At the Gerrard India Bazaar, enjoy books on everything from the mysteries of Ayurveda to Hinduism and yoga; delight in colourful handicrafts, silk paintings, carvings and aromatic incense, or take home beautifully crafted jewellery and fashions. Savour Eastern delights at the bazaar’s wide range of dining choices, from casual takeout to fine dining, and enjoy shopping in the many fresh-food markets.
A fantastic way to celebrate the end of summer, the Outdoor Marketplace at the Canadian National Exhibition offers an eclectic variety of goods during the exhibition’s annual run, from about the last two weeks of August through the Labour Day weekend. Whether you’re looking for sunglasses, souvenirs or psychic services, shop for a wide range of diverse products and services while having fun and thrills at the CNE.
Enjoy summer in the city at June’s annual Indonesian Bazaar, held at the Residence of the Consulate General of Indonesia. Scoop up silky scarves, brightly coloured clothes and charming handmade craft items. Treat your palate to Indonesian delicacies like hot and spicy chicken satay with rice and peanut sauce or fiery barbecued beef.
Take in the beauty of bonsai, delicious baked goods and great deals on Noritake tableware at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Annual Bazaar, held each spring. Bid on an eclectic range of goods at the silent auction or take a bite out of Japan with a wide range of specialty food and drinks.
Historic Houses & Gardens
By Leah Macpherson
One of Canada’s oldest settlements, Toronto is steeped in history and peppered with intriguing historical sites.
Constructed in 1793, Fort York National Historic Site is at the heart of the settlement of York, as Toronto was known in the late 18th century. Visited by thousands of people each year, Fort York offers daily guided tours of the collection of original War of 1812 buildings, musket drills, and costumed characters re-enacting scenes from daily life in the fort, such as butter churning and ironwork at the blacksmith’s forge.
Home to John Howard, one of Toronto’s first architects, Colborne Lodge is a picturesque Regency cottage built in 1837. The house’s wide, graceful verandahs face the beautiful gardens of High Park, and the building itself is full of charming artifacts and furnishings from the mid-19th century.
Featuring a recreated print shop and gallery, Mackenzie House is a Greek Revival row house originally purchased for William Lyon Mackenzie, the first mayor of Toronto. Enjoy the recreated Victorian-era interior or relax in the pretty walled garden.
Experience the vibrancy of Toronto in the 1920s and 30s at the Spadina Museum’s Historic House and Gardens. Recently restored, the property houses a wide and varied collection of historical artifacts and furnishings. Catch one of the museums frequently updated exhibitions or enjoy a moment of sweet serenity in the elaborate gardens.
Luxury Hotel Dining
By Leah Macpherson
Heralding a return to the golden era of glittering, high-profile hotel restaurants, three exciting new Toronto properties are attracting talented chefs to the city’s glamorous hotel kitchens.
At the prestigious Ritz-Carlton, TOCA by Tom Brodi serves up a modern take on classic dishes that combine fresh, naturally raised ingredients in imaginative new ways. The contemporary, open-concept dining room and chef’s table provide guests with intimate access to Chef Brodi and his culinary team. A Toronto native, Brodi has also held positions at local, prestigious restaurants like Canoe and North 44 and the Gramercy Tavern in New York City.
The Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square is a quiet oasis of luxury in Toronto’s vibrant downtown core. Sleek and streamlined, the hotel’s restaurant, e11even, is a minimalist’s mirage of glass, metal and concrete. David Isen, executive chef cleverly updates modern classics for the hotel’s sophisticated clientele.
In the centre of the city’s financial district, the new Trump International Hotel & Tower’s 31st floor features spectacular views of the city, signature fine dining and an award-winning chef. Celebrated Trump chefs include Trump New York’s chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Trump Chicago’s acclaimed executive chef Frank Brunacci.
We’re Going Underground
By Andrew Rennie
Toronto’s central club district is characterized by three-storey dance stages, limos and lineups. But off-off-Club Central you’ll find an entirely different scene—the underground club scene, that includes places like these:
The Red Light
- The Red Light is a modest, intimate and unpretentious (read: not grungy) venue, curated by enthusiasts of good music. A well-oiled sound system and a selection of drinks that run the gamut from Colt 45 malt liquor to Hennessy Black cognac will definitely have you returning.
- 1185 Dundas Street West
- Goodnight is a mock speakeasy that requires patrons to be buzzed in, as well as a reservation on most evenings. A lean, 35-person capacity and dim, sultry atmosphere makes this a great date bar. Smooth soul and classic hip hop completes the ambiance.
- 431 Richmond Street West | GoodnightBar.com
- Castro’s Lounge is a small, hammer and sickle-themed pub in The Beach. It features a surprising assortment of niche beers, reggae, soul and post-punk on the jukebox, and a live, pay-what-you-can performance from folk rock act Jerry Leger and The Situation (featured on CBC Radio 3) every Thursday night.
- 2116 Queen Street East
- This two-floor venue caters to rock fans during the week—and hip hop, R&B and dance-hall reggae enthusiasts come Friday night. Expect hip late-20s/early-30s crowds, delicious, late-night comfort foods and old indulgences, like pinball and Pac-Man arcade machines.
- 718 College Street
- Marben’s posh “urban barn” décor, lack of cover and surgically accurate R&B/house DJs provide a great setting for King West-ers looking for a change of pace—without having to leave the strip.
- 488 Wellington Street West | MarbenRestaurant.com
Crema The Crop
By Bonny Reichert
It’s a small luxury, but folks’ willingness to shell out a chunk of their pocket change for a great cup of coffee, brewed or pulled by a neighbourhood barista, shows a very real kind of engagement and optimism. Here, the places locals love to go for their joe (from west to east):
- On the beloved strip nicknamed “Ronscie” by residents, Cherry Bomb has custom roasted beans, excellent housemade baked goods and even original art.
- 79 Roncesvalles Avenue | CherryBombCoffee.ca
- A bright beautiful space in the up-and-coming Junction, and a latte that is sweeter and smoother than the ones you’re used to.
- 3079 Dundas Street West | CremaCoffee.ca
- Here the laid-back staff will pull a fruity Intelligentsia Coffee shot just for you. Bring your laptop and stay a while.
- 426 College Street | ManicCoffee.com
- A serious cup of coffee for serious coffee lovers. So rich and deep you’re full by the bottom of the cup.
- 297 Harbord Street & 688a Bloor Street West | SamJamesCoffeeBar.com
The Merchant of Green
- This old-school coffee house has a warm, convivial vibe and super fresh, ‘green’ coffee.
- 2 Matilda Street | MerchantsOfGreenCoffee.com
The Rooster Coffee House
- Across the street from beautiful Riverdale park and as comfy as home, but with better company, coffee and pastry.
- 497 Broadview Avenue | RoosterCoffeeHouse.com