All stories by Andrew Wallace

The Informer

Events

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of April 20–21

Buddy Guy plays Massey Hall on Saturday (Image: Paul Natkin)

In this edition of the Weekender, Stomp, the Toronto Bridal Show and three more things to do in Toronto. 

MUSIC
Stomp
These eight percussionists, who create rhythms out of mundane objects—brooms, tires, trash cans and lids, matchboxes, hubcaps, Zippos—still sound explosively innovative after 22 years. Rush seats for their five-day Toronto run are being released first-come, first-serve at the box office on the day of each show. $25-99. April 16-21. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W. mirvish.com/shows/stomp

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The Dish

Food TV

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Six Toronto chefs battle for doughnut supremacy (and $10,000) on the new reality series Donut Showdown

three-random-doughnuts

Mmm… Doughnuts… (Image: Janice Cullivan)

Food Network Canada is launching another competition-based reality TV show. Each episode of Donut Showdown begins with three chefs vying to produce the most delicious doughnut from a basket of mystery ingredients. Then the weakest entrant is dropped, the remaining two chefs cook a big batch of doughnuts based on a theme and the winner takes home the $10,000 prize. (Three contestants, two straightforward contests, one consistent dish—this is no Top Chef.) Cooks from across North America will compete, including 12 Canadian contestants, six of whom hail from Toronto: Amanda Harmer of Barque Smokehouse, Trista Sheen of Crush Wine Bar, Kristen Boates of John & Sons Oyster House, Rachelle Cadwell of Dough by Rachelle, Michelle Edgar of Sweet Escapes Patisserie, Rachel Pellet of Emma’s Country Kitchen. The first episode airs April 2.

The Dish

Random Stuff

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Pusateri’s is embroiled in a class-tinged dust-up to keep its Yorkville valet parking zone

High-end grocery store Pusateri’s is outraged over a recent proposal by resident council rogue Kristyn Wong-Tam to remove the valet parking area in front of its Bay Street shop. In 2003, Pusateri’s paid big bucks ($75,000) for the city to create a street indent called a “lay-by” that allows customers to stop momentarily and hand off their keys to the valet or to pop in and out for a quick bag of groceries. But now Wong-Tam wants to eliminate the cushy road space in order to double the width of the sidewalk (she says the move is part of the city’s larger plan to build a more walkable, livable city). For its part, Pusateri’s argues removing the lay-by will jeopardize the store’s very existence. After all, that Benz isn’t going to park itself. [Toronto Star]

The Goods

Shopping

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All Downhill From Here: nine top-notch ski getaways

Winter Travel: All Downhill From Here

Ski-loving Torontonians have it rough. The city’s in a topographic dead zone. How else to explain hour-long lineups at Blue Mountain? The only real option for good skiing: get out of town, the farther the better. Here, a few world-class destinations (that aren’t Whistler).

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The Informer

Features

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The Argument: Marion Cotillard, Hollywood’s favourite French actress, gets unleashed in Rust and Bone

The Argument: Marion Cotillard

(Image: courtesy Mongrel Media)

The first time I saw Marion Cotillard in the flesh was at this year’s TIFF. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous French actress was standing atop a long flight of stairs inside Michael’s on Simcoe. She was in town for the gala presentation of Rust and Bone, a dark and visceral French romance adapted from a collection of short stories by Toronto author Craig Davidson and directed by Jacques Audriard. In the film, she plays a killer whale trainer at Marineland who loses her legs in a freak accident involving an aquatic animal routine gone very, very wrong.

I happened to be coming up the stairs at Michael’s just as Cotillard, wearing bright blue and yellow satin heels, was about to go down. I saw the shoes before I saw the woman wearing them, and was about to compliment her when our eyes met, and I realized I was standing there with my one and only celebrity crush. I instantly froze. And then turned into a pile of mush.

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The Informer

Business

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RIM’s stock surges with a vote of confidence from CIBC

CIBC has joined the ranks of companies in the Canadian investment community forecasting a brighter less gloomy future for beleaguered Research in Motion. Yesterday, the bank’s capital markets arm raised its price target for the tech giant to $17 (U.S.) per share—more than double its previous estimate of $8. CIBC also improved RIM’s rating from “sector underperform” (not good) to “sector outperform” (good), and an analyst even called the company’s stock “materially undervalued.” Late last week, a National Bank Financial analyst also upped his price target for RIM from $12 to $15 (U.S.) and suggested investors buy shares in anticipation of the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, prompting RIM to make its biggest gain on the market since April 2009. Now, the company just really, really needs to make sure it doesn’t delay the release of its new OS. Again. [Canadian Business]

The Informer

Sports

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QUOTED: a diehard Toronto Maple Leafs fan on why he splurged on a $5,300 toilet

It’s part of an icon. I just thought… what a rare piece and just think of all the people that have spent time contemplating in that dressing room what lies ahead of them.

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The Informer

Sports

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Reason to Love Toronto: because the Blue Jays made a blockbuster trade

Toronto Blue Jays Trade

In a city whose sports scene has long been plagued with mediocrity, big, bold moves matter—not only to instantly improve a struggling team’s fortunes but also to let suffering fans know that somebody actually cares. That’s why we love Alex Anthopolous’s mega deal. On Tuesday night, the Toronto Blue Jays general manager made one of the biggest trades in the franchise history, a double-digit player super-swap that brings to Toronto, among others, starting pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, former Jay catcher (and fan favourite) John Buck and, the coup de grace, superstar shortstop Jose Reyes, all from the Miami Marlins. Anthopoulos always said he would spend big money when the timing was right, and now he’s made good on his promise. It’s the kind of deal upon which a manager stakes his entire career. If Reyes and co. deliver, Anthopolous will be celebrated around the city as a veritable wunderkind. If they don’t, his corporate overlords will surely cut the young GM’s tenure short. When he heard the news, Blue Jays all-star slugger Jose Bautista excitedly tweeted, “It’s a good day to be a bluejay!” At long last, it’s a good day to be a Toronto sports fan, too.

The Informer

Politics

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QUOTED: Rob Ford humbly shares his personal experience with bullying

(Image: Christopher Drost)

When you are overweight like I’ve been all my life, you get made fun of and it’s not good growing up. There are many different types of bullying, but being called fat, all that stuff, it bothers you.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Weekly Lunch Pick: the new three-course prix fixe at Richmond Station

The moules frites from Richmond Station’s prix fixe lunch (Image: Andrew Wallace)

Carl Heinrich’s new farm-to-table restaurant Richmond Station provides a much-needed alternative to the stiff dining rooms of the Financial District. The 27-year-old chef and winner of Top Chef Canada invested his $100,000 prize money to create an 80-seat subway-themed room at the corner of Richmond and Yonge, with old-timey black-and-white photos on the walls and Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker on the stereo. The restaurant opened for dinner at the beginning of October with a packed reservation book before adding lunch service last week. For now, the noon menu mirrors the short, bistro-pub-style dinner menu, with an added three-course prix fixe ($22).

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The Informer

Politics

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Frank Stronach officially steps down as a director of Magna International

Our favourite Austrian megalomaniac and multimillionaire, Frank Stronach, left his position as a long-time director of Canadian auto parts tycoon Magna International this morning. The reason: he wants to focus on the national political party he recently launched in his native country. When he announced his grand political ambitions in August, he said one of his main objectives would be to eliminate cronyism and corruption in government. Magna has operations in Austria, and Stronach wants to avoid any confusion between his politics and his business. So, at least he seems serious about living according to his principles. No word yet, though, on whether daughter Belinda Stronach will be drafting party policy. [Toronto Star]

The Dish

Restaurants

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Banh Mi Boys announces their second location: a former milkshake shop at Yonge and Gerrard

Banh Mi Boys’s duck confit banh mi (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Cheap, delicious Vietnamese street food purveyors Banh Mi Boys have finally revealed the location of their highly anticipated second shop. Co-owner David Chau hinted last week that the new spot would be on Yonge (previous rumours had pointed to the Eaton Centre) before confirming the address to NOW Magazine earlier this week—339399 Yonge Street, in the storefront previously occupied by Shake-o-lait. The new Bahn Mi Boys will have a similar look to the one on Queen West, plus a small patio and late-night hours come summer. What goes well with late summer nights? Booze, of course. Word is a liquor license is a possibility for the new shop—albeit, unfortunately, not a very good one. [NOW Magazine]

TIFF Talk

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TIFF Roundup: five of the film festival’s best moments

TIFF Roundup: best moments

This year, TIFF proved to be a classy, dignified affair. The scene on the red carpet was relatively subdued, and the antics at the most star-studded parties were surprisingly tame. Given the number of A-list actors on hand, we have to admit the histrionics quotient felt a little lacking. Still, a few great anecdotes did emerge. From Bill Murray’s sweet red carpet duds to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ubiquitous presence, here are five of our favourite moments from the 2012 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

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TIFF Talk

TIFF Star Spotting TIFF Talk

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SPOTTED: Penelope Cruz and the cast of Twice Born at the Spoke Club

(Image: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images Entertainment)

This just in: Oscar winner, wife of Javier Bardem and noted looker Penelope Cruz is currently at the Spoke Club, hanging out with the cast and crew of Twice Born. Cruz was at the TIFF Bell Lightbox earlier today for a press conference and will be on the red carpet this evening for the gala presentation of her new film. Which is all to say, if you’re looking to star-stalk, get to the corner of King and Portland soon.

Find this story on our Star Spotting Map, where we plot the locations of celebrities spotted around Toronto. Seen a celebrity? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com

TIFF Talk

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CONFIRMED: Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie are coming to TIFF 2012

Toronto-based, Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta and Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie are both in town for the hugely anticipated Midnight’s Children, Mehta’s adaptation of Rushdie’s 1980 novel about India’s transition from British colonialism to independence. Can it possibly live up to the source material? The novel won the 1981 Booker Prize and then the 2008 “Booker of Bookers”—which means we’re fulling expecting both a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod, at the very least.

(Images: Mehta, IncMan; Rushdie, David Shankbone)

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