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    It was only a matter of time before Instagram's own Champagne Papi started pushing his own bubbly.

    Introducing Mod Sélection Champagne by Drake: the fruit of a collaboration between the Toronto recording artist and DeLeón Tequila's Brent Hocking.

    The brand promises "the purest expression of balance and terroir" in the world, according to Complex, and it damn well better at $300 a bottle ($400, if you'd rather a rosé).

    Industry publication The Drinks Business reports that the "House of Mod Sélection" has been producing champagne in France's Vallée de la Marne since 1892, and that it prides itself on using only grapes that demonstrate "optimal levels of sugar, acidity, and maturity."

    The champagne will be distributed through Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and two types are available for pre-order now: Mod Réserve, a "distingushed cuvée" and Mod Rosé, "a superb expression of elegance and viticulture."

    Bless this house, indeed, whatever that means in the context of Drake-endorsed wine.


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    Few things define Kensington Market more than the bins of nuts and fruits jutting out onto Baldwin Street outside Salamanca Dry Foods Store. 

    The longtime Peruvian grocery store has been selling dried figs, medjool dates and packs of yerba mate tea for 42 years, and its collection of bulk food dispensers has sat beneath its faded turquoise awning for almost just as long. 

    For the past few months, however, the bins have been nowhere to be found. And according to Salamanca's owner, Vicky, they might not come back. 

    Since January of last year, Salamanca's has been faced with a new yearly fee of $700 to keep their iconic display out front. 

    It's part of a bylaw surrounding the Boulevard Marketing Permit—the application for the permit is $93.45 alone—which allows businesses to operate an outdoor marketing stall. 

    kensington market toronto

    Salamanca has been operating its food bins outside its store for decades until recently.

    Up to this point, Salamanca had been paying for a much cheaper legacy permit, obtained by Vicky's uncle Pablo Cahuas who first opened the store decades ago.

    The bylaw has recently been updated, with increased prices and new limits on the minimum distance from the street. Plus there's been a marked increase of inspections in the Market the past year or so, says Vicky. 

    So, on top of the requirements for a new fireproof and waterproof awning (the cheapest is around $4,500), the cost of smaller bins to fit the one-metre distance rule (about $2,000), insurance, and necessary renos on the store's floor, an outdoor stall just doesn't seem feasible. 

    "It is hard," says Vicky. "That's why we are losing Kensington Market." 

    On top of that, rent is about $3,500 a month, and it's not going to get cheaper. 

    The City has made a public effort to preserve the Market's historic integrity with its Kensington Market Heritage Conservation District Study by freezing demolitions in the area.

    "As a social enclave and market space, the district has long supported diverse and alternative cultural expressions and practices," says the conservation study. 

    "These began with Jewish market in the 1910s, when methods of buying, selling, and displaying goods stood in stark contrast to those of other markets and commercial areas of Toronto." 

    But, at the end of the fiscal day, the freeze might just all be for show.

    Despite acknowledging the importance of outdoor stalls as part and parcel of Kensington's "distinctly vibrant, colourful, and chaotic character," rising property prices and changing bylaws make it impossible for longtime businesses to keep their practices afloat.

    Beloved features like Salamanca's outdoor nut and fruit shop might be a thing of the past, if Vicky isn't able to get things figured out by the summer.

    "Kensington is changing," she says. "That's why [the] city is losing the heart of Toronto." 


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    The art of makeup highlights events in Toronto today as makeup guru James Charles drops by for the day. Elsewhere, DJ Skate Nights returns for some icy grooves while A$AP Rocky hosts a club night. Film, art, music and a paper party are also part of today's fun.

    Events you might want to check out:

    James Charles (January 12 @ Square One Shopping Centre)
    Sisters, rejoice! Beauty vlogger James Charles is dropping by makeup brand Morphe's new Square One location for an in-person meet and greet.
    DJ Skate Nights (January 12 @ Natrel Rink)
    Shimmy, shake and do the Hustle on ice this Saturday as Beam Me Up DJ Diana McNally spins all the best disco, funk, soul, boogie, jazz and more.
    A$AP Rocky (January 12 @ Rebel)
    Rapper A$AP ROCKY is sticking around for another night after his concert to host a night of hot hits alongside Chris La Roque and Mc Stokes.
    Fade Awaays (January 12 @ Horseshoe Tavern)
    Another homegrown talent, Fade Away have been making a name for themselves on the garage rock and are to to release their new EP "Taste of Life."
    Pulp (January 12 @ The Delisle Space)
    Paper and lots of it will adorn the halls of this party space as Pulp hosts a paper art party with art, live music and dancing, all for a good cause.
    Light Time (January 12 @ Stephen Bulger Gallery)
    Artist Sanaz Mazinani takes us on a tour meant to explore how photographs affect visual language, perception and the consumption of images.
    ABBA Dance Party (January 12 @ Mod Club)
    You are the dancing queen at this ABBA dance party celebrating all the best classic pop and disco, new remixes and today's hits playing all night.
    Night On Earth (January 12 @ The Royal Cinema)
    Part of the inaugural Up All Night Fest, Night on Earth hosts an all-star cast of characters in this punk, noir and funny study of cab drivers.
    Bowie vs. Prince Video Dance Party (January 12 @ Remix Lounge)
    It's rock and pop versus funk and soul as DJ Laraus plays all the best tunes and videos by two super-charged sex symbols that changed music forever.
    Cosmic Residents (January 12 @ Red Light)
    A collection of Toronto's own DJ talent is ready to transport you to the stars with a night of spacey house, techno, trap and deep cuts late into the night.

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    Day drinking during the winter in Toronto isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s a method of survival. The effect is twofold: it helps warm you up, and also passes the time while you wait for sunnier weather. Plus, the days are shorter in winter anyway, so it’s not like anyone can really judge you for that long.

    Here are my picks for bars for day drinking during the winter in Toronto.

    Paris Paris

    Open from noon onward and with outlets galore, this is the perfect place at Dundas and Ossington to down a glass or two of fancy wine while you “get some work done this afternoon.”

    Henrietta Lane

    This Corktown place is open from 9 a.m. until last call every day and serves booze from 11 a.m. onward, so there’s no need to opt for boring coffee when meeting up with pals here, while it’s still light out.

    The Rex

    Not only is this old school bar near Osgoode station open from noon every day, there’ll also likely be some live music programming whenever you wander in for an afternoon beer.

    Hemingway’s

    A heated patio at this Yorkville mainstay keeps drinkers cozy whatever the weather.

    Shacklands

    Belgian-style beer produced on the premises is ready to be sampled from noon onward at this Stockyards area craft brewery, but note that with early closing times you’ll have to head somewhere else in the evening.

    Cider House

    Try a huge range of ciders at the Roncesvalles bar during the day on weekends when they open at 11 a.m.

    Liberty Commons

    This Liberty Village headquarters for Big Rock Brewery is open from 11 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends, making it a convenient daytime hangout.

    Broadview Hotel

    There’s a full bar in the lobby cafe area available after 11 a.m. at this hotel at Queen and Broadview, ready to supply any bougie bevvy you require.

    Eastbound Brewing

    Open before noon almost every day, this is a great craft beer bar with a full menu in the Riverside area to go get some day drinking done.

    Brickworks Ciderhouse

    At Queen and Broadview, this all-day restaurant is a great place to spend the afternoon trying out rare kinds of Brickworks craft cider.


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    Vintage photos of Toronto in the winter offer a reminder that snow, ice, and cold temperatures have always been a crucial part of the experience of living in this city.

    There might be fewer ice boats today, but we still try to make the most of the harsh season by tobogganing in our parks, skating on Grenadier Pond, and heading down to the frozen harbour (please be safe). 

    In any case, there's something about the sight of hundreds of people going down tobogganing runs in High Park that is rather exhilarating. 

    Behold, what winter looked like in Toronto a century ago. 

    vintage winter toronto

    12-horse team pulling snow sweeper, 1890s.

    vintage winter toronto

    That's a lot of coal! Toronto skyline in 1904.

    vintage winter toronto

    Sleighing at Queen's Park in 1906. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snowy University Avenue 1908. You can see Queens Park peeking out in the background. 

    vintage winter toronto

    High Park toboggan runs circa 1910. 

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    Ice fishing, Centre Island 1909. 

    vintage winter toronto

    An apparently huge toboggan at Christie Pits in 1909. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Parking at the Old City Hall quadrangle in 1910.

    vintage winter toronto

    Kew Beach in 1911. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snowball fight in Rosedale Ravine back in 1912. 

    vintage winter toronto

    A propeller sled! Toronto Bay in 1912.

    vintage winter toronto

    A frozen pier near the Eastern Gap in 1912.

    vintage winter toronto

    Ice-encased church post-fire on Carleton Street 1912. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Ice boats on the harbour in 1912. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Hockey at Christie Pits in 1912. 

    vintage winter toronto

    High Park in 1913. 

    vintage winter toronto

    High Park tobogganing in 1914. 

    vintage winter toronto

    High Park toboggan runs in 1914. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Wychwood Barns in 1915. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Trinity College Gates in 1916. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Bloor Viaduct under construction in 1917. 

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    A frozen and very industrial-looking Toronto Bay in 1920.

    vintage winter toronto

    Ice boats in front of the Harbour Commission Building in 1920.

    vintage winter toronto

    Glen Road bus in 1923. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snow plough in 1924. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snowstorm on Richmond Street in 1929. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snowy Casa Loma in 1936. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snow blower at night in 1943. 

    vintage winter toronto

    The great snowstorm of 1944.

    vintage winter toronto

    Looking up Bay St. during the great snowstorm of 1944. 

    vintage winter toronto

    Snowstorm at John and King 1961 (can that driver see out of the back window?). 


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    Chicken wings in Toronto run the gamut from conventional pub grub offerings to sticky Asian-inspired styles. From fried Buffalo wings and Korean varieties to smokehouse specialities, this quintessential finger food is as diverse as the city itself.

    Here are my picks for the top chicken wings in Toronto by neighbourhood.

    Annex

    Deep fried wings at The Dirty Bird come in flavours like dry & dirty, Buffalo, sticky honey garlic, and jerk BBQ. Order them by the pound, half pound, or piled on top a maple buttered waffle.

    Avenue & Lawrence

    Drums & Flats is a dedicated wing joint that offers the choice of just drumettes, just flats, or mixed. You can order them wet, dry, or double dipped in over a dozen flavours including Mango Jerk and Ragin' Cajun.

    Baldwin Village

    Move over blue cheese, Ramyun chicken wings at Mo'Ramyun are best dipped in garlic mayo and sweet chili. The unique riff on Korean fried chicken is encased in crispy noodles and deep fried.

    Beaches

    Smoked bird wings at Hogtown Smoke start with organic chicken seasoned with a spicy rub. They smoke for two hours in the wood fired pit and then take a bath in the deep fryer before being painted in a choice of sauce. Each order comes with house-made chipotle ranch dip.

    Bloor West Village

    Bryden's is an excellent source for cheap-yet-delicious chicken wings. Discover wing deals all day Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    Bloorcourt

    Get your wing fix at Hurricane's Roadhouse where a pound of wings can be had grilled or fried and tossed in a choice of over 10 sauces including Cane's sweet heat, honey garlic or jerk.

    Bloordale Village

    Duffy's Tavern does their cheap wing nights on Tuesday and Wednesday where you can grab a pound for just $5. Order them in all your standard flavours like mild, medium and hot. 

    Brockton Village

    Brewery, bottle shop and restaurant Lot 30 Brewers does chicken wings by the pound. Order them in flavours of honey garlic, BBQ, honey sriracha and mango habanero.

    Canary District

    Dock Ellis' larger sibling The Aviary Brewpub does a must-try pastrami dry spice wings. They are part of a list of pickle-brined Ontario chicken wings, the other options being jerk, general tao and fermented hot sauce.

    Corso Italia

    Barbecue purveyor Earlscourt BBQ serves up their four-hour smoked wings by the plate, with ribs, and in their pit master platter. 

    Danforth

    Head on over to Auld Spot Pub for a plate of big, juicy chicken drummies. Have them sauced in classic Buffalo style or opt for honey hot, BBQ or scotch bonnet flavours.

    Chicken Wings Toronto

    Mantra is dishing out wings live you've never had before. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Don Mills

    Mantra is where you can get your fill of something a bit untraditional. Tandoori chicken wings get tossed in housemade BBQ tandoori sauce and cooked directly in the oven.

    Dundas West

    The Dyno wings at Hanmoto aren't your typical chicken wings. An order of these features gyoza filling stuffed into a de-boned wing that's deep fried and finished with a drizzle of Kewpie mayo and a sprinkling of nori, cilantro, and hot peppers.

    East York

    La Famiglia Pizza is the type of pizzeria that everyone outside the delivery zone should be envious of. Not only does this joint offer pizzas, pastas, hot subs and garlic knots, but the wings are lustful.

    Entertainment District

    Ancho chicken wings add variety to the taco-centric menu at La Carnita. Wings here are deep fried 'til crisp then tossed in a coconut cream, cilantro, crispy shallot, pepitas, and an ancho lime bbq sauce.

    Etobicoke

    Crowds flock to Sloppy Joe's for the 80 cent wings on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Flavours are relatively standard and include hot, honey garlic and dry rub cajun spice.

    Financial District

    Real Sports serves up massive and flavourful flappers by the half dozen in 10 flavours including unique ones like Thai chili, butter chicken and lime salt. 

    Kensington Market

    Toronto's first bar to specialize in Japanese rice wine Koi Koi Sake Bar does soy chicken wings which offer about a pound of meat topped with green onions and sesame seeds.

    King West

    Get your wet naps ready at the Wheat Sheaf because the specially seasoned wings served 10 per order demands that you roll-up your sleeves and dive right in. Customary carrots, celery and blue cheese dip are included while the selection of sauces ranges from mild to suicide.

    Koreatown

    Crispy breaded wings dominate the menu at Clinton's Tavern. Sauces on the side include varying degrees of hot sauce plus unique options like smoky BBQ and Thai chili. 

    Little Italy

    Authentic Buffalo wings ranging from mild to Armageddon are the specialty at Duff's Famous Wings. Order a single flavour by the pound with celery and dill dipping sauce on the side.

    Parkdale

    The menu at Grand Electric is heavy on the taco offerings but it also includes chicken wings, which consist of mole dusted chicken wings topped with valentinas, crema and sesame.

    Queen West

    Chimac specializes in Korean fried chicken and wings are available breaded or un-breaded with your choice of sauces like lemon pepper, BBQ and honey garlic. 

    Riverside

    It's not just fun and games at Toronto's bocce bar Lob. They boast a menu full of pub grub including  Nashville hot chicken wings which come served with butter pickles and a tasty side of lemon aioli sauce.

    Roncesvalles Village

    Barque Smokehouse does jumbo smoked chicken wings either dry rubbed or sauced up.

    Chicken Wings Toronto

    Wet naps are a must when you're visiting Crown & Dragon. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

    Rosedale

    Over two dozen unique flavours of giant wings served baked or fried are on the menu at the Crown & Dragon. Standouts flavours include Holy Haberno, Roadside Lemonade and Bollywood.

    Scarborough

    If you love wings as much as you love steampunk, Victorian Monkey is the spot for you. Their garlic parm wings are solid, and they also have honey hot, sticky sesame, and cajun dry rub flavours.

    Thornhill

    Blazing fire chicken wings are the thing to get at the Korean fried chicken joint Home of Hot Taste

    Upper Beaches

    The Green Dragon is a pub known for their tasty chicken wings. Get 'em sauced up in classic flavours like mild, medium and hot. 

    West Queen West

    Chow down on chicken wings while watching the big game at Dog & Bear. They are doing flavours like Buffalo, BBQ and honey garlic.

    Woodbridge

    Memphis BBQ is a divey roadhouse on Islington slinging wings either smoked or fried. Opt for the smoked, which are marinated overnight before being smoked for four hours and then glazed and finished on the grill for a little flame-licked flavour.

    Yonge & Bloor

    The Bishop and the Belcher does roaster wings by the pound. Get them tossed with your choice of mild, medium, hot, chipotle, sriracha, or sticky sesame garlic sauces. Each order is served with fries and choice of chunky blue cheese or house dill dip.

    Yonge & Dundas

    Meaty slow smoked wings coated in dry rub seasoning at Lou Dawg's are sold by the pound. Have them plain or tossed in one of the finger licking house BBQ sauces.

    Yonge & Lawrence

    Smoked chicken wings are a standout on the menu at Stack Restaurant. Wings are seasoned with their own Memphis rub and served with slaw and garlic dipping sauce. 

    Yorkville

    The Pilot slings wings by the pound with veggie sticks and ranch dip supplied on the side to offer reprieve from spicy flavours like kamikaze.


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    While there might not be natural hot springs to be found near Toronto, judging by the popularity of the closest Nordic spa to the city, any chance to unwind outdoors in heated pools seems to be a very attractive thing for city folk accustomed to taking refuge in the PATH all winter.

    Mercifully, you don't have to drive for hours and hours to enjoy this experience. Located in Caledon about an hour northwest of Toronto, the Millcroft Inn offers a number of hot spring pools as part of its on-site spa facilities. 

    The outdoor area at Millcroft isn't quite as scenic as the more wooded grounds at Scandinave, but it's also closer to the city and just as pretty. The hot springs are at their best following a snowfall, when the contrast is starkest between the landscape and pools. 

    As far as the outdoor offerings go, Millcroft has two hot springs that hover at 40 C, one polar plunge pool at 7 C, and more neutral pool that's heated to 30 C (which still feels blissfully warm when it's -10 C outside).

    Inside, there's an indoor pool, steam room, a Finnish sauna, and a fitness facility. Access to the spa facilities varies in price, so call ahead. You can also book online.

    I'm not going to wax on about the health benefits of contrast hydrotherapy, but rotating between hot and cold baths is unbelievably relaxing if you've never tried it, and somehow the experience feels all the more special when it's outdoors.  


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    Ski hills and clubs near Toronto are nestled around the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine.

    While not a bonafide skiing destination, Ontario's geography does allow for a decent downhill experience, especially for beginners and those who haven't been exposed to the longer runs available in Europe and the west coast.

    Here are my picks for the top ski hills and clubs near Toronto.

    Blue Mountain

    The largest ski resort in Ontario, Blue Mountain is also one of the best kept. There are 14 lifts and over 40 trails to choose from, with a healthy range of difficulty levels. It's pricey at $74 for a full weekday pass ($84 on weekends), but you can get a lot of runs in thanks to the high capacity of the resort.

    Mount St. Louis Moonstone

    Another ski resort with great capacity, Mount St. Louis is often the choice of those making day trips. At just over an hour away from Toronto, the lack of on-resort accommodation doesn't diminish the popularity. There are over 35 trails and 12 lifts.

    Hockley Valley

    If you're looking for a ski getaway that's close to Toronto, Hockley is one of your best bets. With 16 trails for skiing and snowboarding, a half pipe, and decent on-site accommodation, you can focus on your traversing through the day before resting up to do it all over again. Day passes start at $58.

    Horseshoe Resort

    Horseshoe has 29 runs, a snowboard half pipe, and a ton of trails for cross country skiing. It's also a full-service resort with overnight accommodations, and a spa. It's significantly smaller than Blue Mountain, but it's closer and tends to be less busy. There's night skiing all over the hill. A 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. pass goes for $54.

    Hidden Valley

    A smaller resort, Hidden Valley is a great spot for beginners and families. The trails aren't so challenging and the hill has a rather low capacity, but it's laid back and geared toward folks who don't need Black Diamond trails to have a good time on the hill. A 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. pass costs $55.

    Dagmar

    Dagmar Resort is located in the Oak Ridges Moraine between Ajax and Whitby. Here you have access to 17 runs of a whole range of varying difficulties. Along with four chairlifts and two carpet lifts for both day and nighttime skiing, there's also a coffee lounge and restaurant with licensed bar at the resort for a little apres ski.

    Lakeridge

    Lakeridge Resort is also in the Oak Ridges Moraine in Uxbridge, Ontario. It has more than 20 runs spread over 70 acres, with black diamond trails for experts as well as beginner hills. There are also mogul runs and three dedicated snowboard terrain parks. While hours vary depending on the day and time of year, night skiing is generally available until 9:30 p.m.

    Glen Eden

    Glen Eden has two major selling points: 1) it's extremely close to Toronto, and 2) it's reasonably priced. Passes range from $30 to $41. It's not a big hill by any stretch, but there's a terrain park and even a tubing field for kids who have yet to master skiing.

    Brimacombe

    Brimacombe is a not-for-profit initiative in Orono, Ontario, between Oshawa and Port Hope. It has 23 slopes of varying difficulty, 11 of which are open for night skiing. There are also two chalets with cafeterias, four quad chairlifts, and professional instruction available. Prices vary widely based on your visit, and are customizable and affordable.

    Mansfield

    Mansfield is a private ski resort with a variety of membership options available for midweek visits. With seven lifts and 17 slopes, there's decent variety in a resort is geared for families. There's nothing too challenging here, but you won't be kept waiting.


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    The most beautiful places in Toronto during the winter offer sweeping views of snow-covered trees and frozen lake vistas. Even if you've lived in the city all your life, it's still remarkable to witness the beautiful transformation it undergoes when encased in ice and drench in snow.


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    If you're willing to wrap up and brave the cold, events in Toronto today are ready to welcome the warmth with music, film, comedy and art. The No Pants Subway Ride returns to a subway car near you and the Trinity Bellwoods Flea is ready to kick off the new year with a big flea.

    Events you might want to check out:

    No Pants Subway Ride (January 13 @ TTC)
    Strip it down and hop on at Improv Everywhere's annual No Pants Subway Ride happening alongside pants-less subway rides all over the world.
    Trinity Bellwoods Flea (January 13 @ The Great Hall)
    Pick yourself up some post-holiday treats with local creators coming together to sell lifestyle, home, art, food and lots more to help kick off the new year.
    When The Curtain Rises (January 13 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
    The first of three free films in this series, When The Curtain Rises tells the story about getting through difficult times with the help of family and friends.
    The Time Machete (January 13 @ Comedy Bar)
    Comedians are ready to delve into the absurd with an alt-comedy show starring Nick Nemeroff, Harris Weinreb, Rebecca Reeds and Marito Lopez.
    WedLuxe Show (January 13 @ The Carlu)
    Wedding season is fast approaching and this show is dedicated to the newest in the world of unique, fantasy, whimsy, dreamy and luxury weddings.
    Her Sound (January 13-14 @ Buddies in Bad Times)
    The stories of ancient women are re-imagined in the contemporary context and being told, with all proceeds going to Diva Day.
    Magnolia (January 13-25 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox)
    Paul Thomas Anderson's intertwining tale of folks living out their lives in California is screening as part of TIFF's series on movies from 1999.
    Artist Showcase (January 13 - June 30 @ The Cavern Bar)
    Local artists are all welcome to coming out and perform covers, new songs and works-in-progress and get feedback from peers and the audience.
    Art of The North (January 10-13 @ The Lounge at Live Nation)
    There's still another day to drop by and see a huge body of pieces inspired by the Toronto Raptors by over 40 international and local artists.
    Up All Night Fest (January 11-13 @ The Royal Cinema)
    It's the last day to check out this new film festival dedicated to cult films from acclaimed directors that all contain one-night narratives.

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    The top historical buildings in Toronto are the foundation of this city's architectural legacy.

    For all the complaining about a lack of history here, when you sit down to think about it, it becomes clear that we're blessed with ample structural connections to our past. From gorgeous gothic churches to stately skyscrapers, Toronto's history is alive and beautiful.


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    Few natural wonders match ice caves when it comes to sheer winter beauty. Even if you've somehow managed to dodge seeing the movie Frozen, you probably have a sense for how alluring a remote palace of ice can be. 

    While there are a few small-scale ice caves within day trip distance of Toronto, the true beauties are located further north. The Lake Superior shoreline is often cited for its majestic ice formations, but you don't actually have to drive quite so far.

    Manitoulin Island has one of the most epic ice caves around thanks to its Bridal Veil Falls, which is a popular summer destination. You can actually swim under this picturesque waterfall in July and August, but come winter, your exploration options are even more incredible.

    Thanks to the shelf that creates the waterfall, hikers who make their way here during the coldest months can sometimes walk behind the frozen waterfall. It's not always safe to do so based on ice conditions, but many who've done it have stunning images of the ice tunnel.

    You don't actually have to enter the cave to soak up the extreme beauty of the place, which is about as close to a true winter wonderland as you're going to find. The main trail leads directly to the foot of the falls, though it can be a challenging hike through deep snow. 

    For adventurous winter explorers, however, the pay-off is big. Already this year, there are an array of incredible photos of the falls, both from in front and behind the frozen cascade of water.

    Manitoulin Island is about a six hour trip in the winter, so if it's just frozen waterfalls that you're after, a short journey to Hamilton might be time better spent. For hardcore winter explores, however, Bridal Veil Falls can't be beat. 


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    Few winter activities match the unbridled fun of shuttling down a snow-covered hill on a giant inner tube. Fortunately, the area surrounding Toronto is populated with plenty of dedicated tubing hills when inner city toboggan runs aren't thrilling enough.

    If there's a tubing experience that really sticks out, however, it's the late night sessions you can do at Chicopee Tube Park in Kitchener. This dedicated facility about an hour west of Toronto features six chutes that descend 250 feet over a 900 foot run.

    The park is a popular day trip destination from Toronto and can get very busy with families during the day on weekends, but the best time to go is Saturday nights, when the little kids have been carted off to bed and you can fly down the hill underneath dark skies.

    During the winter months, the park is open from 9 p.m. until 12 a.m. for night tubing on Saturdays, which offers plenty of time for careening downhill but also for warm-up sessions in the sprawling lodge (yes, it's licensed!) that overlooks the mountain.

    Midnight tubing is definitely a blast in a place like Riverdale Park, but the presence of a magic carpet to help you back up the hill makes Chicopee even more alluring. 

    Adult admission on Saturday nights comes in at $25, which gets you three hours of tubing if you arrive on time. Tubes are provided on site.


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    Free events in Toronto are a reminder that while it's cold out, there's still plenty to do that won't break the bank. The Toronto Light Festival returns with bright and beautiful works to lift the spirts while the Women's March is back to shed light on the fight for equality.

    Events you might want to check out:

    DJ Skate Nights (January 19 @ Natrel Rink)
    One of the city's best themed dance parties takes to the ice as Synthesexer DJs play all the best alt-electro, indie dance, synth-pop and italo disco.
    Love Design Party (January 19 @ Gladstone Ballroom)
    Part of the Come Up To My Room exhibition, this party looks to celebrate all things design with a hotel-wide evening of dancing, drinks and design.
    Women's March (January 19 @ Nathan Phillips Square)
    With still lots of work left to do, the Women's March returns to bring awareness to show solidarity with women around the world fighting for equality.
    Toronto Light Festival (January 18 - March 3 @ Distrillery District)
    A light comes through the darkness as The Distillery District is once again home to installations that shine bright during the winter months.
    Ice Breakers (January 19 - February 24 @ Multiple Venues)
    A big ball of cables, wooden buoys and a spiral archway are just some of the large-scale installations set to pepper the downtown waterfront this winter.

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    Winter is usually a mess of ice and snow in Toronto, but it's not common for them to be called the "worst winter ever." Yes, it can be face-freezingly cold, but taking a long view it might not seem so bad. 

    Trying to identify the "worst" winter is, however, difficult. Some were snowy, some were cold, some were both, some featured massive one-off snowstorms while others were a matter of attrition with snow falling for weeks on end.

    In recent memory, the winter of 2013/2014 was certainly the worst. The season started with a crippling ice storm and turned into one of the coldest in the last quarter century. Still, if you look back further, there's plenty of competition out there. 

    toronto snow 2008

    A streetcar dashes through the cold in 2008. Photo by Stephen Gardiner.

    Prior to 2013/2014, the most obvious candidate for worst winter was the 2007/2008 season, when 194 cm of snow—just 13 cm shy of the all-time record—fell during a single frigid season. What made that year so unusual was that it followed two extremely dry winters when just 60 cm fell from November to March.

    For comparison, the winter average is around 115 cm. Still, if we're defining "worst" in terms of snow, then it'd foolish not to mention the winter of 1999, which lives on in infamy thanks to the mega-storm we received in mid-January. 

    toronto snowstorm

    The army digs out Toronto, rendering the city the butt of jokes for years to come.

    The blizzard of Jan 14 and 15, 1999 was the final nail in the coffin in what had already been an usually white few weeks. A total of 118.4 cm of snow fell over 14 days that month, piled into waist-high drifts that shut down the subway and airport and forced numerous businesses to simply give up and stay closed.

    It probably would have been okay if the snow had melted between storms, as it often does in Toronto, but each successive storm added to the pile. After a monster storm deposited another 27 cm, pushing some drifts over a metre high, mayor Mel Lastman called in 400 soldiers to help with the shovelling.

    It's a moment that the city will never live down. Yet, it wasn't actually the worst storm in Toronto's history. 

    toronto snowstorm

    The Great Snowstorm of 1944 wreaked havoc on Toronto. 

    Winter storms don't come much worse than the one that buried Toronto starting on Dec. 12, 1944. Beginning in the early hours of the morning, hours of heavy snow piled into half-metre drifts that buried downtown buildings up to the first-floor windows.

    Phones rang off the hook in the coroner's office as men all over the city suffered coronaries trying to tackle the snow. At Queen and Mutual, a streetcar tipped onto its doors, killing one and injuring 43.

    Eaton's and Simpson's, rival Queen Street department stores, were closed by weather for the first time in their histories.

    Twenty-one people died in Ontario as a direct result of the storm that had the city drafting schoolboys and garbage workers to help clear streetcar tracks. With that level of tragedy, it hardly matters what the rest of the season was like when evaluating the worst winter in the city's history. 

    toronto 1938 winter

    Snow was a constant presence during the winter of 1937-1938.

    Still, there are other candidate for the title, reaching back further. The winter of 1937-38, for instance, still lays claim to the title of snowiest on record.

    More than two metres of snow—207.4 cms to be precise—dropped on Ontario that year and wild weather in Toronto caused highway pile-ups, bus crashes, and damage to the boats on the waterfront. In January, a powerful storm halted practically all streetcar service; hundreds waited in freezing shelters for vehicles that would never arrive.

    toronto iceboat

    Ice-boating was as popular as ever in 1912.

    If all that snow sounds bad, it might seem less awful when compared to the coldest winter season ever recorded in Toronto, which can be traced back to 1912

    It takes a lot to freeze Lake Ontario. Its southerly location relative to the other Great Lakes, extreme depth, and impressive width mean the lake stays mostly ice-free through even the coldest of cold snaps—but not in 1912.

    A perishing blast of arctic weather—the worst of the last 119 years—caused the lake to freeze a metre thick near Toronto, allowing skaters to reach Rochester, if they desired. There were even races between cars and iceboats on the Toronto Bay.

    No winter has delivered a freeze as long and intense as the one experienced in January and February 1912. For 56 days the temperature was below -10 C. To make matters worse, 143 cm of snow fell over the same period, more than we've had in recent memory.

    I think we have a winner.


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    New restaurants in Toronto are being noticed more for what they’re not doing lately: taking reservations. This might sound inconvenient at first, but a lot of these smaller spots are doing off-the-cuff menus inspired by street food in foreign countries.

    Here's a round-up of new restaurants in Toronto that don’t take reservations.

    Adelina

    This new Russian restaurant in Harbord Village is walk-ins only after 6:30 p.m.

    Seoul Shakers

    It’s first come, first serve at this Bloordale Korean restaurant if you can find it hidden behind a veil of graffiti and metal grating.

    Parallel 

    Prepare to wait for a table for a fabulous Middle Eastern weekend brunch including hummus made with tahini produced on site at this Geary Avenue cafe.

    Vit Beo

    This Bloorcourt Vietnamese restaurant has very limited seating so there are no reservations to get a taste of their delicious pho.

    Ryus Noodle Bar

    There are no reservations for seats at this legendary ramen shop right near Broadview station, so it’s best of luck if you want to cross it off your bucket list.


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    Coffee shops for a work meeting in Toronto are the perfect place to go if you don’t have a readily available office space handy. They can be much nicer and more professional places to conduct business than your apartment, plus, you don’t have to make the coffee.

    Here are my picks for coffee shops that are good spots for a work meeting in Toronto.

    Boxcar Social Temperance 

    Mingle more freely in open areas or gather around tables at this conveniently located Financial District extension of a popular cafe bar.

    Balzac’s Powerhouse 

    A ton of space and a chill yet classy environment at this Davenport Village cafe make for a great place to meet up and make big plans.

    Dineen Outpost 

    Nothing says business like marble, and this Leslieville cafe has lots of it. Plus, once the coffees are drained and the deals are signed, celebrate with a sophisticated cocktail.

    Propeller 

    Big tables and WiFi make this cafe on Wade near Lansdowne and Bloor ideal for spreading out and getting stuff done.

    Jimmy’s 100 

    Lots of nooks and crannies within this multi-level cafe near King and Portland are perfect for hashing out even the most private of matters. There’s even a boardroom you can book if you want to be really professional.

    Neo Coffee Bar 

    Great pour over and minimalist design will help focus the mind for an early morning meeting at this cafe at the corner of Frederick and King East.

    Pilot Coffee Ossington 

    This has become one of Toronto’s favourite roasters, and their space on Ossington is now a favourite place to meet up for work.

    Shy Coffee Co. 

    Big, beautiful windows illuminate great new ideas at this equally novel coffee shop near King and Bathurst complete with lush plants and inviting seating.

    Rooster Coffee House Jarvis 

    Conveniently located near Bloor and Jarvis, this cafe has glowy hanging lamps and sleek black furniture to set an impressive tone.

    Odin

    The airy Scandinavian design of this Corktown cafe will inspire new levels of productivity at work meetings held here.


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    New cocktails that appear on the bar scene in Toronto always get drinkers to bend an elbow, but these are the most stunning new creations you absolutely have to try. Pretty as paintings but much better tasting (and intoxicating), when greeted with these newly created cocktails you won’t know whether to pull out your phone or your portable stainless steel straw.

    Here are my picks for new cocktails in Toronto you need to try.

    The Modern Martini Pairing

    Don Alfonso 1890 does the ultimate deconstructed martini if you can afford the $32 price tag, based on your choice of gin or vodka accompanied by pearls of olive oil, lemon, vermouth and scotch that you pop in your mouth to create the sensation of different martini styles. 

    toronto cocktails

    Fino Berry    

    This cocktail at Seoul Shakers shows off an unlikely pairing that goes down almost too easily: pomegranate and cucumber, with Tio Pepe, Dillon’s gin and lemon rounding it out perfectly.

    toronto cocktails

    Baijiu    

    Big Trouble sells baijiu (a Chinese grain alcohol) by the bottle, which can mean big trouble for your willpower. It comes in an herbal tea or mangosteen lemon flavour.

    toronto cocktails

    Blooming Love    

    This flower-garnished cocktail from Blua is made from an unusual but lovely combination of Greek yogurt, apricot jam, peach, lemon and vodka. 

    cocktails toronto

    Smoke & Coke

    The name of this cocktail is fitting seeing as it’s found at an Entertainment District Argentinian restaurant called Casa Fuego. Smoked cocktails are all the rage lately. This combination of whiskey, vermouth, Mexican coke syrup and oak bitters is presented in a transparent dome.

    toronto cocktails

    Grammatology    

    This cocktail from Mulberry Bar is an ode to both Derrida and scotch, with Laphroaig, Famous Grouse, gomme syrup, pear liqueur and a fresh pear garnish. 

    toronto cocktails

    Pasquale’s Daughter    

    Butterfly-pea-flower-infused vodka combined with lemon lends a pretty purple hue to this cocktail of cucumber, Cointreau and simple syrup made even prettier by a cucumber ribbon and Aperol pearls at Bar Altura.

    toronto cocktails

    Second Breakfast   

    The Hobbit lends inspiration to this cocktail at Casa La Palma made with Earl Grey and jam-like house cordial, plus gin and a Lambrusco “sunrise.”

    toronto cocktails

    Labora Cola

    This trompe l’oeil at Labora is achieved by carbonating dark amber, Iris Dorado and garnishing with a lemon wheel so it looks like an ordinary Coke, but the truth is much boozier.

    toronto cocktails

    Holy Wolf    

    Grey Tiger has this tiki style drink uniquely based on cachaca, and it just keeps getting more unusual from there with Calvados, pink grapefruit water kefir, pineapple falernum, sherry, salted coconut, lime and mole bitters. 


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    The most hated new condos developments in Toronto have really rubbed the citizenry the wrong way. These incoming projects are usually towering buildings breaking bylaws, cutting through communities, or set to replace historic homes. That or they're just plain old ugly, if renderings are anything to go by.

    Here are my picks for the most hated condo developments in the city. 

    321 Davenport

    Margaret Atwood hates it, and she wrote the Handmaid's Tale, which means if we don't want to plunge headfirst into a dystopian future of real estate, we should hate it too, right? This eight-storey, condo in the Annex has been accused of violating bylaws due to its height, and will definitely stick out like a glassy sore thumb when its finished.

    The Bread Company

    Replacing the smell of sweet, sweet bread with the dust of construction, this 19-storey condo is set to rise up from the ashes of the old two-storey Silverstein's Bakery in Baldwin Village. As locals lament the loss of freshly-baked rye and bagels (homey baked goods: priceless) it's worth noting the property set Lamb Development back $24 million. 

    XO Condos

    Development and social services-wise, Parkdale has had it rough. Despite protesting the 17-storey and 14-storey buildings at King and Dufferin, the corner will soon be home to this duo of massive Lifetime Developments condos. Keep your high-end units (and all your kissy-face ads), we want affordable housing and Island Foods

    351 Queen East

    The corner of Queen and Parliament is slated to be the home of an austere 29-storey condo from ONE Properties, that, according the public, isn't very easy on the eyes. By 2021, you can expect to see a bulky, stair-like grey construct from Kirkor Architects that is sure to stick out in quirky Corktown with its disproportionate massing. 

    One Front

    Toronto's historic Dominion Public Building—which curves beautifully along Front Street—is about to get two phallic rental towers poking out of it thanks its recent purchase by Larco Investments. People are pretty horrified by its design so far: goodbye heritage Beaux Arts, hello the ROM of condos

    The Dale

    A heritage designation doesn't hold much weight in this town, hence approved plans to turn a bungalow in Toronto's South Rosedale Heritage Conservation District into a 26-unit luxury condo. Despite the fact the Hariri Pontarini design is actually quite nice, the My Rosedale Neighbourhood group wasn't having it—not in their backyards.

    M2M Condos

    Newtonbrook Plaza may not hold nostalgic value for everyone, but the Food Basics that sits inside of it sure hold some nutritional value for locals. This 50-year-old grocery store will soon fall victim to not one but five condos in a process that'll be dragged out over a decade. You've got to feel sorry for the residents of the low-rise apartment next door. 


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    An old sign that could possibly date all the way back to the 1930s has been uncovered in Parkdale after being hidden from sight for years. 

    The metal piece, which shows the outline of the name Parkdale Millinery, can be seen hanging above the property at 1412 Queen St. West. 

    It was revealed during renovations late last year, when contractors took down the sign belonging to the previous business, Happy Kids World. 

    The children's clothing store has since closed down (owner Hoang Le had operated the space as Le's Fashion before that) and is now in the process of becoming the new location of local bike shop MetroCycleTO.

    "I'd like to preserve the oldness of it," says MetroCycle's owner Gordon Robb.

    Though Robb's been a longtime resident in the neighbourhood and had been operating MetroCycle just down the street at 1266 Queen St. West since 2009, he says he'd never heard of Parkdale Millinery before the historic sign was revealed. 

    There isn't much information about the business online. It is, however, listed in the Ontario Jewish Archives database as belonging to someone named Arthur Levine, according to a Jewish businesses directory dating back to 1931

    It's cool to imagine the sign might possibly be the original from the Parkdale Millinery's tenure, back when Parkdale was one of the most desirable places to live

    The building at 1412 Queen St. West itself, which sits at the top of Queen and Dunn, was built in 1881, according to the Sunnyside Historical Society site. 

    Thankfully business names were pretty cut and dry back then, so we can safely assume that the millinery was in the business of making and dealing hats (maybe the kind Lucille Ball wore back in the day).

    Unfortunately the wooden lettering screwed into the metal board has disappeared since contractors first unveiled the thing, but Robb says he hopes to incorporate the Parkdale portion of the sign into his own signage with a little TLC for when MetroCycle opens in March 1. 


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