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TIFF PARTY: The festival’s opening-night party featured tacos (but no dark liquor) and a venue change

TIFF PARTY: Festival Opening Night

What could be more Canadian than Canada’s biggest film event hosting its opening party at a hockey arena? We guess TIFF could’ve launched the fest with a Canadian film. Or at least served rye. But still! We’ll take the Air Canada Centre for now. Bathed in purple light and gently throbbing house remixes of that song from Café de Flore, the festival’s opening-night bash offered a change from tradition. For the first time in more than a decade, the party moved downtown after a long run at the Liberty Grand at Exhibition Place. The new venue didn’t attracted A-list guests, and, sure, the bar wasn’t stocked with any dark liquor (unless beer counts, which it doesn’t), but there was plenty of Skyy vodka—and a taco bar, which probably means haute Mexican food has officially jumped the shark. Oh, well. At least now there might be a table available at Grand Electric.

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TIFF Talk

TIFF Parties TIFF Talk

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The TIFF opening party will be downtown for the first time since 2001

(Image: End User)

First there was the surprise announcement that the action-thriller Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, would open TIFF this year (some had been gunning for Midnight’s Children to have that honour). And now TIFF organizers have revealed that the celeb-heavy bash following the screening will be in the restaurants and outdoor spaces at Maple Leaf Square, rather than at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex at Exhibition Place, where it has been held since 2001. The downtown location will undoubtedly make it easier for many of the 3,000 guests (including Gordon-Levitt and Willis) to get to the party, but we can’t help but giggle at the thought of be-gowned stars hanging out at Real Sports Bar and Grill. (Also, what if it rains?) [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Features

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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 3, because Drake had babies

Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 3, Because Drake had babies

The next wave of hip-hop stars, clockwise from left: Gangis Khan, JD Era, The Weeknd, and The Airplane Boys. (Image: Weeknd by Getty Images)

As fans of the rappers Maestro, Kardinal and K-os well know, Toronto hip hop has been thriving for at least a couple of decades. But despite local success, the rest of the world was never all that interested in the T Dot’s brand of rhyme. Not, that is, until an actor from the mean streets of Fo’ Hill named Aubrey Graham packed up his Degrassi-issue wheelchair and re-emerged as Drake, rocking an auto-tuned mic beside Lil Wayne and almost single-handedly putting Toronto hip hop on the map.

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The Dish

Features

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Bringing Sexy Back: Chris Nuttall-Smith takes on Aria and Toca

After three years of restaurant restraint, Aria and Toca, two unabashedly flashy new spots, are giving diners a reason to get dressed up again

Opulence, I missed you. I missed high thread-count table linens and hand-blown water glasses and even edible gold leaf a little. I missed the dining rooms whose owners gave carte blanche to talented designers, insisting only on “something grand.” But mostly, I missed gasping when I walked into restaurants—having to stop to take a space in, to admire. Though restraint wasn’t all bad for dining culture these past few years, it wasn’t always easy on the eyes.

Two ambitious, expensive, flashy new dining rooms have opened downtown in recent months, one of them from a hotel chain that’s synonymous with conspicuous luxury, the other from a pair of neighbourhood restaurateurs who’ve come out shooting for the moon. Both are fine dining (more or less), and both are likely to make you gasp when you enter.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: E11even, MLSE’s attempt at fine dining

Cookies are served on a glass pedestal with milk

MLSE’s Maple Leaf Square follow-up to Real Sports Bar and Grill is E11even, an unpretentious spot also in Maple Leaf Square designed to fill the void of fine-dining options in the waterfront area. It should be an easy task, considering it’s next door to the ACC and in the same building as the newly opened Le Germain hotel.

The decor—dark wood and sleek leather banquettes—and executive chef Robert Bartley’s gourmet comfort food menu are meant to appeal to a wide group of diners.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Introducing: Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. We take a photographic tour of Toronto’s newest hotel

The latest in the city’s rash of new hotels is a second location of Le Germain, this one at Maple Leaf Square. The boîte brings Euro chic to the $500-million Maple Leaf complex, a fandom sanctuary of sporty condos, bars and retail slipped into the no-man’s land between the waterfront and the downtown core.

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