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    0 0

    The Toronto International Film Festival is back, and with it, last call has been extended all over the city. Like past years, the concentration of restaurants and bars serving until 4 a.m. is near the vicinity of the Lightbox, but there's still a few spots outside the area as well.

    Here are the bars with 4 a.m. extended last call for TIFF this year.

    This represents establishments approved to serve until 4 a.m. by the AGCO. They don't have to exercise that right on each night, so it's always best to called ahead to confirm.


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    After nearly 10 years of being one of the most coveted brunch patios in the Church and Wellesley Village, Lola's Kitchen abruptly closed its doors yesterday, and former staff of the restaurant are accusing the owners of blindsiding them with the closure. 

    The Church Street restaurant, which has long been lauded for its seasonal brunches foods, announced yesterday on Instagram in a short, straight-to-the-point post that it's officially no longer in business. 

    "Lola's has been shut down permanently due to a new residential condo development," it says. "Thank you for all your patronage over the years."

    It's been known by owners and staff for several years that Lola's would eventually be replaced by a proposed 52-storey condo called "The Manhattan," which is slated to take over several properties, including Lola's historic building on the northwest corner of Church and Charles. 

    But former staff of Lola's are saying that they were never given a heads-up about the Labour Day closure, only finding out when an employee walked by the restaurant and saw a sign on the door saying that it was permanently closed. 

    "Most of us were scheduled to work today," says former employee Craig Jeffery, who was the one to spot the sign. "We all need to find other jobs and like most people in Toronto we live pay cheque to pay cheque, and now we don't have one."

    According to a press release sent out by a group called ShortList Artist Management, the acting PR group for Lola's ex-employees: "None of the employees received notification until later that evening after [owners were] confronted via text by one of the managers." 

    E-mails from Lola's parent company were sent out yesterday evening to all the restaurant's employees—a tight-knit community of people—to inform them that, due to an "urgent call from the Project Developer", Lola's Kitchen would be closing "prior to originally expected."

    Employees were also informed that they'd soon be getting a formal notice in the mail detailing severance and backpay. 

    Lola's responded to allegations of foul play in the comment section of their IG announcement yesterday, saying, "The true fact here is that all of the staff were aware that the restaurant was closing sometime between the summer and the end of the year." 

    "Notwithstanding the sad closing of Lola's Kitchen Inc., the management shall do everything they need to respect and adhere to the laws of Ontario for all existing employees." 

    They also noted in a press statement that they are hoping to reopen Lola's in the same building later down the road. Whether or not former employees will be rehired when that happens has yet to be seen, and those who've just been fired are now on the search for new jobs. 

    "I think below the anger that we all feel, I think it’s just a real sadness that we’re not going to work together tomorrow," says Jeffery. 


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    An event called "True Patriots Vigil For Victims Of Terrorism" is scheduled to take place this Saturday near the site of last month's tragic shooting in Toronto's Greektown neighbourhood — and, while it sounds like a nice memorial service, it might not actually be.

    The event is being planned by a group called Canadian Combat Coalition National (CCCN), which purports to "oppose mass immigration, open borders, New World Order and Sharia Law."

    Almost 2,500 members strong, it's not a tiny chunk of people, fringe as what the beliefs it promotes may seem, and the fact that this group is hosting an event on the Danforth is raising concern among locals.

    "On this coming Sunday the 9th at 3 PM, a false 'vigil' is planned for the Greektown shooting to be held at our community's memorial," wrote Toronto resident Stew MacDonald on Facebook of the CCCN event.

    "The group hosting this event, the 'Canadian Combat Coalition" is an unsavory sort, as the name and logo imply," he continued. "They are NOT local community members, many aren't even from Toronto -- they are trying to milk and abuse this tragedy, which we all know was not an organized terrorist attack, to push their white supremacist agendas."

    MacDonald goes on to draw links between CCCN and known hate groups such as the Proud Boys and Soldiers of Odin, encouraging others to join a countedemonstration to "shut up the hate."

    Those familiar with a recent protest organized at Nathan Phillips Square by a group called Worldwide Coalition Against Islam (WCAI) might be having a bit of deja vu.

    It's important to note, however, that WCAI shut down its planned anti-Muslim rally after thousands of Torontonians came forward on Facebook to say that they'd be present too — and that they'd happily combat any sort of racist hate speech with words and demonstrations of their own.

    At present, a total of 59 people are "interested in going" to the Canadian Combat Coalition National group's vigil for patriots.

    Meanwhile, some 135 are interested in attending the counter-rally event, Danforth United Against Hate.

    "We welcome muslims and all races and religions in our community," wrote McDonald, himself a Danforth local, on the Facebook page for that event.

    "Let's come out, and drown these fools out with an overwhelming community response. Let's show them and everyone else, that in the east end we can handle these hate mongers ourselves," he continued.

    "Let's show them that this bullshit isn't welcome here, and that we're not afraid on the Danforth."


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    Ossington sure has changed over the years from a street filled with car mechanics to its current incarnation as a popular nightlife destination and home to high-end fashion stores.  

    In this episode of the Only in Toronto podcast, we stop by the newest shop and check in with a bakery that's been there 40 years.

    Plus, we meet the man who's been singing birthday wishes at a Greektown restaurant for almost two decades and get you ready for the 2018 edition of TIFF. 

    What to see at TIFF:
    Articles referenced in this episode include:
    Places mentioned in this podcast:
    Ways to subscribe to the Only in Toronto podcast:

    You can also listen to the Only in Toronto podcast on Alexa. Just ask Alexa to play the podcast Only in Toronto.


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    It's already Wednesday and events in Toronto today offer plenty of things to do. Pick yourself up a fresh new tee and a pin to go with it at the big artists market happening outside OCAD. Music, movies, theatre and more are all on as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    OCAD Artist Alley (September 5 @ Butterfield Park)
    Toronto's own budding and established artists are selling a ton of handmade goodies like clothing, jewellery, prints, zines, stickers and lots more.
    Niall Horan (September 5 @ Budweiser Stage)
    Former One Direction member Niall Horan has taken his pop music in a different direction and turned to country music instead.
    Confabulation (September 5 @ Burdock)
    Confabulation returns with a night of storytelling about one thing that is rarely easy for anyone: moving, uprooting your life and making anew.
    Bad Gyal (September 5 @ Adelaide Hall)
    Spain's newest singing sensation—dubbed the "reggaeton queen" and the country's "first modern dancehall artist"—arrives to get the dance floor hot.
    Harvest Wednesday (September 5 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    This week's Harvest Wednesday looks to break the boundaries of dining with a chef's talk, three-course meal, drinks and live music into the night.
    Steve Earle (September 5 @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre)
    It's been 30 years since Steve Earle's Copperhead Road came out and the legendary rock, country and folk singer is here to perform the album.
    Zero Hour Improv (September 5 @ Comedy Bar)
    Ten comedians in 90 minutes make up this big showcase of comedy powerhouses hitting you with the improv all night long.
    Intersection (September 5 @ Social Capital Theatre)
    The intersection of race, sexuality, gender, faith, ability and class is explored from all angles during this storytelling and performance session.
    Home Away Home (September 5 @ Cafe Pamenar)
    Part of a festival looking at Toronto-as-home, artists look to respond to issues of immigration with their multi-disciplinary visual and media works.
    Toronto Fashion Week (September 4-6 @ Multiple Venues)
    The three-day fashion extravaganza continues with shows from Hayley Elsaesser, WRKDEPT and more.

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    Inside an old Edwardian home, this apartment is full of character, with wood panelled ceilings, original fireplaces and plenty of living space.5 Admiral Road Toronto

    The living room, dining room and kitchen filter off the grand entrance.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoThe principal rooms are massive and bright with soaring nine foot ceilings.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoI’m obsessed with the kitchen. It has a wood panelled ceiling, stainless steel appliances and a wood burning stove. 5 Admiral Road TorontoIt reminds me of a high-end cabin kitchen.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoThere’s also a separate butler's pantry and breakfast room, for those bougie folks out there.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoThe bedrooms have plenty of natural light and storage.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoThe master bedroom has a walk-in closet and an en suite bathroom.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoAs for outdoor space, there’s a large private backyard with a deck overlooking a gorgeous perennial garden.

    5 Admiral Road TorontoThis unit also has access to a wine cellar and a cold storage room in the basement.  5 Admiral Road Toronto

    Specs
    • Address: #Main - 5 Admiral Road
    • Type: Apartment
    • Rent: $4,450 / month (now leased)
    • Listing agent: David Allan Friestadt
    • Furnished? No
    • Utilities: No
    • Air conditioning? Yes
    • Bedrooms: 3
    • Bathrooms: 2
    • Parking: 2
    • Laundry? In suite
    • Outdoor space? Backyard
    • Pet friendly? No
    5 Admiral Road TorontoGood For

    Someone who lives for the grandeur and elegance of the old homes in the Annex.5 Admiral Road Toronto

    Move On If

    You don’t like old-fashioned homes. For the same amount of money you can rent a new build ultra-modern condo.5 Admiral Road Toronto


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    Prepare for another sweltering day today as temperatures are about to break historic records in Toronto.

    With a forecasted high of 32C, but feeling more like the low-40s, it doesn't look like summer is planning on leaving us alone quite yet. The all-time record high for September 5 came in 1945, when temperatures hit a cool 31.7C. 

    toronto weather

    This week's forecast should see temperatures eventually fall to something a little more comfortable than today. Image from Environment Canada.

    Luckily, Toronto might see some relief later this week, as temperatures are set to finally drop. 

    Saturday should cool off to around 18C, and Sunday will be a comfortable, breathable 15C. 


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    The TIFF 2018 movie schedule is stacked with so many options. Wth the documentaries, the programmers' picks, the great foreign films, the award winners from Cannes, the buzz worthy and  most anticipated all vying for your attention it's tough to choose what to see.

    To make things a bit easier here are my picks for what to see at TIFF 2018 by day of the week.

    September 6

    Day one and already there are two dozen films to choose from! You could have a nice evening of Canadian cinema parked above the Elgin with Patricia Rozema's moving and theatrical Mouthpiece (6 p.m., Winter Garden Theatre) followed by the meditative doc Anthropocene (8:45 p.m., Winter Garden Theatre).

    Or for a different kind of night start with award winning Dogman (6 p.m., Scotiabank 2), skip over to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9 (8:45 p.m., Ryerson) or Vinterberg's Kursk (10 p.m., Princess of Wales Theatre) and cap it off with the Midnight Madness premiere of Shane Black's The Predator (11:59 p.m., Ryerson Theatre).

    September 7

    The truly committed will spend 495 minutes (!) turning into Dead Souls (9:45 a.m., Jackman Hall), while the starstruck will fight to see Julia Roberts in tease for the episodic drama Homecoming (5:30 p.m., Ryerson Theatre).

    Others should bring big boxes of tissues to the elegiac Rob Stewart tribute Sharkwater: Extinction (2 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall), followed by either a gala with Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet in Beautiful Boy (6:30 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall) or Nadine Labacki's moving Capernaum (4:30 p.m., Elgin Theatre).

    September 8

    Start your morning right with Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt in White Boy Rick (9:15 a.m., Lightbox 1), then go next door to visit The Elephant Queen (12:45 p.m., Lightbox 2), then embrace the stellar doc Heartbound (4:15 p.m., Scotiabank 4).

    You can see more Julia Roberts in the buzz-worthy family drama Ben Is Back (6:30 p.m., Princess of Wales Theatre), then drink in Glaswegian Country music romp Wild Rose (9:30 p.m., Ryerson Theatre) and stay awake with a shot of adrenaline from David Gordon Green's Halloween remake (11:59 p.m., Winter Garden Theatre).

    September 9

    You can choose between Hugh Jackman in the Gary Hart biopic The Front Runner (12:30 p.m., Elgin Theatre) or Errol Morris talking to Steve Bannon in American Dharma (12 p.m., Lightbox 1).

    You could experience Barry Jenkin's remarkable If Beale Street Could Talk (6 p.m., Princess of Wales) or try and catch the Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga gala A Star Is Born (6 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall) followed by Claire Denis directing Robert Pattinson in High Life (9:30 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall).

    September 10

    Paul Dano's directorial debut Wildlife (2:30 p.m., Princess of Wales Theatre) is fantastic, and choosing between catching Alfonso Cuarón's Roma (5:30 p.m., Princess of Wales) on the big screen and witnessing local heartthrob Ryan Gosling introduce First Man is impossible, so maybe check out the Argentinian crime drama Rojo (6 p.m., Lightbox 1) instead.

    September 11

    Begin with Quincy (12:15 p.m., Lightbox 2), a film about the legendary Mr. Jones seems a perfect lift mid-fest, and take your pick between action spectacle Shadow (3:15 p.m., Lightbox 1) or Werner Herzog's affable Meeting Gorbachev (4 p.m., Scotiabank 4).

    September 12

    Juliette Binoche has another collaboration with Oliver Assayas in Non Fiction (9:30 a.m., Lightbox 1), Nicole Kidman plays an undercover cop in Karyn Kusama's Destroyer (1:30 p.m., Elgin Theatre), and Jeremy Saulnier's long awaited Hold The Dark (6 p.m., Princess of Wales Theater) staring Jeffrey Wright and Alexander Skarsgård sees its world premiere.

    September 13

    Local doc legend Ron Mann's Carmine Street Guitars (3:15 p.m., Lightbox 2) is a wonderful divertimento, while Steve McQueen's thriller Widows (9:30 p.m., Princess of Wales Theatre) is one of the hottest tickets of the fest, so if you miss the premiere on the 8th there's still other times to sneak a peek. 

    Or check out Lee-chang Dong's fiery thriller Burning, and then either Paul Greengrass' terror attack drama, 22 July, or the Robert Redford's fittingly titled final film before retirement, The Old Man And The Gun (6 p.m., Ryerson Theater).

    September 14

    The more than three-hour film The Wild Pear Tree (12:15 p.m., Scotiabank 3) is peak Nuri Bilge Ceylan, while Margarethe von Trotta's Searching For Ingmar Berman (12:45 p.m., Lightbox 2) promises its own rewards.

    Emilio Estevez directs and stars in the library standoff drama The Public (4:15 p.m., Elgin Theatre), and then you can catch the sublime musical-politico-romance Cold War (6 p.m., Winter Garden Theatre), which is set to be one of the best films of the year.

    September 15

    Nicole Holofcener returns to TIFF with the Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco starring in The Land of Steady Habits (9:45 a.m., Scotiabank 2), while Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges join actor/director Joel Egerton in conversion therapy drama Boy Erased (12 p.m., Roy Thompson Hall).

    Sebastián Lelio casts the always glorious Julianne Moore in Gloria Bell (6:45 p.m., Lightbox 1), the English language remake of his celebrated 2013 film.

    September 16

    Do check out Lukas Dhont's Girl (12 p.m., Lightbox 1), or catch Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern in Justin Kelly's Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy (2:30 p.m., Ryerson Theatre).

    The annual free screening of the People's Choice Winner starts between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at all five Lightbox rooms and the Ryerson theater, giving you plenty of chances to catch up with winning films to end your festival.


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    Another weekend, another subway closure. This time, there will be no subway service on Line 1 between Lawrence and St. Clair stations on September 8 and 9 due to Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown LRT work at Yonge and Eglinton.

    Like past weekends, shuttle buses will operate between these stations for the duration of the closure.

    In addition to the closure on Line 1, subway service on Line 2 from St. George to Broadview stations will start at noon on September 9 due to beam replacement work on the Prince Edward Viaduct.

    Shuttle buses will operate between these stations for the duration of the morning.

    Regular scheduled subway service will resume on Monday morning. The next scheduled closure will halt weekend service on Line 1 between Finch West and Lawrence West stations on September 15 and 16 due to signal upgrades.


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    All is fair in love and corn at the Michael's No Frills in Scarborough, it seems — up to and including the act of knocking old people to the ground.

    Savvy shoppers flocked to the grocery store at Steeles Ave. and Silver Star Blvd. on Sunday for the kind of deal that only ever comes about once in a blue (corn) moon: A dozen ears of the good stuff for just $1.68.

    That's 12 corn-on-the-cobs for less than a toonie. Fourteen cents an ear! Such value! Fans of discount produce might say that the excitement among shoppers was justified in light of such pricing.

    It's the way these consumers got their hands on the corn that has some people crying foul.

    Video footage shot by someone who happened to be shopping at No Frills on Sunday shows what can only be described as a corn gathering frenzy.

    The clip isn't long, but it is quite stunning.

    People are seen literally climbing over each other to get into a box with the corn, tossing pieces of cardboard and corn husks into the air, and frantically collecting produce from the ground.

    At one point, an eager man body-checks what appears to be an elderly shopper, sending him flying backwards. The older man then trips on a basket behind him and falls over completely.

    This wasn't the first time shoppers have gone toe-to-toe over some corn at a No Frills either, according to people commenting on the video today.

    "I shop at this No Frills every week (live in the area)," wrote one person on Reddit in response to the video. "You'll be surprised how often this happens."

    "After working at a grocery store this doesn't surprise me," wrote someone else in the same thread. "People are willing to fight people for any deal even if it's only 10 cents."

    "It's 80 days until Black Friday," wrote someone in a different thread about this same video, to which another Redditor replied "Thank f corn will be out of season by then."


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    One of Toronto’s most popular record stores, Tiny Record Shop, has closed its doors.

    They’re not gone for good, though, just moving, and not very far at that. They’ll be taking up residence across the road at their new address 777 Queen Street East, and bringing partner business Token gift shop with them. The two always shared the former space.

    The building was sold, and Tiny Record Shop was given a date to move. They won’t be out of the picture for long, as the new location is slated to open in early October with a party to mark the occasion.

    The shop celebrated their last day in the (literally) tiny location by offering customers 20 per cent off all new vinyl until close, so regulars had a chance to stock up.

    If you missed out, never fear, there are plenty of other great vinyl shops in Toronto where you can get your fix in the interim month.


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    Horror's most iconic boogeyman is back! Halloween is getting its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Want to see it? We've teamed up with TIFF to give you a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the film this weekend.


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    The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off its 2018 season with star-studded galas, fancy parties and whatever else rich people do. Luckily, you can save your money for when you're famous, because not only are tickets cheaper this year, but there's lots of great free stuff happening too.

    Here are some ways to enjoy TIFF for free this year.

    See Tom Hanks dance on a giant keyboard

    Even if he's not physically present, beloved Hollywood favourite Tom Hanks is here in spirit as two of his classic films—Big and Sleepless in Seattle—will be among a handful of films screening outdoors for free during the festival.

    Keep cool at an indoor screening

    Maybe you're the indoor type—and not one for too much nostalgia. If so, TIFF is also screening a Mariano Llinás' lengthy, three-part character driven epic La Flor absolutely free of charge.

    Take a stroll through Festival Street

    Soak up the festivities without much effort at TIFF's annual street festival along King Street. The four-day event includes activities, performances, food trucks, star-spotting and plenty more.

    Catch a free concert

    What would a festival be without music? TIFF is stacked with musical performances from talented folks like Rich AucoinRyan Langdon, Liam Russell, Kayla Diamond and Theo Tams proving a soundtrack to the festival.

    Stake out a spot to watch celebs 

    Fan zones were made for you, the fan, and offer the perfect vantage point to catch all of the A-listers coming through. If you prefer a less structured stalking experience, luxury hotels like the Hazelton, Shangri-La, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Bisha offer some good celeb sighting spots as well.

    Rally for women in film

    In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, emphasis on women in film is more important than ever. The Share Her Journey rally looks to highlight the role women play in the industry and support them in the ongoing fight for equal treatment.

    Tour through the historic festival footprint

    Sure you've seen King West, but have you really seen King West? Take a tour through the historic, culturally significant and changing neighbourhood. Stops include Roy Thomson Hall, The Princess of Wales theatre and the Hyatt.

    Crash a party

    Each year, TIFF turns Toronto into party-central. While most are invite-only, there's a few that are open to the public and don't charge cover such as the STIFF 9 celebration of queer film at TIFF and the kickoff party at the Ritz Carlton.

    Line up for the People's Choice Award winning movie

    Throughout the festival, movie-goers cast their ballot for the People's Choice award, and the winning film is screened for free on the final Sunday of the festival. Details will be released on the closing weekend.


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    Businesses close in Toronto all the time—some choose to quit more unceremoniously than others, while others leave unfortunate loose ends behind

    But a Roncesvalles bakery has put them all to shame with a closure announcement and an accompanying letter so sincere it would warm the frostiest of icy cold hearts. 

    Elisabeth Lang, owner of Seventh Sister Bakery, announced on Monday that she would be closing her store on Sept. 30 after eight years of baking up pies and brownies from her cozy spot on Roncy. 

    "I'm sorry this is so long," she writes in her Facebook and Instagram posts. "I couldn't fit all the things I wanted to say in just a paragraph." 

    Aside from the due thanks given to staff, family and customers, Lang details how she opened up the shop when she was 38 years old and how she—like many businesses owners probably feel when closing up shop—will sorely miss the community that formed inside her store.

    "Thank you for so many incredible conversations and connections," she says. "You provided me with kind words, stories, lessons, jokes, secrets and so much to think about. For a natural nosey parker like me, this place has been a dream come true!" 

    The comment section of the Insta post has been flooded with a flurry of heart emojis and responses from regulars reminiscing on the good days. 

    "Trying not to cry but know that we all love you and can't wait to hear about your next adventure," says one comment. 

    "This makes my heart heavy," says another. "Thank you for all the great times, food and conversations." 

    Other than featuring great chalk artwork by everyone from Eric Allin, Lang has also made a reputation at Seventh Sister as an informal matchmaker of sorts, successfully pairing up at least two individuals in what could totally be the beginning or the end to a Hugh Grant rom-com. 

    "Whatever the word is for maximum luck plus maximum blessings and then multiplied, that's how you have made me feel," she writes. "Thank you with all my heart. It has been my great pleasure to know and serve you." 

    If that's not enough to get you in your feels and make you want to pay Lang (or Liz, to regulars) a visit before the bakery closes, you probably need more baked goods in your life. 


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    If you've been keeping up with the news this summer, or use Twitter like, ever, I don't need to tell you how worked up people in Toronto can get about bicycles.

    Not everybody is on the same page about traffic calming measures or how many bike lanes the city should have, but we can all agree — unless we're sociopaths — that nobody should be killed on the streets of Toronto.

    Given how many cyclists and pedestrians do, in fact, die in this city on account of traffic incidents (93 of them between 2016 and 2018 alone), riding a bike is downright scary for many locals these days. 

    Those who do ride on the regular report frequent "near miss" experiences and incredibly dangerous behaviour among mildly inconvenienced motorists — like stopping in bike lanes, turning right without looking or getting way, way too close to vulnerable cyclists with their two-ton killing machines.

    Enter the pool noodle! A soft, simple, harmless tube that some cyclists are choosing to mount under their seats so that cars learn to leave one-metre’s distance when passing them on the road — you know, like the law says they should.

    The idea isn't new, but it seems to have caught on in popularity since The Star profiled OG Toronto pool noodle cyclist Warren Huska back in 2016.

    Pool noodle riders have been spotted all over the city in recent months, and some local cyclists swear by the tactic.

    "The difference is remarkable," tweeted Neville Park of their pool noodle in July. "Though it still feels like a game of chicken when a car is zooming up behind you and you stay on course instead of moving right."

    "I was doored, closely passed and threatened a number of times," wrote someone who goes by Root Brian on Twitter in May. "I now use a helmet camera, and soon, putting the pool noodle back ON my bike. If they can't give us 1 metre of passing distance (IT'S THE LAW!), THEY should lose that privilege to drive."

    Better a pool noodle than baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, right? 


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    The best izakaya restaurants in Toronto will keep the sake pouring and the tapas served. These gastropubs are noisy little spots to unwind and feast on shareable Japanese snacks and lots of Sapporo. Expect to be greeted by some loud yells of welcome when you walk in the door. 

    Here are the best izakayas in Toronto.

    9 - Kintaro Izakaya

    Aside from the usual Sapporo on tap and typical faves like tataki and ebi mayo, this Church St. izakaya has a huge menu of charcoal grilled skewers. They have everything from different types of pork and chicken to a whole section dedicated to tasty bacon-wrapped bites. Think mochi, cheese, and enoki mushrooms all packaged with some delicious bacon.
    7 - Zakkushi Toronto

    It can get pretty packed at this Cabbagetown fave, where everything is woodsy and delicious-smelling, with the scent of grilled yakitori cooked on Japanese white charcoal wafting in the air. You can get everything from beef tongue to eel off the grill, and pair it with a Banshaku set which comes with a handy starter mix of apps and booze.
    3 - Kinka Izakaya (Church St.)

    Easily one the most popular izakayas in Toronto, this rowdy chain of restaurants also has locations on <a href="https://www.blogto.com/restaurants/guu-sakabar-restaurant-toronto/">Bloor</a> and another right by <a href="https://www.blogto.com/restaurants/kinka-izakaya-north-york/">Sheppard Station.</a> Formerly the Vancouver-based Guu, they've since rebranded but are still the spot to be if you're looking for a boozy and boisterous night out.
    6 - Imanishi Japanese Kitchen

    This super cozy izakaya sits on the edge of Little Portugual and serves an eclectic menu of homey shareable plates. It's definitely a lot less hectic here than other spots: Imanishi is the kind of place you go for a chill night of katsu curry and other eats that will tingle your unmami senses.
    11 - Hashi Izakaya

    Right in the heart of Koreatown North, this traditional spot has a variety of hot and cold tapas, sushi and sashimi, and dishes with American-style twists like yuzu-avocado dip served with tortilla chips. They also have a good amount of octopus dishes along with an impressive selection of sake and beer on tap.
    10 - Sake Bar Kushi

    Take a seat at the cool double-sided bar in the middle of this izakaya by Yonge and Eglinton, or settle down in one of those cool kotatsu tables if you're bringing a big group. As their name suggests, they specialize in kushi, which comes in set combos with daring, unconventional meats like chicken knee or chicken heart.
    4 - Guu (Parkdale)

    It may be the only Guu remaining in the city since its ownership split with Kinka, but this izakaya in Parkdale is holding its own by offering the same dining concept as before and its original lineup of dishes like gyu tongue and tatakis. The Ramune soda is still a super fun drink to order, as are their one-litre mugs of Sapporo.
    5 - Nome Izakaya

    Buck-a-shuck is the main draw at this restaurant with two locations including one near Sheppard Station, but their bowls of salmon donburi and plates of Japa-Burgers are good enough resasons to come back. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days to drop by for oysters. They have a killer rooftop patio too.
    8 - Kingyo Izakaya

    Another Cabbagetown hit, this Vancouver-based restaurant is pretty unique in that it offers a menu of vegan dishes like Shojin, with a recipe that they say has been perfected by Buddhist monks. Aside from that, they also have their famous Makunouchi Bento Boxes along with the fresh ginger cocktails they're known for.

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    TIFF parties are all about famous faces, gorgeous venues, 4 a.m. last call and free everything; What's not to love? You may not make it past security at Soho House, but there are black tie galas you can buy your way into and hey, maybe you'll even score an invite.

    Here's what's popping on the party circuit during TIFF 2018.

    Hot Spots
     
    Mongrel House

    Toronto's historic Campbell House at the corner of Queen and University will once again be home base for Mongrel Media and their many notoriously fun film parties. Go here if you get the chance — or just creep around the fence to see who might be partying on the lawn.

    House of Aurora

    Weed might not be legal just yet, but at least one brand is jumping into the game early for TIFF. Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian pot company, is hosting a series of private red carpet premiere events between September 7 and 9 in what used to be a bank at 320 Bay Street. Expect junkets, networking events and a pop-up press studio.

    RBC House 

    The Royal Bank of Canada is taking over 11 Duncan Street as usual, transforming what's normally known as the STORYS building into a pop-up venue for junkets, speaker events, branded music events and premier parties. 

    Malaparte

    The rooftop of the TIFF Bell Lightbox building will be buzzing all week long, starting with a three-day stint hosted by 1 OAK, the hip "purveyors of world-famous nightclubs in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas." It'll cost you $40 to hit up once of these glitzy shindigs.

    Soho House

    Grey Goose has been making this private member's club at Simcoe and Adelaide its festival home for almost a decade. You'll find ultra-exclusive parties here every single night for the next week, but good luck getting into any without a famous face or some serious connections.

    Momofuku

    American telecom AT&T is making the Toronto outpost of David Chang's Momofuku into its own celebrity-stacked lunch / dinner / studio and party space called the "DIRECTV House." Like many of the A-listers who come to town for TIFF, this space can be found inside the Shangri-La Hotel. 

    The Spoke Club

    This private members club at King and Portland hosts the 13th annual Canadian Filmmaker's Party on September 5, right before the festival kicks off. Then, it becomes a Villa Azur Miami pop-up for four days worth of swanky film industry soirees.

    Fairmont Royal York

    Toronto's historic Royal York hotel will be hosting the global debut of something it calls Fairmont Loves Film: A series of events, retrospective photo exhibits and a Great Gatsby-themed speakeasy pop-up bar that's open to the public.

    September 6
    xoTO House opening night party

    The Toronto Screen Industry, in partnership with the City of Toronto, is taking over Roxy on King between September 6 and 9 to celebrate and showcase the best of Hollwood North. An opening night bash featuring Mayor John Tory kicks off the festivities on Thursday night.

    RBC TIFF Kick-Off party

    Haim is scheduled to perform at this private festival launch party, hosted by Live Nation and RBCxMusic, at the RBC House on Duncan Street. Things get started at 8 p.m., but you likely won't get in without an invite, sorry.

    A Dark & Stormy cocktail soiree

    The Gladstone Hotel is hosting a TIFF launch cocktail party for movie lovers who also dig mixology. Guests can expect an "immersive cocktail experience" with live music, film-noir inspired art and guided tastings. Dress code is "film noir chic." Tickets will set you back about $50.

    TIFF kickoff celebration at DEQ

    Toronto One Social is be hosting the opening night of TIFF inside the luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel — where, it goes without saying, you'll see many black Escalades over the next 11 days. The free event starts at 7 p.m. on the DEQ Terrace & Lounge at The Ritz.

    The Outlaw King party

    This stars of this year's Netflix-produced festival opener will head on over to Patria after back-to-back screenings at the Princess of Wales Theatre and Roy Thomson Hall. Keep an eye out for Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Pugh on King Street West.

    Fahrenheit 11/9" dinner and party

    Michael Moore's new Donald Trump-themed documentary will have everyone talking at Peter Pan Bistro on Thursday, where a cast dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. Afterwards, guests will head over to a private party at Speakeasy 21.

    September 7
    Entertainment One's Best of the Fest celebration

    The stars of as many as 14 different eOne films premiering at TIFF this year will come together at Assembly Chef's Hall on Saturday to celebrate the studio and its recent works. Red carpet arrivals start around 10 p.m., if you're keen.

    Bold Films + Sharp and S/Magazine TIFF party

    The House of Aurora will be hosting a joint party between the production company Bold Films and fashion magazine SHARP. The red carpet is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. with such stars as Emmy Rossum expected to be in attendance.

    Producers Ball gala

    The eighth annual Producer's Ball will take place on Friday night with property brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott serving as hosts. This year, it'll be housed along with NKPR's the IT House in Live Nation's new Liberty Village space "The Lounge."

    The Addisons x Grey Goose Film Fest party

    Celebrate the film fest at Toronto's favourite house party club on Wellington Street. Presented by Grey Goose, the event kicks off at 6 p.m. with a VIP reception featuring complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

    Bruce LaBruce vs. TIFF 2018

    Canadian filmmaker, artist, writer, photographer, director based and "queercore legend" Bruce LaBruce hosts his popular annual TIFF party at the Bovine Sex Club on Queen Street West this year. The event pops off at 10 p.m. and goes till very late.

    Beautiful Boy after party

    Hugo Boss Canada will be putting on a soiree for the hotly-anticipated Beautiful Boy, a film about coping with addiction based on the real life memoirs of a father and son. The dramatic film stars "it boy" Timothée Chalamet and everyone's favourite everything, Steve Carell.

    White Boy Rick cocktail party

    Pre-screening drinks for this Matthew McConaughey flick will take place at Soho House on Friday ahead of its premier at the Ryerson Theatre. Director Yann Demange, actors Bruce Dern, Eddie Marsan, Jennifer Jason Leighh and McConaughey are expected to be in attendance.

    Homecoming reception

    Actors Julia Roberts, Bobby Cannavale, Sissy Spacek, Dermot Mulroney and Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, among others, will celebrate their highly-anticipated new Amazon Prime series at Bisha Hotel's rooftop restaurant, Kost.

    September 8 
    The InStyle and Hollywood Foreign Press Association party

    This annual event is one of the festival's biggest each year with more than 1,000 movie stars, film industry workers, studio executives and other bigwigs in attendance. This year, it'll be at the glamorous Four Seasons in Yorkville, as opposed to its usual Windsor Arms. 

    Artists for Peace and Justice Gala 

    Hosted by Ben Stiller and Susan Sarandon, among others, this sold-out Festival Gala will be taking place in the Windsor Arms hotel near Yorkville. New York-based pop-artist Peter Tunney will create a live-art red carpet to celebrate the annual event's support for communities in Haiti over the past ten years.

    Vanity Fair TIFF cocktail

    Invited guests will enjoy sunset cocktails on the Bisha Hotel's rooftop at this gathering to celebrate the world premiere of This Changes Everything, a timely documentary about sexism in Hollywood ​​​​​​featuring Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Sandra Oh, Jessica Chastain and more.

    The Hummingbird Project after party

    The Cactus Club Cafe on Adelaide Street will be hosting the after party for the TIFF premiere of The Hummingbird Project on Saturday. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek, if you're looking for a solid crew to stalk.

    Entertainment Weekly party

    This exclusive annual affair, known for drawing tons of A-list talent, will be taking place at the Thompson Hotel on Saturday. Dame Helen Mirren was said to be at this one last year, along with Kristin Scott Thomas and Nicole Kidman.

    Autograph Collection Hotels garden party

    Mongrel House at Queen and University hosts actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, among others, for a performance by Martha Wainwright around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

    Widows cocktail party

    Over at MomoFuku, Variety and AT&T are set to toast the film Widows with director Steve McQueen and actors Viola Davis, Daniel Kaluuya, and maybe even Liam Neeson in attendance between 6 and 8 p.m. 

    Everybody Knows cocktail party

    CÎROC, Tequila Don Julio and Johnnie Walker Black Label are hosting a series of cocktail parties at RBC House for films that include Everybody Knows. Keep your eyes peeled for stars Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem outside this private party on Saturday.

    The Front Runner party

    Look out for Hugh Jackman, J.K. Simmons and Canadian director Jason Reitman near Soho House around 9 p.m. after the premiere of their biopic about U.S. Senator Gary Hart's 1988 presidential campaign.

    September 9 
    A Star is Born after party

    The celebratory event for what might be this year's hottest TIFF film will take place in The Concert Hall in the former Masonic Temple on Yonge — most recently home to MTV Canada. It would be weird if actor/director Bradley Cooper and and his co-star Lady Gaga didn't show up for this. 

    The 7th annual Toronto Monologue Slam

    Billed as North America's largest acting showcase, this American Idol-style annual event puts local actors in front of a panel of judges, agents, producers and casting directors to perform monologues at the Gladstone Hotel and maybe — just maybe — get that big break.

    Revolver Films’ 35th anniversary party 

    This legendary film studio party is always one to watch — and attend, if you get the opportunity. Guest who are already confirmed for the annual event at Spice Route include Mark Cuban, Catherine O'Hara, Michael K. Williams and Carla Gugino.

    The CFF Canada party

    The Canadian Film Fest and Directors Guild of Canada have partnered up again to celebrate homegrown Canadian talent at Toronto's The Fifth Social Club. Expected guests include filmmaker Kim Nguyen, comedian Gerry Dee, and Kim's Convenience star Andrea Bang.

    September 10
    Telefilm Canada + Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film

    Red carpet arrivals for this Monday afternoon event start around 4 p.m. outside the Atrium at Ricarda's. Director Nettie Wild, actress Tantoo Cardinal andscreenwriter Susan Coyne are among the outstanding Canadian women being honoured for their contributions to film and TV this year.

    The Endings Short Film Premiere at TIFF with Refinery29

    Photographers Caitlin Cronenberg and Jessica Ennis host the world premier for their new short film, The Endings, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox rooftop, which is being taken over for a portion of the festival by New York's Refinery 29.

    Canadian Cinema Editors party

    This event, free to all CCE members, is being presented by Technicolor at the Gladstone Hotel on Monday to celebrate Toronto's annual film festival. Non-industry folk can get in for $15 to eat, drink and schmooze with the artists behind their favourite films.

    September 11
    STIFF 9"

    For the ninth year in a row, Peter Knegt and (dancing) Phil Villeneuve will be taking the party late, this time at Bang Sue Bar on Charlotte Street. Expect special guests, tons of great music and a rollicking celebration of queer film at TIFF.


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    Just when you thought things were about to get quiet in Toronto, today's events are nothing to sleep on. The AGO kicks off a season of parties in the gallery while TIFF promises some world class star-spotting. There's also a free screening of Big, a comedy show and some death metal. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    AGO First Thursday (September 6 @ Art Gallery of Ontario)
    A new season of monthly art parties kicks off this month with food, drinks and a revolving showcase of genre-hopping musical scenery.
    Big (September 6 @ Slaight Music Stage)
    Part of TIFF's Festival Street, you can catch a free screening of the 1988 classic for free as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.
    Nightscapes (September 6 @ Akasha Art Projects)
    Artist Moira Ness takes us on a journey into the night to capture Toronto’s empty streets, nondescript landscapes and light in the darkness.
    Pentatonix (September 6 @ Budweiser Stage)
    Acapella is the name of the game with Grammy-winning Pentatonix and their upbeat hits, with support from Echosmith and Calum Scott.
    Leftöver Crack (September 6 @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre)
    Blood, sweat and tears make up the sound of this death metal band who do not shy away from using their music to scream about the world today.
    Yas Kween (September 6 @ Bad Dog Comedy Theatre)
    Back again is this monthly comedy showcase featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, musical and storytelling performances by Women of Colour.
    Vegan Social Pop-Up Event (September 6 @ 918 Bathurst)
    Now three years running, vegans come together for a night of food and drinks, sustainable shopping, music and presentations by special guests.
    Patsy Cline Birthday Show (September 6 @ Lula Lounge)
    The legendary Patsy Cline gets a birthday celebration for the ages with a night of performances by local artists all in support of Artscan Circle.
    Toronto The Good (September 6-9 @ Buddies in Bad Times)
    Gun violence, policing, racial politics, gangs and youth; this new play looks to tackle some of the toughest issues facing Toronto through theatre.
    Toronto International Film Festival 2018 (September 6-16 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox)
    Toronto takes centre stage during this star-studded film festival with screenings, a street festival, parties, events and lots more.

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    Toronto Restaurant Openings highlights the latest food news in Toronto and gives a preview of what's coming soon. Find us here every Thursday morning.

    Open now
    • Grand Electric has opened Grand Electric Taqueria at 923 Queen Street West (at Strachan) across from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
    • A second location for Away Kitchen + Cafe is now open at 536 Queen Street West, where it is sharing space with Death in Venice Gelato.
    • Regulars, a bar from the owners of Figures, has taken over what was formerly Blowfish at 668 King Street West (at Bathurst) just in time for TIFF.
    • Siempre (Spanish for "always"), a brunch spot that also offers a kids' menu, has opened at 348 Front Street West (at Blue Jays Way).
    • Winnipeg-based chain ZA Pizza Bistro has finally opened its first Toronto location downtown at 290 Adelaide Street West (between Widmer and John), along with a second outpost at 9360 Bathurst Street in Vaughan.
    • Fresh City Farms has opened its location at 111 Ossington Avenue (at Argyle Street).
    • Golden Noodle Bar, a Lanzhou-style beef noodle joint, is now open at 1024 Gerrard Street East (at Marjory Avenue).
    • Tibetan Momo Hut and Gardens has opened at 401 Danforth Avenue in Greektown.
    • Soula's Modern Greek Cuisine has replaced Ouzeri at 500A Danforth Avenue.
    • Nacho Bar, a "West Coast-inspired dive bar" that, as the name implies, serves nachos, is now open at 699 Danforth Avenue in Greektown.
    • The Green Geek, a juice bar and food lounge, has opened at 3288 Lake Shore Boulevard West in Etobicoke.
    • Yukashi, an omakase restaurant serving fine Japanese cuisine, is now open at 643A Mount Pleasant Road in Davisville.
    • Fotia Tapas Bar has made its debut at 156 O’Connor Drive in East York.
    • The future is now. Robo Sushi has smiley robots serving sushi at 865 York Mills Road in North York.
    Recently reviewed
    Opening soon
    • 7Baker, an "innovative Euro-Asian bakery," should be opening soon at 3 Wellesley Street West (at Yonge).
    • Good Karma, a new restaurant from Hemant Bhagwani, the man who founded the Amaya Group of Restaurants, is coming soon to CF Fairview Mall.

    Have you seen restaurants opening or closing in your neighbourhood? Email tips to editors@blogto.com.


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