All stories by Caroline Aksich

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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The Informer

Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Fun

Best of the City 2014: Fun
wild ride

Wild Ride
Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon
250 Adelaide St. W., 647-344-1234
A night at Rock ’n’ Horse Saloon feels like a scene from Footloose: line dancers tap steel-toed boots to Brooks and Dunn, bartenders in 10-gallon hats pour beers, and a rotating slate of heart-on-sleeve country crooners twang their guitars on stage. The bar’s most gimmicky (and awesome) attraction is a mechanical bull that thrashes, bucks and throws riders into a pit of blessedly soft padding—an ­indignity best cured with another shot of Knob Creek. For saddle-shy spectators, the bull-­riding competition on Tuesdays is better than Netflix.


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The Goods

Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Home

Best of the City 2014: Home
Showstopping led lights

Lightform
267 Niagara St., 416-745-5656
Homeowners like LEDs because they reduce energy bills; designers like that their slim profile and low operating temperature make unconventional forms possible. At Lightform’s showroom on Niagara, boundary-pushing options range from an Ares light shaped like a giant bulb to a polished aluminum bar by Philippe Starck. The most arresting of the lot: designer Ron Gilad’s series of ring-shaped tubes, which appear to pierce the walls like hooped earrings.


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The Goods

Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Style

Best of the City 2014: Style
Everything Bag

Want Apothecary
1070 Yonge St., 416-924-8080
True to its name, the new storefront from the Montreal brand Want Les Essentials de la Vie is styled like a Victorian drugstore—albeit one that carries bergamot-scented Swedish lotions and myrtle-infused face balms. Beyond the cosmetics counter, however, is a collection of exquisitely crafted goods: Swiss-made rose gold watches, shredded Acne moto jackets and some of the city’s finest handbags. Our summer favourite is a tote in cobalt waxed cotton and white leather—a statement bag that’s still hardy and roomy enough to withstand a day at Ward’s Island. $575


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The Dish

Best of Toronto

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Best of the City 2014: Food

Best of the City 2014: Food
Modern raw bar

Yasu
81 Harbord St., 416-477-2361
In a narrow white room, chef-owner Yasu Ouchi delivers glistening sushi, one piece at a time, to 10 guests seated at a marble-topped bar. Yasu is the city’s first sushi-only omakase restaurant, and as at other tasting menu–driven spots, you give yourself over to the chef’s whims. Ouchi and his one sous bring Jiro-like fanaticism to the 20-course experience, offering fresh cuts of fish and shellfish draped over perfectly ­seasoned rice. One night he served up a plump scallop lightly torched for sweetness and dressed with yuzu ­vinaigrette, then ­mackerel with ­pickled radish and scallion, then salty, foie gras–like monkfish liver with a julienne of shiso leaf. And on and on and on. Seatings at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., reservations a must. $80 per person.


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