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Black cubes, cryptographic puzzles and dizzying jargon: a day at Toronto’s first Bitcoin expo

(Image: Chris Bateman)

(Image: Chris Bateman)

The strange future of electronic money was in Toronto over the weekend at Canada’s first-ever Bitcoin expo. A handful of companies from across North America were showing off products they hope will take the fledgling currency mainstream. It’s somehow fitting, however, that the show happened two stories underground, in the cavernous depths of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Under Bremner Boulevard, almost all of the roughly 300 delegates at the expo were male and between the ages of 20 and 40. Some wore crisp suits while others sported impressively unkempt beards and flip-flops. The company reps on the little expo floor had the slick, confident manner of Apple Store geniuses. They talked about their products using a dizzying array of jargon. In the background, the music jumped between thumping techno and eerie ambient pieces.

For those who don’t know about it already, Bitcoin can be thought of as the currency equivalent of email. Think about the bureaucracy email helps users circumvent: instead of buying a stamp from a corner store and using the Canada Post distribution network, an email account lets a user send an electronic letter directly to its intended recipient for free, cutting out the middle man. It’s a crude example, but essentially that’s what Bitcoin does for its users. It’s an electronic way of handing someone cash.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of March 21–23

A bronze sculpture of Horton (from Horton Hears a Who), by artist Leo Rijn. (Image: Courtesy of Liss Gallery)

A bronze sculpture of Horton (from Horton Hears a Who), by artist Leo Rijn. (Image: Courtesy of Liss Gallery)

In this edition of The Weekender, a midnight market, a vintage clothing fair and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

POP-UP MARKET

Midnight Mrkt
For the one-year anniversary of this pop-up night market, visitors can groove to live music, sip on cocktails and browse cool items from local vendors like Crywolf Clothing, Coven and Shop Wanderlust. Bring cash for any purchases. Mar. 21. Tickets $5. 2nd Floor Events, 461 King St. W., facebook.com

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Canadian International Auto Show Preview: 40 photos to give you a sneak peek of what’s on display

Intro-Car-Show

The Canadian International Auto Show has landed once again at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for its 10-day run of glitz, chrome, speed and torque. Every major car manufacturer is represented, as are a litany of powerful electric cars, vintage classics and one-seater oddities that look like they’re straight out of Tron. The show opened today, but we were allowed in early to snap some pictures of the incredible cars on display. Below, our extensive sneak preview of what you’ll find at the Canadian International Auto Show.

Feb. 14-23. $21. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., autoshow.ca

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Six things to do in Toronto on the weekend of February 14–17

(Image: Blaine Davis)

Untitled Feminist Show (Image: Blaine Davis)

In this edition of The Long Weekender, an all-nude burlesque show, a kiddie art gallery takeover, and four more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

KARAOKE

Worn Journal Presents: Heartbreak Karaoke
The recently dumped or generally love-averse can set emotions free this Valentine’s Day by belting Celine Dion ballads to a room of fellow commiserators. Put on by the crew at Worn Journal, all proceeds will go to the production of the magazine. Feb. 14. General Admission $7, or $5 for those dressed in red or pink. Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton St., facebook.com

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of January 24–26

A scene from the Interior Design Show's 2013 edition. (Image: Interior Design Show)

Last year’s Interior Design Show. (Image: Interior Design Show)


In this edition of The Weekender, a festival of craft beer and indie music, a walk to raise money for Alzheimer’s treatment, and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend.

DESIGN

Interior Design Show
The international design community will descend upon the city this weekend to showcase new products and avant-garde concepts. Attendees will get a sense of this year’s hot design trends from over 320 exhibitors. Jan. 25–26. Tickets $19 in advance, $22 at door. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front St. W., interiordesignshow.com

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of November 22–24

Grasslands-Veggielicious

For Veggielicious, Grasslands is serving a $30 prix-fixe that includes a soup or kale caesar salad, a chef’s special pasta and a wine pairing (Image: Veggielicious)

In this edition of The Weekender, a consumer show aimed at dudes, a block party in Leslieville and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

CONSUMER SHOW

Gentlemen’s Expo
The inaugural expo celebrates the modern man’s interests (which organizers define as style, food, booze, sports, cars, tech and pop culture). The festivities include poker tournaments, complimentary straight shaves, cigar appreciation lessons, whiskey talks and even candid sex tips. Nov. 22–Nov. 24. $30 for a day pass, $60 for a weekend pass. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., gentlemensexpo.com

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of November 15–17

In this edition of The Weekender, the Santa Claus Parade, a witty two-man play and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

PARADE

Santa Claus Parade
This year’s festive procession has a few changes: Santa’s on a diet and the inaugural Holly Jolly Fun Run allows joggers to run a five-kilometre stretch of the parade route. But the real question is, given organizers’ not-so-subtle requests for the mayor to abstain, will Rob Ford opt to lead the procession anyway? Nov. 17. 12:30 p.m. Parade is free; Holly Jolly Fun Run is $100. See the route at thesantaclausparade.ca

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People

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Party Pics: Laureen Harper replaces Stephen, and Bill Blair wants to arm wrestle at the True Patriot Love gala

Party Pics: at the True Patriot Love gala

Stephen Harper missed Thursday night’s True Patriot Love Dinner at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, but his wife Laureen managed just fine by herself. Canada’s first lady even picked-up a new suitor. “She’s my date tonight,” Lloyd Robertson proclaimed at the start of the evening, which honours and helps members of the Canadian Military and their families. (In addition to business heavyweights like Paul Godfrey, Robert Deluce and Ivan Fecan, the room was so full of military men that Mrs. Harper didn’t need a security detail.) Of course, our mayor’s antics were the topic of much of the chatter, and Police Chief Bill Blair had the pleasure of hearing many theories and opinions on the subject from attendees. Which isn’t to say Blair didn’t have fun—the chief even mock-challenged a friend to an arm wrestling match. How very Rob Ford of him.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of October 18-20

(Image: Spa Week)

(Image: Spa Week)

In this edition of The Weekender, discounted spa treatments, a Jane Austen dance and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

PAMPERING

Spa Week
Until Sunday, many of the city’s top spas are discounting luxe packages to a mere $50. Our picks: the chocolate paraffin pedicure at Moksa Day Spa and the aromatic facial at Holts Salon and Spa. Oct. 14–Oct 20. $50. Various locations, spaweek.com

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Politics

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The definitive guide to the supporters and opponents of a Toronto casino

The definitive guide to the supporters and opponents of a Toronto casinoAfter more than a year of debate, Toronto’s still-hypothetical casino will soon face a crucial test. A long-awaited city staff report is in (though, unusually, it’s missing a firm yay-or-nay recommendation), and council could vote as early as next month to either kill the idea forever or invite bids from casino developers. For influential Torontonians hoping to sway the decision, now’s the last chance to come out for or against a downtown gambling den—which explains why so many have spoken up in recent days. Below, a guide to how the pro-casino and anti-casino teams stack up.

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Politics

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High Rollers: we break down five different billion-dollar plans for a casino in downtown Toronto

City councillors could vote on whether to allow a downtown casino as soon as next month, and they, along with the rest of Toronto, remain bitterly divided over whether it would be a money-generating pleasure palace or a traffic-generating crime magnet. In the midst of the ongoing debate, high-profile companies like MGM and Wynn have released flashy plans in hopes that big ideas and pretty renderings will help sway the naysayers. Below, we break down each company’s promises, from free CNE passes to Celine Dion concerts.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of March 8 to 10

King Joffrey Baratheon’s crown from Game of Thrones (Photo: HBO)

In this edition of The Weekender: the annual Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, a Trekky’s greatest fantasy and three more things to do in Toronto.

ART
Game Of Thrones: The Exhibition (FREE!)

The travelling exhibition displays more than 70 pieces, including weapons, costumes and jewelry, straight from the set of HBO’s crazy-popular fantasy series. March 9 to 16. Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121, themovienetwork.ca/Exhibition

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Shopping

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15 drool-worthy cars at the 2013 Canadian International Autoshow

15 drool-worthy cars at the 2013 Canadian International AutoShow

The 40th annual Canadian International AutoShow opens today, bringing more than 1,000 gleaming vehicles to both buildings of the the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. While some of the 300,000 visitors attend to scope out the next family car, the majority are there to drool over their dream wheels. Below, we round up some of the show’s most spectacular vehicles, from flame-emblazoned hot rods to ultra-expensive supercars. 

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Today in Toronto: Canadian International AutoShow and Loveloss

Canadian International AutoShow Celebrating its 40th birthday, this mega-show packs in devotees eager to be within touching distance of drool-worthy four-wheeled fetish objects with names like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin. Find out more »

Loveloss Created by the same Michael Trent– led team that put together last year’s retrospective Adaptation Project, Loveloss is about the emotional and physical power of love and how we behave under its influence.  Find out more »

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Politics

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Three Toronto property giants write a letter opposing a downtown casino (and embarrassing Paul Godfrey)

(Image: Ian McKellar)

Only a week after three former Toronto mayors penned a letter opposing the development of a casino in Toronto, three of the city’s largest commercial property firms have written their own letter against the idea of a downtown gambling den—but for very different reasons. Edward Sonshine, Michael Emory and Stephen Diamond, who head RioCan, Allied Properties and Diamond Corp., respectively, don’t oppose casinos on principle, but they say the traffic snarls that would result from putting one in the city’s core could “jeopardiz[e] the success of our downtown.” Specifically, the execs are worried about implications for the major mixed-use project they hope to develop at the foot of Spadina, a few blocks west of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre—one of the proposed casino locations (and the one with the fanciest renderings to date). For OLG chair and casino cheerleader Paul Godfrey, the letter is a downer twice over: it’s ammunition for the anti-gambling faction and, since Godfrey is also the chair of the board at RioCan, it’s also pretty humiliating. [Globe and Mail]

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