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    Fall day trips from Toronto run the gamut from deep forest hikes to quaint small towns. There's no better way to see how the province transforms each autumn than by packing into a car and heading to nearby destinations that show off the beauty of the Southern Ontario landscape.


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    Ryan Gosling made a surprise visit to a Toronto coffee shop this week after a social media campaign got his mother's attention.

    In this episode of the Only in Toronto podcast, we catch up with the owner of Grinder Coffee to find out what he had to drink, how he smelled and how the whole thing went down.

    Plus, Toronto's best new pizza joint, a new spot for matcha everything and the latest from the Toronto International Film Festival.

    Background information on this episode:
    Articles referenced in this episode include:
    Places mentioned in this episode:
    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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    Premier Doug Ford's government will be holding a midnight meeting this Monday after a failed attempt to finally cut the size of Toronto city council.

    The Ontario government met for an uncommon weekend sitting this morning to discuss Bill 31, coined the Efficient Local Government Act, brought forward by the Ford administration to expedite the slashing of councillors to 25 from 47. 

    Opposition MPPs rejected the call to support the legislation within an hour, with the Green Party, Liberals, and NDP all petitioning to delay the law's passing.

    The PC saw no alternative but to ask the house to reconvene at 12:01 a.m. this Monday morning to continue the debate. 

    Meanwhile, activists from the Council of Canadians banded outside of Queen's Park during today's meeting today gathering signatures in protest of  Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause. 

    The first iteration of this bill, Bill 5, has already been struck down by an Ontario Superior Court judge, who has said that it violates the charter rights of both candidates and voters in Toronto's upcoming municipal election. 

    The government views the finalization of city council cuts as urgent as any further delay would likely cause the election to be postponed.


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    It's Sunday in Toronto and in between naps and chores, there's some cool events you might want to check out. The TIFF People's Choice Award winning movie is screening for free and it's the last Open Streets of the season. Garlicky goodies, music and markets are also on today.

    Events you might want to check out:

    TIFF People's Choice Award Screening (September 16 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox)
    As per festival tradition, the most popular movie amongst festival goers will be announced on September 16 and screened for free later that day.
    Open Streets TO (September 16 @ Bloor and Yonge Streets)
    Parts of Yonge and Bloor go car-less for the day during the second instalment of Open Streets with wandering and activities in the street.
    Toronto Garlic Festival (September 16 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns)
    Garlic and garlic accessories are all on at this big festival dedicated to the pungent herb. Expect garlicky goodies, shopping, a VR farm tour and more.
    City Cider (September 16 @ Spadina Museum)
    The apple orchard behind the historic Spadina Museum is hosting an all-day picnic with fresh cider, music, activities and games.
    Toronto Artisan Market (September 16 @ Christie Pits Park)
    Christie Pits fills up with artists selling their handmade wares during this curated market in celebration of the local arts, crafts and community.
    Grease (September 16 @ The Royal Cinema)
    Drag queens, Grease-themed drinking games and running commentary are just part of this screening of the classic 1978 musical and truly what it deserves.
    Sales (September 16 @ Horseshoe Tavern)
    The simplest music is usually the most complex and that's definitely the case with Sales' quirky, minimalist, guitar-based pop tunes.
    Junction Craft Brewing Makers Market (September 16 @ Junction Craft Brewing)
    Explore the many tastes Ontario has to offer during this big makers' market with a special spotlight on regional brewers.
    Roncesvalles Polish Festival (September 15-16 @ Roncesvalles Village)
    The festivities continue today with Polish food, performances, music and entertainment happening all along Roncesvalles.
    Toronto Ukrainian Festival (September 14-16 @ Bloor St. West)
    There's still another day to get your fill of traditional Ukrainian culture with dancing, performances, food and activities throughout Bloor West Village.

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    Free events in Toronto this week include the much anticipated grand opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art in its newly transformed space. Also on Sterling Road is a block party, while Word on the Street returns for another year.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Canzine (September 22 @ Art Gallery of Ontario)
    Zine culture is getting a big festival with hundreds of zines and art books to peruse, talks, events and an awards ceremony.
    MOCA Grand Opening (September 22-23 @ MOCA)
    After an initial delay, the MOCA is finally ready to reveal its revamped space. Tour through all five floors during this free, two-day grand opening event.
    Toronto Beaches Festival (September 22-23 @ Woodbine Beach)
    There's still time to hit the beach and this sand bash offers free admission, food and drinks, yoga, a 90s dance party and shopping.
    Sterling Road Block Party (September 23 @ Drake Commissary)
    A big community street party is happening along Sterling Road with a full day of food, activities, music, entertainment and a market.
    The Word on the Street (September 23 @ Harbourfront Centre)
    Lit nerds, rejoice! This all-day book and magazine festival is back with literature-based programming, vendors, author talks and activities.

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    Fall is one of the best times to hike in Toronto thanks to the beautiful yellow, orange and red colours that appear for just a short time each year. Take advantage of this and head out to one of our city's forested parks and marvel at the foliage and wildlife that surrounds you right in the heart of Canada's biggest urban centre.

    Here are my picks for the top fall hikes in Toronto.

    East Don Parkland

    Explore the East Don Parkland in September and you might even get a chance to see spawning salmon. You'll also get to marvel at the natural wonder that is this less used portion of the Don Valley. Check out this handy guide if you're looking for a route to follow.

    Cudia Park

    You may think of visiting the Bluffs as a summertime activity, but in the fall, head out to Scarborough's Cudia Park. You'll get panoramic views of Lake Ontario as you hike through this tree covered area. The scenery is stunning.

    Humber Arboretum and West Humber River Valley

    The Humber Arboretum is right behind Humber's north campus and 2features six kilometres of trails that snake along the Humber River. This green space, which is free to enter, has lots of flora and fauna, including botanical gardens.

    Rouge Park

    Rouge Park might one day become one of the largest national urban parks in the world. Right now, it features lots of short trails (which can be combined for longer hikes) through an area that stretches from the Lake all the way into Markham.

    E.T. Seton Park

    Relax by taking a stroll through E.T. Seton Park and along the West Don Trail near the Ontario Science Centre. You can try out one of the park's free archery ranges along the way, or hike along the river all the way into Sunnybrook Park or Edward's Gardens.


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    It's still possible to buy a house for under $1 million in Toronto these days, you just have to look well outside of the city's hottest neighbourhoods for home buyers to do it. 

    Here's what a $800,000 house looks like in Toronto versus other cities. 

    Toronto - $799,900

    Considering that the Junction is quickly becoming the place to be, the price for this three-bedroom, three-floor townhouse just north of all the main action is relatively low. Parking is by permit only but getting to either Keele or Dundas West Stations is just a ten-minute bus ride away.

    real estate torontoMontreal - $795,000

    This simple three-bedroom historic house is certainly no remodeled marvel, but for those with some extra disposable there's tons of potential, with a big lot right in the heart of McGill territory and just steps from Station Place-des-Arts and Mont Royal. real estate toronto

    Vancouver - $785,900

    Homes in Vancouver can rarely be called inexpensive, but just under 800 grand could get you a three bedroom town house in the quiet, foresty neighbourhood of Killarney, which is at least $100,000 under the average townhouse price in Vancouver East. 

    toronto real estate

    Halifax - $799,900

    One of the many homes designed by Nova Scotia's celebrity architect Andre Cobb, this four-bedroom was built in 1938 and has since been restored. There's a full garden in the back, fireplace, and elements of Cobb's signature arches and eyebrow windows. 

    real estate toronto
    Chicago - $785,836 CAD

    Built in 1900, this 3,000 square-footer in Albany Park, in the northwest part of the city, has five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Ninety-five per cent of was rebuilt last year meaning it's got everything from hardwood floors to quartz countertops, private balcony, and finished basement. 

    toronto real estate

    Miami - $797,140 CAD

    Sitting on a 15,000 square-foot corner lot, this Spanish-style property is about double the price of the average Miami home value. This sprawling property comes with four bedrooms plus a converted garage and a below-ground pool with jacuzzi in a glass greenhouse-like room. 

    Barcelona - $796,897 CAD

    This incredible property in Maresme right off the coast of the Mediterranean grants its owners plenty of privacy, with a driveway leading in from the main road lined with lush greens and flowers. It's mostly residential here, at varying prices.  

    real estate toronto

    Quezon City, Phillippines - $796,252 CAD

    One of the most largest and most highly populated cities in the Metro Manila (moreso than Manila) this two-storey, five-bedroom house is exponentially more expensive than your average residence in the Philippines, complete with viewing deck and five-car garage. 

    real estate toronto

    Dubai - $799,200 CAD

    This villa in the Jumeirah Village Triangle looks larger than it is, with a vast corner lot that really only has two bedrooms and en suite bathrooms each. It does have an expansive lawn, and the master bedroom has a balcony and built-in wardrobe too.


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    TIFF's move to a more modern system for ticketing hasn't been an entirely smooth one over the last several festivals.

    It began with massive delays and frustration from patrons trying to secure their picks at the beginning of the fest, and continues through the closing day's free People's Choice screening.

    Tickets for this year's winner went on the site at 8 a.m. this morning hours before the announcement of what film would be playing in that slot which some found strange.

    The virtual ticketing is meant to free up the post announcement long lines that are a tradition on the last day of the festival, but it did leave some people unable to secure seats despite checking in right at the on-sale window.

    Meanwhile, within minutes some of these free tickets were already being resold on classified sites.

    With the change of voting protocol that allows anyone with an email address a chance to vote whether or not they have proof they were at the screening there's been concern that this will result in ostensibly voter fraud for fans to sway the vote even if they've never set foot in Toronto.

    Given the presige of the award and the real implications not only for box office success but for Oscar attention these are real factors to consider to avoid this prize becoming little more than an internet poll easily swayed by external participation.

    Time will tell what effect these elements have on the award and what changes may be made for next year.


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    This TIFF will be remembered for many things, but above all it may finally be the festival where Scarborough native Stephan James gets the international attention he well deserves.

    James began his career at TV series like Clue and My Babysitter's a Vampire, eventually landing the role of Julian on the iconic Degrassi franchise that also help propel another local to what some may consider a modicum of fame.

    His 2012 film Home Again gained him his first Canadian Screen award nomination. He had a small but crucial role in Ava DuVerney's celebrated Selma portraying John Lewis, the young leader who led the march across the Edmund Pettus bridge.

    2015 saw James have a significant role in the TV mini-series The Book Of Negroes and was declared to be one of TIFF's annual "rising stars".

    In 2016 James landed the starring role as Jesse Owens in the Canadian/French/German co-production of Race where he would win best actor as the CSAs.

    Stephen james

    Stephen James with co-stars Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney and Sissy Spacek before the world premiere of Homecoming at TIFF. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    In 2018 James not only stars as military veteran Walter Cruz in the upcoming series Homecoming, he made his most significant star turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins' return to direction following the Oscar-winning (and TIFF 2016 hit) Moonlight.

    In the film James plays Alonzo "Fonny" Hunt, an artist in love with his childhood sweetheart that finds himself unjustly arrested for a crime he did not commit. It's a film of power and nuance, requiring an exceptional lead to capture all the colours that James Baldwin's novel conveys.

    While no stranger to Canadian audiences, 2018 is clearly the year where the world will take more notice of this remarkable homegrown talent.


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    Rabba Fine Foods — the best (and often only) place in Toronto to grab dinner, gum, groceries, cat food, batteries, dish soap and/or cash at 4 a.m. within a five minute walk of where you stand.

    With over 30 locations open 24/7 across the GTA, Rabbas are a local institution— but the quality of these convenient urban markets vary. Widely.

    Here are my picks for the best and worst Rabba Fine Foods locations in Toronto.

    Best
    Front and Blue Jays Way 

    This Rabba is similar to many found at the base of downtown condo and office buildings in that it is well-frequented, often by repeat customers. High turnover means a great selection of fresh produce, and the cashiers are consistently nice. An A+ Rabba, all around.

    Front and Lower Sherbourne

    St. Lawrence Market has an excellent Rabba, as far as locals are concerned, with yummy croissants and a bit of room to breathe while you shop. Some complain that it's a bit pricey, but that applies to pretty much every convenience store in the city.

    Lakeshore and Parklawn

    One of two Rabbas near the lovely shores of Humber Bay Park, this 24/7 market at 2275 Lake Shore Boulevard West is beloved by regulars for the store's nice condition and for the people who work there

    Yonge and Isabella

    This location is said to be great for getting made-to-order sandwiches and prepared foods. If you work anywhere near a Rabba, you know how important these two factors are in winning the hearts of hungry lunch-seekers.

    Jarvis and Gerrard 

    Ryerson students tend to treat this Rabba like a second home if they know what's up. It's got an in-house Tim Hortons, nice baked goods and, like every Rabba, it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week — absolutely clutch for those late night study sessions and post-bar munchies.

    Worst
    The Harbourfront Rabba

    This store on Queen's Quay is far removed from the "friendly European style" shop Rabba's founders had in mind. The prepared food selection is dismal, they often run out of things, the store is messy looking and workers, if you can get their attention, don't seem to like customers very much at all.

    Nelson & Simcoe

    It's always cold in here for some reason — like, painfully cold, especially near the cash register — and the cashiers aren't particularly friendly. If you like long lineups and showing ID every time you buy papers, this is the Rabba for you.

    Yonge and Charles 

    This store is crammed to the max, which isn't unusual in downtown Toronto. Flickering lights in cold food display sections, on the other hand, are unsettling. How fresh is that milk when it's only sporadically refrigerated?

    Sherbourne and Wellesley

    The Subway inside this Rabba, just north of Homewood Ave., is basically never open, which is kind of a tease if you ask me. It's also a small and crammed store with questionable hot food items at times — but hey, it's open and it's there.  


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    The Park Hyatt Hotel's major makeover is well underway.

    It took about two months for workers to completely demolish the two-storey podium linking the building's north and south towers at Bloor and Avenue, leaving parts of the north tower gaping open where it was once attached.  

    park hyatt toronto

    The two-storey podium linking both Hyatt towers has been completely demolished.

    The gap between both buildings will eventually be replaced by a larger podium that will face Avenue Road. 

    The changes comes as part of massive renovations by Oxford Properties on the Art Deco hotel, which began in Dec. 2017, three years after Oxford purchased the property for $90 million USD. 

    park hyatt toronto

    The Hyatt is undergoing major renovations and is expected to reopen in two years.

    The Hyatt's south tower will soon be converted into an apartment building with 65 rental units.

    Meanwhile the north tower will continue to operate as a hotel, but with—among several additions—220 renovated guest rooms and suites, a new ballroom and a restaurant. 

    The hotel's glamourous 82-year old rooftop (home to the original startender Joe Gomes) will also be seeing a major facelift after it closed last year for renovations.


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    With hundreds of films screened over 11 days the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival is finally drawing to a close.

    There were more hits than misses this year, and many worthy films that were in contention for this year's big prize, given out annually since 1978, that will surely drive Oscar conversation this year.

    Here are the list of winners from TIFF 2018.

    People's Choice Award:Green Book by Peter Farrelly

    People's Choice Award Runner-Ups:If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins and Roma by Alfonso Cuarón

    People's Choice Documentary Award:Free Solo by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

    People's Choice Midnight Madness Award:The Man Who Feels No Pain by Vasan Bala

    Toronto Platform Prize:Cities of Last Things by Ho Wi Ding (cash prize: $25,000)

    NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere:The Third Wife by Ash Mayfair

    Audentia Award for Best Female Director:Fig Tree by Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian (cash prize: 30,000)

    The FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations:Skin by Guy Nattiv

    The FIPRESCI Prize for the Discovery Programme:Float Like A Butterfly by Carmel Winters

    Best Canadian Feature Film:The Fireflies are Gone by Sébastien Pilote (cash prize: $30,000)

    Best Canadian First Feature Film:Roads in February by Katherine Jerkovic (cash prize: $15,000)

    Best Canadian Short Film:Brotherhood by Meryam Joobeur

    Best Short Film:The Field by Sandhya Suri

    There will be a free screening of the People's Choice Award Winner - Green Book tonight. Tickets were available online starting this morning at 8 a.m.


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    A large group of animals activists gathered outside of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) office by Finch and Dufferin early Friday morning to demand the closure of a Toronto slaughterhouse.  

    Members of Direct Action Everywhere held signs and sat outside the CFIA to protest Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd., the largest beef processing plant in Ontario located in the Stockyards.

    A couple of police officers stood in front of the office to stop protestors from entering the building as protestors chanted "Cows skinned alive everyday, under the watch of the CFIA." 

    Videos have previously surfaced of cows being skinned while alive at Ryding-Regency, which is a kosher and halal facility, and who Direct Action Everywhere accuses of breaking CFIA regulations. 


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    When the rent for Volta Espresso's 150-square-foot cafe shot up nearly 400 per cent a few months ago, owner Omar Makhlouf picked up and moved all his coffee equipment down the street and created a new cafe under a different name, Mallo

    It was to Makhlouf's surpise, then, when he found an ad on Kijiji posted by his former landlord a few days ago looking for a temporary barista to "help train the owner of a small cafe owner" at 866 Bathurst St.—Volta's old space.

    The ad used an old photograph of Volta's fully-stocked interior and offered minimum wage for the temporary position, which would require teaching the owner "the ins and outs of the commercial espresso machine." 

    "Its just weird and sketchy," says Makhlouf. 

    The Kijiji ad has since been taken down, but an ad on Royal LePage remains, listing the two-bedroom space in the same building for $2,596 a month. 

    At best, the situation seems strange—at worst, maliciously misleading. When Makhlouf and his team left for their new space at 785 Bathurst St., so went all their equipment, meaning at point, the landlord was hiring for a cafe which no longer existed. 

    And Makhlouf says that the last time he walked by the old Volta space, he saw a new grinder and a coffee machine, which begs the question: why force out a cafe which, since its inception, has been considered a community staple, only to replace it with another one? 

    It's been nearly three years since Makhlouf and co-owner Raf Whebe took over the old jewelry shop in Seaton Village and turned it into a local pit stop for strong coffee, where they operated on a two year lease with an option to renew. 

    But they never got that renewal option, says Makhlouf. He alleges the landlord informed him they'd be selling the building in September—which never ended up happening—and later hiked up rent to $4,400 from $1,200 for a space barely bigger than many walk-in closets. 

    Volta tried to negotiate but to no avail, and closed down officially on August 26, re-emerging the very next day less than 100 metres away as Mallo, which by all means is an upgrade with a larger space and a license to serve alcohol. 

    "We got lucky because I'm a contractor and I was able to quickly react and build out this new space," says Makhlouf. "But that’s generally not the case with small businesses."

    The most confusing sequence of events came a few weeks before Volta was slated to move out, when the landlord backtracked and asked Makhlouf to stay, despite the fact that construction on Mallo was already well under way. 

    Not only that, the landlord had allegedly told customers that Volta would be back in operations in the same building. And a few days into Mallo's opening, Makhlouf says they asked him if he would teach them how to operate an espresso machine. 

    Whether or not the landlord still intends on leasing out 866 Bathurst St. as a cafe has yet to be seen—the landlord did not make themselves available for comment. 

    "They don't take into consideration the humanity that revolves around a small business," says Makhlouf. "That's what really pissed me off about it."


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    Events in Toronto this week are whatever you are into, really, whether it be a huge comedy festival by way of Just for Laughs or a big gathering of the tech community with Elevate Toronto. Bruno Mars is here and there's lots of great free stuff on as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Trampoline Hall (September 17 @ Garrison)
    Trampoline Hall returns with a night of speakers including Samantha Viarruel, comedian Nick Nemeroff and visual artist Jenny Laiwint.
    TechTO (September 17 @ RBC Waterpark Place Auditorium)
    Toronto's tech community comes together for a night of networking and talks from industry leaders, plus lots of drinks and mingling.
    Campaign: The Making of a Candidate (September 18 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    The Our Beautiful City series continues to explore the civic matters facing Toronto with a documentary about David Miller's 2003 mayoral campaign.
    Bi Arts Festival (September 18-23 @ Multiple Venues)
    Bisexuality gets a week-long arts and culture celebration with events, a marketplace, special performances, and a zine launch.
    Hozier (September 19 @ Rebel)
    In what amounts to a spiritual experience, Hozier arrives to perform in Toronto alongside Hudson Taylor.
    Uniqlo Mobile E-Commerce Pop-Up (September 19-22 @ 451 King Street West)
    Fashion and technology collide during this pop-up by Uniqlo, specially made to feel like you've basically stepped inside the internet.
    Toronto Palestine Film Festival (September 20-24 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox)
    Films that explore Palestine and its culture, history, challenges and triumphs are screening during this festival, plus events on throughout the week.
    JFL42 (September 20-29 @ Multiple Venues)
    Margaret Cho, Hannibal Buress and Seth Meyers are just some of the comedians headed to Toronto for this year's edition of Just for Laughs.
    Big Sound (September 21 @ The Great Hall)
    Big Sound is back with a night of live music from over 30 musicians banging out a tribute to Aretha Franklin, the Motown Sound and classic soul.
    Inland (September 21-22 @ Queen Richmond Centre West)
    Check out local and national designer brands at this big fashion shopping event with fresh looks and many made-in-Canada products.
    House of Vans (September 21-23 @ The Bentway)
    Vans takes over The Bentway for a weekend of cool events, including a community market, workshops, a cook-off and performances.
    Elevate (September 21-27 @ Multiple Venues)
    Industry leaders, innovators and experts arrive to link up with Toronto's tech community for a week of talks, events, special programming and more.
    Bruno Mars (September 22 @ Scotiabank Arena)
    Put your pinky rings up to the moon because Bruno Mars is stopping in Toronto to give us some of that 24k Magic, the first of a two-night stint.
    Trans Makers' Market (September 22 @ The 519)
    Pick up a ton of goodies from this market designed to support trans, non-binary and two spirit artists, entrepreneurs and vendors.
    Dead Sara (September 23 @ The Horseshoe Tavern)
    LA's trio of post-hardcore rockers arrives for some good old-fashioned cathartic primal screaming from some bad ass chicks.

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    The best comic shops in Toronto are gold mines for comic collectors and those trying to get their superhero fix. An abundance of golden era and silver age goods, and plenty of vintage issues and indie graphics should keep every comic fan satisfied.

    Here are the best comic shops in Toronto.

    10 - Red Nails II

    Head to either the Bloor West Village store or to the Sheridan Mall version of Red Nails II to browse through their comics, graphic novels, and sports card boxes. This place has been around since 1989 and is the only store with two locations in the city for an all-around great selection for general comic book wares.
    6 - The Comic Room

    Sharing a space with the Paperback Exchange in Scarborough at the corner of Lawrence and McCowan, this shop has been part of its neighbourhood since the late 1970s with the comic portion of the business opening up a few years later. They have 20,000 back issues on premises, and get hard-to-find stock in every Wednesday.
    3 - The Beguiling

    This venerable comic book and graphic novel emporium on College St. stocks work from the 1930s up to the present day, meaning you can track down hard-to-find and rare copies of your favourite series, or search through the store and discover something new.
    11 - TCAF Store

    What started as a pop-up in the Toronto Reference Library has become the permanent headquarters of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, also known as Page & Panel. This not-for-profit offers a great diverse selection on books you can actually take home, with a selection of merch and issues by indie artists.
    8 - West End Comics

    This Parkdale shop has everything from single issues to graphic novels, old and new. It's a popular spot for toy collectors too, with everything from action figures to Dungeon and Dragons minis. They also offer a subscription service for those wanting a monthly fix of new comics to read.
    9 - The Sidekick

    It's coffee meets comics at this newer Leslieville store, where you can curl up on a cozy armchair with an issue from their carefully curated stock of comics from mostly indie publishers. Sidekick also has a healthy selection of geeky mugs and board games to go with your brew.
    7 - Excalibur Comics

    Not far from Royal York subway station is this tiny, longtime spot for comics. Opened in 1987, Excalibur stocks everything from comics to Pokemon cards. Because of its size it's not the best spot for the newest and hottest issues, but for regulars it's one of the faves.
    4 - Silver Snail (Yonge St.)

    Head upstairs to this second-floor store at Yonge and Dundas. It boasts a massive array of comic books, graphic novels and memorabilia that'll satisfy legions of fandoms. The adjoining cafe <a href="https://www.blogto.com/cafes/the-black-canary-espresso-bar-yonge-toronto/">Black Canary</a> lets you settle in post-browsing and flip through the pages of your new purchase.
    5 - Paradise Comics

    With one of the biggest selections of comics in the city, this 1,000 square-foot space by Lawrence Station carries golden era and silver age comics. They're also the founders of the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon (though they haven't had a comicon in years).

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    Another TIFF has come to a close, with hundreds of films screened and a select few recognized with awards. I had a great year, seeing many remarkable films that in some cases managed to exceed even heightened expectations.

    Here in no particular order are my favourite films from TIFF 2018.

    If Beale Street Could Talk

    Barry Jenkins had a near impossible task in translating James Baldwin's poetic, nuanced writing onto the screen in a way that still managed to speak to wide audiences. This is one of the great accomplishments of the year, and a clear sign of the magnitude of this director's gift.

    Roma

    This is a film that nears perfection, though expect some crude critics to try and knock it down a peg. Screw those people; revel in the fact that we live in a time where movies like Alfonso Cuarón's are still made, and we're able to see them on the big screen. If you missed it at TIFF, look out for the film to be released on Netflix soon.

    First Man

    Damien Chazelle's film is a technical wonder that still has deep emotional impact. Gosling is perfectly cast, and this IMAX-travaganza is a luminous way to spend time in a theatre.

    Free Solo

    I had little hope for this film other than being mere nature porn. Seeing the vistas on a giant IMAX screen helped, but it's the personal stories and restraint displayed by the filmmakers to affect their subject that truly sets this mountain climbing film to the stratosphere.

    Non-Fiction

    This film is so exquisitely French you can practically taste the baguettes and smell the cigarettes in the cafés. Olivier Assayas' loquacious, philosophical piece on the intersection between art, commerce and love may lack the bombast of some of the other films, but with an A+ cast and whip-smart script it's a work to be cherished.

    A Star Is Born

    Forget when this veers toward conventional studio fodder and truly revel in the perfect casting of a woman born as Stefani Germanotta, shining like no other would in this Bradley Cooper-helmed passion project that made audiences go Gaga.

    Firecrackers

    It's a film to be celebrated, in part for what it is (a smart, fierce, fascinating debut by a remarkable filmmaker) as much as what it's not (indulgent, polemical, simplistic). Jasmin Mozaffari's film isn't the easiest to watch, but it's certainly one of the most rewarding of this festival.

    In Fabric

    Peter Strickland makes weird, indulgent, wonderful films that feel very much part of a different historical timeline. This tale of a haunted dress and the effect it has on the people that wear it is equal parts unsettling and darkly comic. No film came close to oozing so much mood as the story unfurled.

    Widows

    Steve McQueen takes on the heist film genre in this powerful film with a powerhouse cast led by Viola Davis. Gillian Flynn brings some of her noir chops to play with the script, while McQueen demonstrates an expansion of his range into more conventional filmmaking that loses none of his artistic bite.

    Gloria Bell

    Remaking a film in English seems a cheap trick, yet Chilean director Sebastián Lelio shows that by changing the location and casting the luminous Julianne Moore he can strike gold with this narrative twice. A film to laugh, cry and dance to, it's an ode to middle aged romance that's easily an equal to its sister film.


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    Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative MPPs are literally burning the midnight oil in an attempt to pass Bill 31 ahead of Toronto's upcoming municipal election — and so are the hordes of citizens trying to stop them.

    The Legislative Assembly of Ontario held a rare midnight sitting thios morning at 12:01 a.m. to try and get through a second-reading debate of Ford's controversial 'Efficient Local Government Act.'

    If passed, this bill would reduce the number of seats on Toronto city council from 47 to 25, in the middle of an election period, without any sort of warning or consultation from the province.

    An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled last Monday that an earlier version of the bill was unconstitutional, prompting Ford to invoke the Canadian Charter's controversial "notwithstanding clause" for the first time in Ontario history.

    Ford's use of the rare clause, also called Section 33, has been widely decried by human rights organizations, Toronto residents, and political opponents alike who say the premier is acting like a dictator.

    Last night's marathon meeting proved successful for the PC party, in that they got through the second reading of Bill 31 after the mandatory six-and-a-half hours of debate.

    In what's becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence, protesters arrived en masse to Queen's Park late Sunday night to try and score a seat inside the legislature for the debate.

    Most of those who did were soon kicked out of the building for being disruptive.

    Many argued that they should be let back inside.

    They weren't, but the protests continued outdoors with people chanting and banging their feet against the barriers next to the walls of Ontario's Legislative Assembly until nearly sunrise.

     Like the NDP party, protesters argued that the bill should be thrown out.

    The New Democrats did try to delay the bill's passing again on Monday morning by moving to adjourn the debate, but lost in a vote of 67-24.

    The Toronto Star reports that Progressive Conservatives are now set to introduce a "time-allocation motion," meaning that the bill could pass its second and third reading, as well as get royal assent, by this Thursday.

    Whether or not that's fast enough for Toronto election officials remains to be seen.

    City Clerk Ulli Watkiss said on Thursday that the she is concerned about her ability to run a fair election on October 22 at this point, given the confusion surrounding Toronto's ward boundaries.

    "We have hit a tipping point," she said to councillors, noting that whether Toronto has 47 or 25 seats to vote for, "both election scenarios are becoming virtually impossible for us to carry out."


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    This week on DineSafe, a number of chain restaurants landed in hot water with Toronto city health inspectors. Druxy's, Starbucks and Pizza Pizza were just among a few of the spots busted.

    Learn which other Toronto restaurants got in trouble with health inspectors this week on DineSafe.

    Hogtown Smoke (1959 Queen St. East)
    • Inspected on: September 10, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 2, Significant: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Pizza Pizza (330 Wilson Ave.)
    • Inspected on: September 10, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: Failed to ensure food handler in food premise washes hands as necessary to prevent contamination of food.
    Second Cup (808 York Mills Rd.)
    • Inspected on: September 10, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 1 (Significant: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Druxy's (610 University Ave.)
    • Inspected on: September 11, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Red (Closed)
    • Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 3, Crucial: 3)
    • Crucial infractions include: Food premise maintained in manner permitting health hazard, food premise maintained in manner permitting adverse effect on food and food premise maintained in manner to permit contamination of single-service article.
    Freshii (3333 Yonge St.)
    • Inspected on: September 11, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: Maintained potentially hazardous foods at internal temperature between 4°C and 60°C
    Greek & Co. (756 Queen St. West)
    • Inspected on: September 11, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 4 (Significant: 2, Crucial: 2)
    • Crucial infractions include: Refrigerated potentially hazardous foods at internal temperature above 4°C and failed to ensure storage pallets designed to protect against contamination.
    Sultan of Samosas (1 Oak St.)
    • Inspected on: September 11, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 4 (Significant: 4)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Bang Bang Burrito (366 Bloor St. West)
    • Inspected on: September 12, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 3, Significant: 2)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    KFC (2296 Eglinton Ave. West)
    • Inspected on: September 12, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 1 (Crucial: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: Maintained potentially hazardous foods at internal temperature between 4°C and 60°C.
    Big Smoke Burger (3401 Dufferin St.)
    • Inspected on: September 13, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: Offered for sale potentially hazardous foods at internal temperature between 4°C and 60°C.
    Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant (195 Dundas St. West)
    • Inspected on: September 13, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 3, Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: Failed to protect food from contamination or adulteration.
    Bloomer's (873 Bloor St. West)
    • Inspected on: September 13, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 2 (Minor: 1, Significant: 1)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Second Cup (475 Yonge St.)
    • Inspected on: September 13, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 4 (Minor: 2, Significant: 2)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Jules Bistro (147 Spadina Ave.)
    • Inspected on: September 14, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 1, Significant: 5)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Starbucks (1320 Castlefield Ave.)
    • Inspected on: September 14, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A
    Tika Tea House (675 Yonge St.)
    • Inspected on: September 14, 2018
    • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
    • Number of infractions: 2 (Significant: 2)
    • Crucial infractions include: N/A

    Note: The above businesses each received infractions from DineSafe as originally reported on the DineSafe site. This does not imply that any of these businesses have not subsequently corrected the issue and received a passing grade by DineSafe inspectors. For the latest status for each of the mentioned businesses, including details on any subsequent inspections, please be sure to check the DineSafe site.


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    A brand new iteration of 'Kings' is gearing up to open in the heart of Toronto's restaurant-packed Pape Village, right where the now-defunct King's Bar & Grill once stood, and King's Park Souvlaki Place before it.

    That's right, after spending a few years as a Chicago-style eatery, the space at 919 Pape Avenue (another cursed location, maybe?) has once again been transformed.

    This time, it'll open as Kings Drive-In and serve "burgers, shakes, fish + chips and more." The owners are going for a retro drive-in vibe with Coca-Cola branded tables, based on what's been posted to Facebook so far, but the logo and branding scream "30 jalapeño cheese sliders, please."

    white castle toronto

    White Castle first opened in Wichita, Kansas circa 1921. The brand is known for selling high volumes of tiny, square hamburgers. Image via White Castle

    I mean, it's uncanny. From the newly-built parapet to the orange and white pentagon logo, Kings Drive-In is (aesthetically) a White Castle clone.

    One could be forgiven for thinking the American burger chain is finally coming to Toronto, given the colour scheme and shape of the building itself.

    Sadly, however, the iconic hamburger chain is still a U.S.-only privilege, with the exception of one store in Shanghai.

    white castle toronto

    Kings Drive-In isn't billing itself as a straight-up hamburger joint, but the branding similarities with White Castle are unmistakable. Composite image via blogTO and White Castle. 

    If Kings Drive-In can somehow nail the taste of a White Castle slider — a burger that has almost 100 years of history behind it — then lucky for Toronto.

    If not, all the better for Kings.

    American fast food corporations aren't exactly known for letting matters of copyright infringement slide.


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