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  • 12/17/18--10:10: Vote for the best of 2018
  • It's that time of year to look back at the new places that graced our city during the past 12 months. We're opening the poll to 7 best of 2018 categories including restaurants, cafes, bars, bakeries, brunch, cheaps eats and fashion stores. Voting ends on Tuesday January 1 at 11:45 p.m.

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    The first draft of Canada's long-awaited "air passenger bill of rights" has finally been revealed, hinting at a future in which large airlines will have to compensate passengers handsomely for lost bags, delayed flights and instances of overbooking.

    "An airline ticket is a contract for service and it imposes obligations on both the airline and the traveller," said Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau during a press conference announcing the proposed regulations in Ottawa on Monday.

    "Except in circumstances which are beyond their control, we are going to make sure that airlines treat their passengers with the respect they deserve and live up to their commitments," he continued, promising "clear and consistent standards" for every airline flying into, out of, or even across Canada.

    Should the bill pass as is, airlines would be forced to pay out travellers who are bumped from overbooked flights based on how many hours late those travellers will be to their final destinations.

    A late arrival of up to six hours due to overbooking would entitle a flyer to $900, while those who arrive more than nine hours late would get $2,400— within 48 hours, and in cash. That is, not flight credits.

    Large airlines would have to pay passengers whose flights are simply delayed (by at least three hours) between $400 and $1,000, and those with lost or damaged pieces of luggage would be entitled to as much as $2,100.

    Of course, there's more to passenger care than paying for mistakes. Garneau stressed in his speech that "a key part of this is to make sure passengers are informed" when cancellations or delays occur.

    No more sitting on the tarmac wondering what the heck is up, essentially.

    "Communication with passengers is taken seriously and into account," noted Garneau, who said that the government would be watching airlines closely to ensure "communication occurs so that passengers know what's going on."

    Further to that, airlines won't be able to hold passengers in a plane that isn't taking off for more than three hours.

    The rule is based on similar regulations in the U.S. and comes alongside new "standards of treatment" for passengers on the tarmac, including access to food, drinks, washrooms, electronic communications, comfortable temperatures and a ventilated cabin.

    Garneau said that the regulations will be published in full on the federal government's website this Saturday, December 22, at which point Canadians will have 60 days to weigh in with their comments and concerns.

    If all goes well, these new airline rules could be in place by as early as next summer.

    Until then, individuals airline will continue to compensate passengers as they see fit for troubles deemed under their control.

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    Winter is an undoubtedly drab time of year that can make going out seem like a chore. Thankfully, things like the Toronto Light FestivalIcebreakers and now Winter Stations are all back to pepper in some colour around the city.

    The annual international design competition returns to the waterfront this winter with a series of larger-than-life art installations. 

    This year's theme centres on 'migration' with the winning designs looking to capture the human tendency for movement with interactive works meant to evoke refection on the subject.

    Included is Above the Wall by American artists Joshua Carel and Adelle York. The design focuses on the idea of connecting people by ascending a flight of staircases situated over a wall below.

    Another is The Forest of Butterflies by Mexican designer Luis Enrique-Hernandez. It's made up of oversized cutouts of butterfly wings that patrons can enter into and explore.

    winter stations toronto

    The Forest of Butterflies is modelled after the 4,000-kilometre migration of the Monarch butterfly from Mexico to Canada each year. Image courtesy of Winter Stations.

    From Polish artists Tomasz Piotrowaski and Łukasz Chaberka comes Mind Station, a giant hat box that doubles as a life sized game of whack-a-mole in what would be a shy person's worst nightmare.

    winter stations toronto

    The work is actually meant to bring people together to share thoughts and connect on raised platforms that make for both a physical and mental experience. Image courtesy of Winter Stations.

    The question of what attracts humans to certain destinations is captured by Toronto artists John Nguyen, Victor Perez-Amado, Anton Skorishchenko, Abubaker Bajaman and Stephen Seungwon Baik in Cavalcade.

    winter stations toronto

    The installation "reflects the collective spirit of the human movement and transversal... [It] depicts people migrating toward something better." Image courtesy of Winter Stations.

    Designed by students at Sheridan College in Mississauga, Inuit multiplies the existing lifeguard station to emulate community and "reimagines the lifeguard station as a migratory species."

    winter stations toronto

    Visitors are prohibited from climbing on the piece. Image courtesy of Winter Stations.

    And from Humber design students comes Ground2, which can be climbed on, as it's meant to engage patrons in "the ever-shifting human and environmental landscape" and have them experience migration for themselves. 

    winter stations toronto

    Ground2 also looks to send a message about the changing climate by having viewers "assess their reformed surroundings" from the various landings. Image courtesy of Winter Stations.

    Winter Stations is on from February 18 to April 1 between Ashbridges Bay and Balmy Beach.

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    The best jerk chicken in Toronto is Jamaican barbeque bird at its finest. Never skimping out on the spices, these smokey recipes bring the flavour when served on rice, in patties, and even on poutine.

    Here’s the best jerk chicken in Toronto.

    4 - Rasta Pasta

    Nothing says summer like seeing the drum firing up outside this Kensington favourite, but flavourful jerk is on the menu all year round. Get their chicken in a grilled panini or on a standard bed of rice with slaw.
    3 - Allwyn's Bakery

    This staple strip plaza spot now has three locations for regulars to flock to. They serve jerk chicken-stuffed sandwiches and patties with slaw. Try it with their house made hot sauce off Vic Park and at their newer stores near Yonge and Sheppard and on the Queensway.
    5 - Chris Jerk

    If you’ve never tried the jerk poutine from this restaurant on Birchmount, you’re doing it wrong. Tender jerk chicken is shaved off the spit shawarma-style and served on fries doused in gravy. Delicious.
    6 - Jerk King Bloorcourt

    This counter in the Annex offers sizeable portions of jerk chicken that leans more towards a spicy barbeque flavour. It's not necessarily your standard recipe, but it does have enough spice to satisfy those craving some heat.
    7 - Mr. Jerk

    There’s six locations of Mr. Jerk around the city (the original was at <a href="">Peanut Plaza</a>) but the store in Cabbagetown is the classic. The brand has made a name for itself over the last three decades for its impeccable jerk.
    11 - Chubby's Jamaican Kitchen

    Definitely not your typical takeout counter, this hip King West restaurant is the newest Caribbean spot on the list and the priciest. Their jerk chicken comes in quarters, halves, or whole, with their signature slaw on the side.
    8 - Albert's Real Jamaican

    This Jamaican mainstay on St. Clair West has been around for years. What started as a takeout spot in 1986 has expanded into a sit-down restaurant where people can eat proper jerk chicken, with ginger beer made in-house.
    9 - Pat's Homestyle

    A small shop on Queen West, Pat's offers patties and quick servings of jerk chicken with gravy for good prices. Get it with coleslaw on the side with rice and peas for a satisfactory lunch or dinner to go.
    10 - Rap's

    This Little Jamaica fixture grills up exemplary jerk chicken. It’s always a good sign when there’s a drum sitting outside basically all-year round. The best part about this spot is that it opens up shop at 7 p.m. and runs into the wee hours of the morning.

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    The commotion around Doug Ford's buck-a-beer initiative has been quiet lately. Even quieter is how silently one of the only breweries offering beer for a buck started to not offer that beer for that buck anymore. 

    When buck-a-beer launched, three companies accepted the "challenge:" President's Choice, Barley Days, and Cool Beer Brewing. After a very, very short stint, the PC beer ended its run at a dollar. Now, news comes that Barley Days' "Loon Lager" is now for sale at the LCBO for $1.65. buck a beer

    The Loon Lager was originally sold for $1.10 (one dollar for the beer, ten cents for deposit), but now it sells for $1.65. Image via the LCBO website. 

    Barley Days famously (or infamously) served as the backdrop for much of the PC government's promotion of the buck-a-beer policy. Now it seems those days are over. 

    As it stands, only Cool Beer Brewing is offering something for the buck-a-beer challenge.

    Their four pack of Cool Lager is available at the LCBO for $4.40. That price includes 40 cents for deposit. 

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    Alcohol isn't exactly known for its ability to help people make wise decisions.

    Three people were arrested in Toronto this weekend alone for driving under the influence after passing out at fast food drive-thrus.

    As of tomorrow, those drivers—or any driver busted under such circumstances—would face a mandatory minimum fine of $2,000 and up to 10 years in prison (in addition to any resulting murder, manslaughter or property damage charges).

    Canada's new, stricter impaired driving rules, set to take effect on December 18, will also allow police officers to administer breathalyzer tests to anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle they lawfully pull over, at any time, for any reason.

    Prior to this, police could only test a driver's breath for alcohol if he or she were behaving in such a way that someone would reasonably believe they were intoxicated—say, if they smelled like booze, had open booze in their car, or, you know, fell asleep while waiting for 40 chicken nuggets.

    Federal Bill C-46, which passed in June, ups these fines and mandatory minimum prison sentences in an effort to stop so many Canadians from dying on account of impaired driving—an average of almost four people every day, according to the government.

    "Research suggests that up to 50 per cent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit are not detected at roadside checkpoints," said Sgt. Brett Moore of the Toronto Police Service in a news release.

    "Mandatory alcohol screening will assist in deterring individuals impaired by alcohol from driving as well as better detect those who do."

    As of tomorrow, first offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of 80 to 119 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood are subject to a mandatory $1,000 fine (which gets steeper, the higher your BAC is found to be).

    Those who refuse to submit a breath sample outright could be charged with a criminal offence and will have to pay a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine, either way.

    It's just one more reason to leave your car at home on a big night out, should you need another reason not to drive while drunk.

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    New Year's Eve parties in Toronto for 2019 are set to turn the city into the metropolitan equivalent of a giant disco ball. Party it up high above the skyline in the CN Tower or bar hop along the street. Plan your night accordingly and let the countdown begin.

    Events you might want to check out:

    New Year's Eve at the CN Tower (December 31 @ CN Tower)
    For the first time in years, the iconic CN Tower is hosting a blowout New Year's bash complete with glass floor dancing, food, drinks and tunes.
    ROM New Year's Eve (December 31 @ Royal Ontario Museum)
    The ROM is once again hosting an epic night of celebrations with party-goers spread out throughout the museum among drinks, food and music.
    New Year’s Eve at Nathan Phillips Square (December 31 @ Nathan Phillips Square)
    Thousands are set to gather in the Square for this annual New Year's celebration, featuring live performances, skating and a fireworks show.
    Chronologic NYE (December 31 @ The Garrison)
    All the hottest dance hits played in chronological order are on at The Garrison's annual New Years Eve extravaganza.
    Majestic NYE at the Royal York Hotel (December 31 @ Fairmont Royal York)
    Head into the new year at the famed Royal York Hotel as it hosts a night of fun over three rooms with food, drinks, live performances and lots more.
    New Year's Eve (December 31 @ Ripley's Aquarium of Canada)
    Party it up among the fish this year as Ripley's hosts its New Year's party with live music, drinks, food stations and activities all night long.
    Las Vegastone (December 31 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    Viva Las Vegastone this New Year's as the Gladstone recreates Las Vegas with all its class and trash, dancing, drinks and even a wedding chapel.
    The Broadview's NYE Bash (December 31 @ The Broadview Hotel)
    Ring in the new year looking out over the city at the newly revamped Broadview Hotel's gorgeous space alongside drinks, food, dancing and more.
    Headlines NYE (December 31 @ Drake Hotel)
    The whole of the Drake is set to ring in the new year with performances, dinning, live music, dancing and art happening throughout the space.
    Dwayne Gretzky NYE (December 31 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
    Toronto musical collective party band Dwayne Gretzky is on hand to ring in the new year at the Danforth with a night of tunes and dancing.
    Big Sound NYE (December 31 @ Mod Club)
    Dance it out to all the classics played live at this huge New Year's celebration with a full band of over 30 members ready to play into the night.
    Ozmozis NYE (December 31 @ Opera House)
    It's the tenth anniversary of this New Years party featuring the best of Toronto's underground DJ scene spinning the tunes all night.
    Fit NYE (December 31 @ Round)
    The first ever Fit New Year's party is on with huge hits playing from three DJs, drinks, go-go dancers and bubbles at midnight.
    NYE at Rebel (December 31 @ Rebel)
    Rebel is throwing it down all night in celebration of New Year's with DJs in every room spinning the hottest tracks to ring in the new year.
    NYE at Uniun (December 31 @ Uniun Nightclub)
    The party is on at Union with one of the biggest New Year's celebrations with a night of hot hits, drinks and dancing in the Entertainment District.
    Lavelle NYE (December 31 @ Lavelle)
    Have some splashy fun this year at Lavalle with a huge throwdown featuring dancing, drinks, DJs and dinner in support of charity.
    New Years Eve at Swan Dive (December 31 @ Swan Dive)
    Forget the cover and get the cheap drinks at Swan Dive this New Years as DJ Shirley Tempo plays all the best psych, soul, pop, rock and guilty pleasures.
    NYE Video Dance Party (December 31 @ Handlebar)
    Shake your booty to all the retro jams at this 80's and 90's showdown this New Year's during this dance party with drinks and videos all night long.
    Back In The Day New Years Eve (December 31 @ Revival)
    Go back to a time of lip liner, pagers, and a budding digital age at this 90's New Year's dance party with all the old school hip-hop, R&B, house and more.
    Night Owl Festival Psychedelic NYE (December 31 @ The Baby G)
    Night Owl is ready to get spacey at this psychedelic rock party with Montreal's garage rock Bloodshot Bill playing live and a champagne toast.
    NYE Golden Age (December 31 @ Berkeley Mansion)
    Dance it out at the Berkeley Mansion among a night of tunes, food, drinks, live performances, entertainment and lots more surprises all night long.
    Fade County NYE at Bangarang (December 31 @ Bangarang)
    Sip, dance, celebrate and play at one of the newest game bars in the city as Bangarang hosts a Spring Break-themed New Year's party.
    The Office NYE at Track & Field (December 31 @ Track & Field Bar)
    It's threat level midnight at Track & Field where lots of games, drinks, music, and all things The Office are going down to celebrate the occasion.
    Trading Places NYE (December 31 @ Remix Lounge)
    Party it up and countdown to all the best retro, alternative, pop, hip-hop and more with DJ Lazarus and DJ Osaze spinning the hits.
    NYE at CODA (December 31 @ Coda)
    CODA is ready to ring in the New Year with DJ Billy Kelly coming all the way from England to spin the best UK garage, house and techno.
    NYE Ballroom and Latin Dance (December 31 @ SPK POLISH HALL)
    Hot and sweaty Latin hits are on at this New Years party that's got all the traditional ballroom, latin, salsa, swing to get you moving.
    Stones Place New Years Eve (December 31 @ Stones Place)
    All the rock, soul, pop, disco, funk and more can be found at this New Years party with loads of campaign, balloons and dancing to boot.
    New Years on King Street (December 31 @ District Lounge)
    King Street is the place to be on New Year's Eve and this big party promises stylish folks gathering to celebrate with drinks, tunes and lots more.
    NYE 90's House Party (December 31 @ The Office Pub)
    Jump around to all the biggest hits of the decade that never died at this big 90's house party-style New Years jam with all kinds of surprises in store.
    New Years Eve at the Painted Lady (December 31 @ Painted Lady)
    DJ Adverb and friends are on deck spinning all the best dance tracks to ring in the new year among bartop burlesque, cocktails, snacks and lots more.
    Bovine NYE Banger (December 31 @ Bovine Sex Club)
    Rock out at the Bovine Sex Club this New Years with a banger of a show featuring Organ Thieves, Future Now, Ship Of Fools and The Anti Queens.
    NYE Party at the Boat (December 31 @ The Boat)
    This Kensington favourite is ready for a night of partying with hits from every decade, drinks and lots of dancing until the early morning.
    Dublin Calling NYE Party (December 31 @ Dublin Calling)
    Dublin Calling is ready to party with a night of glitz and glamour, Irish-style. Dancing, drinks and hot hits are all ready to bring you into the new year.
    New Year's Eve Bash at The Rec Room (December 31 @ The Rec Room)
    Partying and play is the name of the game at the Rec Room's big New Year's Bash hosted comedian Dan Galea and DJ Mensa on deck.
    Nearly Naked NYE (December 31 @ Cherry Cola's)
    It's a burlesque-style New Years party with a lineup of performances and sexy cabaret dancers ready to ring in the new year right.
    Elton vs. The Disco (December 31 @ 2nd Floor Events)
    Seventies-style glitz and glamour is in at this Elton John-inspired party featuring two floors of costumes, drinks, food and grooves all night long.
    Get Funked NYE (December 31 @ Drums N Flats)
    Get funked this New Years with big band Atomic Hustle playing all the best funk, R&B, disco and pop live alongside food, dancing and drinks.
    New Years Eve Salsa Party (December 31 @ Lula Lounge)
    A New Years party to get your feet moving, all the best salsa and Latin tunes are on among dinner, dancing, drinks and a midnight toast.
    Black and White Masquerade (December 31 @ Boxcar Social (Harbourfront))
    Party for a good cause at this glamorous end-of-year soiree with costumes, drinks, dancing and a portion of the ticket sales going to SickKids.
    Straight Cash Homie NYE (December 31 @ Monarch Tavern)
    Now in its third year. the Monarch is hosting its annual New Years bash compete with all the hottest hip-hop, rap and R&B all night long.
    Thunderball NYE (December 31 @ CC Lounge)
    Everything shaken, not stirred, is on at this 007-themed New Years bash with all James Bond attire and an epic ball drop at midnight.
    Level Up Your NYE (December 31 @ Power Up Game Bar)
    Nerd it up this New Years as Power Up is ready to party with a night of drinks, dancing and gaming to blast you into the new year.
    Tranzac New Year's Eve (December 31 @ Tranzac Club)
    Live tunes are on with a stellar lineup of performances by Luge, Moon King, Luna Li, Bizzarh, Persons and lots more playing all night long.

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    The fast expansion of Miniso's empire in Canada is coming to an abrupt halt, it seems, as the China-based dollar store brand's parent company initiates bankruptcy proceedings.

    The self-described "Japanese lifestyle brand," which is headquartered in Hong Kong, only just opened its first Toronto retail store in October of 2017.

    It has since been expanding at a clip with at least 13 stores now in the GTA and dozens more across the country, all part of an estimated 500 stores the company said it had plans for in Canada last May.

    So what on Earth just happened? 

    Retail Insider reports that Miniso International Hong Kong Ltd. and Miniso International (Guangzhou) Co. Ltd. filed an Application for Bankruptcy Order in B.C. last week on the grounds that its Canadian division has "been fraudulent in its business dealings by transferring and hiding assets."

    Miniso in China is seeking more than $20 million from Miniso Canada, and has reportedly claimed that its Canadian arm has exhibited "a pattern of unethical behaviour."

    It is of note that the filing came in just days after government officials in Beijing told a Canadian ambassador Canada would face "severe consequences" for not complying with their directions to release detained Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

    Meng was detained by Canadian police during an airport layover on December 1 at the request of U.S. authorities for allegedly violating trade sanctions and has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with "conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions."

    If the Canadian companies behind Miniso Canada don't reply to a Notice of Hearing from the brand's Chinese parent company by January 7, the Chinese company will be able to file for bankruptcy on Miniso Canada's behalf to "collect on substantial debts."

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    At long last, Canada might actually be catching up to the rest of the developed world when it comes to our wireless phone service rates.

    Bell, Rogers and Telus have all agreed to offer a "broad range" of lower-cost, data-only plans to their customers within the next three months at the behest of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

    The so-called "big three" (and essentially only) national carriers were ordered to come up with data-only plans back in March, but have going back and forth over how much they would cost ever since.

    It looks like big telecom finally put an offer on the table, however, one that the CRTC found suitable.

    The regulatory body said in a news release on Monday that "further to a public proceeding, the national wireless providers will introduce a variety of lower-cost data-only plans that were not previously available in the market."

    These plans, which the CRTC expects to be available within 90 days, will range in price from as low as $15 a month for 250 MB, to $30 for 1GB of monthly data.

    It's nice that Canadians will soon have the option to forgo expensive voice plans they don't even need in order to use the internet, but critics argue that these new plans still cost way too much money for so little data.

    Consumers will have both prepaid and subscription options on 3G and LTE networks, and the CRTC promises to monitor all plan rollouts "to ensure that the national wireless providers honour their commitments."

    "While the new lower-cost data-only plans represent a step in the right direction and provide more choice for Canadians, we remain concerned by the overall condition of the market," said CRTC Chairperson and CEO Ian Scott in today's release.

    "To this end, the review we will launch next year will look at the state of mobile wireless competition more broadly."

    Good. We're looking forward to it.

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    Gifts for the cocktail lover in your life don’t have to break the bank to make their home bar feel like a professional station. Not to mention, buy your favourite bartender a few of these gifts, and they might just make you a drink or two in return.

    Here’s my Toronto gift guide for cocktail lovers.

    Guide to Urban Moonshining at Cocktail Emporium

    You could pretty much throw a rock in this Kensington place and find something great for a cocktail fan, but this how to guide for making and drinking whiskey will appeal to the ultimate DIY drinker.

    Salt from the Newfoundland Store

    Cocktail giftees often end up with a lot of useless fluff and none of the staples, so make sure your beloved bartender’s pantry is stocked with some Canadian salt from this Parkdale shop for all their rimming needs.

    Table tiles from Token

    This eco-friendly gift shop in Riverside stocks these geometric “table tiles” (known to the non-fancy as coasters) that make your countertop into a fun illusion.

    Bamboo straws at Blue Banana Market

    All variety of metal, paper, and decorative biodegradable or reuseable straws are the hottest drinking-related gift this season, and it’s easy to pick some up from this Kensington store.

    Caesar mix and stirrers from Pusateri’s

    Multiple locations of this high-end Toronto grocery store stock all kinds of stuff that might be useful to a cocktail aficionado, but you can never go wrong with Walter’s caesar mix and Sable & Rosenfeld cocktail stirrers.

    Fluted crystal barware from Hopson Grace

    The classiest of barware of all types is available from this sophisticated shop, such as impressive fluted crystal barware from Richard Brendon. 

    Drinks chart from Brika

    It may not be so useful for stirring or shaking, but this poster from a super cute Riverside gift shop can be enjoyed without drinking a sip of alcohol. 

    Chilling set at Tap Phong

    Gadgets galore are in stock at this Chinatown kitchen store that’s one of Toronto’s favourites, but items like this chilling set are sure to be a hit with drinkers. 

    Cocktail gift set from City Canteen

    This Bloor West Village boutique stocks these no-brainer gift sets that don’t require the gifter or giftee to know much about cocktails at all, just to enthusiastically enjoy them.

    Vintage barware from Ransack the Universe

    There’s always fun barware, books and glasses floating around this delightfully cluttered shop in Bloordale.

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    Megastar Shawn Mendes is performing his first stadium show ever in Toronto next year, and it's already completely sold out. 

    Tickets for the 20-year-old's self-titled tour went on sale this Saturday, and to the dismay of many, they were gone within minutes. 

    Those hoping to see the pop star perform in his hometown on Sept. 6, 2019 at the Rogers Centre better have had their fingers on the Ticketmaster triggers on Saturday, otherwise they probably didn't score a spot. 

    Even if you had a fan presale code, there was a chance you couldn't get your hands on the hottest ticket in town. 

    It appears the Mendes fans really showed out: the entirety of the Rogers Centre (which seats more than 53,000 people) is now all booked up. 

    And it's not all Torontonians: there's people from abroad flying all the way from down under just to see Shawn perform in the city.

    Those who managed to get tickets are now gloating all over Twitter and IG: those who didn't are busy scrambling to buy re-sales (who needs tuition, this is Mendes we're talking about). 

    At this point, the young star might as well add an extra show date to Toronto.

    In the meantime, fans can enjoy the cute mural of the concert date by George Street Diner to get hyped for the show.

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    Mumford, Wham!, laughter and holiday cheer are all part of events in Toronto today. The Gladstone is getting into the holiday spirit with a night of arts and crafts (beer) and it's the last Choir! Choir! Choir! of the year. There's a Comedian Cookie Bake-Off and a free film screening, as well.

    Events you might want to check out:

    Mumford & Sons (December 18 @ Scotiabank Arena)
    Garb your nicest fedora and freshest plaid shirt because the stars of the modern folk rock movement are packing the seats for the second of two shows.
    Choir! Choir! Choir! (December 18 @ Clinton's)
    The final Choir! Choir! Choir! of the year is centred around 80s pop pioneers Wham! with a Christmas extravaganza of singing, drinking and good cheer.
    Holiday Cheer at the Gladstone (December 18 @ Gladstone Hotel)
    Friends, family, Tinder dates and everyone else is welcome at this arts, crafts, drinks and food gathering with a screening of Miracle on 34th Street.
    Comedy Bar Holiday Party (December 18 @ Comedy Bar)
    Celebrate the holidays at Comedy Bar with a night of good tidings, dancing, food, toasts and the first annual Comedian Cookie Bake-Off.
    Jam Hsiao (December 18 @ Coca-Cola Coliseum)
    Taiwanese star Jam Hsiao brings his soulful, stripped down and piano-based tunes to Toronto as part of his Mr. Entertainment World Tour.
    Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas (December 18 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    Catch a free screening of the Documentary Channel's film about a group of Jewish songwriters that wrote many of the most beloved Christmas songs.
    Yves Jarvis (December 18 @ The Baby G)
    It's a night for experimental electro, spacey vibes and far-out indie tunes with Montreal's Yves Jarvis and Mr. Joy.
    City of Experiences (December 18 @ Design Exchange)
    This new exhibition looks at contemporary city life and its many complexities reimagined without buildings and instead focused on experiences.
    Shab-e She'r Poetry Night (December 18 @ Tranzac Club)
    Emerging and established poets are gathering for a night of words to fuel the spirit, featuring poets Meena Chopra and Casey Garcia.
    Send Noobs (December 18 @ Sneaky Dee's)
    A night of laughs by local comedians, both emerging and established stand up stars around the scene, is on, just as the weather turns cold.

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    This modern home in Parkdale is stunning. The soaring ceilings, the massive windows with industrial black frames, the exposed brick, the gleaming marble and the touch of rustic barn wood all combine into a masterpiece.116 Sorauren Avenue TorontoDesigned by Nicholas Ancerl, this newly-renovated home is one-of-a-kind. The main floor is open concept. The kitchen is delightfully modern and minimalist, with sleek counter tops and 20-foot ceilings.

    116 Sorauren Avenue TorontoThe living room is cozy and bright thanks to the full wall of windows that walk-out into the back garden.

    116 Sorauren Avenue TorontoWith an exposed brick wall and a big bright window, the space has an airy hard loft vibe. The master bedroom also has a walk-out balcony.

    116 Sorauren Avenue TorontoThe master en suite is decadent, with beautiful marble floors, big windows and a deep soaker tub. The only issue is that tub is right in front of that big window…Definitely not for the modest.116 Sorauren Avenue Toronto

    • Address: 116 Sorauren Ave.
    • Price: $2,588,000
    • Lot Size: 21.54 x 110 feet
    • Bedrooms: 3
    • Bathrooms: 4
    • Parking: Street
    • Walk Score: 75
    • Transit Score: 93
    • Listing agent: Edward Pontes
    • Listing ID: W4283904116 Sorauren Avenue Toronto
    Good For

    Exhibitionists. Right in front of the bathtub there’s a two huge floor-to-ceiling windows directly overlooking Sorauren Avenue, so there’s always the possibility that any passerby could catch a glimpse. Naughty!116 Sorauren Avenue Toronto

    Move On If

    The idea of having to deal with street parking makes you want put your head through a wall.

    116 Sorauren Avenue Toronto

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    Ryerson isn't taking "no" for an answer. 

    The Toronto university is moving ahead on a law school campus that was in jeopardy mere days ago after its funding was cut by the provincial government.

    Despite the financial setback, Ryerson is planning to have the new law school open by fall of 2020. The plan was for tuition to be lower than the law programs offered by U of T and York U, making the legal system more accessible to people with lower incomes. 

    However, prospective students will not be able to use OSAP to pay for the program, per the provincial government, which is a huge setback. 

    The Progressive Conservative-led provincial government stated that there are too many law students and not enough articling positions. 

    Ryerson, however, says the program can be funded via other methods, but may require the help of donors. 

    The university now has until March 2019 to return with a revised budget demonstrating how the gap in funding will be bridged. 

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    Toronto may have lost its bid for the coveted HQ2 mega-campus, but Amazon clearly sees something it likes in the city (along with the rest of big tech, am I right?)

    The Seattle-based e-commerce juggernaut announced on Tuesday that it officially opened a brand new, 113,000-square-foot office in the heart of downtown Toronto.

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to attend an opening ceremony for the new Amazon office within Scotia Plaza at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, just three hours after the company publicized its very existence in a media release.

    While technically an expansion of its existing Toronto Tech Hub, which already includes an office with about 800 employees at 120 Bremner Boulevard, the Scotia Plaza office on King Street between Yonge and Bay is a brand new space for the company to grow.

    More exciting than the new office itself is Amazon's announcement of plans to create at least 600 more corporate jobs in Toronto (part of 6,000 jobs planned for Canada in general, including many reputedly less-glamorous fulfilment centre roles).

    The company said in a press release Tuesday morning that it will be hiring for talent in the fields of software development, machine learning, cloud computing, digital advertising, and artificial intelligence to fill its newest Toronto office.

    "Amazon's expansion of its Toronto Tech Hub underscores the incredible tech talent we have in our city, and jobs like these allow us to retain and attract high tech talent locally," said Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement provided by Amazon.

    "Thank you Amazon for choosing to grow in Toronto, and we look forward to working with you as a key partner in Toronto's innovation ecosystem."

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    Vegetarian restaurants in Toronto are embracing all things plant-based. No longer does eating vegetarian mean some kind of taste-bud side step in effort to maintain your ethics. Even vegan raw diets are exploding with choice and flavour these days.

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    Restaurants for New Year’s Eve in Toronto provide places to chow down before you count down. Whether you hit up an early seating to lay the foundation for a night of drinking, or want to be at one of these restaurants when the clock strikes midnights, these spots guarantee a full stomach and a good time.

    Here are my picks for restaurants for New Year’s Eve in Toronto.


    Chinatown’s source of modern Asian cuisine is doing a four-course chef’s choice tasting menu for dinner on New Year’s Eve for $75.


    There’s one earlier seating for a $50 four-course menu and two later ones for a five-course $70 menu at this unabashedly animal-free restaurant in Yorkville.

    The Drake

    No matter what outpost of this Toronto restaurant empire you visit on New Year’s Eve, they’ve all got something going on in terms of bubbly, bites and dancing: Drake 150 and Mini Bar in the Financial District, the Hotel on West Queen West, and Commissary in the Junction Triangle.

    new years eve restaurants

    You can't go wrong with the food at Dailo on College St. Photo by Jesse Milns.


    Chef Susur Lee has created a special menu just for NYE at his eponymous restaurant in the Financial District including items like crab cakes, prosciutto-wrapped pear, and red curry short rib priced at $120 per person, with a special sommelier pairing for $45 per person.

    Farmhouse Tavern

    This restaurant in the Junction triangle with a farm-to-table ethos is doing a special New Year’s Eve prix fixe menu.


    There’ll be a chef’s tasting menu for $90 including champagne and dessert at this Little Italy Asian restaurant.


    A menu of signature dishes will be served at this splashy Yorkville steakhouse in celebration of New Year’s Eve, plus party down with cocktails, DJs and a midnight toast.


    A New Year’s Eve Kaiseki at this upscale sushi restaurant in the South Core features signature sashimi and aburi sushi.

    new years eve restaurants

    Miku on Queens Quay serves up some of the best Japanese in the city. Photo by Jesse Milns.

    Carbon Bar

    Seatings at this Southern restaurant in Corktown increase in price the later it gets, starting with a $59 early bird seating and ramping up to a $79 second seating and a $99 NYE seating that includes complimentary sparkling at midnight. Ring in the New Year with BBQ platters and duck tacos.

    Bar Sybanne

    A menu for $50 per person at this Ossington and Dundas restaurant includes lamb, booze and bubbly.


    A seating at 5 p.m. is $69 and a seating at 9 p.m. is $89 at this restaurant tucked away on Wellington, serving oysters, lamb tartare and venison tourtiere.

    Fifth Grill

    A special menu at this glitzy yet secretive restaurant features lobster bisque, black cod and filet of tenderloin.

    East Thirty-Six

    This restaurant near Wellington and Church is doing dinner service until 11 p.m. and cocktails plus dancing until 3 a.m. with complimentary Cava for reservations prior to 6:30 p.m.

    new years eve restaurants

    Viaggio has taken over the old Branca space in Brockton Village. Photo by Jesse Milns.

    12 Tables

    A four-course prix fixe meal is going for $99 at this Italian restaurant at Yonge and Lawrence.

    Table 21

    This restaurant near Bloor and Royal York will be serving their regular menu on the last night of the year, but with a few extra special twists.


    A four-course menu priced at $65 per person is available from this Italian restaurant in Cabbagetown.


    Seatings are super flexible at this Brockton Village restaurant, going from 4 to 10 p.m. and priced at $110 per person with options on the menu like squid ink spaghetti, porchetta, or wild boar osso bucco..

    Broadview Hotel

    This New Year’s Eve bash is taking over an entire hotel in Riverside, with cocktails, champers and bites in the cafe bar, a DJ and cash bar on the rooftop, a fancy feast in the ground floor restaurant and rooms for the booking with breakfast service.


    This restaurant on Portland will be transformed into a Caribbean house party for the New Year with bites, a champagne toast and a DJ, all for a $50 entry fee.

    new years eve restaurants

    Dinner gets intimate at Omai in Baldwin Village. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Annette Food Market

    Located, perhaps obviously, on Annette, this restaurant is doing a four-course prix fixe menu priced at $75 for earlier seatings, and $85 for a later seating that includes a midnight champagne toast.


    It’s business as usual from 6 to 10 p.m. at this Baldwin Village hand roll bar, but after that they’re throwing a Japanese pintxos party with food all night and bubbles for a $40 flat fee.

    Eastbound Brewing

    Have a laid-back New Year’s at this Riverside brewery doing a special New Year’s menu as well as beer cocktails.


    There are seatings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for an a la carte New Year’s dinner at this Latin American King West heavyweight.


    There are dinner reservations until 9 p.m. at this West Queen West restobar and from then on it’s late night bites, a DJ and complimentary champagne for a mere $10 cover. 


    Ring in the new year Turkish-style at this restaurant with a $120 five-course feast accompanied by a band and belly dancing. 

    new years eve restaurants

    Barans is a reliable spot in Scarborough for Turkish feasts.Photo by Hector Vasquez.


    This restaurant on Dundas West can kick off your night with a seating ending at 8:30 p.m. for $65 per person, or can be your main event with a party starting at 9:30 p.m. with a buffet, drinks specials and dancing. 


    This West Queen West hotel is embracing a Vegas theme for New Year’s with a strict classy OR trashy dress code (NO in between). There’s a prix fixe dinner and get this: you can actually get for realsies married at this party.

    La Paella

    A special New Year’s menu from this Leslieville Spanish spot is a one-of-a-kind way to cap off the year.


    This Dundas West restaurant is changing up traditions by hosting an LGBTQ event in their space to ring in the New Year, featuring a three-course dinner and open bar. 


    There are two seatings for a four-course prix fixe dinner for $65-a-person at this Junction beer bar, and after that there’s a free party starting at 10:30 p.m. that’s first come, first serve.

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    New restaurants in North York serve a range of drool-worthy meals, from Shanghainese fried dumplings to Bib Gourmand-winning ramen. Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this handful of new arrivals has you covered. 

    Here are my picks for the top new restaurants in North York.

    Meat Point

    Start your day right with Turkish breakfast from this comfy restaurant on Wilson Avenue. Eggs, sujuk, and homemade flatbread go perfectly with Turkish tea served straight from the samovar.

    Sang-Ji Fried Bao

    Tuck into this tiny restaurant on the corner of Byng, just south of Finch station, to get your batch of Shanghainese pan-fried baos. It's about a 15 minute wait for your order, but these crispy soup-filled dumplings will inspire patience in anyone.

    Burgers Park

    Toronto officially has its own signature smash burger spot. Head to the cluster of new restaurants off of Consumers Road and you'll find halal crinkle fries, burgers, and hot dogs, made from locally-sourced meats.

    Omni Palace

    Right next to Burgers Park is this new destination for hand-pulled noodles. The first Toronto location of this massive Chinese chain, Omni Palace serves up different types of noodles pulled in their sprawling new digs on Consumers Road. 

    Konjiki Ramen

    Squeeze behind the Japanese dessert cafe Saryo to access Konjiki's very first location outside of Japan. This ramen restaurant has been raved about for their exemplary broth that's so good, it's been awarded Michelin's Bib Gourmand award.

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    Worried about getting all the gifts you bought online in time for the holidays? Don't be! Unless, of course, you plan to order everything this weekend... in which case, it might be tight. 

    Either way, a backlogged postal system shouldn't be the cause of any troubles in the days leading up to Christmas this year.

    Canada Post is back on its game, according to the federal postal service, after its pileup of parcels reached near "historic levels" on the heels of a roughly 5-week-long worker strike that ended November 27.

    The Crown Corporation had warned Canadians that rotating strikes at major processing centres (such as the one in Toronto) had "created massive backlogs of mail and parcels" even before Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit.

    On December 6, Canada Post went so far as to cancel its holiday delivery guarantee.

    The service has yet to reinstate that guarantee, but announced in a press release on Tuesday morning that "with continued progress, we are now in a position to restore our normal holiday delivery service guarantees for much of the country."

    This means that, save for those in Vancouver, "Canadians can expect normal holiday delivery timelines for parcels."

    "With our holiday delivery plans, employees are being offered voluntary overtime and almost 4,000 additional seasonal employees have been brought on to provide much needed processing and delivery support," reads the Canada Post release. 

    "We've also bolstered our fleet with almost 2,000 additional vehicles to help with deliveries and moving product through the network," it continues. "We also continue to closely monitor the weather across the country as every delivery day is important."

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    As gross as the concept of influencers may be, in general, it's always nice to see a homegrown social media superstar recognized for their achievements.

    Esther the Wonder Pig is one such star and, despite once actually being dubbed "Kim Kardashian-West of the hog world," her fame has nothing to do with the size of her (admittedly thicc) rear end.

    The Campbellville, Ontario pet-turned international animal rights ambassador was just named "Best Animal Influencer" in peta2's 13th annual Libby Awards.

    The first ever animal to win such an award, Esther joins celebrities such as Bella Thorne, Dove Cameron and Olympic gold medallist Alex Morgan in the winner's circle this time around, even beating out the famous Lil' Bub despite having merely a quarter of the cat's follower count on Instagram.

    "When Esther's guardians, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, met her in 2012, they were told that the 4-pound piglet was a 'micro-pig'," writes peta2 of the celebrity hog. "Six years and 650 pounds later, that's obviously not the case—but Jenkins and Walter have made her part of the family."

    They've also turned her into a global superstar with 1.4 million fans on Facebook alone and multiple New York Times best-selling books.

    In fact, Jenkins and Walter were so taken with their loving, funny, intelligent pig that she inspired them to found what's become one of the world's most-famous farm animal sanctuaries.

    Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, roughly one hour outside of Toronto, has rescued at least 65 abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals since it opened in 2014, a combination of goats, chickens, donkeys, ducks, horses, cows, rabbits, sheep, cats, more pigs and other animals in need.

    "Esther and her Dads rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals, and spread Esther's style of love and compassion - known as The Esther Effect!" reads the sanctuary's website.

    "Our goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of our residents, and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs, and community outreach."

    Esther's big win comes on the heels of a big year for Canada's (if not the world's) most famous pig.

    After being diagnosed with breast cancer, a team of veterinarians at the University of Guelph removed four masses from her body during a three-and-a-half-hour surgery in late August.

    She is now cancer-free, but her ordeal resulted in a fundraising campaign that raised more than $750,000 for a massive CT scanner—the largest of its kind in the world.

    Jenkins and Walter donated the machine to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph so that it can be used by other animal charities and rescue organizations with very large animals.

    "The world has fallen in love with Esther the Wonder Pig, who's inspired countless people to start seeing animals as individuals instead of as food," said peta2 Senior Director Marta Holmberg in a statement about this year's Libby Award winners.

    "peta2 is recognizing Esther and her guardians for showing the world that no animal deserves to be mutilated and killed to end up on someone's plate."

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