It was early September, and like so many times before, adventure was calling our names. So when the opportunity to go to Toronto presented itself, who were we to say no? We packed our bags and we were off.
We arrived to near-perfect weather and loved the strong New York City-style vibe we found. “TIFF” was the word on everyone’s lips and signs and lines for the Toronto International Film Festival were everywhere. We wasted no time getting in on the action.
Our first stop was King Street West, which was transformed into Festival Street: a walk-street with art installations, pop-up performances, food trucks and a music stage. We loved the scene and it became our go-to spot after seeing films.
After checking out the festival scene, we checked in to the restaurant scene at Patria. We felt like we had stepped into a frame from one of our favorite movies, Vicky, Christina, Barcelona. Not wanting to spoil the magic, we played the part and grabbed a spot at the bar. We ordered the pimientos de padrón from their most tempting tapas menu, along with a requisite cocktail. Unfortunately, we had to stop ourselves there, since we were heading to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Not ten steps away was the equally cinematic Weslodge. With its modern saloon vibe, animal headed walls and very carnivore-friendly menu, it is most likely a prime spot during Toronto’s freezing winter months. We loved the place and had to peel ourselves away from this Toronto hotspot when it was all over.
TIP: Some may turn their noses up at having to eat at the bar. Not us. We have met some of our favorite characters while dining on a barstool. Not to mention the inside info we have gotten from local bartenders.
As for TIFF, the standouts were: The Imitation Game, St. Vincent, Wild and The Theory of Everything. We also liked the bittersweet comedy Advanced Beginners, and hope it sees its way into theaters. We cut a rug at the Lululemon bash one night, and the next, we were humbled to be in the presence of Kate Winslet (one of our favorites) and director/actor Alan Rickman at their closing-night film, A Little Chaos and the closing night gala afterwards. During the festivities, we were quick to spot mini bottles of rosé champagne with tiny straws being passed around and there was no need to ask us twice when they came our way. We enjoyed the freshly made dessert crêpes and had a great time at both the main party and the more intimate goings-on upstairs.
After a good night’s sleep, we headed to The Distillery for brunch. We’d heard about this converted 150+ year old whisky distillery from some Toronto friends and loved the boho feel, with cafés, galleries, shops and restaurants everywhere. We had some table-prepared guacamole and some mix and match tacos at El Catrin. A toasty fire warmed up the patio on this crisp day and there was good people watching to be had.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, was a dream. We loved our (free) breakfasts at Cafe Boulud. | d | Bar was our spot for night-caps and the characters were out in full force. From hockey players to investment bankers to film types, the conversations amused us. Our modern, but comfy room had great views of the city and we were fast asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
TIP: Although our usual go-to morning get-ups, Lija and Lululemon, are made in Canada, the laid-back look did not cut it here. Leave the yoga gear behind, the peeps here dress for breakfast.
We highly recommend this getaway and hope we haven’t seen the last of you, Toronto.