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    0 0

    The Winter lights festival at Ontario Place is back for it second year. Brave yuletide warriors are enduring the cold to catch a glimpse of the stunning show. 


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    It's been quite the wait for those who love to skate, but it's finally time. 

    This weekend, the majority of Toronto's public skating rinks are set to open. 

    One of the most notable will, of course, be Nathan Phillips Square, which features not just the fan-favourite skating rink under the arches, but will open to the dazzling Calvacade of Lights on Saturday. 

    The annual celebration features musical performances, skating parties, and the official lighting of the giant Christmas tree. 

    Another quintessential spot opening this weekend is the Harbourfront Centre's Natrel rink, which gives visitors a breathtaking glide along the waterfront. 

    Strap on those skates, as one of the only good things about winter is finally here.


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    There's an old adage that says the heart of a home is its kitchen, but is it really? In 2018? In a city where most of us live in sky shoeboxes or have multiple roommates to share the fridge with?

    I don't hang out with loved ones in my kitchen. I don't read, nap, chill, entertain, watch TV or even eat there, most of the time. That stuff happens on the couch, where everything always feels comfy and right.

    Toronto-based photographer Adam Coish understands the allure of a living room sofa. He's been photographing them (and the people who own them) for more than five years now as part of a project he calls "The Couch Series."

    couch series toronto

    Janine, Phillip, Minna and LC in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    "Capturing real people in everyday environments has always been my greatest source of inspiration," says the artist. 

    "The main goal of the series was, and still is, to showcase individuality while tying us together with that one piece of furniture we all possess in our home: a couch."

    couch series toronto

    Ken Ferguson and Gracie in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    As of last summer, Coish had photographed 50 different couches across the city—all of them unique in their various human and pet-occupied environments.

    He's just as prolific today, but says that his work has evolved beyond its initial premise.

    couch series toronto

    Michelle, Jeremy and Weiland in Hamilton. Photo by Adam Coish.

    "As this series has grown, I realized that I was missing out on so many interesting items that the subjects had in their room that weren’t making it into the frame of the shot," Coish explains.

    "Now, I take a more collaborative approach with subjects and in a communal effort, we set up the frame and decide what we could add to the scene to show more of their personality and interests."

    couch series toronto

    Briony Smith in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    The Toronto artist just dropped a fresh new batch of photos on his website this week, featuring couches from all over the GTA.

    Looking through the images, it quickly becomes clear that his series is about more than just people and pets sitting on furniture.

    couch series toronto

    Jon Fiddler and Dillion Katrycz in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    "Each couch has a story to tell," says Coich. "However; it’s the couch owner who develops the grooves in the cushions and surrounds the couch with art and other keepsakes that bring the story to life."

    "I don't want the viewer just to see a person sitting on a couch," he continues. "It is my wish that the viewer will get lost in the details of the image and feel connected with the subject, their space and what makes them unique."

    couch series toronto

    Allie Banks and Midnight. Photo by Adam Coish.

    Coish says that, while he does plan on having a gallery showing or even creating a book at some point, he's been holding off for the time being in favour of finding more subjects.

    "I am in no rush," he says. "I plan on continuing this project for many years to come and I want plenty more couches to fill out the pages before I approach that idea more intently."

    couch series toronto

    Sarah, Keith, Danforth, Guiness and Monty in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    The award-winning photographer is currently appealing to locals who might be interested in showing off their space.

    "Of course it's free of charge and they will get a rad photo of themselves," he says, noting that interested parties can email him photos of themselves and their couches for consideration.

    couch series torontoThierry, Evan, Luvy, Baby and Gary in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    "What I would love to capture is more diversity," he says. "Considering most of my subjects are from Toronto, I would love to showcase the variety of different cultures that make our city so incredible.

    Right now he's particularly interested in shooting eldery people, high fashion types, people with loud hair, families with grand spaces, families with humble spaces, hardcore music fans, people with lots of pets and workplace couches (a firehall would be cool).

    couch series toronto

    Andrea and Chico in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.

    That said, Coish is open to "any and all types of subjects" — real people from all walks of life, not just those with edgy or wild-looking living rooms.

    "Whether a space is simple or full of interesting trinkets, if I feel like it’s adding to the series," he says, "I'm all for it."

    couch series toronto

    Andrea, Lay and Birthday Boi in Toronto. Photo by Adam Coish.


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    After a devastating three-alarm fire in March 2018, Brock Sandwich is battling ferociously to reopen. 

    While the cause of the fire is still unknown, the cause of the shop remaining shuttered isn’t: an outdated insurance policy is to blame. 

    Owner Dominic Amaral says the biggest lesson he’s learned and what he’d recommend to every restaurant owner is to demand reassessments from brokers every time new equipment is obtained. All the thousands of dollars in updates made to equipment at Brock over the years ended up not being covered by the shop’s policy. 

    The restaurant was actually open for business at the time the fire started. Apparently it originated outdoors in the laneway while customers were being served, and by the time Amaral hurried outside to check it out, the blaze had already spread to the roof. 

    From there it was knocking on every business and apartment door to ensure everyone could evacuate. While no one was injured, Brock Sandwich as it stands is still a shell, everything inside completely destroyed.

    Brock Sandwich put about $100,000 over time into equipment upgrades, and by-laws and prices have changed since they opened over six years ago. For example, electrical that cost about $7000 then costs about $14,900 now.

    Wages have gone up, but Amaral is actually still paying employees that have stayed loyal to the shop, and can work there again as soon as it’s open.

    A GoFundMe page will be up and running on Tuesday. The main expense Brock Sandwich is hoping to cover through that is replacing their HVAC and hood systems, with a goal to raise $30,000. That doesn’t even include the electrical, plumbing, drywall, and operational costs the business will need to incur to reopen. 

    Restaurateur friends of Amaral like Basilio Pesce and the folks from nearby Sugo, The Emerson, The 47, and Actinolite will also be doing all they can to help get Brock Sandwich up and running again, including promoting the GoFundMe on their social channels. 

    Donate, because really, who can live without pulled jackfruit sandwiches and truffle poutine?


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    Food events in Toronto this week have two markets full of festive goodies, a pig roast, free pasta and a Christmas dinner. There's also cheap cinnamon buns and two beer festivals to look forward to.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Food Truck'N Friday Hops Series (November 23 @ Rainhard Brewing)
    The final instalment of this food truck festival series pulls up to Rainhard for a night of goodies from Get Your Own Taters, Temptations and more.
    Toronto's Chanukah Market (November 25 @ The Warehouse at Downsview Park)
    A celebration of Jewish culture is on at this big market with traditional food, shopping, entertainment and cooking demos.
    Veg Holiday Market (November 25 @ Artscape Wychwood Barns)
    Meatless is the name of the game at this big holiday market, with vegetarian and plant-based goodies to suit everyone's taste.
    November Pig Roast (November 25 @ Earlscourt BBQ)
    Feast on a traditional pig roast and enjoy the Grey Cup. Included is all you can eat pig, sides and one drink courtesy of Black Oak Brewing.
    Drag Brunch (November 25 @ Gladstone Melody Bar)
    The fiercest brunch you'll ever have is on this Sunday when a yummy brunch is served up alongside performances by Miss Moço and Scarlett BoBo.
    Brewmasters Dinner (November 26 @ Craft Beer Market Toronto)
    Four courses and and beer pairings are what you can expect at this monthly dinner series, with special guest Bench Brewing Co. from Beamsville, Ontario.
    Bubbles Against Troubles (November 26 @ Peter Pan Bistro)
    Over 50 types of sparkling wine will be available to try at this tasting party with local and imported brands, all in support of CAMH.
    Pasta Mondo Grand Opening (November 27 @ Pasta Mondo)
    Pick yourself up some free pasta in all kinds of flavours this week as Pasta Mondo opens its newest location on University.
    Pizza e Pazzi and Taste for Luxury Dinner (November 28 @ Pizza e Pazzi)
    Fans of the super fancy are in store for a treat as Pizza e Pazzi and Taste for Luxury are joining up for a four course dinner with “rare and precious foods”.
    Feastbound (November 29 @ Eastbound Brewing)
    It's not too early for a Christmas dinner and Eastbound Brewing Company is hosting a big, communal-style feast with festive goodies.
    Cinnaholic Grand Opening (November 30 @ Cinnaholic)
    Winter is cinnamon season and the city's newest vegan c-bun chain is opening another location on the Danforth, and there'll be buns for a buck.
    Winter Craft Beer Festival (January 26 @ Roundhouse Park)
    Craft beer and lots of it is on tap to help you warm up this winter as Steam Whistle returns to host a day of local and regional brewers, bites and tunes
    Toronto Winter Brewfest (March 1-3 @ Evergreen Brick Works)
    Back again is this annual celebration of all things beer, with over 150 brews on tap from Ontario and Quebec, plus food trucks, activities and more.

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    The Toronto Zoo, home to myriad famous baby animals, wants to install a fully functional Magnetic Levitation (maglev) train atop what used to be known as the Canadian Domain Ride.

    It's exactly as cool as it sounds, trust me.

    In a proposal set to go before The Toronto Zoo's Board of Management next Thursday, zoo Chief Operating Officer Robin D. Hale asks for approval to work with a company called Magnovate Transportation Inc. on an ambitious piece of innovation

    That project, if successful, would result in the creation of North America's first ever commercial maglev transit system, right here in Toronto—at no cost to the city.

    Magnovate simply wants a space to show off its cutting-edge high-speed trains, according to the proposal (plus a cut of the revenue said trains bring in for 15 years).

    "The maglev ride proposal is based on innovative modern technology, and would be an opportunity to visit the Rouge Valley in the comfort of an enclosed climate controlled vehicle on a year-round basis," reads the proposal from Hale.

    The collaboration "would ultimately result in a maglev Ride on the Zoo site that will not only serve as a prime site for Magnovate to exhibit the technologies, but would also create a new attraction for Zoo visitors," it continues. "This will serve to improve mobility options at the Zoo and would be an opportunity for demonstrating sustainable technologies."

    Maglev systems, which power trains by magnetic force as opposed to engines or electricity, are already in place across some parts of Asia.

    They're quiet, smooth and incredibly fast (the highest recorded maglev speed to date is 603 km/h on a Japanese railway in 2015.) Plus, there's a ton of research into the concept, which was first patented all the way back in 1905.

    Still, maglev has yet to catch on globally due, at least in part, to how expensive these systems and trains are to build.

    The fact that much of the Toronto Zoo's old Domain Ride, shut down in 1994, remains in place presents an opportunity, according to Magnovate, which wants to "create a lower-speed maglev system that emulates the high-speed examples in Shanghai, China and Linimo,
    Japan."

    From test track to grand opening, the system would take about 36 months to build. It won't be free to ride, however. Magnovate predicts it will cost between $12.00 and $15.00 per customer at launch.

    "However, due to the high-quality service and excellent view of the zoo provided by the maglev Ride, it is possible that the revenue could be further enhanced," reads the proposal. 

    Let's just see if this thing gets approved before we go raising prices, shall we?


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    The top bars on Church Street include some of the Gay Village's historic hotspots along with more recent additions. Expect some wholesome entertainment like board games, queer literature, and—of course—drag shows aplenty to go along with your beers and booze. 

    Here are my picks for the top bars on Church Street.

    Woody’s

    This iconic gay bar has been the beating heart of the Village since 1989. Grab a drink and watch a cast of budding drag queens and pros alike—including longtime host Georgie Girl—do their thing. And make sure to tip if you like. 

    Storm Crow Manor

    This bar is a refuge for lovers of all things nerd. Play a variety of board games while sipping on some smoking, shareable cocktails. They even have a take on the Harry Potter essential Butterbeer. 

    Glad Day

    Who says bookworms don't know how to have fun? Glad Day isn't just Toronto's original queer bookstore, it's also a community event space, cafe, and bar, serving up some tasty cocktails too. 

    The Drink

    Whether you're looking for a good ol' drag bingo night, a comedy show, mimosa specials, coffee, or even both, this place has it all. Entertainment is abundant here, and the fact there's usually no cover (and free popcorn) is probably why it draws a crowd.

    Church St. Garage

    Sitting on a corner in the heart of the Village, this buzzing bar has a simple food menu and cheap drinks to get you through a night of dancing, karaoke and drag shows,

    Statlers

    Open early (for a bar) and closing late, there's two floors to explore at this community staple, where you can expect something different happening every day of the week. Hit up Shit Show Sundays for live music or Open Mic night on Thursday. 

    Pegasus Bar

    Head to the second floor of the building to find this OG bar, where you can play an assortment of games like pool and ping pong. There's also weekly events like saucy bingo and VJ's on weekends. If you're looking for laid-back community vibes, this is the spot.

    Crews & Tangos

    It's drag galore at this Village mainstay, where you're bound to get your dance on. There's performances every night on the first floor of this two-tiered Victorian Home; expect a lineup on weekends. 

    Black Eagle

    Pull out your favourite piece of fetish wear and head on over to this leather bar known for a killer patio and dark room. While it's not totally required to be decked out in something tight or even revealing, that's kind of the point. No need to be shy, it's all positive here. 

    Hair of the Dog

    This corner pub does everything well, all while being totally laid-back and casual. Nom on some delicious nachos while imbibing on tons of Belgian beers on their amazing patio. 


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    Saturday is here and events in Toronto today promise a spectacular fireworks show with the Cavalcade of Lights. A new festival dedicated to all things Nordic is on and you can get all your holiday shopping done at the Drag Market.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Cavalcade of Lights (November 24 @ Nathan Phillips Square)
    A massive firework light display is only part of this big holiday celebration in the Square, with live music, skating and the lighting of the Christmas tree.
    The Deadstock Depot (November 24 @ 1305 Dundas Street W)
    Tommy Hilfiger, Champion, Kappa, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and lots more can be found at this huge thanks to vintage hunters from all over.
    Toronto Drag Market (November 24 @ Glad Day Bookshop (Church))
    Support your local queens and kings as they werq their wears with all kinds of handmade items and speciality merch.
    80's & 90's Video Dance Party (November 24 @ Remix Lounge)
    Crimp your hair and break out your shoulder pads for this big 80s and 90s video dance party, with a special spotlight on Queen.
    Action Jackson (November 24 @ Revue Cinema)
    The famous 1988 cult action film gets the Drunken Cinema treatment with a boozy screening, 80's R&B tunes, themed-drinks and loose-lipped commentary.
    Single Mothers (November 24 @ The Garrison)
    Single Mothers has been carving out a space for themselves among the local punk scene and they're here with D Boy and BURNER.
    Coldfront (November 24 @ Lee's Palace)
    Judgment is swift during the beatboxing championship that will see finalists from all over the country come to battle it out for supremacy.
    Swedish Christmas Fair (November 24-25 @ Harbourfront Centre)
    There's nothing like a Swedish-style Christmas to embody the season and this fair is full of folk dancing, crafts, traditional food and singing does just that.
    King West Holiday Pop-Up (November 24-25 @ Portland Market)
    If you're looking for some fancy gifts, King West makers are coming together for a curated market full of decor, lifestyle, beauty and health, art and more.
    Norden (November 24 - December 2 @ Harbourfront Centre)
    New this year is a festival dedicated to Nordic culture with a week of events, including an ABBA ice skating party, holiday market and art shows.

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    Epic hot chocolate drinks are available in Toronto just in time for the frigid weather. While the city has plenty of places serving up excellent cups of hot cocoa, some local shops are taking the winter staple to new heights with wild ingredients and preparations.

    Here are my picks for Toronto's most epic hot chocolate.

    Peace Treats

    This Ossington spot dishes out next level drinks that are almost too pretty to drink. If you're looking for something to warm you up, order from their lineup of hot chocolates, featuring toppings like toasted marshmallows and graham crackers.

    Sweet Jesus

    The Toronto-born ice cream chain may be famous for their epic soft serve, but come winter, they pull out all the stops on their drink menu. They have multiple hot chocolate options on the menu, but a real standout is their salted dark hot chocolate.

    El Habanero & Churrobar

    After you're done stuffing your face with fresh churros, wash it down with some s'mores hot chocolate that doesn't skimp on the marshmallow topping at this Cuban restaurant in Scarborough. 

    Chocollata

    It's all about the brigadeiros at this chocolate shop in the Upper Beaches. If the bite-sized chocolates aren't delicious enough, you can also drink it this winter in the form of their brigadeiro hot chocolate.

    Fugo Desserts

    Mini donuts aren't the only thing on winter menu at this dessert spot in Little Toyko. Opt to try their hot chocolate beverage, which is coated in a thick layer of roasted marshmallow.


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    Toronto of the 1910s is remarkably well-documented in photographs.

    Whether it be the soldiers heading off to war at old Union Station, the style of the signs and advertisements on downtown streets, or just how undeveloped the city was north of St. Clair, the photos below offer a portrait of Toronto that's fascinatingly removed from what the city is like today. 

    Here's a glimpse at what it all looked like in the 1910s.

    1910

    Toronto 1910s

    Arrival of immigrants at (old) Union Station

    Toronto 1910s

    Old Union Station exterior

    Toronto 1910s

    Toronto Street

    Toronto 1910s

    Auditorium Theatre

    Toronto 1910s

    King looking west from Yonge Street

    Toronto 1910s

    South Parkdale Station

    Toronto 1910s

    Church and Wellington streets

    1911

    Toronto 1910s

    St. Charles Hotel bartenders

    Toronto 1910s

    Meyer's Hotel

    Toronto 1910s

    Queen and Terauley streets

    Toronto 1910s

    Queen Street Viaduct under construction

    1912

    Toronto 1910s

    Looking south from Richmond and Bay streets

    Toronto 1910s

    Northeast corner of Yonge and Shuter streets

    Toronto 1910s

    Pro hockey at Christie Pits

    Toronto 1910s

    Public Library at Broadview and Gerrard street

    Toronto 1910s

    Withrow Park from Logan Avenue

    Toronto 1910s

    Yonge and Eglinton

    1913

    Toronto 1910s

    Bank of Montreal Building at Yonge and Queen streets

    Toronto 1910s

    Toronto Armouries

    Toronto 1910s

    Danforth looking east from Pape

    Toronto 1910s

    Eaton's Delivery Wagons

    1914

    Toronto 1910s

    Carlton street looking east from Yonge Street

    Toronto 1910s

    Soldiers leaving from Union Station

    Toronto 1910s

    Men at the recruiting tents

    Toroto 1910s

    Timothy Eaton Memorial Church on St. Clair Avenue West

    Toronto 1910s

    Toronto Waterfront at York Street

    1915

    Toronto 1910s

    Bloor Viaduct Construction

    Toronto 1910s

    Construction begins on New Union Station

    Toronto 1910s

    The Queen's Hotel

    1916

    Toronto 1910s

    Victory Loan Parade

    Toronto 1910s

    Bloor Street Viaduct construction

    Toronto 1910s

    Bathurst Street Bridge

    Toronto 1910s

    Mount Pleast Street near Merton Street

    Toronto 1910s

    North Toronto CPR Station

    1917

    Toronto 1910s

    Queen Street looking West from River Street

    Toronto 1910s

    Streetcar track work at Queen and Bond streets

    Toronto 1910s

    Union Station construction

    Toronto 1910s

    Gooderham Worts Distillery

    1918

    Toronto 1910s

    Car accident on Bloor Street near Walmer Road

    Toronto 1910s

    Bloor Viaduct complete

    Toronto 1910s

    Tobogganing in High Park

    Toronto 1910s

    Flooded Don River

    Toronto 1910s

    Merton Street

    1919

    Toronto 1910s

    299 Queen Street West

    Toronto 1910s

    Allen's Theatre on the Danforth

    Toronto 1910s

    Union Station Interior

    Toronto 1910s

    Old City Hall


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    Neighbourhoods in Toronto that still don’t have a Starbucks are examples of coffee communities that thrive without the presence of the chain. Why spend way too much on a passion iced tea or clamber for a unicorn frapp when you could get a totally original, great-tasting beverage made with love at one of these indie cafes? 

    Here are the neighbourhoods in Toronto that still don’t have a Starbucks. 

    Kensington

    A local hotbed of independent businesses, one of Toronto’s most colourful neighbourhoods with iconic cafes like Cafe Pamenar, I Deal Coffee, Jimmy’s and Moonbean will have you saying “who bucks?”

    Baldwin Village

    No one needs their coffee more than art students, and thankfully this OCAD-adjacent neighbourhood has lots of it with a familiar standby in a local Jimmy’s outpost as well as more out-there options like Aussie cafe Library and Asian spot Light Cafe.

    Chinatown

    The Toronto bakery that might have inspired Starbucks' unicorn latte is in this neighbourhood. It’s also home to countless Asian tea joints like Icha Tea, Ten Ren, Crimson and many more. It’s also home to stalwarts like Sam James, Dark Horse, and Sonic

    Junction Triangle 

    Locals who call this eccentric little slice of Toronto home know it’s where to seek out some hidden gems in our city’s cafe scene, like coffee pockets Alcove and Wallace as well as Hula Girl, Cafe Neon, Noble and popular roaster Hale

    Bloordale Village

    You’ll never find hot cakes or avo toast like at Baddies within the confines of a Starbucks, and Daily Grind may be simple but has way more heart than any big brand. Don’t forget to stop by some of this neighbourhoods excellent bakeries like Home Baking Co. or TBC for a sweet treat to go along with your joe in this area along the Bloor line.

    Weston-Mount Dennis

    Though there’s no Starbucks in this area, an easy ride to union on the up Express and more affordable rent means java drinkers are increasing in this tucked-away area. Try a peppermint mocha from Supercoffee instead of one a Starbucks holiday monstrosity. 

    Riverside

    Locations of three of Toronto’s most popular cafes (Dark Horse, Boxcar Social, and Tokyo Smoke) in this neighbourhood mean there’s no need to turn to chains for coffee. Plus, one of those options is also a bar, and the other is also a head shop—and Starbucks still can’t say that. 

    Canary District

    A Dark Horse has taken up residence here too, in one of Toronto’s newest neighbourhoods. Hopefully no chains will be infiltrating this burgeoning area anytime soon. 

    Distillery District

    Seeing as this is one of Toronto’s most historic neighbourhoods, putting in a Starbucks would just feel wrong. Instead, the revitalized area has been smartly populated with cafes like Arvo and Balzac’s.

    Corktown

    Old Town Bodega and Henrietta Lane in this old Toronto neighborhood both have a cafe bar vibe, the latter actually serving alcohol, though it doesn’t take booze to forget all about Starbucks in this charming area. 


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    There are lots of things to eat in Toronto that have the almost mythical power to warm you up, even if this winter turns out to be a doozy. When those cold weather warnings hit, head indoors and curl up with a bowl of one of these dishes.

    Here are my picks for things to eat in Toronto that will warm you up this winter.

    French onion soup 

    Kingston Social House is only open a couple nights a week, but the wait only stretches half as long as the gooey gruyere topping molten onion soup here. 

    toronto pho

    Hot tea and house special noodle soup from Pho Metro are just the ticket on a chilly day.

    Pho

    Pho Metro at Lawrence and Warden is a destination for deals on steaming, warmly seasoned bowls of noodle soup so hot the broth cooks thin slices of beef almost instantly. 

    toronto raman

    The Chashu Lover with seven slices of pork at Hakata Ramen.

    Ramen

    When it comes to Japanese, in winter cold sushi just won’t don’t do. You need a piping hot bowl of hearty noodle soup with fatty pork, rich egg and salty nori from Hakata Ramen

    toronto karahi

    Bone-in white and dark chicken karahi, served in the same pan it was cooked in.

    Karahi

    It only makes sense to head to the place named for this dish, Karahi Point, in order to obtain the spicy, thick curry cooked in a vessel with the same moniker.

    toronto butter chicken

    The butter chicken served with naan and rice at Indilicious. 

    Butter chicken 

    Indilicious brings deliciously layered curries of all sorts to the junction, but nothing beats this creamy tomato-based crowd pleaser on a chilly day.

    toronto congee

    The Super Supreme Super Bowl Congee is big enough to share.

    Congee 

    Not much beats a bowl of warm congee that requires pretty much no chewing when it comes to warming the soul, and Congee Town is the place to get this essential winter dish. 

    toronto soup dumplings

    Sheng jian bao at Sang-Ji Bao stuffed with pork and pork soup.

    Fried bao 

    Sang-Ji Bao and it’s dumplings may be little, but you’ll warm up big time after one bite and slurp of the crispy pan-fried sheng jian bao served here. 

    toronto filipino spaghetti

    Filipino spaghetti with bolognese and house garlic pork hot dog.

    Filipino spaghetti 

    Sweet spaghetti may not sound particularly warming to the soul, but anyone who knows this steamy dish can attest to its comforting benefits, chunks of house-made hot dog topping the pasta at BBs Diner in Little Italy.

    toronto soon tofu

    The combination soon tofu with beef, shrimp, mussels, and an egg you crack in fresh yourself.

    Soon tofu 

    This hearty dish of spicy broth, velvety soft tofu and your choice of protein that can be modified to your heat preference can be found at Koreatown’s Buk Chang Dong.  

    hand pulled noodles toronto

    The Magic Beef at Magic Noodle; add chili oil for tons of extra heat and colour!

    Hand-pulled noodle soup

    Magic Noodle has a downtown location in Harbord Village near Spadina, where you can get seven types of la mian from skinny strings to wide ribbons, so you have all kinds of options when it comes to beating the cold with a hot beefy noodle soup.


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    The best public library in Toronto is where bibliophiles of the city flock to for books, workshops, and a little quiet time. As one of the biggest library systems in the world, there's no shortage of TPL branches to peruse your favourite authors or get shushed by a librarian—all you need is a library card.

    Here are the best public libraries in Toronto.

    Toronto Reference Library

    The winding atrium of Toronto’s foremost keeper of books is a thing of art, in a very carpeted, 70s way. From the clear glass study pods and Sherlock Holmes room to the Balzac’s and the TCAF store on the first floor—this place has it all.

    Bloor/Gladstone

    Since it’s shiny renovation, this branch—which was built in 1913—has become a favourite spot to study and work. The glass box added to the old building by Alfred Chapman offers tons of natural light and has a soothing reading garden that bookworms will love.

    Fort York

    Built in 2014 to serve the growing number of residents in City Place, this shiny building is one of the newest on the list. It also offers really great free programs, like Adobe workshops and green screen for beginners.

    Scarborough Civic Centre

    This beautiful building is definitely not your typical old brick library. Built in 2015, its interior and exterior features tons of black spruce, green roofs, floor to ceiling windows, 3D printing, and over 40,000 items to explore.

    North York Central Library

    Recently renovated, this multi-floor branch now has tons of kid friendly areas like the Discovery Zone, which has an Everbrite wall that even adults will want to play with. They’ve also got the first fabrication studio of any TPL location, offering free workshops on how to sew.

    Brentwood Library

    An $8 million renovation turned this library in Etobicoke from a regular TPL branch to a modern affair with reading lounges, living rooms with fireplaces, and a reading garden with stone bench seating.

    High Park Library

    This branch on Roncy is is a heritage building that’s undergone multiple renos. As one of the original trio of libraries first built with $50,000 grant from New York’s Carnegie Corporation, it’s definitely not the largest, but it’s definitely cozy.

    Beaches Library

    Local residents actually protested the construction of this library back in 1916—they didn't want a building on park property—but now it’s one of the most loved branches in the city. Like all Carnegie libraries, it’s small, but it does have an outdoor reading garden that’s open all summer.

    Lillian H. Smith

    Aside from having one of the best collections of rare science fiction and fantasy books in the city, this branch also has some whimsical architectural features like the winged lions in the arched entrance (look closer to find more animals) and a beautiful cylindrical atrium. 


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    Must-see concerts in Toronto for December 2018 have lots of homegrown talent slated to perform, with Jesse Reyez, Alvvays, Loud Luxury, Shad and Fucked Up ready to rock 'n' roll. This list includes shows that still have tickets, so sadly the lovely Jorja Smith is not on here.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Jessie Reyez (December 3 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
    Brampton's talented Jessie Reyez hasn't slowed down since her hit "Figures" and move towards the international spotlight.
    Basement Revue (December 4-27 @ Longboat Hall)
    Jason Collett's annual music festival is back with four nights of performances featuring surprise guests.
    Haerts (December 8 @ The Drake Hotel)
    Thumping drums, heavy synth, soaring vocals and a mix of musical influences are what make up this New York-based electro pop band.
    Ghost (December 8 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
    The Grammy Award-winning band is in town on their massive North American that wraps in Brooklyn mid December.
    The Internet (December 9 @ Rebel)
    Innovators of the trip-hop scene, this group flexes an eclectic sound that incorporates both classic R&B vibes and experimental elements.
    Alvvays (December 10 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
    If you move quickly enough, you can still grab tickets for the fifth and final show in this concert series by Toronto's own indie pop rockers.
    Shad (December 15 @ The Great Hall)
    There's still a chance to catch the much loved rapper as a handful of tickets remain for the second of two shows at the Great Hall.
    Mumford & Sons (December 18 @ Scotiabank Arena)
    Garb your nicest fendora and freshest plaid shirt because the stars of the modern folk rock movement are packing the seats for two nights this month.
    Loud Luxury (December 21 @ Rebel)
    With the likes of Martin Garrix working with them, London, Ontario DJ duo Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace scored huge with their hit "Body".
    Fucked Up (December 22 @ The Opera House)
    Toronto's own punk rockers continue to put the city's scene on the map, and they're playing alongside Metz Witch Prophet, Joel Eel and Sydanie.

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    You are the dancing queen, feel the beat at events in Toronto today with a big ABBA ice skating party on the waterfront. Etsy goodies, a Chanukah market and record sale are all on as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    ABBA on Ice (November 25 @ Natrel Rink)
    Show your stuff on the ice to the tune of ABBA's greatest hits during this free pop disco ice party straight out of the 70's.
    Toronto's Chanukah Market (November 25 @ The Warehouse at Downsview Park)
    A celebration of Jewish culture is on at this big market with traditional food, shopping, entertainment and cooking demos.
    Sunday Afternoon Social (November 25 @ Palais Royale)
    DJs from Toronto and beyond are coming out for a all-day party featuring UK's Gaudi, Box of Kittens, Mark Oliver anymore spinning house and techno.
    Tom Green (November 25 @ Comedy Bar)
    Funnyman Tom Green is getting back to his roots with a comedy tour that's landed him in Toronto for a night of stand up.
    Black Women With Wings (November 25 @ May)
    A night of female empowerment and pieces by local artists look to shine a light on the work of Black women through film, poetry and photography.
    Flipside Record Sale (November 25 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    Give the gift of music or keep it all for yourself as over 30,000 used, vintage and rare records are all on sale at this huge one day sale.
    Etsy Holiday Market (November 25 @ The Great Hall)
    Toronto's Etsy community is coming out just in time for the holidays with 50 makers selling all kinds of locally-made gifts and lifestyle goods.
    Grey Cup Party (November 25 @ Black Lab Brewing)
    Toronto's new dog friendly brewery is celebrating the CFL championship with craft beers, grilled sandwiches and deep-fried mac-n-cheese bars.
    Beaches Santa Claus Parade (November 25 @ Victoria Park and Kingston Road)
    The Beaches Santa Claus Parade is back starting at Victoria Park and Kingston Rd.
    LOVEBOT Exhibition (November 23-25 @ Cabbagetown Building)
    There's still time to see new works by the artist behind the ionic LOVEBOT scattered around the city, with march for sale and an artists' talk.

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    Buying a home in Toronto with a starting budget of $900,000 basically puts you right on track to purchasing an averagely-priced detached house. While it won't necessarily get you the most glamorous abode in the city, it'll get you a property with all the necessities, and maybe some potential for remodeling in the future.

    Here's what a $900,000 house looks like in Toronto vs. other cities.

    Toronto - $899,999 CAD

    This three-bedroom bungalow is nestled right in the heart of the ample green space by Jane and Sheppard. It's humble exterior doesn't allude much to its fully renovated interior, which has a self contained basement with its own entrance and a second kitchen.

    900k house quebec

    Point-Claire, Quebec - $899,900 CAD

    Built in 1951, this stately home has been renovated to include teak floors, multiple fireplaces, a heated salt-water pool with a patio, and a second-story deck. It's also right next to Terra Cotta Park, Point-Claire's beautiful urban woodland park.

    900k house surrey

    Surrey, British Columbia - $899,000

    You'll get a beautiful view of the mountains from the living room of this three-bedroom half duplex. There's a double car garage, a large deck, and a west-facing backyard with a cute little outdoor sitting area for entertaining guests. 

    900k house calgary

    Calgary, Alberta - $900,000 CAD

    Sitting on a cul-de-sac in Calgary's residential Patterson neighbourhood, this five-bedroom comes with more than the usual well-to-do home. There's a pantry, two living rooms with a huge shared fireplace, spa room with a hot tub, a gym, and a private backyard.

    900k house chicago

    Chicago, Illinois - $899,624 CAD

    Not far from the Old Irving neighbourhood, this modern-looking four-bedroom sticks out from all the nearby historic homes with its tall ceilings and hardwood floors. The property is in close proximity of schools, which is convenient for anyone with kids.

    900k house denver

    Denver, Colorado - $899,751 CAD

    Nicknamed "The Boulderado", this large home sits in a quiet street in the Green Valley Ranch area. It has five bedrooms, boasting rustic floors, quartz counters in the kitchen and a huge 1,500 square-foot basement.
    900k house miami

    Miami, Florida - $898,962 CAD

    Featuring the Mediterranean roofing that's common in Miami, this three-bedroom home also comes with a guest cottage for visiting friends and family. Another big plus of the home is that it's not in a flood zone, which is something to note in this town. 

    900k house london

    London, England - $898,879 CAD

    This quaint property is conveniently located right by Northumberland Park Station and the busy Tottenham High Road. It has a very old school interior, with three small bedrooms and a private back garden. 


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    When Oakwood Hardware caught on fire last November, it was just four days shy of celebrating its first anniversary.  

    The charming neighbourhood restaurant had quickly built a reputation in the area for phenomenal food and cocktails, and over the last year had become a favourite for locals of Oakwood Village and beyond. 

    Holidays were just around the corner so Christmas bookings were filling up fast, and owner Anne Sorrenti was just getting ready to introduce a new food menu with a wine list to match. 

    But on November 13, 2017, she got a devastating call in the wee hours of the morning from her alarm system company: there had been a fire.

    Sorrenti recalls dashing out of her home at 5 a.m., clad only in pyjamas, to arrive at the horrifying scene of her smoking restaurant—victim to a fire, caused by a spontaneous combustion involving residual heat and a bin of clean laundry.

    "It was pretty traumatic," says Sorrenti. "Going in there was horrible." 

    oakwood hardware toronto

    The restaurant's kitchen had caught fire just four days before its first anniversary. Photo by Jesse Milns.

    While the front dining area of the spacious restaurant went largely unscathed, the entire kitchen in the back had suffered from serious fire, water, and smoke damage.

    Luckily, the restaurant had insurance. Sorrenti's company provided her with contractors, who initially said that the kitchen would take two weeks to fix, effectively benching the restaurant for the majority of the holiday season.

    It turned out they would miss out on much more than that. The two-week job turned into a four-week project, which then turned into months.

    "I fully expected I would be reopen in February, which turned into March, then July." 

    In between all that time was a series of events that could lead one to believe the restaurant has the worst luck ever.

    In January, the upstairs radiator flooded during a particularly frigid cold snap and a chunk of the ceiling froze, then fell down. In August, the restaurant fell victim to the heavy rains which caused flooding citywide—their basement included.

    And in September, the contractors who failed to secure a number of crucial permits were eventually fired by the insurance company, pushing the date back some more. 

    Now a year later the restaurant is closer to opening than ever, but remains under wraps. If going by the flooding (no pun intended) of supportive messages on Oakwood Hardware's Facebook posts, many are anticipating its return.

    The re-opening date is still up in the air, but despite the painfully prolonged process of fixing a business that literally went up in flames, and the fact they'll have to miss yet another holiday season, Sorrenti remains surprisingly positive. 

    When asked what the new menu will look like once Oakwood Hardware finally opens its doors once again, she laughs and says, "Everything can be smoked." 


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    Toronto taxis have been a staple in the city for a century, but rarely become the focus of photographic endeavours. 

    Given the ubiquity of cabs in the city, one would think they'd play a more prevalent role in Toronto's visual record.

    Between 1931 and 1971 the number of taxis in Toronto increased from just below 1,000 to around 3,000, and yet it's only recently that they've become a more common feature in photographs. 

    Nevertheless there are fascinating tales to be told about Toronto's cabs and cabbies, including that of Thornton Blackburn, the former slave who escaped to Toronto from Kentucky and set up the city's very first taxi service in 1837. 

    Blackburn's first cab was reported to be red and yellow, a colour scheme that's still seen on the streets today in the form of Co-Op cabs.

    Here's a visual history of Toronto's taxis.

    toronto taxi history

    The 1990s, in the Yonge and Summerhill area

    toronto taxi history

    Chinatown, 1990s.

    toronto taxi history

    The late 1980s, around Yonge and Eglinton

    toronto taxi history

    Downtown on Yonge Street, in the 1980s

    toronto taxi history

    Yonge and Gould in the 1980s

    toronto taxi history

    A Metro Cab, 1980s

    toronto taxi history

    Near Avenue and Bloor, 1980s

    toronto taxi history

    In the 1970s, near College Park

    toronto taxi history

    Metro Cab on Queen West, 1970s

    toronto taxi history

    The 1970s, in front of a very dirty Union Station

    toronto taxi history

    Richmond and Victoria, late 1960s

    toronto taxi history

    Bay Street in front of the Temple Building, in the 1960s

    toronto taxi history

    Bay Street again, 1960s

    toronto taxi history

    The 1950s, in a bit of traffic

    toronto taxi history

    On Ossington, 1950s 

    toronto taxi history

    Near Davenport and Dupont, in the 1950s

    toronto taxi history

    A small taxicab office, 1950s

    toronto taxi history

    Taxi stand in front of Union Station, in 1931

    toronto taxi history

    Taxi stand by Union Station, 1930

    toronto taxi history

    Reed's taxis, on Victoria Street, in 1911


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    A new Christmas-themed pop-up bar just opened up by Osgoode station, and it's probably the most festive thing you'll see this holiday. 

    Decorated from top to bottom with everything Christmas, Miracle on Queen Street just took over the top floor of the event space at 251 Queen St. West and it's a holiday reveler's dream. 

    christmas bar torontoFrom the hanging baubles and the twerking robot Santa to the festive, ultra-boozy cocktails, this cozy hideout will make even the most bitter Grinches and Scrooges get into the Christmas spirit. 

    christmas bar torontoOpen until Dec. 26, this ridiculously fun project from Nick Kennedy—owner of the bar Civil Liberties—and Lauren McKenna is actually the Toronto franchise of the worldwide Miracle pop-up concept. 

    christmas bar torontoThe idea first started in New York, and now has over 80 versions in the Montreal, Calgary, the States, the U.K., and Panama springing up this holiday season. 

    christmas bar torontoToronto's version boasts thousands of Christmas lights, and according to McKenna, half a mile's-worth of wrapping paper covering the walls. 

    christmas bar torontoYou'll have to journey up a long flight of stairs to get there—this place is not accessible—but the trek is worth it.

    christmas bar torontoAside from the fact the whole place smells like cinnamon candles, and that there's a giant automated bear that gives great hugs, an equally impressive aspect of Miracle on Queen Street is the cocktails. 

    christmas bar torontoThe menu consists of 10 very strong Christmas-themed cocktails—no surprise given Miracle's affiliation with Civil Liberties—made by one of 19 bartenders on deck at Miracle.

    christmas bar torontoDon't be fooled by the ugly Christmas sweaters: these are some of the best bartenders in the city, and they shake up a mean drink. 

    christmas bar torontoDrinks like the Snowball Old Fashioned (it has an actual ball of ice in it) and the Koala-La La La, La La La La (which has eucalyptus syrup) don't come cheap at $15 each, but $1 of every drink goes to Nellie's Women's Shelter.

    christmas bar torontoThere's even a drink called the Bad Santa: a potent hot milk punch with rum that comes in an adorbs little mug. 

    christmas bar torontoIf you're more the brew type, there's a Yuletide beer courtesy of Henderson Brewing, non-alcoholic drinks like cider, and some snacks like a platter of cookies for $7 made with from Kennedy's mom's recipe. 

    christmas bar torontoMiracles opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays, and at noon on weekends, closing at 2 a.m. daily.

    christmas bar torontoIt's likely to get busy so you can leave your name with the host at the door and maybe get some shopping done on Queen until they call you—just don't forget your Christmas sweaters.


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    One Toronto neighbourhood seems to be very, very lucky lately when it comes to the local food scene. 

    Riverside will soon be home to a new Blackbird Baking Co. location when it opens in summer 2019 at 635 Queen St East. 

    The neighbourhood has recently become home to a cidery HQ for Brickworks, craft breweries Eastbound and already has a go-to French bakery in Bonjour Brioche.

    Blackbird, operating in Kensington Market for years now, is known for making some of the city’s best baguettes, challah and all-around bread.


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