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    Must-see concerts in January kick off the new year with a strong line-up of artists, from hip-hop stars to big names of country to a symphony rendition of a Star Wars score. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Kacey Musgraves (January 11 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
    The Rebel Queen of Nashville and two-time Grammy winner is coming to Toronto to treat us with her Texas twang.
    Martha Wainwright (January 15 @ The Great Hall Toronto)
    Canada's sweetheart is back in Toronto to perform her new album, Goodnight City.
    Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert (January 23-26 @ Roy Thomson Hall)
    The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs this Oscar-winning score in a special presentation of the 2018/19 TSO season.
    Angela Zhang (January 26 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
    The Taiwanese singer, famous for her work on My MVP Valentine, is having her first stop of the North America world tour in Toronto,
    Winner (January 27 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
    This South Korean boy band started their world tour in Seoul and are making this the only stop in Canada.

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    The best Portuguese bakeries in Toronto are where to go to get your fix of ooey-gooey, flaky pastel de nata tarts, but also so much more. Often with lots of seating, low prices, long hours and sometimes even free WiFi, these are the bakeries that feed not only the bellies but the souls of their communities.

    Here are the best Portuguese bakeries in Toronto.

    7 - Dynasty Bakery

    This Portuguese bakery on Rogers Road is a reliable spot for traditionally prepared pastel de nata and coffee.
    4 - Venezia Bakery

    Ossington and Argyle quietly plays host to this go-to spot, open since 1979. Venezia bakes items fresh every day, including rustic artisan breads.
    8 - Angel's Bakery

    This Rogers Road place is a bakery, cafe and grocery store all in one, with pantry items, sandwiches, a hot table, and of course, baked goods like breads and cakes.
    5 - Golden Wheat Bakery Cafe

    Locations on Bloor West and Rogers Road of this bakery cafe serve staples like coffee and great grilled cheese sandwiches for cheap.
    6 - Brazil Bakery and Pastry

    This Brockton Village spot is open late, has free WiFi and has been open for over 25 years. Traditional Portuguese custard tarts, shrimp patties, cornbread, codfish roll and king cake can be reliably found here.
    9 - Caldense Bakery (Dundas West)

    Locations at Dupont and Symington as well as on Dundas West of this larger bakery sell the usual sandwiches, custard tarts, coffee and cans of Sumol.
    10 - Nova Era Bakery (Bloorcourt)

    Locations at Bloor and Dovercourt, on Geary and elsewhere in the city, make this chain one of the most ubiquitous Portuguese bakeries. Custard tarts, some amazing chocolate donuts, coffee and ham and cheese “Tosta Mista” sandwiches are available on the cheap.
    11 - Seara Bakery

    Portuguese cakes and pastries are the specialty at two Toronto locations of this Portuguese bakery. In addition to sweet treats, expect to find crusty dark rye breads, pillowy buns and some vibrant conversation emanating from tables by the window.
    3 - Doce Minho Bakery

    This Oakwood Village bakery marked by a sign depicting a bee has been in business for over 15 years, and the owners have decades of accumulated experience. Open seven days a week, they have a patio and serve everything from the simplest flaky custard tarts to elaborately decorated cakes.

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    Is Shawn Mendes looking for another gig? You know, on top of "Billboard Artist of the Year" for 2018?

    The GTA-born singer turned international it boy was spotted partying in Toronto on Thursday evening at none other than Petty Cash — the very same establishment in which he spent much of the night bartending on Halloween.

    This time around, Mendes appears to have been hanging out with friends and drinking by the pool table, as opposed to slinging drinks behind the bar.

    Still, with two appearances (that we know of) in as many months now under his belt, it's safe to say Mendes is a fan of the Adelaide Street club and restaurant. 

    Why Petty Cash? Who knows. Maybe he has a friend who works there. Maybe he enjoys the selfie-friendly ring lights in their bathrooms. Maybe he likes to score fashion advice from young women who wear fanny packs to nighclubs. I don't know.

    All that can be said for certain right now is that Mendes was in Toronto last night (as evidenced by his own Instagram Stories) and that multiple people took creepshots of him jamming to Drake inside the bar.

    Your move, Stans.

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    New Year's Eve in Toronto will see a series of downtown road closures and restrictions. These closures will begin at 5 p.m. on December 31 and will remain in effect until 2 a.m. on January 1.

    The closures and restrictions are in place to accommodate the New Year's Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square. The closures and restrictions will affect an area that borders Dundas Street West to the north, Yonge Street to the east, University Avenue to the west, and Richmond Street to the south. 

    Here are the specific closures and restrictions you'll need to keep in mind if getting around the city by car on Monday:

    • Bay St. from Dundas St. West to Richmond St. West will be restricted to local traffic.
    • Queen St. West from Yonge St. to University Ave. will be fully closed.
    • York St. from Richmond St. West to Queen St. West will be fully closed.
    • Elizabeth St. from Foster Pl. to Hagerman St. will be fully closed.
    • Hagerman St. from Elizabeth St. to Bay St. will be fully closed.
    • Albert St. from James St. to Bay St. will be restricted to local traffic.
    • James St. from Queen St. West to Albert St. will be restricted to local traffic.

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    With 96 murders on record to date, Toronto is closing out 2018 as one of its most violent years in modern history. The previous record for the most homicides in a single year, 89, was set in 1991. 

    Are the numbers alarming? Sure, but Toronto Police Chief Marc Saunders maintains that they shouldn't be viewed as evidence of an "upward trend."

    It's simply been a rough 12 months for the city, he says—one that won't likely repeat itself any time soon.

    "This is a year like no other year," said Saunders during a year-end news conference at Police Headquarters on Thursday morning. "This was a unique year. I'm certainly not looking for another year like that in the foreseeable future."

    homicide data toronto

    The Toronto Police Service Public Safety Data Portal showed a record 95 homicides for 2018 as of Sunday, when it was last updated. Image via TPS.

    At least half of this year's homicides (51) can be attributed to gun violence, according to police, who've been working furiously since this summer to curb a recent surge in local shootings.

    Another 20 deaths were related to stabbing incidents, while 25 more were categorized as "other."

    It's this last category, up 92 per cent last year in terms of its proportion against other types of homicide, that Saunders says pushed Toronto well past its previously-recorded numbers.

    The Chief pointed to two mass casualty events as evidence of how unique and "incredibly busy" 2018 has been: The high-profile North York van attack in April and the Danforth shooting in July.

    Ten victims were killed on April 23 when a rental van plowed through crowds of pedestrians on Yonge Street near Finch Avenue. Two more people lost their lives after a gunman opened fire in Toronto's bustling Greektown neighbourhood on July 22.

    Saunders also spoke during his press conference about additional challenges faced by the police department this year, such as the case of alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur.

    McArthur has far has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in connection with bodies found buried in planters and elsewhere near where he had been conducting business as a landscaper.

    These deaths were not included as part of the total homicide count for 2018, though police have dedicated significant resources toward the investigation surrounding them.

    Saunders says the Toronto Police Service will continue to combat gun violence, first and foremost, through "smarter policing" and by developing stronger relationships with at-risk communities.

    "Every day, we're seeing more guns," he said. "That's one aspect that has to be looked at. The second piece is what's motivating people to use a gun to resolve issues."

    However the gun violence piece works out, Saunders is confident that we'll see a lower homicide rate in Toronto next year at this time.

    "I think this was a unique year where there was a lot of loss of life," said Saunders. "I do believe that next year will be a different year."

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    The biggest restaurant flops in Toronto this past year covered everything from taco and bao joints to poke spots and pubs. These failures just go to show that the restaurant biz is no joke.

    Here are my picks for the biggest restaurant flops in Toronto from 2018.

    Tacos Baos

    This Bloorcourt spot that served up both tacos and baos with Mexican and Asian (particularly Filipino) influences closed for good in October only six months after making its debut. Its owners sold the business because "family and other business priorities are of higher importance." A Japanese and Korean joint called Varsity has since taken over.

    Fargo's Snack Bar

    Winner of possibly the shortest lifespan this year went to a hip-hop-themed eatery on College Street in Little Italy that opened in June and was gone by September. It's since been replaced by something called Ronto's, featuring "memorable flavours of the world."

    Schnitzel Hub Express

    Meant to be a mostly takeout-only location in addition to its restaurant at Yonge and St. Clair, this Annex outpost of Eastern European comfort foods lasted about half a year before Chinese spot Noodle & More opened in its place.

    H2 Kitchen

    Healthy poke, noodle and smoothie bowls were the specialities at this fast-casual joint on Queen West, which opened in February and was gone by the end of September. It claimed to be temporarily closed and moving to a new location, but its website has since disappeared.

    Maison Fou Brasserie

    "Crazy" is right. This French restaurant started out in Bloor West Village but closed down that location in May and moved to Dundas West, reopening in July. By September, it was gone again.

    The Yard

    From the owners behind BBQ joint Hogtown Smoke (which, confusingly, was right next door), this public house in the Beaches was meant to be an upscale sports bar with farm-to-table fare. It opened in July and was closed by November.

    Bay Burger

    Having opened in March, this Mediterranean-inspired, halal burger spot on (surprise, surprise) Bay Street had disappeared by the end of the year.

    Pots and Pans

    This Greek eatery on the Danforth served up hot-table eats. It opened in April, had terrible online reviews and closed quickly. Papyrus, an Egyptian restaurant, has since replaced it.


    Another Danforth closure, this modern Greek meze bar served its dishes tapas style, making its debut in April and then disappearing a few months before the year was over.

    J'adore Hot Pot

    A fancy AYCE hot pot spot that opened in Markham back in March, it sadly didn't make it to the end of the year. Let's just say the soup's off.

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    A No Frills discount grocery store in Toronto is at the centre of a Facebook shame campaign this week after someone found two huge garbage dumpsters behind it filled with perfectly good food.

    Once perfectly good food, I should say. At this point, the entire situation is probably just raccoons swimming in melted ice cream while rats chew through the boxes of rotten Hungry-Man dinners.

    Whatever the case, people don't like it.

    "Can someone explain why the dumpster behind No Frills on St. Clair is full of frozen products when many are going hungry or can't afford these items?" asked local resident Jeannine Marinier on Thursday in a closed Facebook group for Hillcrest Village, Humewood and Wychwood.

    That post was further amplified when someone posted a screenshot of it to the popular Bunz Trading Zone group, which, to be fair, has become known for members who get riled up over such injustices.

    "There are starving families all over the city and this store just chooses to DUMP all of this food in the GARBAGE?" wrote one commenter there. "Sickening."

    "This is 100 per cent of grocery stores all the time," wrote someone else. "How are people not aware this is going on? Grocery stores are the mass producers of waste in this world... it's disgusting!"

    no frills dumpster

    Many of those who saw the dumpster photo on Facebook reacted with anger. Image via Bunz Trading Zone.

    Many others in both Facebook groups cautioned people against rushing over to either eat the food or donate it to those in need, as there could be a valid, safety-related reason for its location in the dumpster.

    Those people were correct, according to the store's parent company. Loblaw told City News on Friday that the majority of freezers at that particular No Frills location had lost power on Christmas Day.

    The freezers were fixed, but not in time to ensure that everything within them would be safe to refreeze and sell.

    "We have very strict food safety protocols in place for theses types of of situations and always put the safety of our customers first," said the company in a statement.

    "While we understand the concerns raised about food waste, the store owner did the responsible thing by disposing of the food."

    So look out if you happened to take advantage of the offload to pick up some unfrozen frozen pizzas.

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    This was a big year for catching wild things on camera in Toronto, from relentless raccoons to a naked guy jumping into the shark tank at Ripley's. The videos that blew up in 2018 were a mixed bag of cute, funny, scary and gross—but every clip you'll find below was undoubtedly born right here in The 6ix.

    Here are my picks for this year's best shot-in-Toronto viral videos.

    Toronto chef "taunts" vegan protesters

    Antler restaurant co-owner Michael Hunter made international headlines this year with a clapback aimed at animal rights activists who'd been harassing his customers for weeks. It involved cutting up a deer leg in the restaurant's window, and later eating it, in front of the horrified vegans.

    Raccoon breaks into a raccoon-proof green bin

    Footage of our city's unofficial mascot using his tiny hands (and clever brain) to open a container that Toronto spent $31 million designing proved without a doubt in April that raccoons are dang near impossible to outsmart... at least when it comes to eating. Honourable mentions go to these trash pandas. And this one, too. 

    Refugee children react to their first snowfall

    Two cute kids playing in snowy Toronto warmed hearts around the world this November. The newcomer children, who are from Eritrea, had never seen flurries falling before, and their joyous reactions were infectious.

    The Banksy Heist

    Someone managed to sneak in and steal a print worth an estimated $45,000 from Toronto's unauthorized Banksy exhibit on Sterling road in June. Security footage from the brazen incident proved hilarious when set to the Pink Panther theme song but, as silly as the crook looks, he has yet to be caught.

    The GO train roof rider

    One of this year's most-disturbing trends, at least locally, saw yutes riding public transit vehicles in the most dangerous ways possible. This video of someone on top of a moving train got tons of attention, but mentions also go out to the TTC bus roof surfer and back-of-subway joyrider.

    The No Frills corn fight

    There's nothing like a good scrap at Toronto's finest grocery chain to get the people talking. Nobody was hurt in the produce-driven melee at Michael's No Frills in Scarborough early this fall, though someone did knock over an elderly man in the pursuit of very cheap corn.


    Also in "fights," a drunk man who looks Donald Trump was caught on camera hurling racist comments at a family near Toronto's Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in July. Disturbing as the encounter was, people had a blast lambasting the blonde man (who was later arrested) and made a meme out of his weird rallying cry: "YOU DON'T ASK ME A QUESTION IN MY F*CKING PROVINCE!"

    Man clings to car hood while speeding down highway

    A local man became an inadvertent action hero in August after jumping on a car to avoid being run over. Terrifying dash cam footage showed him clinging to the car's roof while moving at speeds of up to 100 km/h along Highway 404. Fortunately, he was unharmed and the driver was arrested.

    Jewellery store workers fend of robbery with swords

    Three men in Mississauga successfully defended the store they were working at against an invasion by charging at the would-be attackers with sabre-style swords. Just the sight of their mighty weapons was enough to send four would-be burglars running (after a little back and forth.)

    Naked man swims in shark tank at Ripley's Aquarium

    Last but not least are a series of clips featuring a man police say interrupted a Friday Night Jazz event by jumping naked into a tank with live sharks at Toronto's aquarium after allegedly assaulting someone at Medieval Times. Big night for Weaver, hilarious videos of him acting a fool underwater for us.

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    With 2019 coming to a close, there's still a few days to indulge yourself before kickstarting your resolutions. From a chaotic comedy show to an R&B skate night to hate-watching a cult classic, take some time for you to close our this trashfire year. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Sixty in 60 (December 29 @ Bad Dog Comedy Theatre)
    Check out this chaotic comedy show where 60 performers showcase ten different sets in an hour with profits going to CAMH.
    Uniun Closing Party Part 4 (December 29 @ Uniun Nightclub)
    Come say goodbye to Toronto mainstay Uniun in the fourth instalment of goodbye parties.
    DJ Skate Nights (December 29 @ Natrel Rink)
    Glide along to some classic R&B and soul-infused music as Soul Kitchen alumnus DJ Lissa Monet and MC Kid Kut bring the hot music and chill vibes to Natrel Rink.
    The Room (December 29 @ Imagine Cinemas Carlton)
    Don't tear Lisa apart by missing a late-night screening of this cult classic.
    Royal Shakespeare Company Live (December 29 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    Troilus and Cressida, performed with a satirical futuristic vision, is broadcast to cinemas from a live performance in Shakespeare's home town.
    Blitzkrieg Cabaret (December 29 @ The Dakota Tavern)
    Come share in music from the most prolific composer you didn't know existed. From gritty German cabaret songs to opera to Broadway tunes, Kurt Weill's works is guaranteed to entertain.
    Hey Girl Hey (December 29 @ The Baby G)
    Dance off the holiday stress with Toronto icon Gay Jesus and the best female hip hop and R&B beats from DJ Orange Pekoe.
    Abbamania in Concert (December 29-31 @ Winter Garden Theatre)
    Take a chance on the world’s number one ranked production of Abba with their all-Canadian cast.
    Coffee and Canvas (December 29 @ Fresh Paint Studio (Danforth East))
    Indulge in some holiday self-care with freestyle painting and enjoy a bev while you paint and relax.
    80's & 90's Video Dance Party (December 29 @ Remix Lounge)
    Throwback to middle school (with less awkwardness and more debt stress) with an all-request video dance party, complete with a pre-NYE countdown at midnight.

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    Many craft breweries in Toronto have retail shops that let you buy direct from the source. Some even have longer/later hours than the LCBO and the Beer Store. Keep this list handy for beer needs after 9 p.m. and on stat holidays when the city's mainstream beer suppliers are closed.

    Here's a roundup of craft brewers that have retail stores in Toronto.

    Amsterdam Brewery (Leaside)

    Shop for cans, bottle packs, and growlers. Hours: Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday closed, Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Amsterdam BrewHouse (Harbourfront)

    Similar to their Leaside location, the retail shop at this brewpub offers cans, bottle packs, and growlers. Hours: Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday closed, Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Bandit Brewery

    The bottle shop carries a variety of their signature brews including Hoppleganger and Night Mist. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Bellwoods Brewery (Ossington)

    The Ossington location sells the entire lineup of beer on offer at any given time. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Bellwoods Brewery (Hafis Road)

    If you're not near Ossington you can also stock up on their lineup of beers at their Haifis Road location. Hours: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

    Black Lab Brewery Toronto

    Get greeted by Snoopy as you make your way to the Black Lab Brewing bottle shop. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Black Lab Brewing

    The dog friendly brewery in Leslieville has its bottle shop counter when you first enter the place. Hours: Tuesday closed and Wednesday to Monday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery

    This beer shop features signature beers, seasonal offerings and plenty of rotating experimental brews made exclusively in house. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Black Oak Brewing

    This Etobicoke brewery sells six packs of their Nut Brown and Pale Ales as well as excellent seasonal beers, kegs, and assorted swag. Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Blood Brothers

    The bottle shop carries a variety of their signature brews, including Shumei and Balam. Hours: Sunday to Thursday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.


    Find select 500 ml bottles at this bottle shop. The entrance can be found around the corner from the restaurant on Pauline Street. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

    Godspeed Brewery Toronto

    Grab some ice cold cans in the fully stocked fridges at Godspeed Brewery. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Cool Beer Brewing Company

    Find flagship brands Cool Beer and Buzz beer, as well as a few that are contract brewed on site. Hours: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Eastbound Brewing Company

    The Riverside brewpub also has a bottle shop inside. Discover a whole roster of 355 ml cans on offer. Hours: Monday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Folly Brewpub

    The Toronto microbrewery sells offerings like Praxis, Flemish Cap and Points Between in their bottle shop. Hours: Monday to Thursday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Godspeed Brewery

    Over ten different beers can be purchased at this Little India bottle shop. Hours: Monday to Thursday 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Granite Brewery

    Find in-house beers sold in growlers plus reasonably-priced kegs (and pumps) in 20L, 30L, and 50L sizes. Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Henderson Brewing Toronto

    Growlers are just one of the many options at the Henderson Brewing bottle shop. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Great Lakes Brewery

    Look forward to the regular lineup of GLB beers, seasonal brews, and specialty offerings when available. Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Halo Brewery

    Growlers and 500 ml bottles are for sale on a first come, first served basis. Go early for the best selection along with snacks and savoury pastries. Hours: Monday closed, Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Henderson Brewing

    Expect a regular lineup of signature Henderson beers available in their bottle shop daily. Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Indie Ale House

    There are 2L growlers and 500 mL bottles of staple beers available for take-home purchase. Hours: Monday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and  Tuesday to Sunday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

    Junction Craft Brewing

    The tap room and retail store carries a long list of 500 ml bottles and select 1L growlers. Hours: Monday to Tuesday closed, Wednesday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Left Field Brewery Toronto

    Fridges are always fully stocked with brews at Left Field Brewery. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Kensington Brewing Company

    This is where to buy and drink beer brewed right in the heart of Kensington Market. The small bottle shop area boasts two fridges stocked with bottles. Hours: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

    Left Field Brewery

    The bottle shop and tap room thoughtfully displays its lineup for purchase in the fridge, so it's always cold. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Lot 30 Brewers

    Lansdowne Brewery has transformed into an actual brewery, bottle shop and restaurant. Hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

    Louis Cifer Brew Works

    Beer to go at this Danforth bar is available seven days a week, including holidays. Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Mill Street Brewery

    These commercially-available beers are also available direct from the source. Buy single bottles, six packs, 12 packs, cases, and even kegs, plus the occasional seasonal offering in growlers. Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 a.m to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Nothern Maverick Toronto

    There's lots on offer at the Northern Maverick bottle shop. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Muddy York Brewing Co.

    This bottle shop sells an assortment of bottled beer, growlers and merch items. Hours: Sunday to Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Northern Maverick

    The bottle shop attached to the restaurant is where you can purchase their latest brews in tall cans and bottles. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

    Rainhard Brewing

    The bottle shop carries year-round staples and seasonal favourites in 650 ml bombers and 2L growlers. Hours: Monday to Tuesday closed, Wednesday to Friday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    Radical Road Brewing

    Load up on signatures brews like Slingshot and Entropy Stout at this Leslieville bottle shop. Hours: Monday 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

    Rorschach Beer

    Growlers are available at this bottle shop. Kegs are also on offer but should be ordered in advance. Hours: Monday closed, Tuesday to Wednesday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Vegandale Brewery Toronto

    After you're done chowing down on Doomies fare grab some brews on your way out of Vegandale Brewery. Photo by Jesse Milns.

    Saulter Street Brewery

    Beer-to-go options are available seven days a week at this Riverside brewery. Hours: Daily 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Steam Whistle Brewing

    You can stock up on beer by the case and in kegs (though you should note that they do deliver). Hours: Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Von Bugle Brewing

    This offshoot brand of Steam Whistle is selling tall cans, six-packs, two-fours, growlers and kegs in their bottle shop. Hours: Monday to Tuesday closed, Wednesday to Friday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. 6 p.m.

    Vegandale Brewery

    Buy everything you’ve tasted on draft at this Parkdale brewery at their bottle shop for five bucks across the board. Hours: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

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    The 1990s doesn't seem so long ago, but after browsing through photos of Toronto from the period, the decade is sure to feel strangely remote. The clutter of the 1960s and the sleaze of the 1970s is absent, but with these sanitization efforts, the city feels rather empty.

    Perhaps more than anything, Toronto appears like a city in transition during the 90s. The condos were coming, yes, but neighbourhoods like West Queen West, Liberty Village, and the Distillery District were entirely different than they are today.

    Throw in film processing shops, tons of newspaper boxes, Speakers Corner and MuchMusic on Queen West, gas stations that only sell gas, a lack of big brand stores on downtown streets, as well as the perpetual presence of squeegee kids, and you have a recipe for some potent nostalgia for those born in the 1980s.

    Behold, the remote allure of Toronto streets in the 1990s.

    toronto 1990s

    Trolley bus at the foot of Bay St. Photo by mightyleap.

    toronto 1990s

    Looking east on Queen at Spadina. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Looking east on King at Yonge St. Photo by mightyleap.

    toronto 1990sDundas just west of Yonge. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Looking east on Queen from the intersection of Roncesvalles and King. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    299 Queen West. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Abandoned Gooderham & Worts Distillery. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Southeast corner of Avenue Road and Eglinton. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Film lab at the corner of Britian and George. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Roncesvalles just north of Queen (former Edgewater Hotel to the left). Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Bay looking north beyond College. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Looking south on Bathurst from King. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990sNorthwest corner of Queen and Bathurst. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Parliament and Front. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Lakeshore Boulevard at Superior. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Queens Quay looking toward Rees. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Queen West at Markham. Photo by Ivaan Kotulsky via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    King and Bay. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Yonge at Balmoral. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Queen and Connaught. Photo by David Wilson.

    toronto 1990s

    Southwest corner of Parliament and Front. Somehow, still a Budget lot. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Yonge just north of Millwood. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Front and Princess. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Union Station. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Queen West and Walnut. Photo via the Toronto Archives.

    toronto 1990s

    Squeegee kid on Spadina north of Queen. Photo via the Toronto Public Library.

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    Free things to do in Toronto for January 2019 jump-start the new year with events that range from exciting fun to intellectually stimulating. Check out a free market, interesting lectures, and films for ways to celebrate the new year, new you that don't break the bank. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    Festival of New Formats (January 2 @ Comedy Bar)
    This festival of new and never-before-seen ideas on stage takes over Comedy Bar for one night only of free shows, featuring ideas from comedy icons like Becky Johnson and Pat Thornton.
    Really Really Free Market (January 5 @ Campbell Park)
    This totally free market, with no money, no swapping, and no trades, invites visitors to browse for an hour and fill up one shopping bag with found treasures.
    Pugly - A Pug's Life (January 6 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    The free screening of this adorable documentary follows a year in the life of a group of three rescue pugs, their triumphs and tribulations, and the growing community of people devoted to these troll-faced little gremlins. The screening is followed by a panel discussion on dog rescue.
    Bollywood Dance Classes (January 8-22 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
    Stick to your 2019 resolutions by hitting up these free beginner-level Bollywood classes taught by Shereen Ladha of Canada's Got Talent.
    Annual Mayor's Skate Party (January 13 @ Mel Lastman Square)
    Join Mayor John Tory and Toronto City Councillors for an afternoon of free music, hot beverages, and lots of skating.
    Technological Experiments in the Digital Age: Artificial Intelligence, Internet Freedoms, and the State (January 14 @ University of Toronto)
    Feed your mind by attending this free panel, hosted by the University of Toronto and featuring expert panelists, which discusses the technological experiments in the digital age and unpacks some of the complex questions on the frontiers of innovation.
    Free Film Screening (January 19 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    Check out this free series of three films about getting through difficult times with the help of family and friends. Close Knit, the story of a trans woman and her family, comes highly recommended.
    In the Night Café with Vincent van Gogh (January 17 @ North York Central Library)
    Join Allison Morehead, Associate Professor of Art History at Queen's University, to explore what kinds of modernist strategies and ideas led up to and followed Van Gogh's Night Cafe at a free Thought Exchange.
    Toronto Lit Up: Jennifer Robson (January 24 @ Supermarket)
    Hit up this free book launch to celebrate homegrown best-selling author Jennifer Robson's newest much-anticipated novel and rub elbows with Toronto literati.
    Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (January 26 @ Yorkminster Park Baptist Church)
    Enjoy a free concert of choral songs performed by the Grammy-nominated Toronto Mendelssohn Choir with music by well-known masters like Healey Willan and Eric Whitacre and a selection of lively folksongs.

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    The best fabric stores in Toronto will equip you with textiles for your next sewing project. Explore bolts of fabric in all colours, textures, and prices—and maybe find some good deals on zippers and buttons while you’re at it.

    Here are the best fabric stores in Toronto.

    6 - Queen Textiles

    Try not to get overwhelmed by the variety here: this shop offers rolls upon rolls of colourful fabrics for every occasion. It may be small, but this Queen West store’s selection is mighty.
    3 - The Workroom

    This glorious space in Parkdale is a sewing enthusiast’s dream. The selection of adorable fabrics (expect lots of quilting cotton) is unlike any you’ll find in the city; buy them by the metre.
    5 - Fabricland

    When looking for all your sewing necessities, a trip to this home decor chain never hurts. They have four locations scattered around the city where you can scope out their selection of fabrics at decent prices.
    4 - King Textiles

    Weave your way through the massive forest of bolts (past the dog sleeping on the measuring table) on this second floor store at Spadina and Queen. It’s been around for over 25 years, and offers samples if you’re looking to buy wholesale.
    7 - Downtown Fabrics

    If you’re looking for a more relaxed textile-buying experience, head to this shop on Queen West. It’s more organized than at other places, and the chatty owner will be more than happy to assist you.
    8 - Affordable Textiles

    Prepare yourself for fabric overload: this Queen West store has a seemingly endless collection of bolts, including rolls of stuff in barrels at the front of the store. It’s easy to spend hours exploring the stacks of fabric here. It's no wonder it’s so popular with fashion students.
    9 - macFAB Fabrics

    If you’re looking for high-quality fabrics, look no further than this veteran fabric purveyor. The store has moved a few times, but you can shop textiles from suppliers like Christian Lacroix and Nina Campbell at their location in Leaside.
    10 - Fabric Town

    Head to either Danforth East or Markham Road for this longtime Toronto brand’s affordable selection of materials. Plus, if you become a member (it’s $20 for first-timers) you’ll get 10 per cent off all future purchases.
    11 - Len's Mill Store

    Tucked away on Orfus Road is this massive warehouse store holding hoards of fabric, yarn, and upholstery. Whether you’re making clothes or looking for outdoor-compatible materials, you’ll find it here.

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    Snow tubing hills near Toronto are more plentiful than you might think. While you can pull out the old inner tube and head to some of the city's best toboggan spots, if you're looking for an experience that's a bit more memorable thanks to steeper slopes and dedicated lanes, a winter day trip to these destinations might be in order.

    Here are some amazing hills for snow tubing near Toronto.

    Mount Chinguacousy

    Brampton's Mount Chinguacousy is a short drive away and offers some serious tube runs with nice rubber mats at the bottom to bring your spinning ride to a safe stop. This hill only works for beginner skiers and snowboarders, but it about the perfect size for tubing. 

    Chicopee Tube Park

    Kitchener's Chicopee Tube Park might be the best in Southern Ontario, complete with late hours on Saturday nights for those who would prefer to tube without crashing into children. The runs here are long at 900 feet, and there's a magic carpet to haul you back up the hill.


    This underrated tube park is part of the larger ski resort located in Uxbridge on the Oak Ridges Morraine. The hill starts out steep and then settles into a super long run-out, which you can enjoy once you've picked up your initial speed. 

    Snow Valley

    Head to Barrie for some top notch snow tubing at the aptly named Snow Valley. With 14 chutes and three lifts, a lot of people can enjoy the hill at any given time. The vertical drop here is claimed to be about 10 storeys, which means you can get going very fast on the way down. 


    The nearby Horseshoe Resort also has a tubing setup as part of its winter activity package. There are five chutes here with a wonderfully steep drop off at the top. If you want to do a lot of tubing in a given visit, they have unlimited packages during select times that are a great deal. 


    This is pretty much the ultimate winter weekend getaway destination from Toronto, with an amazing skating trail, over 33 kilometres of groomed cross country ski trails, and a tubing hill that features an open fire pit at the top so that you can warm up as you wait for your next run. 

    Blue Mountain

    It's probably no surprise that Blue Mountain also has tubing on offer. Characterized as a "gentle introduction to the mountain," the runs here are family oriented, but keep reasonably long hours for anyone who wants the thrill of careening downhill without any skiing skills.

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    Spending winter in Toronto can be drab. That's why road trips are essential for lifting the spirit, and the small town of Creemore, Ontario, just north of the city, offers the perfect winter getaway to do just that.

    Creemore is under two hours north of Toronto, just west of Barrie and south of Collingwood. It's best known as the birthplace and headquarters of Creemore Springs Brewery, named for the nearby Mad and Noisy Rivers that serve as a fresh water source for the brew.

    What makes Creemore a great winter getaway, however, isn't just the option to warm up with a local beer (although that's certainly a draw). The town also offers a huge range of winter activities for the outdoor-inclined.

    A post shared by Creemore Views (@creemoreviews) on

    It's located on the Niagara Escapement and falls within the Bruce and Ganaraska trails, meaning that it's surrounded by an abundance of wooded trails that are perfect for snowshoeing, cross country skiing or hiking up the Nottawasaga Bluffs.

    A post shared by Trish Magwood (@trishmagwood) on

    Back in town, Creemore's Mill Street is the main strip and home to a variety of quaint shops that are open all year round. Curiosity House Books is as cute a bookshop as they come, and it often hosts book signings while also doubling as an art gallery.

    If you're looking to stay in Creemore, bed and breakfasts are your best bet. Spots like Emily's Place offer a warm and welcoming experience that includes all the comforts of home while soaking up the idyllic winter landscape.

    If there's still time, it's worth wandering around and checking out the local sites. Creemore is home to some of the best examples of Gothic architecture and some quirkier heritage sites, like North America's smallest jail, apply named 'The Jail'.

    There's also quite the culinary scene in the vicinity. The Creemore Kitchen supper club offers a unique, locally driven dinner experience. Meanwhile, Chez Michel is a top destination for French cuisine.

    A post shared by Rob Nuttall (@robnutty) on

    Creemore is an unsung gem of Ontario's townships and makes for a fulfilling day trip with the option to stick around for longer.

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    The most beautiful indoor spaces in Toronto tend to take a back seat to those found outdoors, but that's a shame given our climate and the wonderful examples of architecture on offer. From historical wonders to cutting edge design, there's a spoil of riches to explore here. 

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    Toronto’s retail scene was on fire this year, with an explosion of international household names making their debuts in the city. No Jollibee-level openings have been announced for 2019 yet, but we will be feeling the presence of some huge—that’s to say, controversial—American brands very soon.  

    Here are some of the most exciting brands coming to Toronto next year.


    The fried chicken behemoth from the States has chosen Toronto as the new home of its first franchisee-owned location ever. It’s slated to open five between sometime next year and 2024, and based on the brand’s human rights record, some in the city aren’t happy.

    L.L. Bean

    This 106-year-old brand is bringing its Americana-style collections of outdoor-wear to the city with its first Canadian storefront. You’ll be able to shop their quintessential bean boots outside of Sporting Life and the Bay.


    Get ready for the resurrection: this classic Canadian discount brand is coming back to life after wiping out in 2001. It plans to open five more by 2020—there used to be more than 50 nationwide—at the same cheap prices.

    The Wing

    New York’s mega-exclusive women’s-only club is opening its first location in Toronto next year. This chic empower space already has headquarters  in New York, Washington and San Francisco, with more than a handful on the way.


    It’s been two years since the arrival of this refined Italian marketplace-meets-eatery was announced. The long-awaited haven for Italophiles will land in Yorkville sometime in 2019; it already has locations in Japan and Turkey.

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    The last Sunday of 2018 is here but there's still plenty of time before your short-lived, improved-self resolutions take place. Indulge yourself with some comedy shows, hit up some burlesque, or maybe take a bread-making course if you want to jump start your temporary commitment to betterment. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    The Bentway Polar Bear Skate (December 30 @ The Bentway)
    A twist on the traditional polar bear dip, skaters strip down and Skate the 8 in their intimates.
    56 Minutes (December 30 @ Comedy Bar)
    This tight stand-up comedy show features comics from Toronto Sketchfest, Baroness Von Sketch show and Kim's Convenience.
    Coffee and Canvas (December 30 @ Fresh Paint Studio (Danforth East))
    Paint away holiday stress with a freestyle paint in the studio and a comforting beverage.
    Burlesque at Cherry Cola's (December 30 @ Cherry Cola's)
    Indulge in Sinful Sundays featuring a fresh lineup of gorgeous burlesque entertainers, drag and variety acts.
    Hysterics, Thin Space, The Black Void, Jerkoff Diary (December 30 @ Handlebar)
    Rebel against family time with four of the best punk bands Toronto has to offer, together in one show.
    Rose Beef (December 30 @ Glad Day Bookshop (Church))
    Hosted by Toronto queen Mikiki Burino, this night of Golden Girls, a curated menu, trivia, and a talk-back is perfect for die-hard fans and casual admirers of Sophia's zingers alike.
    Full-Day Breadmaking Intensive (December 30 @ Paintbox Bistro)
    Whether you're trying to be more self-sustainable or just get that bread, this one-day workshop from artisanal baker Leo J. Baduria is a good exploration of the fundamentals of great bread.
    Dirtbag Cousin (December 30 @ Comedy Bar)
    Part sketch comedy and part improv, this show brings tons of energy and audience participation to Sunday nights.
    Unity (December 30 @ Uniun Nightclub)
    Rock out with dream drag DJ Nina Flowers at the club that never sleeps.
    Hollerado (December 30-31 @ Lee's Palace)
    Hollerado kicks off a two-day event starting with special guest Fred Penner and host Steve Patterson.

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    Free events in Toronto this week run the gamut from family-friendly skating to cerebral films to weird and experimental comedy. With all of these events being offered for free, they're the perfect way to extend the holidays without extending your budget. 

    Events you might want to check out:

    New Year’s Eve (December 31 @ Nathan Phillips Square)
    Ring in 2019 with skating, DJs, and fireworks in one of Toronto's biggest and most fun celebrations.
    Festival of New Formats (January 2 @ Comedy Bar)
    Check out a one-night-only festival of super weird shows with no holding back, and even better, no ticket price.
    European Short Film Festival (January 3 @ Carlton Cinemas)
    Indulge your inner Werner Hertzog with a showcase of the best European short films, totally free.
    Good Enough Live Karaoke (January 3 @ The Rec Room)
    Choose from a list of over 300 songs, and the band (guitars, keys, bass, drums and sometimes saxophone) will call you up on stage to rock out with lyrics on a tablet and a microphone for a great, totally gratis night.
    Really Really Free Market (January 5 @ Campbell Park)
    Swing by this really, really free market where visitors are invited to fill a shopping bag with free treasures within a one-hour time period, with no money, no swapping, and no trades.

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    Toronto seems almost unrecognizable in the 1880s.

    Lacking major landmarks like the Ontario Legislative Building (Queen's Park), E.J. Lennox's City Hall, the Confederation Life Building or the Flatiron/Gooderham Building (all of which were completed in the decade that followed), it's remarkable just how few structures from this period survive today.

    There are, however, plenty of clues that tell you this is our city. Be it the geography, the presence of names like Eaton and Gooderham, the church spires that dot the skyline or the bustle of Yonge Street, there remains something unmistakably "Toronto" about these photos.

    The Toronto of the 1880s was a place in which electric lights and telephone polls were just arriving on the street, asphalt started to be used for roads (1887), streetcars/trolleys were finally allowed to travel on Sundays and the Cathedral Church of St. James was one of the largest buildings in the city.

    Here's what it all looked like.

    Grand Opera House

    Grand Opera House

    Toronto Skyline 1880s


    Toronto Rosedale 1880s

    North Glen Road Bridge

    Toronto 1880s

    Original St. Lawrence Market

    University College 1880s

    University College (U of T)

    Yonge Street 1880s

    Yonge looking south from the YMCA

    Yonge Street Arcade 1880s

    Interior Yonge Street Arcade

    Yonge Street Arcade

    Yonge south of the arcade looking east

    Toronto 1880s

    Looking south across the city

    Eaton's Catalogue 1880s

    1884 Eaton's Catalogue

    Industrial Fair 1880s

    1884 Industrial Fair

    Toronto 1880s

    Horse-drawn streetcar

    Toronto 1880s

    The Red Lion Inn

    Toronto Skyline 1880s

    Waterfront looking east

    Trolley Toronto 1880s

    Two horse car at old North Toronto Station

    Toronto 1880s

    King and York streets

    Toronto Wards 1880s

    Toronto Wards 1889

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