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    Ontario Place has reemerged over the past two summers as one of downtown Toronto's most vibrant destinations: A true "public backyard," as promised, in the form of sprawling, beautiful lakeside parks, trails and event space.

    Premier Doug Ford, who has been pushing to build a casino on Lake Ontario since 2013 and once pitched a 1.6 million-square-foot "megamall" along Toronto's waterfront, isn't impressed.

    The lawsuit-plagued PC leader has recently taken "a personal interest in Ontario Place," according to The Toronto Star, and now wants to redevelop the 51-hectare former amusement park again— just over one year after Kathleen Wynne's Liberals spent some $30 million on phase 1 of a comprehensive (and so far very well received) revitalization project.

    Lucky us.

    "Ontario Place was spectacular in the day," said Premier Ford on August 17 while opening 2018's Canadian National Exhibition across from Ontario Place.

    "I'm proud to announce we're going to work in conjunction with the CNE, redo Ontario Place and make it the most spectacular destination anywhere in North America to visit," he said of the provincially-owned land.

    "We'll bring it back to life."

    The Star reports that Ford's ministers have been mum on the issue since then.

    Government officials were also unwilling to comment on the future of Ontario Place back in July, when The Globe reported that all existing redevelopment plans had been put on hold.

    Ford's Progressive Conservative party won a majority government in early June, for those who don't remember, ousting the Liberals after 15 years in power.

    Things at Queen's Park have since been... rambunctious, to say the least, particularly when it comes to matters involving the City of Toronto.

    As The Star points out, Ford's plans for a waterfront redevelopment project were famously shot down in 2011 during his one term as a Toronto city councillor under his brother, the late mayor Rob Ford.

    He had pitched a giant ferris wheel in Toronto's Port Lands at the time, and a shopping centre inspired by discussions he'd had with the Australian mall developer Westfield Group.

    He also fought for a downtown casino in 2013, and was incredulous when city councillors rejected the idea amidst public backlash. When he ran against John Tory for the mayorship in 2014, Ford once again floated the idea of a downtown casino.

    The Star reports this week that "sources" say Ford wants to "scuttle proposals that were being considered by the previous Liberal government and start anew with an international competition to rethink the sprawling green space along Lake Shore Blvd. W."

    What that could look like remains to be seen, but it's of note that Rod Phillips— former head of Ontario Lottery and Gaming commission and supporter of Ford's waterfront casino idea — is now Ford's Minister of Environment.


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    Just over two months ago, the TTC installed special barriers in front of its famously-, yet inexplicably-confusing Queen's Quay streetcar tunnel.

    The measure was meant to "restrict unauthorized vehicle access" to the subterranean Ferry Docks Terminal at Queen's Quay and Bay Street, where at least 26 vehicles have become stuck on the tracks since 2014.

    Like many prominently posted signs, rumble strips, bollards and flashing lights before them, the gates don't appear to be working — at least, not to teach people that they can't drive on the streetcar tracks.

    So, in an effort to keep cars off the part of the road reserved for streetcars along Queen's Quay — the part of the road leading up to the famous tunnel vortex — the TTC, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto have painted the pavement red.

    "For the TTC, this is about keeping the right of way clear for our vehicles," said TTC spokesman Stuart Green to City News on Thursday.

    "Our board directed we work with the City and Waterfront Toronto on additional ways to delineate the right of way and reduce incidents of motorist intrusion."

    Great as the idea may be, however, some cars still aren't getting the point.

    At least they can't physically go down into the tunnel anymore, thanks to the lift arms at its entrance. They'll simply get stuck outside on Bay Street, where everyone can watch and shake their heads.


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    TIFF Festival Street is back for another year in Toronto. Running now through Sunday, the stretch between University and Spadina is packed with fan zones, corporate activations, free concerts and movie screenings. The iconic TIFF sign also makes a return for epic selfies.


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    Skywatchers on the east side of Toronto were a bit spooked on Thursday night to see a "fireball shaped" object hovering over Lake Ontario.

    Reports of a large, round, orange light near Scarborough first started coming in on Twitter around 11 p.m.

    "Hovering in the same spot for half an hour now," wrote one observer around 11:30 p.m. "Went out for about 10 seconds then came back. Note the hanging smoke around it."

    The light was atypically bright, illuminating the clouds around it for an estimated two hours before finally disappearing.

    "It looked like a meteor, but the weird thing was it just hovered instead of moving or dissipating," wrote someone on a UFO Hunters reporting website.

    "I continued to check the object to the west of me as I proceeded north on the highway, and it remained in the same spot, glowing and hovering," continued the anonymous spotter. "I thought this was a very odd object - it was not like a normal meteor sighting."

    "It looked like the sun was glowing bright but also saw smoke," noted someone else in a Reddit thread about the light. "It almost looked like there was a huge explosion on the U.S. side as I'm right across the lake in West Rouge."

    So... what was it?

    Most people (who don't believe that aliens have found us just yet) suspect the light was caused by flares from a search and rescue mission.

    Durham Police had indeed been searching for a missing boater off the coast of Ajax, Ontario earlier in the day. The 32-year-old man's fishing boat was found unattended just before 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and he has yet to be located.

    CBC News reports that a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules plane was called in to assist the search on Thursday evening, which would explain the bright lights.

    Sorry, extraterrestrial contact hopefuls. If they're already found us, they're not letting on... yet.


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    TIFF is back in Toronto for another year. Running now through September 16, the festival brings with it world premiere movies, A-list stars, parties, a street festival and more. 


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    The Campbell House Museum at the corner of Queen and University has been totally transformed by Mongrel Media into Mongrel House again for TIFF. The sprawling venue will be playing host to premiere parties for Shoplifters, Capernaum, Dogman and more over the coming week.


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    A new form of security has appeared on the TIFF grounds, in the form of a strange row of triangular plastic. 

    Labelled "Rapid Deploy Vehicle Barrier," the safety-yellow strip is meant to be a security measure against a potential vehicular attack, like the one seen on Yonge Street earlier this year that killed 10 and injured 16. 

    The barricade is only located at the northwest corner of King and University, and is the only one. The rest of the TIFF Street Festival is lined with the typical concrete barriers and fences (and security guards, and police). 

    It appears the object is shaped in a way that prevents someone from driving over it, as it would get lodged into the bottom of the vehicle. 

    tiff 2018The company labelled on the barrier, Safeguard Perimeter Solutions, specializes in vehicle access control and pedestrian control, including the Rapid Deploy Vehicle barriers, but also gates, signage, bollards, fences, and more. 

    Hopefully TIFF will be a celebration of film and all things that film makes great, and there is no cause for concern. If there is, however, it's good to see new measures being taken for film-goer safety. 


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    Hold the Dark is getting its world premiere at TIFF next week before it hits Netflix later this year. Want to see it? You're in luck.


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    The best mac and cheese in Toronto is the ultimate comfort food, whether it's the straight-up classic version or an interesting twist on the traditional. There's just something about this cheesy, carb-o-licious dish that has us always coming back for more.

    Here is the best mac and cheese in Toronto.

    5 - The Gabardine

    Tubular noodles are tossed in a béchamel sauce of cheddar, chevre, mozzarella and Parmesan (plus a hint of smoked paprika) at this Financial District favourite, and a herbed breadcrumb crust serves as the crunchy topping. Add cubes of smoked ham if you must, but you will definitely need a nap after this one.
    9 - Indie Alehouse

    This craft brewpub in the Junction offers two tasty versions of mac: with short ribs, stout jus and cheese curds, or a vegetarian version with mushrooms, goat cheese and truffle oil. Both are served with toasted focaccia.
    10 - O&B Canteen

    Found attached to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, this restaurant that’s part of the Oliver & Bonacini empire has a menu that occasionally changes up, but you’ll always be able to find this staple dish on it (albeit different versions). Currently, it’s offered in the form of a rich and comforting mac & cheese bowl with canestri pasta, kale, a three-cheese blend and cherry tomato, all topped with herbed breadcrumbs.
    7 - Victory Cafe

    One of the Annex’s favourite hangouts has moved from Markham Street to Bloor, but the mac remains just as delicious. Colby, Gruyere and cheddar are melted into a gooey sauce and combined with macaroni, caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes. It can be ordered as a main or side, and the main is served with garlic bread and a side garden salad (to give it some semblance of healthiness).
    3 - Bobbie Sue's

    This Poutini's offshoot on Ossington is all about take-out mac, offering a variety of versions (and two different sizes) that all use cavatappi, from a classic five-cheese blend to more out-there creations, like blue cheese and Buffalo chicken with Frank's hot sauce, or carbonara with pancetta, grana padano and egg yolk. There are even vegan and gluten-free options.
    4 - Thompson Diner

    A signature dish at this 24-hour diner that’s part of a luxury hotel at Wellington & Bathurst, the truffle mac & cheese consists of cavatappi (a.k.a. scoobi-doo pasta) covered in melty Asiago and aged cheddar, topped with toasted bread crumbs and a drizzle of truffle oil, all served in a cast-iron skillet. There’s also the option to add bacon or crab.
    6 - White Brick Kitchen

    Cavatappi is coated with a four-cheese sauce (provolone, cheddar, mozzarella plus a secret fourth cheese) and oven-dried tomatoes – with the option to add bacon – to create a satisfying dish at this relaxed corner spot in Koreatown that’s also known for its fried chicken and waffles. The mac is also sprinkled with Ritz cracker crumbs as a crunchy topping, and comes served with garlic bread (yes, more carbs!).
    11 - Barque Smokehouse

    Mac makes an excellent side to tasty smoked meats, and the mac at this Roncesvalles BBQ joint appropriately comes Cajun style, with melted Applewood smoked white cheddar and Cajun panko breadcrumbs as a topping.
    8 - Harlem Underground

    Known for its Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean-inspired dishes, this restaurant on West Queen West offers a soulful mac and cheese as a substantial side to accompany hearty plates of Southern fried chicken or smoked jerk BBQ chicken. As a side on its own, bacon or turkey bacon can be added to give it some extra love.

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    Toronto is finally getting the end-of-summer ice cream event it deserves, with flavours like "I'm Drake's cousin" served up exactly where you would expect: in an alley behind a bar off Ossington Avenue.

    Toronto chef Grant Soto, known for his sometimes painfully-accurate Toronto-inspired Instagram "starter packs," has teamed with Ruru Baked to turn them into a reality with a one-day pop-up in the alleyway behind Oddseoul.

    Ossington Ice Cream promises flavours like "OMG I LOVE LA (has been there once, bio says Toronto/LA)" (plum and ginger), "Bro, I'm getting out of bitcoin and into cannabis" (melted chocolate) and "He's not my sugar daddy he's just helping me start my business" (vegan mango).

    "It just came out of the Mark McEwan ice cream story from a few weeks ago," said Soto. "People were messaging me about it like crazy saying 'you should do it!!!'"

    There's even an "Ossington fucgurl/fucboi" specialty treat consisting of a "No Name ice cream sammie coated in everyone’s fav Pocky sticks" (chocolate, strawberry, and green tea). It's dressed up in “OFF-WHITE, to hide how basic it is," according to Ruru Baked's Instagram.

    Grammy-award nominated singer Daniel Caesar has also given his blessing for the "Excuse me, but I'm friends with Daniel Caesar"-flavoured treat (blueberry crumble).

    ossington ice cream

    Daniel Ceaser being cute with Ruby the basset. Image courtesy of Grant Soto.

    "He's awesome and has a great sense of humour, which is what this event is about," says Soto. "It's poking fun at ourselves."


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    Once upon a relatively recent time, bars and restaurants clamoured to hang rows of twinkling string lights over their patios. The effect was magical and romantic and so effing twee, like the old-timey Edison bulbs they later started hanging in clusters from their ceilings.

    Now, neon is that "new new" now  — if you haven't noticed all the sassy bathroom signs or been on Instagram in the past year.

    Exposed filaments are falling by the wayside when it comes to hip-as-hell lighting trends, making way for eye-catching beacons at cool downtown hangout spots.

    It's a type of lighting that feels ultra modern and retro at the same time — futuristic, yet somehow completely nostalgic. There's nothing else like neon in the world, which is sad given how rare the craft of making and repairing the stuff has become.

    neon demon toronto"It's a bit sad because LEDs started to kill neon," says Toronto-based cinematographer and neon buff Jon Simo, explaining that neon signs are relatively expensive to repair.

    "The problem with neon benders is they're basically artisans — part artists, part engineers, part glass blower," he continued. "I pretty much know all of them in Toronto. There are only about five or six that still work in neon."

    Fortunately, he's been able to work with some of these local artists to source and restore incredible signs from eras gone by — many of which now live in an east Toronto studio space called Neon Demon.

    neon demon torontoFuelled by passion, curiosity and his own fast-growing personal collection of neon signs, Simo transformed part of an old cardboard factory at Dundas and Carlaw into a stunning wonderland of neon lights a few months back.

    He opened Neon Demon as a photo studio and gallery in May, but his impressive collection of works keeps growing, making it seem almost like a museum of cool stuff from the past.

    "I got my very first sign about two years ago," said Simo in an interview at his studio last week. "It's from an old camera store and made in the 1950's."

    neon demon torontoThat piece — a simple yellow "film + cameras" sign he acquired from "a guy who was touring with the Lion King" sparked an obsession of sorts.

    One sign turned into three, which turned into five, which turned into more than 50 — along with a vintage Playboy pinball machine, a custom can redone by the local artist Hey Apathy!, some Daft Punk helmets, an old phone booth and a huge stack of vintage TVs (among other cool things.)

    He's also worked with artists to modify a lot of the pieces he's picked up — like a traditional "OPEN" sign he cleverly rearranged to read "NOPE."

    neon demon toronto"I sort of fell in love with it because neon is like, the only source of light that tells a story, when you think about it," he explains. "And it's this technology that's over 100 years old but it still feels like it’s from the future."

    He explained, while neon signs have seen a drop off in recent decades, there are tons of spectacular pieces up for grabs in and around the GTA.

    "The thing with neon is that a lot of it is just passed down through so many hands, because it can last for so long," he said. "If it's made well it can be left on 24/7 for 50+ years."

    Simo points to a giant California sign with 150 feet of red neon on his wall as an example.

    neon demon toronto"I got this one at an estate sale," he says. "A widow was selling everything from her husband's storage locker. He was a prop master in the film industry in the 90s."

    The sign is said to be from a movie shot somewhere in Ontario, though Simo doesn't know where. What's most tragic is that it was "just sitting there in storage" — like the Sam the Record Man turntables at Yonge-Dundas Square did for more than decade.

    "My sort of long term goal is to start to partner with the City of Toronto," says Simo. "They have so much neon in storage."

    neon demon torontoSimo credits Mark Garner, head of the Downtown Yonge B.I.A. as his inspiration.

    "He's been the one spearheading the neon museum of Toronto for the past five years," he notes. "He was the one who got the Sam the Record Man sign back out.

    "I've been sort of doing a miniature version of what he's trying to do on a larger scale."

    He's off to a good start with the original "F" and "U" from the Future Shop sign at Yonge-Dundas Square in his possession.

    neon demon torontoSimo says he traded an ice cream sign from Lick's for the pair.

    "Someone online said 'I'll give you two letters for your big sign'," he said of the trade. "I got the best letters."

    He also recently scored some giant neon numbers from a Gap Store. The 1969 was white, originally, but he painted the date to add some more colour.

    neon demon torontoNot all of the pieces at Neon Demon are from Toronto. Along with doing his own smart research, Simo works with salvagers who tip him off to cool finds all over North America.

    His phone booth is from Buffalo (equipped with a real payphone from an old Coffee Time in Toronto) and the giant glowing cross was sourced from Wildwood, New Jersey — a neon-rich city that Simo describes as "a budget version of Vegas."

    neon demon torontoStill, he's got some solid gems from here in the city as well.

    He calls his giant Lucky Red sign, from two now defunct Chinese Restaurants in Toronto, his most iconic.

    "When I got it, one of the lights were hanging out, it had a haggard extension cord, I had to lean it against the wall. It had 360 light bulbs - all drawing about 14 watts — generating massive amounts of heat and energy."
    neon demon toronto

    He gave the sign a new backing frame and converted everything to LED lights after acquiring it from a salvage yard friend.

    Now, it's part of a backdrop used by brands and music artists who rent out the studio for creative shoots (like Shawn Mendez, who filmed some MMVA promo commercials at Neon Demon just last month.)

    Everything, from the vanity area to the fuzzy TVs are controlled by Simo's iPad using Apple Home Kit. It's impressive to watch him turn the entire studio black with just a few words to Siri.

    neon demon torontoNeon Demon isn't open to the public, per se, but people do like to peek through the windows. A lot.

    "At night there's this glow onto the street," explains Simo. "Cars will stop. People all the time will walk by and press their face against the window."

    "I always have to clean grease off the windows — adult grease, kid grease," he laughs. "I'm cool with people kind of taking a peek and stuff."

    neon demon toronto

    He definitely knows enough about neon at this point to lead a tour.

    "I've been trying to teach people as much as I can about neon, because people don’t really know the history or how they work," he said during our interview, pointing to a neon rainbow sampler of the most common colours.

    "Most people don’t know that the TD sign is neon. That's why it’s so damn bright."

    The bank used so much neon for its unmistakable sign high atop Toronto, in fact, that Simo says it now actually owns the neon colour green.

    You can see for yourself if you ever get a chance to visit the studio. You won't find a single tube of that bright green shade without a tiny "TD green" mark printed on one side.


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    As stars continue to arrive for TIFF, Toronto is alight with excitement, and events today keep the vibe hot with a photo exhibit with The Weeknd, a performance by Aqua and Prozzak, a back alley ice cream party and a rally for women in film.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Aqua and Prozzak (September 8 @ RBC Echo Beach)
    Rewind it back to the 90s when pop music ran the world, while Aqua's hyper dance hits and Prozzak's animated videos ruled the airwaves.
    Share Her Journey Rally (September 8 @ King Street West)
    Part of Festival Street, a rally and march is planned to raise awareness of women in the film industry and support them in their fight for equal treatment.
    Ossington Ice Cream (September 8 @ Alley behind Oddseoul)
    Come grab some ice cream the way it was meant: served up in an alley with flavours named after Toronto stereotypes like "I'm Drake's cousin."
    Yuno (September 8 @ The Garrison)
    Hypnotic and raw, Yuno's down-to-earth R&B style and raps capture and blend psych-rock for new kind of musical trip.
    BĂŒlow (September 8 @ Mod Club Theatre)
    All the way from Germany comes pop singer BĂŒlow with her soft, distinct voice and cooled-out tunes about real life stuff.
    The Mystic Forest (September 8 @ Opera House)
    The Opera House is getting a makeover of psychedelic proportions as The Mystic Forest returns with all kinds of trippy fun inside the concert hall.
    Bike Rave (September 8 @ The Bentway)
    Rave all night under the Gardiner with your bike and join together to make one big glowing, hyped-up, synchronized party machine.
    In Time (September 8-9 @ The Coterie)
    The Weeknd stars in this photo exhibit by Hyghly Alleyne that takes a look inside the dreamy, smoke-filled, on-and-off-stage world of the XO crew.
    Kensington Pop-Up (September 8-9 @ 301 Augusta Ave)
    Kensington's creative community joins together for this curated market with original works, prints, vintage clothing, leather goods, jewellery and more.
    Cabbagetown Festival (September 8-9 @ Cabbagetown)
    Historic Cabbagetown comes out for a big festival with an all-Canadian market, food from local vendors, activities and live performances.

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    Hiking trails in Toronto exemplify the city's quaint and somewhat hyperbolic slogan, "a city within a park." Thanks to our robust ravine system, we're blessed with a smattering of hiking options without having to leave the city, but there are also amazing destinations less than an hour's drive away.

    Here's a round-up of some incredible hiking trails in and around Toronto.

    In the City

    Cedar Trail

    Cedar Trail is a longer trail in the Rouge River Valley. This just over two kilometre trail runs parallel to the Little Rouge Creek and crosses through various ecosystems, including wetlands and meadows. This is a challenging with varying gradations, some of which are steep and awkward.

    Mast Trail

    Mast Trail, formerly a logging route where lumber was sent to Europe for ship building, is a 200 year-old trail through mature forest and a lush fern floor. It's also just over two kilometres, covering challenging terrain between the Rouge River and the Little Rouge Creek.

    Highland Creek Trail

    Colonel Danforth Park's Highland Creek Trail follows its namesake through a valley as it flows towards Lake Ontario. This 11 kilometre trail has paved, soil-compacted grass and gravel sections. It's a beautiful park for a relaxing stroll or a bike ride, but has the distance and features necessary to make for a challenging hike.

    Bluffer's Park

    Unlike the crowded, volleyball and boardwalk beaches further west, this park provides stunning views of bluffs formed by the Wisconsin Glacier some 12,000 years ago. Once you stray to the east, away from the washrooms and parking lots, you won't encounter anything but shoreline and cliff-face until Pickering.

    Don Valley Trails

    The Don Valley offers 11 kilometres of trails through steep-sided green spaces deep in the city. There are narrow ravines and wide-open spaces, offering a variety of environments to hike across and through. The area around Crothers Woods in particular is an inner city hiker's dream.

    High Park

    The numerous trails that line this natural sanctuary are an ideal place for a relaxing walk to escape the feeling of downtown. Since one-third of the park is left in its natural state, with rare plant species and the original oak savannah that once covered much of the Toronto, there's plenty to explore away from the trail.

    The West Humber Trail

    Toronto's last major river valley, the Humber, like the Don and Rouge river systems, does not disappoint the avid hiker. The West Humber Trail offers up six kilometres of both paved and hard-packed trails leading to some significant features in the city's west end, including the Humber Arboretum and the Humberwod Centre.

    Near Toronto

    Dundas Peak

    The trails around Dundas Peak offer views of some of Hamilton's most stunning waterfalls, but the ultimate highlight might just be the lookout that juts out over the valley and makes for some incredible photo opportunities. Make sure to check out Webster and Tews Falls along the way to the lookout over Spencer Gorge.

    Mount Nemo

    While Rattlesnake point is a more popular destination, the nearby Mount Nemo might just have more to offer. The hiking trails here overlap with the Bruce Trail and lead to an amazing lookout that offers a view of the Toronto skyline way off in the distance. It's incredible.

    Belfountain Conservation Area

    The trails at this conservation area along the West Credit River aren't particularly challenging, but what makes the area epic is the pure beauty of the natural landscape. From the picturesque suspension bridge to the views across the gorge below, there's lots to fall in love with here.


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    The David Dunlap Observatory might appear modest at first glance. Tucked away off a winding tree-lined road near Yonge Street, just north of 16th Ave, the grounds on which it sits feels a bit like an afterthought.

    It's nestled in a mostly residential area wrought with rolling tractor trucks and construction. 

    david dunlap observatory

    A winding path lined with trees will lead you from the main road to the observatory grounds. 

    Other than the presence of tall pines towering overhead, you'd never guess that a 189-acre clearing just beyond the curving entrance lane is home to Canada's largest optical telescope. 

    But it's neither the small stature nor the state of the grounds which have kept the David Dunlap Observatory largely in the shadow of the public eye for so long.

    The site, which features an historic administration building next to the observatory, is an ideal destination for visitors on clear days.

    david dunlap observatory

    The David Dunlap Observatory was built in 1935 and was the home to the second largest telescope in the world at the time. 

    Despite its obvious historic and scientific value, the David Dunlap Observatory has been at the centre of a looming, controversial, at times bitter land battle between developers, advocacy groups, and the town of Richmond Hill for the last decade, where it's sat largely ignored until now. 

    When it opened in 1935, the David Dunlap Observatory was considered an international breakthrough. It had been a project years in the making, with astronomer and U of T professor Clarence Chant at the forefront, along with a wealthy miner and amateur astronomist, David Dunlap.

    david dunlap observatory

    The administration building features three smaller telescope domes.

    Though Dunlap died in 1924, before the David Dunlap Observatory could be realized, his widow Jessie and Chant worked together to purchase the site and erect the observatory, after which Dunlap donated it to U of T in memory of her husband. 

    At 1.88-metres, it was the second largest telescope in the world at the time it was built. Not only that, it was also a hub for major radio astronomy research and where first evidence was discovered that the then-mysterious x-ray source Cygnus X-1 was indeed a black hole. 

    david dunlap observatory

    The second floor of the administration building is where weekend astronomy lectures take place today.

    Today, the observatory is dwarfed by a number of cutting-edge telescopes around the world. That, along with concerns of encroaching light pollution, was one of the reasons for U of T's highly contested decision to sell the David Dunlap Observatory property to a developer for $70 million in 2008.

    The ten years since that sale has been what's largely felt like a battle between the big guy, property developer Corsica, and the 'little town' of Richmond Hill, along with numerous David Dunlap Observatory and preservation advocacy groups. 

    david dunlap observatory

    The administration building was built in the Beaux-Arts style and features ornate railings and marble. 

    The buildings and much of the surrounding landscape have since been designated historic property, and in 2009, the Royal Astronomical Society moved in to operate occasional educational programming from the David Dunlap Observatory. 

    To make a long story short, the town of Richmond Hill now owns a bit more than half of the original David Dunlap Observatory property, with the remaining land to the east currently being developed into 530 homes, hence the presence of seemingly never-ending construction nearby.

    david dunlap observatory

    The foyer features a marble compass on the ground.

    There's even a $54-million plan to turn the lands into a astronomical-themed destination park, with four tennis courts, self-illuminating pathway and amphitheatre—though we won't see those visions come to fruition for another 15 to 20 years. 

    david dunlap observatory

    Second floor rooms of the admin building hold old star charts.

    Today, the only way you can visit the inside of either the observatory or the administration buildings is through a variety of programs, mostly on weekends, offered through the Richmond Hill website. 

    The maker space YLab also holds evenings here in the observatory basement, where you can learn about amateur radio and make cool things like light sabres from scratch.

    Hour-long historical tours on Sundays will take you through the limestone admin building, which, for Beaux-Arts admirers will be a delight with its ornate banisters, Corinthian columns and compass laid into the marble foyer. 

    david dunlap observatory

    The telescope is held on the second floor of the observatory while the majority of operating equipment functions beneath it. 

    Lectures take place on the second floor, in rooms equipped with projectors. Meanwhile, other tours will take you into the actual observatory itself, where you'll be led upstairs (keep in mind neither buildings are accessible) to where the 74-inch telescope is. 

    Despite being old, the space is completely functional, full of old-timey machinery and control boards that young astronomer dreams are made of. 

    david dunlap observatory

    Guides will be able to demonstrate the turning of the telescope, but you likely won't be able to look through the telescope itself.

    Keep in mind that if you're attempting to look through the actual telescope itself, you'll likely be disappointed. Viewing is only permitted in ideal weather conditions, not only limited by rain or clouds but also by things like dust, since any type of debris on the telescope glass can cause damage. 

    A guide will, however, probably be able to demonstrate rotating the telescope around via a very retro handspun wheel in an impressive display of non-automated expertise. 

    Some astronomy programs will also set up a number of smaller telescopes on the David Dunlap Observatory grounds at night, allowing for a viewing of the night sky that will satisfy nonetheless.

    david dunlap observatory


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    People went absolutely bonkers at the movie premiere of Beautiful Boy last night over the most beautiful-est boy of them all, actor Timothée Chalamet.

    The 22-year old sauntered down the red carpet yesterday at the world premiere of his film, co-starring Steve Carell, in an embroidered black number while fans Called Him By His Name (get it). 

    He took about a million selfies, and people brought just about everything for the young heartthrob to sign. 

    Of course you have the standard books, posters, and at one point a shoe—you know, the usual. 

    If you're wondering what he's holding in his hand, know that there were also a few food items being passed around too. 

    One very, very excited fan also brought a cheeseburger for Timothée.

    What she wanted him to do with it is unclear but her enthusiasm was palpable, and people could relate.

    Some TIFF presenters brought him a peach — a nod to the infamous scene in Call Me By Your Name — which he signed and carried around for a bit before giving it to a lucky fan. 

    Mr. Chamalet seemed to be enjoying all the Toronto love, at one point asking a fan "Is it bad that I like all this?" Swoon.

    Toronto has been looking forward to seeing the talented young actor since he was spotted arriving at Pearson two days ago. 

    Those who didn't get a chance to spot him at the Beautiful Boy premiere are already plotting the time and place to catch him before he leaves.


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    Julia Roberts gave one fan who had apparently been waiting 28 years to meet her the thrill of a lifetime when she invited him up on stage to hug her at TIFF last night.

    The interaction took place during a Q&A after the screening of Homecoming, a thriller web series Roberts stars in. When fan Kenny Santana stood to speak, he was visibly shaking and nearly in tears with excitement.

    That’s when Roberts noticed his Be Love shirt, an activist apparel company she supports. Sales from the “We Are Family” shirt Santana was wearing (and which Roberts also owns) go towards reuniting families separated during the US-Mexico immigrant crisis.

    When Santana told Roberts he’d been waiting for this moment for 28 years, she replied with, “What? Get on up here.” Santana struggled to make his way through the crowd, at which point Roberts removed her heels and met him halfway for their embrace.

    “He flew from Indonesia,” she exclaimed at the end of their interaction—Santana is a travel blogger, and captured the entire interaction in his Instagram story with comments like “Still shaking, still speechless,” and “Made my entire life.”

    Santana also posted selfies with Roberts sitting just a couple rows behind him during the screening.

    “Dreams do come true, that’s my lesson for the night,” he says in the story, in a video he took of himself walking out on the street.


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    Drinks are on Michael Moore tonight at 8:30 at Assembly Chef’s Hall.

    The director just opened up the celebration party for his new movie Fahrenheit 11/9, screening at TIFF, to the public in a Tweet.

    He received a standing ovation after the world premiere of Fahrenheit 11/9 on September 6 at the opening night of the festival in Toronto.

    At the premiere red bandanas were handed out to represent resistance and Trump baby balloons floated in the air. Moore also invited students of Parkland, Florida and a Flint Water whistleblower onstage after the screening.

    Though there are lots of great parties to hit up this year for TIFF, this is a chance to take advantage of one particularly generous director’s success and toast to his achievements.


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    What's better than puppies? Nothing, absolutely nothing. That is, unless you're adding actors with great hair into the mix.

    Dev Patel was out and about in Toronto yesterday for the world premiere of his new movie Hotel Mumbai, and along the way stopped by EW + People TIFF portrait studio on King to take some ridiculously adorable pictures with some rescue puppies. 

    The 28-year-old actor dropped by the studio with his co-star Jason Issacs for a photo sesh with a litter of adorable puppers. 

    He clearly enjoyed himself. I mean who wouldn't.

    After the shoot, Dev took a minute to take some selfies with fans outside before heading out, presumably to get ready for his big premiere.

    Later that night he took to the TIFF red carpet, where he and his voluptuous hair worked the heck out of the crowd.

    The 28-year-old actor hasn't been back in Toronto since his movie Lion with Nicole Kidman in 2016, and it seems people have really been looking forward to his return to the 6ix.


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    One of the best ramen shops in Toronto, Ryus Noodle Bar, has just been selected as the only non-Canadian stall to be included in a Japanese ramen museum.

    You read that right—the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum isn’t dedicated to ancient artifacts or fossils, but rather to showcasing ramen from different regions. Visitors can sample different kinds of ramen at stalls set up in a replica of 1958 Japan streetscape.

    The museum only reserves two spots for non-Japanese ramen stalls, so the inclusion of Ryus is a big deal.

    With all the ramen shops in Toronto alone not to mention the hundreds in North America, it’s an honour for Ryus to be included as the first-ever Canadian shop.

    Now diners at Ryus Noodle Bar can not only say their bowl of ramen is world-class, they can say it’s good enough to be admired in a museum.


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    TIFF Festival Street wraps up during events in Toronto today but you can expect lots more TIFF action throughout the week. Elsewhere, there's an all-you-can-eat burger party and one last Summerdaze for the year.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Burgers + Beers (September 9 @ 86 Miller Street)
    Is there anything better than a sweaty, cheese-smothered burger? How about a party with all-you-can-eat burgers and $4 beer? It's lit!
    Hard Feelings Mental Health Pop-Up Market (September 9 @ Hard Feelings Mental Health)
    Come out, craft and shop at this artisan market dedicated to reducing barriers and increasing access to mental health supports.
    Sleepless in Seattle (September 9 @ Slaight Music Stage)
    Pack some tissues for this free outdoor screening of the beloved Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks romantic classic as part of Festival Street.
    Outlaw Music Festival (September 9 @ Budweiser Stage)
    Some of country's biggest stars arrive in Toronto for an all-day concert with Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Nathaniel Rateliff‎.
    Summerdaze (September 9 @ 54 Fraser Ave)
    After a successful season of showcasing the city's underground DJ scene, Summerdaze returns for one last thank-you party of the year.
    Bicycle Music Festival (September 9 @ Humber Bay Park West)
    Put your pedal to the metal and take part in the big bike-powered concert and communal street ride through the city.
    The Sandlot (September 9 @ The Royal Cinema)
    Left Field Brewery joins the Royal for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the The Sandlot, plus a pre-show Blue Jays panel from Pitch Talks.
    The Ebony Tide (September 9 @ Comedy Bar)
    Get ready to go back to school with the help of local comics during this showcase of hilarious promotions, featuring Guled Abdi, Franco Nguyen and more.
    TIFF Festival Street (September 6-9 @ King Street West)
    It's the last day to stroll along a car-free King Street and check out plenty of activities, have a bite, listen to music and see a film.
    In Time (September 8-9 @ The Coterie)
    There's still one more day to check out the behind the scenes photos by Hyghly Alleyne that capture the world of the XO crew lead by The Weeknd.

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