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    Food events in Toronto this week are all about the steins, schnitzel and sauerkraut as Oktoberfest is on all over the city. You can pick yourself up free ice cream, pizza and mini pies and there's two food truck festivals to check out.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Bevy 0040 (September 28 @ Brunswick Bierworks)
    The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies is throwing a big patio party with local, national and international brewers, food and an all-women makers' market.
    Oktoberfest at the Gladstone (September 28 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    The Gladstone is transforming into an old-fashioned German beer hall to celebrate Oktoberfest with a ton of beer, food and lederhosen.
    Bandit Oktoberfest (September 28 @ Bandit Brewery)
    Oktoberfest celebrations are on in a huge brewery reminiscent of the beer halls of the old country with food, music and tons of German hops on tap.
    The Pancakes and Booze Art Show (September 28 @ The Opera House)
    Art, body painting, music, booze and a whole ton of pancakes are on at this big party featuring signature cocktails and unlimited fluff cakes.
    Food Truck'N Friday (September 28 @ LCBO)
    A gathering of the food trucks is on in partnership with the LCBO for an evening of food and drink from Spring Loaded, Kitchen Empire and many more.
    Taste of Jane and Finch (September 29 @ Greenwin Inc.)
    New this year is a big street festival at Jane and Finch featuring a day of food trucks, offering treats from all over the world, performance and activities.
    Witchstock (September 29 @ Bellwoods Brewery)
    Bellwoods Brewery welcomes brewers from as far away as Belgium to this beer festival featuring food, merch and unlimited tasting samples.
    Oktoberfest (September 29 @ Toronto Blue Danube)
    No need to travel to Munich to get in on the Oktoberfestivities as the Blue Danube Club is serving up Bavarian food alongside German dance and beer.
    Relish (September 29-30 @ Cloverdale Mall)
    Food trucks from all over the city arrive to serve up a range of goodies like arias, funnel cakes, seafood, jerk chicken and lots more.
    Oktoberfest (September 29 - October 15 @ Bier Markt)
    Bier Markt is keeping the Oktoberfest celebrations going, beginning with a kick off party, live music, traditional Bavarian fare and lots of steins on tap.
    Oktoberfist (September 29 @ Shacklands Brewing)
    Celebrate Oktoberfest the way it was meant: with wresting! Drinks, hot dogs and more are all on at this all-ages wrestling extravaganza.
    Cauldron Ice Cream Grand Opening (September 30 @ Cauldron Ice Cream)
    Flowered ice cream is a big thing right now, and Cauldron has the Insta-worthy beauties ready upon their arrival in Toronto this weekend, plus a free ice cream give-away.
    Oktoberfest Pig Roast (September 30 @ Earlscourt BBQ)
    An all-you-can-eat pig roast is on in celebration of the old country, served up alongside German-themed sides and drinks.
    Toronto Chocolate Festival (October 1-30 @ Omni King Edward Hotel)
    Chocoholics everywhere can get their fill at this month-long festival with a variety of events like high tea, relay and a chocolate-infused dinner.
    Free Pizza at Pi Co (October 2 @ Pi Co)
    Pick yourself up a free, Neapolitan-style pie at Pi Co's new location on Spadina anytime between noon to 3:14 p.m.
    Brickworks Cidermaker Dinner (October 3 @ Brickworks Ciderhouse)
    The inaugural Cidermaker Dinner kicks off with a cider-centric dinner, specially paired with house-made ciders; all made with sustainable products.
    Parmy/Parma (October 3 @ Hemingway's)
    All things Aussie is on at this pub night with authentic treats reminiscent of Austria, including parmies, chips and Coopers Sparkling Ale.
    Beethankful (October 4 @ Honey Bees Pie Shop)
    Honey Bees pie shop arrives in Toronto for a one-day only free, mini-pie pop-up courtesy of The Rolling Pin.
    Harry’s Charbroiled Birthday Party (October 4 @ Harry’s Charbroiled)
    Harry’s Charbroiled is celebrating fifty, glorious years of grillin' with a raffle to win free burgers and all proceeds going to charity.
    Brewer's Backyard (October 8 @ Evergreen Brickworks)
    Brewer's Backyard is back with an all-day food and drink festival in the style of Oktoberfest aptly named Torontoberfest.
    Vegan Oktoberfest Market (October 14 @ The Great Hall)
    For all the vegans who love a good Oktoberfesting, this market is jam-packed with vegan goodies in the style of traditional German treats.
    Friendsgiving (October 24 @ Eastbound Brewing Company)
    Feastbound returns with a four course Thanksgiving feast featuring seasonal ingredients and beers, treats and vegetarian options.

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    Less than 30 minutes from Toronto is a hidden paradise that serves as the perfect spot to escape the city for a couple hours. Nestled along the Mississauga shoreline, you'll find Rattray Marsh Conservation Area that has become best known for its stunning raised boardwalk.

    Although Rattray Marsh is a pretty popular destination in the summer months due to its massive stone beach along the 90 acres of Lake Ontario, it definitely shouldn't be missed in the fall due to the spectacular colours that will be reflecting off the calm waters in just a few weeks.

    As the last remaining lakefront marsh between Toronto and Burlington, this environmentally important wetland offers a unique escape just minutes from downtown Mississauga.

    Due to the short distance from Toronto, the Rattray Marsh hiking trails are the ideal fall destination for those of us who want to enjoy untouched nature, but aren't up for long drive to cottage country. 

    Inside the conservation area, there are three nature trails to choose from that are all pretty easy to hike, so it's definitely possible to hit all three when you visit (the longest trail is only two kilometres long).

    The area is also a hot spot for tons of wildlife - including beavers, swans, and families of deer - who have become famous all over Instagram. 

    Other notable parks to check out that are all within a few minutes from one another are the Jack Darling Memorial Park (with an off-leash dog park) and Erindale Park.

    Rattray Marsh Conservation Area has ample parking available, (although the lot can get extremely busy on weekends) and is open year-round. 


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    The top events in Toronto for October welcome a few newcomers by way of the Red Bull Music Festival and two days dedicated to soup. There's a big party at the library and a cask festival. Hasan Minhaj is here and there's lots of free stuff to check out as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Hasan Minhaj (October 7 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
    A rising star on the international comedy stage, funnyman Hasan Minhaj arrives in Toronto with his witty and politically-charged humour.
    Torontoberfest (October 8 @ Evergreen Brickworks)
    Brewer's Backyard is back with an all-day food and drink festival in the style of the Oktoberfests of the old country.
    Reelworld Film Festival (October 9-14 @ Multiple Venues)
    Indigenous directors and others from diverse backgrounds look to inspire discussion on gender identity, environmental issues and human rights.
    Toronto After Dark Film Festival (October 11-19 @ Cineplex Scotiabank Theatre)
    Feature films and shorts of the horror, thriller and sci-fi persuasion are being screened over nine nights, just in time for spooky season.
    Red Bull Music Festival (October 17-26 @ Multiple Venues)
    New to Toronto, this festival is stacked with performances by DVSN and The Sorority and a Distillery District takeover by Alice Glass.
    Cask Days (October 19-21 @ Evergreen Brick Works)
    Beer as nature intended is on as Evergreen Brick Works hosts a massive brew festival with drinks served straight out of the cask.
    Hush Hush (October 20 @ Bloor/Gladstone Library)
    Bloor/Gladstone Library is being transformed into party central with drinks, neon signs and classic library nostalgia during this big party in the stacks.
    Toronto Soup Festival (October 20-21 @ Garrison Common)
    Just in time for comfort food season, this new festival is dedicated to all things soup, featuring exhibitors, non-soup food, drinks and more.
    Art Toronto (October 25-29 @ Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
    Get lost amongst modern art from Canadian and international artists at this big exhibition with panels, events and lectures.
    TEDxToronto (October 26 @ Evergreen Brick Works)
    Director X, Masai Ujiri, Mary Walsh and Sarain Fox all share their thoughts and ideas about their journeys during the Toronto edition of TEDx.

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    New barber shops in Toronto are the latest places to hang out and get fresh while you're at it. Whether you're looking for a dependable, no-frills line up or some straight razor work in an LGBTQ-friendly space, this handful of shops has what you're looking for. 

    Here are my picks for the top new barber shops in Toronto. 

    Cabin

    Perfect for the condo-dwellers on the waterfront, this rustic Port Credit transplant offers free espressos to-go with a fresh cut, beard sculpting, or some hot towel pampering in the Queen's Quay Terminal. 

    6City Barbershop

    People are flocking to this new Camden St. spot for professional, clean cuts. Head barber Nate Johnson is bringing back the social element to your clean up experience, with an atmosphere so chill you might be compelled to cheat on your current barber if you haven't already. 

    Queen West Barbers

    With an old school macho-macho set up complete with a barber's pole, cushy armchairs and a motorcycle in the window, this barbershop at Queen and Bathurst does $30 walk-ins, and if you're looking for a quick fix before a night out, they're open until 10 p.m. most days. 

    MPL Cuts

    From offering free haircuts to LGBTQ youth in a single salon chair to now owning his own barbershop, Tyler Lumb has created a colourful space in Little Italy for the community to hang and get fresh cuts. 

    Fade Room

    Head stylist Claudio Ferreira's past clients run the gamut from athletes to crooners including J. Cole, the Raptors' Bruno Caboclo, Karl Wolf and Dallas Green. Keeping to his roots, his shop is officially open on Rogers Road, with some Kroken chairs from Honest Ed's and set of The Time Traveller's Wife. 


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    Many around the world became fascinated (or repulsed) by Toronto's city council after the infamous Rob Ford crack scandal. But, don't let that overshadow our other ridiculous city councillor—Giorgio Mammoliti.

    The councillor, who has represented Ward 7 York West for almost two decades, and been an elected politician for almost three, is well-known for his outrageous, outlandish, and often highly-offensive talking points.

    Take, for example, his insistence that Parkdale is a "Pedophile district," or that one of the few times he has pushed for a bill to pass was when he wanted a giant flagpole installed in Emery Village. 

    But, a new poll conducted for the current municipal election says that ol' Giorgio might lose this one, as he is currently trailing behind opponent Anthony Perruzza, the incumbent from Ward 8. 

    The Mainstreet Research poll places Perruzza in the lead with a solid 30.2 per cent of decided voters, while Mammo (as he is often nicknamed) is tied with public school trustee Tiffany Ford (no relation to Doug) at around 21.1 per cent, leaving former provincial hopeful Deanna Sgro in fourth at about 17.2 per cent. 

    Tiffany Ford received a lot of media attention due to another ridiculous Mammoliti comment—that some residents of Jane and Finch are "cockroaches" that need to be eradicated.

    The long-time councillor, who once showed up to council completely shirtless to protest a clothing-optional beach at Hanlan's Point, has been pitted against his colleague, Perruzza, thanks to the new ward boundaries put in place by the provincial government's controversial council cuts. 

    While Mammo's politics and initiatives can often raise the ire of most people with a moral conscience, such as the time he pushed for a red light district on the Toronto Islands, he does make council...interesting at times. 

    Imagine two city councillors almost getting into a physical brawl. Sounds crazy? Well, welcome to Toronto. 

    This is from the same man who has frequently given the middle finger to his coworkers, from the time he flipped off the mayor in the middle of a meeting, to the time he participated in the anti-King Street Pilot attempts. 

    However, Toronto's most controversial sitting councillor isn't always harmless, sometimes he's downright offensive and kind of a step back for the betterment of the city. 

    Mammo has caught a ton of criticism for some really not-okay stunts, like the time he filmed topless women at the Dyke March in Pride 2011 to make a convoluted political point that ended up not existing, or the countless number of times he has tried to vote against progressive initiatives or downright derail council intentionally. 

    As a councillor, he has drawn criticism for neglecting and harming parts of his own ward, severe mismanagement of funds, touring a strip club (which he claimed was for work), and his abysmal attendance record year after year.

    Despite all of this, and more (as there's too much to mention), Mammo is elected time and time again. Perhaps voters have finally given up and are ready to kick him out the door. 


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    The best pizza slice in Toronto is one of the quickest, cheapest and yet most satisfying on-the-go meals you can have in the city. While cheese and pepperoni are cheapest and most common, Toronto would never stop there: we also have lots of sources for foldable Margherita slices, vegan options, and of course, slices of pizza topped with shawarma.

    Here are the best pizza slices in Toronto.

    10 - Big Trouble Pizza

    Slices of pizza are around $5 at this Chinatown stall, with somewhat more traditional toppings like spicy pepperoni or 3-cheese Margherita as well as more out-there toppings like raspberry jam and chili jelly.
    11 - Chito's Pizza

    The cheapest slices in the city can be found at this humble takeout window right around the corner from Lansdowne station on Bloor, starting at $1.75. However, it’s key to upgrade your slice (whatever the toppings) with shawarma meat, garlic sauce and hot sauce.
    7 - Yeah Yeahs Pizza

    There are only around five options for slices and most cost just a little over five bucks, but pepperoni, Margherita and white varieties from this Halifax export are worth the extra quarters. All go great with a readily available tallboy of beer or glass of wine.
    9 - Fresca Pizza

    This place near College and Spadina edges in just under Bitondo prices at $3.75 for a slice, their garlic oil sauce a mandatory addition.
    5 - Superpoint Express

    All slices are $4.42 at this Parkdale takeout iteration of a fancy-dan pizza joint on Ossington. Hawaiian, cream of mushroom, anchovy, capicollo, and kale with gorgonzola are all creative options best accompanied by a hickory stick caesar salad and can of pop, or glass of wine to stay.
    8 - Sud Forno (Yonge)

    Slices range from $4.75 for a Margherita all the way up to $7 for a stuffed “Farcito Classico” with fior di latte and prosciutto at this bakery extension of Terroni with locations on Queen West and Temperance.
    4 - North of Brooklyn Pizzeria

    Slices hover just under five bucks at multiple locations of this thin-crust pizzeria, some located under or inside other businesses. More standard offerings include white, pepperoni, and Margherita, but there’s also kale and bacon as well as “Killer Bee” with honey, sausage and jalapeno.
    3 - Bitondo Pizzeria & Sandwiches

    Slices are just $3.95 at this classic Little Italy pizzeria that puts all others to shame. Bitondo brings humongous triangular slices that are basically a quarter of a pizza laden with sauce, ooey-gooey cheese, and only the most typical old school choices for toppings.
    6 - Village Pizza

    Five-dollar slices at Dundas West and Dovercourt locations of this pizza shop come in out-of-the box varieties like the “Thanks, Obama” with pineapple and spam, as well as one of the city’s most popular vegan slices with grilled red pepper, mushroom, eggplant, caramelized onions and arugula.

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    Late night eats at Nuit Blanche will keep you fuelled up during the witching hours of this annual art crawl. This year's edition will see a few special food events in and around the top exhibits, plus Nuit Blanche's first-time entry into Scarborough means an excuse to head near STC for some of the area's best 24-hour spots.

    Here's your guide to late night eats available during Nuit Blanche this year.

    Food Trucks

    As usual, there'll be food trucks slinging cheap quick eats at the main event centres all night long in partnership with Nuit Blanche. 

    Nathan Phillips Square
    Scarborough Town Centre
    Festival Food Pop Ups
    International Dumpling Festival

    This public food court-meets-art installation by Canadian artist Ken Lum is taking over the little side street running between the Eaton Centre and Old City Hall with dumplings from all over the world.

    Partnering with six different vendors, expect dumpling variations from vendors like TC's Tibetan Momo, Kiza Restaurant, Patty King Bakery, and Mis Amigos Festival Catering.

    Drake Commissary

    With Sterling Road installations at the newly-opened MOCA, Double Happiness Project and by the Drake Commissary, the latter will be running a fried chicken stand and satellite bar outside the restaurant (inside is closed for a private event) until 2 a.m. 

    late night eats nuit blanche

    Satisfy your cravings this weekend with a big meal from Chimac, open until 2 a.m. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Restaurants

    Whether you're looking for late night Chinese food, burgers, or 24-hour joints, there's no shortage of options in almost every neighbourhood of the city

    Open until 2 a.m.
    Open until 3 a.m.
    Open until 3:30 a.m.
    Open until 4 a.m.
    Open until 5 a.m.
    Open until 6 a.m.
    Open 24 hours


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    The best restaurants in Toronto can be places on your bucket list or places you've been to a million times, where some of your fondest memories were made. These places are all about good food, good times and the essential flavours of the city.


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    Toronto's annual all-night art celebration Nuit Blanche is taking over city streets from dusk until dawn this Saturday. As part of the celebration, a selection of restaurants and bars have extended 4 a.m. last call licenses.

    Here are the bars with 4 a.m. extended last call during Nuit Blanche this year.


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    Toronto is getting a new craft gin distillery promising to bring wild flavours to Leslieville.

    In this episode of the Only in Toronto podcast, we talk to the family behind the city's soon-to-be booziest destination

    Plus, Junction City Wresting brings live wresting to the Stockyards district and Scarborough’s source for burek.

    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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    Ontario Premier Doug Ford seems to have some different plans for cannabis legalization than his staff. 

    Earlier this week, the province said that smoking cannabis would be allowed wherever tobacco can be smoked currently. That indicates a relaxing of the former laws, where it could only be consumed in private households and other non-public places. 

    However, Ford said today that he would push for his staff to no longer allow consumption in parks, contradicting the plans set in motion. 

    "We won't be allowing [cannabis use] close to parks," the premier said to reporters

    However, since Ford added that his priority was to keep children safe, his spokespeople are now saying he meant playgrounds, not parks. 

    Ford also commented on Toronto mayor John Tory's remarks that he would like drinking alcohol in parks to be legalized. 

    "I don't like people walking around drunk or smoking weed or any of that in a public area of a park," he said.

    Whichever the province decides, cannabis legalization will come into effect on October 17. Make sure you double-check where you're allowed to indulge, though, as it seems the people deciding can't even make up their minds. 


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    What better way to spend a Saturday than at an all-night art festival? Nuit Blanche is here and there's tons of interesting things to check out. Elsewhere, events in Toronto today have heaps of vintage clothing, unlimited beer, a new food festival and a big party on. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Nuit Blanche (September 29-30 @ Multiple Venues)
    Soak up the arts and culture of the city during this all-night art festival happening all over, inside and outside, with local and international artists.
    Witchstock (September 29 @ Bellwoods Brewery)
    Bellwoods Brewery welcomes brewers from as far away as Belgium to this beer festival featuring food, merch and unlimited tasting samples.
    The Barn and Stables Reunion (September 29 @ Club 120)
    One of the Village's biggest institutions is coming back for one night only with a night of dancing, entertainment, memories and good times.
    Etsy Fall Market 2018 (September 29 @ MaRS Discovery District)
    Gifts, jewellery, clothing, flare, household goods, lifestyle and beauty products can all be found at this big market by local Etsy vendors.
    Taste of Jane and Finch (September 29 @ Greenwin Inc.)
    New this year is a big street festival at Jane and Finch, featuring a day of food trucks, offering treats from all over the world, performance and activities.
    The Weather Station (September 29 @ Mod Club Theatre)
    Tamara Lindeman's powerful voice is here to rouse the spirit as Toronto's own indie folk band hits the stage for the night.
    Nerd Market (September 29 @ OISE)
    The Nerd Market is back with all kinds of used geeky-goods. Browse all kinds of anime, comics, tabletop and video games, manga and more.
    Matilda (September 29 @ Revue Cinema)
    Take a trip down nostalgia lane with the 1997 classic film Matilda about a girl with special powers, co-starring an unchanged Danny Devito.
    Toronto Vintage Clothing Show (September 29-30 @ Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place)
    Handpicked vintage clothes hit the racks from all over the country during this huge clothing show, including rare, designer and unique finds.
    Toronto Antique and Vintage Market (September 29-30 @ Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place)
    All vintage everything from designer clothing, gadgets, furniture, housewares, art, vinyl and books can be found at this big, two-day market.

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    The top markets in Toronto for October will have you spooked at haunted events, rocking out at the punk rock flea and filling up on vegan goodies in time for Oktoberfest. There's a big Israeli market and the last Toronto Flower Market of the season as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Toronto Flower Market (October 6 @ CAMH)
    Fresh cut flowers and hand-made bouquets from local growers are available at this market on both October 6 and 20.
    Yoga and Wellness Show (October 13-14 @ Enercare Centre)
    Everything needed to step up your yoga and wellness game from nutrition, health, mercy and motivation are on at this big show.
    The Leslieville Flea (October 14 @ Ashbridge Estate)
    Specializing in vintage and handcrafted goods, this curated community market is back with everything to get you ready for fall.
    Vegan Oktoberfest Market (October 14 @ The Great Hall)
    For all the vegans who love a good Oktoberfesting, this market is jam-packed with vegan goodies in the style of traditional German treats.
    Punk Rock Flea Market (October 21 @ Lee's Palace)
    Back again is this flea market dedicated to all things punk with local makers, punk rock tunes and drinks on site.
    Wellness Market (October 21 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns)
    It's the age of wellness and this market centres on your centre with latest in green beauty, healthy foods and spiritual practices.
    Haunted Market (October 21 @ Eyesore Cinema)
    Spooky goods are on at this haunted market with arts, crafts, collectibles, posters and more just in time for Halloween.
    The Trinity Bellwoods Flea (October 21 @ The Great Hall)
    This big flea has over 50 vendors selling handmade clothing, art, food and everything to get you good and ready for autumn nesting season.
    Shuk Machane Yehuda (October 21-22 @ Former Sears at Promenade Mall)
    Israeli goods from all over the world arrives at this huge market featuring food and drink, spices, artwork, home and lifestyle goods and more.
    Toronto Ski and Snowboard Show (October 25-28 @ The International Centre)
    Ski and snowboard enthusiasts can get their hands on the latest gear just time for snow season at this big trades show and swap.

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    If you’re looking for a weekend getaway from Toronto or even just a day trip, there are many quaint small towns that feel like an entirely different world than the big city.

    A perfect example is Elora. Located just north of Guelph, this small town is known for its natural beauty and local charm.

    The Elora Mill, which will reopen as a hotel and spa in the spring. Photo by alljengi.

    One place you probably already know in Elora is the famous Elora Gorge.

    Located on the western side of the city, this conservation area covers over 350 acres of natural land. The Grand River flows right through it, and provides countless opportunities for a great photograph or picnic lunch. A campground is also available if you want to stay the weekend.

    elora gorge

    Sections of the Gorge are stunningly beautiful. Photo by Grand River Conservation.

    If you like hiking or spending time on the water, the Gorge is an ideal destination. The limestone cliffs can reach up to 25 metres, and this particular section of the Grand River is perfect for tubing, swimming, and fishing.

    Nearby is the former Elora limestone quarry, which is home to one of the province's best watering holes. The spot has become progressively more crowded during summer, but it's also a picturesque place to visit in the fall when it's not overrun by people.

    elora quarry

    The Elora Quarry is a very popular swimming spot. Photo by Grand River Conservation.

    Towering on top of the tall cliffs of the area is the Elora Mill Hotel and Spa. This historic spot reopened as a hotel at the beginning of 2018, and has a lot to offer visitors.

    The Elora Mill is placed on top of the huge cliffs by the Grand River. Photo by Mike Hewitt.

    Located inside an old, restored grist on the river’s edge, this full package allows visitors to experience a ton of things in the city and the Gorge.

    You can zipline over the river and go rock climbing up the cliffs. Or, stay in at the spa and try some of the cuisine options available.

    When winter comes again, you can also try your hand at snowshoeing or dog-sledding, both of which would be a ton of fun in the area.

    The Grand River provides for picturesque spots all over the city. Photo by the Grand River Conservation Authority.

    If you’re looking for something different, the Grand River Raceway is also a popular spot. The horse racing track and slots are popular destinations for those who like to gamble a little (or a lot).

    And when you get hungry, Elora has a ton of options. The Elora Brewing Company is extremely popular. Try the Elora Borealis, Ladyfriend IPA, or one of their several other options. The Shepherd's Pub, Box Social and The Cellar are also good options.

    The Bradley Bridge reaches over the Grand River. Photo by cmh2315fl.

    Downtown, you can spot the seriously beautiful 19th century architecture that still dominates the town. Galleries, shops, and restaurants now call these historic buildings home.

    Many of the buildings still retain their historic roots from the 1800s. Photo by Bastian Sander.

    If you’re looking for a getaway idea from Toronto, Elora should be on your list. It offers a great mix of natural attractions and quaint architecture. It's just over an hour from Toronto, but it feels like a different world.


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    The best fish stores in Toronto are where to go when looking for that true pescaterian showstopper: a weighty lobster, fresh oysters, beautiful fillets of salmon, or the clams to top off your perfect spaghetti alle vongole.

    Here are the best fish stores in Toronto.

    11 - Mike's Fish Market (Etobicoke)

    Live lobster, salmon, trout, shellfish, exotic fish, shrimp, squid, octopus, crab and even caviar are all in stock at this Etobicoke store that's been in business for over 25 years.
    4 - City Fish

    Head to this store near Dufferin and Lawrence when looking for live lobster or fresh octopus, shellfish, snapper and more.
    7 - Seafront Fish Market

    There are a few options in St. Lawrence Market for fresh seafood. While prices at each place are basically identical, the selection and service at Seafront seems a notch higher than the rest.
    3 - Diana's Seafood Delight

    This ginormous store in Scarborough has become one of the most trusted sources for oysters but they also stock plenty of fresh fish at prices cheaper than most other places.
    5 - Hooked

    Multiple locations of this independent seafood store in Toronto are a source for ethical, sustainable seafood. The knowledgeable staff are ready to help anyone from beginner cooks to experienced chefs.
    6 - De La Mer

    This seafood store with multiple Toronto locations is known for their organic, naturally raised and sustainably caught seafood. They also sell some prepared foods and offer free lemon and dill with purchase.
    8 - Newport Fish Importers on Alliance

    Seafood is imported from all over the world and supplied to restaurants from two locations of this store, including rare catches like cuttlefish, John Dory and several types of eel. They also serve up grilled and fried fish from a small hot table.
    9 - Osler Fish Warehouse

    This tiny seafood store tucked away in the Junction Triangle on the road it's named for has a couple rooms of fresh fish and then a whole other grocery section with frozen foods, dry goods and baked items.
    10 - Al Premium

    This sprawling supermarket in Scarborough has a fish store at the back with a way better than average selection compared to other grocery stores. Find live soft-shell crabs when in season and fresh salmon at very reasonable prices.

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    It's hard to believe how much Yorkdale Shopping Centre has changed since it opened in 1964. One of Toronto's first major suburban retail destinations and the biggest mall in Canada at the time, it was anchored by Eaton's and Simpson's department stores, a combination that was unprecedented at the time.

    The mall's origins can be traced back to the Timothy Eaton Company, who first acquired a 99-acre site at Dufferin and the 401. When Simpson's bought adjacent land, the concept of the mall was born and work began to connect these two giants with other retail that would attract customers accustomed to shopping downtown.

    In some sense, Yorkdale changed the shape of the city. While the rise of the suburban shopping centre was happening elsewhere in Toronto (and all across North America), none proved so successful as this one, which encouraged more developments of this kind in other parts of the suburbs.

    Car culture was at its peak when Yorkdale took shape, and the mall's location is indebted to its proximity to both the 401 and Allen Rd. The latter was originally planned as the Spadina Expressway, a highway that would link the 401 with downtown Toronto.

    While community activists successfully halted its southward extension, Yorkdale waited to open until the portion that exists today was complete. It made no sense to open until cars could access the mall with complete ease. The subway would come almost a decade and a half later.

    They don't build shopping centres quite like this anymore. Upon opening, Yorkdale boasted a grocery store, a buffet restaurant, a two-screen movie theatre, and duelling department stores. It was a place where you could do all of your shopping. The lure of driving to the suburbs was that everything was in once place.

    Since the 1990s, it's become progressively more upscale, now attracting high end fashion and jewellery brands like Tiffany's and Burberry.

    Its current anchor tenants are Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew, the latter of which partially occupies the space where the old Dominion grocery store once was. It's a bigger, flashier space, but from the start is was designed to be the ultimate retail destination.

    Behold, what Yorkdale Shopping Centre looked like when it was born.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    No problems finding a parking spot back in Yorkdale's early days. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    yorkdale mall 1960s

    That said, it was still a pretty hopping place as far as suburban destinations went. Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Some sections of the mall still look remarkably similar to the original layout, even as the retailers have mostly changed. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Outside the Simpson's Court Restaurant with car display and fountain. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Rendering of the Vista Restaurant at Eaton's. Photo via Chuckman's Nostalgia.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Postcard for Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the in the early 1970s.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Some colour views of the Vista Restaurant and area surrounding Eaton's thanks to an early postcard.

    yorkdale mall

    How cool do those leaf-like outcrops from Vista Restaurant look? Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

    yorkdale mall

    Holt Renfrew had humble roots in the mall. Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    Back when Fairweather was a big deal. Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

    yorkdale mall vintage

    The original layout of the mall. It's undergone numerous additions since then. Photo courtesy of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.


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    Toronto is home to hundreds of notable artists, authors, athletes, musicians, intellectuals and bonadife comedic superstars. After some internal debate - would they be just as likely to know this person in Paris? - we rounded up the biggest, 6ix-born household names.

    Here's a short list of some of the most famous people from Toronto.

    Drake

    Before he was winning Grammys and ruling the world of pop culture, Aubrey Graham lived on Weston Road and in Forest Hill. He also played a wheelchair-bound teen on Degrassi. Our beloved 6ix God is still verymuchconnectedto—and proud of—his hometown.

    Jim Carrey

    The A-list comedian grew up inside and around the GTA, with stints in Scarborough and North York, and came up in the Toronto comedy scene in the late '70s. Carrey moved to LA by the time he was 21, but apparently, he still loves the Leafs.

    Margaret Atwood

    Atwood, arguably Toronto's greatest contribution to the field of literature (and now television, with the success of Handmaid's Tale) grew up between the city, Ottawa and Quebec before settling in Toronto during high school. She's lived in the Annex since the mid-'80s.

    Mike Myers

    Between Wayne's World, Saturday Night Live, Austin Powers and everything else he's done, Myers is known worldwide for his comedy chops. The Scarborough-born Second City alumn was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his extensive body of work.

    Samantha Bee

    She may be famous for her clever take on American politics, but the former Daily Show correspondent was born and raised right here in Toronto. Bee, who was named one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people, is also the first woman ever to host a late-night satire show.

    Kiefer Sutherland

    The veteran actor, best known for his starring turn in 24, moved to Toronto at age nine from California and attended a whopping nine elementary and high schools over the course of his youth. Bonus Canadian fact: He's the grandson of Tommy Douglas.

    Frank Gehry

    Considered one of the world's greatest architects, Gehry was born in Toronto in 1929. His grandfather's Queen West hardware store was reportedly a launching pad for his earliest interests in construction and architecture. He lives in California now, but is undoubtedly a local hero.

    Keanu Reeves

    Before he was Neo or Ted "Theodore" Logan, Keanu Reeves lived in Toronto. He attended four local high schools in five years, including De La Salle College and Etobicoke School for the Arts (which, at one point, expelled him).

    Shawn Mendes

    While he might call Pickering his hometown, the heartthrob du jour was actually born in Toronto and makes frequent visits to the city including his recent appearance at the MMVAs.

    The Weeknd

    Drake isn't the only well-known successful rap artist from Toronto. The Weeknd, known for his hugely successful hits and fantastic hair, grew up in Scarborough. He is rumoured to have peddled his mixtape from the stockroom of a clothing shop he worked in at a young age, until he made it big on the world scale. 


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    Nuit Blanche 2018 is back in Toronto for another round of art beneath the stars, this time with strong undertones of evolution and progress with this year's theme, 'You Are Here'. 

    This edition of Nuit Blanche marks a special one: for the first year ever, the arts festival will span into Scarborough—the furthest east the annual all-night affair has ever gone—with tons of must-see installations and creative programming in the Scarborough Civic Centre.

    Anyone planning on staying out late into the night should dress for some nippy weather. It's going to be mostly clear once evening hits with a forecast of 11C, and temperatures are expected to drop to a crisp low of 8C overnight—typical weather for a Nuit Blanche weekend. 

    How it works

    Some artists and builders will be out tinkering away at their installations during the day, but this wondrous evening of arts exploration doesn't technically start until 6:58 p.m. tonight (Sept. 29). 

    Once the clock strikes, it's off to check out more than 75 projects (it's physically impossible to see them all) scattered around the city from over 300 local, national, and international artists. 

    The busiest time is usually around 11 p.m. when lines really start to fill up. It starts to die down a bit around 2 a.m., with most big displays puttering out around 4:30 a.m., when the sensible crowds have already scattered. 

    If you're trying to avoid lines, however, sometime after 3 a.m. might be the best time to go: drunken festival-goers should be passed out in their beds by then, and the witching hours leading up to 7 a.m.—when the festival officially ends—might offer some quiet magic for the dedicated to check out some art. 

    What to see

    The bulk of installations are in and around Queen Street between Yonge and University Ave, where you'll find the biggest crowds, but there's also things to see on Sterling Road (where the newly-opened MOCA is), in Yorkville, at the Aga Kahn, Ontario Science Centre, and in Scarborough.

    From the all-night program of talks in Scarborough helmed by Toronto legend Director X to the the dancers in the Eaton Centre's sky bridge, this edition of Nuit Blanche definitely has it's fair share of must-see attractions

    Nuit Blanche is also a good opportunity to check out the many cool arts institutions around the city if you've never had a chance to visit before, like Artscape Youngplace, the Bata Shoe Museum, The ROM, and 401 Richmond. 

    If you have no idea where to begin your journey, head to one of three event centres closest to you to grab a map or get some info from a volunteer and start from there. Otherwise just follow the hoards of people. 

    What to eat and drink

    If you're going to be traipsing around the city all night, you're going to need some sustenance. Thankfully there are more than enough spots around the city open late to keep you fuelled—some restaurants are even keeping extended hours just for the special occasion.

    Aside from the usual food trucks around the main festival areas, food options include everything from the International Dumpling Festival exhibit, which will be slinging out worldwide variations of dumplings all night (or until they run out), late night dim sum, and pizza.

    Getting around

    Due to the immense number of human bodies cramming up into specific areas in the city, y0u can expect travelling around Toronto will be a little different than usual. 

    For the first year ever, the festival will be doing partial road closures this weekend to ensure pedestrian safety as they wander around.

    Closures of Borough Drive in Scarborough and Queen and Bay Streets downtown will last until Sunday morning, so while it may be great for walkers, drivers may have to manoeuvre a little more carefully. They can, however, park at any of the TTC Commuter Parking Lots for free.

    To avoid all the fuss you can always just take the TTC, where Day Passes bought for today will be valid until tomorrow at 7 a.m— perfect to take advantage of the all-night service on Lines 1 and 2. 

    Same goes for the stations between Kennedy and McCowan stations on Line 3, where entry is free starting at 7 p.m. if you enter through Kennedy, Lawrence East, Ellesemere, Midland, Scarborough Centre or McCowan stations. 

    On top of that, there'll be free shuttle services running every half hour between major sites like the ROM, the Aga Khan Museum, Ontario Centre, and Lawrence East Station from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Anytime after that, the shuttle comes every hour until 7 a.m. 

    Before heading out, make sure you download the event map on your phone to keep track of all the different installations near you. 

    Photo Challenge

    Nuit Blanche is a huge photo opp, so why not tag your photos on Instagram for a chance to win prizes? The contest starts when Nuit Blanche does at 6:58 p.m. on Saturday September 29 and the deadline to submit is the end of day September 30.

    All you have to do is tag your best shots with the #blogTOnbTO hashtag. Not on Instagram? You can also e-mail the photos to us at photochallenge [at] blogto [dotcom].

    We'll then narrow the entries to ten finalists and put the winners to a vote from October 1 to October 7 after which the winners will be announced.

    Prizes for the top three photos include:

    • 1st place: $200 Scarborough Town Centre giftcard
    • 2nd place: $100 Scarborough Town Centre giftcard
    • 3rd place: $50 Scarborough Town Centre giftcard

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    As warm turns to cold, there's still time to enjoy the outdoors at events in Toronto today. PS Kensington is back with a full day of festivities and there's a pug grumble in the park. Wu Tang Clan is performing for free and there's free ice cream to be had.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Pedestrian Sundays (September 30 @ Kensington Market)
    With the weather getting cooler, the second-last PS Kensington is on for you to get your fill of food, music, performances and games in the street.
    Pug Grumble (September 30 @ Trinity Bellwoods Dog Bowl)
    Sunday Funday in the park is about to get better with an influx of squishy-faced, curly-tailed doggies during this big meeting of the pugs.
    88rising (September 30 @ RBC Echo Beach)
    A showcase of Kpop talent arrives with some of 88rising's artist collective performing, including Rich Brian, Keith Ape, Joji, HigherBrothers and more.
    Cauldron Ice Cream Grand Opening (September 30 @ Cauldron Ice Cream)
    Flowered ice cream is in, and Cauldron has the Insta-worthy beauties ready upon their arrival in Toronto this weekend, plus a free ice cream give-away.
    Neck Deep (September 30 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
    Pop punk is a mood this weekend with Neck Deep, who wear their heart on their sleeve when singing about the all the usual angsty goodness.
    Oktoberfest Pig Roast (September 30 @ Earlscourt BBQ)
    An all-you-can-eat pig roast is on in celebration of the old country, served up alongside German-themed sides and drinks.
    Nitro Circus (September 30 @ Scotiabank Arena)
    High-flying motorcycles take over the Scotiabank Arena to soar over giant dunes during this FMX, BMX, scooter and inline extravaganza.
    Wu-Tang Clan (September 30 @ Rebel)
    One of the most legendary rap groups brings the pain to Toronto as part of the Never Jaded arts series and a totally free concert.
    Toronto Vintage Clothing Show (September 29-30 @ Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place)
    It's not too late to check out hand-picked vintage clothes from all over the country, including rare, designer and unique finds.
    Toronto Antique and Vintage Market (September 29-30 @ Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place)
    There's still another day to take in vintage everything from designer clothing, gadgets, furniture, housewares, art, vinyl and books.

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  • 09/30/18--06:37: The top 5 motels in Toronto
  • Motels in Toronto sometimes get a bad rep, but when you're looking for easy booking and cheap lodging under $100, these might be some of your best bets. Motels are just portmanteau for motor hotel, meaning they're perfect designed for those budget road trips to and from the city.

    Here are my picks for the top motels in and around Toronto. 

    Park Motel

    This single-storey budget stop by Kingston Road and McCowan is conveniently located right off Highway 2. Super homey, rooms come with free WiFi and a microwave in case you want to reheat any sad leftovers, though there's a cafe or two nearby if you want to skip that.

    Grand Motel

    Sitting right off Kingston Road and Morningside, this oldschool low rise offers all the accoutrements of a classic motel: granny duvets, framed pictures of flowers, and the quintessential public pool with a chain-link fence, like in the movies.

    New Plaza Motel

    Almost directly next to Grand Motel is New Plaza, rivalling the other in prime location and tacky interior. Rooms vary from bare, hardwood-floored bedrooms to gaudy red carpets with pink walls, but the importance is the accommodations are clean, with free WiFi to boot. 

    Avenue Motel

    After renovations, this Dundas St. East motel is looking a hell of a lot snazzier than it did back in the day. Good WiFi, typically clean rooms and noticeably lower rates than similar motels make this no-frills spot off the QEW and Dixie Road a deal. 

    Motel 6

    It can be tough travelling long distances by car with furry friends, which is why this pet-friendly motel right off the highway at Winston Churchill Blvd. comes so clutch. With several other locations across the GTA, they also offer free morning coffee—what more can you ask for. 


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