All stories by Caroline Aksich

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Robert Pattinson at the Montecito lounge

(Image: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr)

(Image: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr)

On Tuesday night, Robert Pattinson showed up sans reservation at Montecito for a casual dinner with three non-celeb pals. The foursome left their security detail out front and occupied the upstairs lounge area, which was empty save for their table and a bartender. Since the star showed up 30 minutes after the debut screening of David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars began, we’re going to assume R. Patz pulled an Adam Driver and ditched the premiere. Stargazers might want to consider grabbing a cocktail at Ivan Reitman’s swanky lounge, since Montecito seems to be attracting more celebrities than the parties.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux eating cake on Queen West

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

After walking the red carpet for her new drama Cake on Sunday, Jennifer Aniston, flanked by fiancé Justin Theroux, met up with co-stars Sam Worthington and Adriana Barraza for a three-course meal at Queen West restaurant The Good Son, according to staff at cutesy boutique City of Craft, which is located right across the street. The intimate gathering ended, appropriately, with miniature gold-leaf-topped cakes.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Jane Fonda speeding away from the Distillery District

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Septuagenarian Jane Fonda gave the Distillery District two thumbs down on Sunday. According to gossip guy Shinan Govani, Fonda didn’t even bother stepping out of her car after pulling up to Cluny Bistro, the after-party venue for ensemble comedy This is Where I Leave You. She just rolled down the window, assessed the scene, and said to her driver, “No way am I getting on that cobblestone.” With that, she sped off into the night, leaving her younger co-stars (including Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Jason Bateman) to celebrate the new flick.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Reese Witherspoon at Nota Bene

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Shinan Govani tweeted Sunday night that Reese Witherspoon had been spotted enjoying an informal dinner at Nota Bene. There’s been no word on whether or not the Queen West restaurant was hosting a cast party for the movie Witherspoon had debuted earlier that day, The Good Lie, and Nota Bene won’t confirm the star’s attendance. Co-owner Yannick Bigourdan said in an email that he is contractually bound “not to talk about the event that took place last night at Nota Bene.”

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and Ivan Reitman having an impromptu Ghostbusters reunion

(Image: sikeri/Flickr)

(Image: sikeri/Flickr)

Over at Ivan Reitman’s restaurant, Montecito, it’s all Ghostbusters all the time. On Sunday the director and producer even hosted a cast reunion of sorts. He, Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson shared a pizza dinner. Notably, Bill Murray—who has been camping out at Montecito all throughout TIFF—was missing, though we’re told he did show up later that evening for a drink at the upstairs bar. All of this is intriguing, because Reitman is known to be working on a third Ghostbusters movie, one he has said will have “a very strong female presence”—a possible reference to Weaver, who played the female lead in the original two films. As to whether Murray would appear in a third instalment, even Reitman himself doesn’t seem to have a clue. “In [Murray's] brain and his heart, I don’t think [Ghostbusters 3] is really there,” he told the CBC last week. Still, if the activity at Montecito is anything to go by, there’s a possibility that one or two familiar faces will strap on proton packs again.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Bill Murray eating at pal Ivan Reitman’s new restaurant, Montecito

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

During a Q&A after a screening of Ghostbusters at TIFF Bell Lightbox last Friday, Bill Murray was quick to take credit for pal Ivan Reitman‘s swishy new restaurant, Montecito.“I built the damn restaurant,” he said, according to CTV News. “And we paid! We [should have been] stealing silverware.” Despite having to foot the bill, Murray hit up Reitman’s Adelaide Street eatery twice on Friday; once for afternoon cocktails, and then again for dinner with Reitman and Mitch Glazer, one of the screenwriters behind Scrooged.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez strolling through the Eaton Centre, kissing in The Bay

On Saturday, Justin Bieber strolled through the Eaton Centre with on-again, off-again girlfriend Selena Gomez. Three beefy security guards flanked the couple as a crowd of tweens converged to snap photos of The Biebs’s waning career (and Brett Lawrie jersey). No word yet on whether Gomez has been diagnosed with Stockholm Syndrome—why else would the starlet be caught kissing Bieber in the cosmetics section of what sure looks like The Bay?

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: James Franco flipping the bird

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

(Image: Kayla Rocca)

Aspiring auteur and sometimes–Twitter lecher James Franco might be an English Lit PhD candidate at Yale, but the newly bald star seems to prefer non-verbal forms of communication. The Star has pictures of him flipping off a photographer at Pearson Airport. Franco is in town repping his adaptation of William Faulkner‘s The Sound and the Fury.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Bill Murray biking around the Financial District, in safety glasses

Bill Murray in the Financial Distrcit

Would it be more apropos if Bill Murray Day coincided with Groundhog Day? Maybe. But, since Toronto’s newest holiday coincides with Murray’s TIFF stay, we’re not going to kvetch. While walking to work this morning, Felicia Guthrie spied the legendary actor and comedian biking near the TD Centre plaza, and was even able to convince him to pose for the selfie at the top of this post. Maybe Murray was out looking for a kickball game to join, or a karaoke contest to rock—who knows? Hopefully he’ll drift away from the TIFF fanfare tonight and end up somewhere fantastic.

You can find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our TIFF celebrity map. See someone famous around town yourself? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted.

TIFF 2014

TIFF Spotted

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Spotted: Al Pacino dines at Opus in the Annex

al-pacino

(Image: Thomas)

Toronto’s godfather of gossip, Shinan Govani, reports that Al Pacino ditched the charity gala he was hosting last night to enjoy an almost-undisturbed Yorkville dinner with his 35-year-old Argentinean girlfriend at Opus, the slightly stuffy millionaires’ hangout near Bloor and Bedford in the Annex. Apparently, George Stroumboulopoulos—who had hosted an on-stage convo with the Oscar winner at the King West gala—was not invited to tag along. While Opus is a celeb favourite, new downtown hotspot Montecito may be an even better bet for star gazing; over the weekend, Adam Sandler and Dan Aykroyd were spied grabbing drinks there.

See someone famous around town? Let us know at tips@torontolife.com, or tweet with the hashtag #TIFF14spotted. Find where your favourite A-lister was spotted on our map.

The Dish

Food Shops

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Look out, Nadège: there’s a new macaron shop on Queen West

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

Rows of pretty pastel macarons line the display case at Butter Avenue, the new Queen West outpost of the popular uptown pâtisserie café. So many core dwellers were making the trek to their Yonge and Lawrence shop that brother-and-sister duo Calvin and Tina Su figured it was time to open a downtown location. The bright, marble-clad space offers all the same goodies as the original: elaborately topped tarts, extra-rich mousse cakes and, of course, dainty macarons in flavours both traditional (raspberry, dark chocolate) and inventive (sesame-citrus, genmaicha). Social Coffee espresso and Taiwanese tea blends are available for sit-down snacking sessions.

Butter Avenue, 477 Queen St. W., butteravenue.com

The Dish

The Ridiculist

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Six downright silly soft-serve cones from La Carnita spin-off Sweet Jesus

sweet-jesus-intro

(Image: Caroline Aksich)

This wasn’t the summeriest summer ever, but that didn’t stop the team at Little Italy taqueria La Carnita from debuting a new soft-serve side business. The Sweet Jesus pop-up menu, created by executive chef Jonathan Hamilton and his wife Sasha “Frozen” Bogin, has found a temporary home at Home of the Brave, La Carnita’s spin-off diner on King West. (Come spring 2015, the ice cream biz will become its own irreverent entity.) These towering cones (all priced between $3.50 and $7) channel the CNE with their carnivalesque intensity—they’re injected with gooey sauces and topped with everything from roasted marshmallows to tufts of freshly spun cotton candy. Here are all six of Sweet Jesus’s signature cones, ranked in order of sweet-and-sticky silliness.

See all six soft-serve cones »

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Thoroughbred, a tri-level snack bar and restaurant in the middle of the Entertainment District

Thoroughbred-intro

Name: Thoroughbred Food and Drink
Contact Info: 304 Richmond St. W., 416-551-9221, tbto.ca
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owners: High school buds Ariel Coplan and Jacob Fox, and Robin Kemp
Chefs: Ariel Coplan, the former executive chef at Nyood

The Food: The restaurant is divided into several sections, each with its own menu. The main floor serves smaller plates (fried sweetbreads, kung pao cauliflower), while the second floor offers a more traditional menu of burgers, mains and playful apps, like airy pea fritters served with house-made ricotta and macerated carrots. The chef’s table is reserved for family-style meals, the most lavish of which may be the “Ain’t No Party Like an East Coast Party”—a $250 feast of lobster, clams, mussels, chorizo and sides.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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The Chase: They did the near-impossible—landing a house in Toronto, without a bidding war

The Chase: September 2014The buyers: Peter Loewen, a 35-year-old political science professor at U of T, and Yvette Lam, a 35-year-old business development officer at Harbourfront Centre.

The story: After meeting at a David Myles concert and ­dating for two years, Lam and Loewen took a series of quick leaps forward. First, she rented out her Esplanade one-­bedroom and moved into his Distillery condo. Four months later, he proposed while they were on vacation in France. Post-proposal, they started talking about having kids in the next year or two and, in preparation, they decided to trade up. The plan was to hold on to Lam’s condo for the rental income, sell Loewen’s place and search for a house. They set out with a firm $900,000 ceiling and a list of must-haves: an office where Loewen could write, a clean look to match their mid-century modern furniture, and a location within walking distance of good public schools and a subway.

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The Informer

Features

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Best of the City 2014: The ultimate insider’s guide to food, drink, fashion and fun

Best of the City 2014: This year's guide to all things excellent

Torontonians are spoiled by luxury—an inevitable side effect of living in a city where you can book a private chopper to Georgian Bay, nibble on sustainable sturgeon caviar and moisturize with 24 karat gold–flecked lotions. In the past year, however, the city has truly outdone itself, supplying the kinds of outlandish foods, amenities and products that would astonish even the most pampered urbanite. Our team of seen-it-all critics gorged on ornately plated desserts, scoured fashion trucks and baby boutiques, and subjected their bodies to aggressive Russian bamboo massages, all in the quest to bring you this, our annual roundup of Toronto’s best of absolutely everything.

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