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Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Entertainment, Food & Recipes, Lifestyle talk

Top Food and Drink Festivals in Toronto

December 17, 2014

food and drink festivals in torontoIn the past couple of years, Toronto has become a destination for food and drink enthusiasts. In addition to the number of innovative and ethnic offerings available (not to mention those cheap eats), there have been just as many creative food festivals and events. Here are a few of our favourite food and drink festivals in Toronto that’s happening this holiday season into 2015:

Drake Does Chrismukkah
December 19, 2014 6pm
Before the Christmas crunch, feast on the best of various cultural traditions of the holiday season at The Drake Hotel. The hearty meal (including prime rib, yorkshire pudding, latkes, and apple crumble among the samplings) is only $29.95. Reserve in advance before December 19 to participate in this cheerful occasion.

Guest Chef Pop-Up Series at Drake One Fifty
January 20-21, 2015
This fun injection of the Drake Hotel in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District hosts some of the best chefs from North America and beyond. The first pop-up dinner of 2015 will feature a Portuguese fusion menu from David Santos, ex Per Se, and now of Louro in NYC.

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival
January 31, 2015 11am-5pm
Just steps away from our 300 Front Street property, sample craft brew from over 20 breweries at the Winter Craft Beer Festival. Hosted by the Steam Whistle Bfood and drink festivals in torontorewery and just outside its doors at the Roundhouse Park, warm up over the outdoor fires with beer in glass sample mugs from great breweries like Oast House Brewers, Flying Monkeys, and Lake of Bays. Food trucks will also be on site if you get hungry. The first 500 attendees at the gates will get a free festival toque.

Recipe for Change 2015
February 26, 2015, 6-9pm
Recipe for Change is FoodShare Toronto’s annual fundraiser for innovative school food programs and sustainability within the food industry. This party brings together over 30 exciting chefs, two craft brewers and four wineries at the historic St. Lawrence Market. It’s a fun party for a great cause.

Whether you’re in town for a quick visit or on business, or you are staying in a furnished apartment rental or suite for the long term, these festivals are a tasty way to stay warm throughout the winter.

Community Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1950s

December 10, 2014

Toronto in the 1950s The Toronto in the 1950s was still growing and pre-dated the era of skyscrapers which started to boom in the 1960s. After the Second World War, many British children were sent to Toronto for safety while their fathers were in the war. The city continued to expand into the suburbs and it was officially a major city in this era. A mark of Toronto’s prosperity was the construction of the Yonge Subway–it opened to the public in 1954– and a highway to the suburbs, which were located in Don Mills, at the time.

With the end of the war and the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947 (LINK TO 1920s post here), Toronto boomed and made way for an influx of immigrants. Germans, Italians, and Eastern Europeans were our first major wave of our multicultural community. British immigration was on the decline by 20 percent. This pattern continued into the 1960s, with an exotic mix of newcomers including more Europeans, West Indians, South Asians, and Vietnamese.

Residents moved back downtown from the suburbs in the 1960s and this is when the core started to thrive. Yorkville was not the tony neighbourhood of affluent people it is now. Rather, it was the hippie capital of the metropolis, chock full of coffeehouses where legends like Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot performed.

Though Toronto in the 1950s might have not been as exciting as the Toronto of other eras, it was still a definitive period of the growth of our urban landscape, which thrived into the 60s and 70s.

Photos

 

Community Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto History

Toronto in the 1920s

December 5, 2014

Toronto in the 1920sIf you take a look at Toronto’s skyline today, it is hard to imagine what it was like back in the 1920s when there wasn’t a skyline along Lake Ontario. Toronto was a port city and became the chief aviation centre for Canada during the first World War.

Its mining boom fueled Bay Street, renowned as being the centre of the city’s financial district. An influx of immigrants were starting to settle here, mainly from the British Empire. Far from being the multicultural and diverse metropolis it is today, there was a lot of hostility towards immigrants. The most famous example of this was the Chinese Immigration Act, better known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. Chinese immigrants were denied entry into the country from 1923 until 1947. Into the 1930s, discrimination continued for other immigrants including the Jews, at the height of the Great Depression. People were still coming to the town known as Muddy York and it’s population doubled to over a half million in the 1920s from its previous decade.

Another law passed in Ontario was the Ontario Temperance Act in 1916. The law prohibited the sale of alcohol in the province but smugglers were still importing alcohol illegally. Prohibition also increased drug use in Ontario, notably morphine. The Act was discharged in 1927.

Notable landmarks were built in Toronto in the 1920s. Though the area down by Lakeshore west is home to Sunnyside Pavillion and entertainment venue Palais Royale, in the 1920s Sunnyside Beach was the site for the Sunnyside Amusement Park, which opened on June 28,1922. Our main train station, Union Station, which transports passengers within Canada, opened on August 6, 1927. The TTC –the Toronto Transit Commission–opened in 1921 and was created as a result of a referendum. Its first streetcar was erected onto city streets the same year.

Toronto was far from the thriving metropolis it is today but it in the 20s, it was on its way.

Community Events, Etobicoke, Events, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel, Vacation Travel

Things to do in Etobicoke

November 28, 2014

Bordered by Lake Ontario to the South and Steeles Avenue to the north; Mississauga and the Pearson International Airport to the west and by the Humber River to the east, Etobicoke still remains a large and distinct part of Toronto, even though it has been part of the amalgamated metropolis since 1998. Two of our properties, the Nuvo and Parc Nuvo, are located right near the subway, GO stations, and highway. There are a multitude of things to do in Etobicoke and close to your furnished apartment.

Things to do in Etobicoke1. Ski and Snowboard at Centennial Park.
Formerly known for being one of the best hills to toboggan in the GTA, it was recently deemed too dangerous. However, take your skis and snowboard to the hill, get a day pass or lessons. You don’t have to leave the city to discover the hills.

2. Famous People Players Theatre
This is dinner and a show with a twist. Not only is the show done in black light with the colourful characters showcased against the darkness; the people behind the puppets at this non-profit are all developmentally challenged. The company is now in its 40th year of entertaining audiences and worth the trip.

3. Via Allegro. Things to do In Etobicoke
This Italian restaurant is known for one of the greatest wine cellars in the world (there are over 5,000 wines to choose from!). This is a great pick for a decadent night out or a special occasion.

4. Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail
The first of its kind in Toronto, this 250 metre ice skating trail is comprised of two figure eights or circles that wind through Colonel Samuel Smith Park (which is just as lovely in the summertime). Lace up at the Power House Recreation Centre, which historically provided heat to the local Lunatic Asylum where Humber College is now situated. The rink is open seven days a week, from 9am to 10pm. Please note that there are no skate rentals available.

Things to do in Etobicoke5. The Old Mill
The Old Mill is the historic inn that caters to all types of tastes and activities. Whether you’re looking to have their famous afternoon tea, relax with girlfriends for a spa weekend, listen to some jazz on a Friday night, or are having an event like a wedding (with spectacular photos) to match, the Old Mill is the ideal location for it all.

6. Ribfest!
This is one of Etobicoke’s most famous summer festivals. Sample over 16 different suppliers of ribs, bring out the kids for play, and listen to some music while you chow down at Centennial Park.

7. Etobicoke Olympium  Things to do in Etobicoke
This multi-purpose exercise centre is getting a lot of buzz with its $20 million renovation in advance of the 2015 Pan Am Games that will make this a world class facility once complete. It features competitive pools, diving boards, a 13,200 square foot double gymnasium, and exercise and training centre.

8. Sushi Kaji
Known as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Toronto, if not one of the best restaurants in the metropolis, do not be deceived by its location in a strip mall. All fish is imported from Tokyo Bay. Particular about its quality, Sushi Kaji only offers tasting menus and seats 30 for each service. It is best to make a reservation in advance.

9. Sherway Gardens.
This upscale shopping centre has over 200 stores including department stores, Holt Renfrew and The Bay.

Etobicoke has no shortage of fun activities. Check out 365 etobicoke for more fun things to do in Etobicoke.

Community Events, Downtown Toronto, Events, Family Vacations in Toronto, Lifestyle talk, Toronto Family Travel

Toronto in Ten Photos

November 25, 2014

Capturing Toronto in ten photos is not an easy task because this city is so vast. There are a number of things to do and a number of icons that define the city. We have illustrated the city from a local viewpoint with a mix of those icons that make Toronto just what it is. Luckily, our landmarks are within walking distance of your furnished apartment in Toronto. Hopefully, this provides inspiration for you to photograph your Toronto.

Toronto in Ten Photos1. Evergreen Brickworks
The Brickworks, as it’s affectionately known, is an old brick factory which provided bricks for the construction of some iconic Toronto landmarks such as Massey Hall and Casa Loma. The Brickworks is now used as a cultural space and for events. Check out the kilns and the interesting graffiti on the walls; the farmer’s markets on the weekends; and Cafe Belong, for a leisurely brunch. Around the site, you can sit by the pond or hike behind the area over to Rosedale through Milkman’s Lane or north to St. Clair via Moore Park.

2. Toronto StreetcarsToronto in Ten Photos
These trolleys are a signature icon of Toronto. Concurrently, they’re offer one of the best ways to see our massive metropolis from east to west for $3. Just hop on the Queen Streetcar and it will take you all the way from Roncesvalles where King and Queen intersect, past through Parkdale, Queen West, Corktown, Leslieville, and to the Beach all the way to Neville Park. Make sure you check out the old streetcar yard at Queen and Greenwood, which will move to Leslie and Lakeshore. The streetcars have also gotten an upgrade and are currently of use along Spadina Avenue.

Toronto in Ten Photos3. Kensington Market
One of the most colourful, eclectic, and bohemian neighbourhoods in Toronto, Kensington Market is also designated a National Historic Site. Once populated by Jews and Italians who sold items and gifts. After the recession in the 80s, Latin American immigrants began to move in and this habitation is reflected in the many Latin American stalls and grocery stores in the market. Now you’ll find more modern cafes, restaurants and shops (from vintage to modern) in the neighbourhood. Don’t forget to check out Pedestrian Sundays, when the market closes its streets to pedestrian traffic and celebrates on the last Sunday of every month from May to October.

4. Queen Street WestToronto in Ten Photos
Queen Street West is considered one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in Toronto and was recently rated by Vogue as the second coolest neighbourhood in the world. This section of Queen, which expands past University to Lansdowne Avenues, is a hodge-podge of trendy boutiques, an eclectic mix of restaurants, vintage shops, bars, art galleries, Trinity Bellwoods Park, and two hotels (the Drake and the Gladstone). It is the perfect street for an afternoon stroll.

Toronto in Ten Photos5. Trinity Bellwoods Park
Aforementioned, Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of the mainstays of the Queen Street West scene. Whether you’re biking, running, playing tennis or partaking in other activities at its adjacent community centre, this is one of the best people-watching spots in the city. Grab a blanket, some homemade food, or head over to one of the local cafes across the street for the ideal picnic spot.

6. Graffiti Alley
Toronto in Ten Photos Located just south of Queen Street West, this alley filled with local graffiti and artwork is not only an alternate route away from the people traffic, it’s an underrated destination in Toronto. Expanding from Spadina close to Bathurst, this alley is just a glimpse at the growing graffiti scene in Toronto, whose walls have now been marked by icons Banksy and Sheppard Fairey. Want to learn more or meet others while checking out great art? Check out the local tour by the Tour Guys.

Toronto in Ten Photos7. Great Food
Toronto’s food scene is eclectic, multicultural and always evolving. You can get great deals but you do need to know where to go. Some great areas to dine in the city are Queen Street, King Street, Ossington, Kensington Market, and Dundas West. The Junction, St. Clair West, and Leslieville are underrated for their dining scenes and you should explore and dine in these areas if you have the chance. One of my favourite spots is Fresh, the healthy food chain, which has a great lunch special of their soup, salad, and cornbread combo for $10!

8. CN Tower ViewsToronto in Ten Photos
It’s hard not to try to find the best spot of this view. From our 300 Front Street West furnished apartments in downtown Toronto, you’ll feel so close to the tower, you can almost touch it. Head over to Fort York or the BMO Exhibition field for that landscape view. Downtown, you’ll get a good glimpse from OCAD (and some great architecture to photograph as well right near the AGO). Further east, Polson Pier and Ashbridge’s Bay are your best bets to get that skyline shot.

Toronto in Ten Photos9. Toronto’s East End and the Best Skyline View
If you have a chance to head east, Riverdale Park East is your best bet for stunning skyline views. A few blocks south of the Danforth on Broadview, it’s a quick streetcar ride or 15 minute walk down to the park. Make sure to go to the best coffeeshop in town, Rooster Coffeehouse to help take in the view. Across the park, head to Riverdale Park West and up the stairs, you’ll find the free Riverdale Farm, Toronto Necropolis, and the historic Cabbagetown district.

10. The St. Lawrence MarketToronto in Ten Photos
Ranked as the world’s best market by National Geographic, the St. Lawrence Market definitely lives up to its reputation. Whether you’re looking for meat, fish, cheese, bread, or produce, it’s all here. Specialty items like mushroom truffle dip, oils, or gorgeous bouquets are all here too. You won’t be starved for lunch. Check out the famous Carousel Bakery for its peameal bacon sandwiches, St. Viateur for those famous Montreal bagels, or Buster’s Seacove to satisfy that fish craving (lobster, halibut, shrimp, and much more!). There’s nothing like it on a Saturday morning.

Hope you enjoyed our photos! If you could choose ten photos to describe Toronto what would they be?

Photos: Complimentary of Natalie Taylor