Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Real Estate

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House of the Week: $1.3 million for a townhome with a rooftop view of Casa Loma

ADDRESS: 274 Spadina Road

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Casa Loma

AGENT: Cary Chapnick, Hive Realty Corp., Brokerage

PRICE: $1,279,000

THE PLACE: A three-storey row house with a private elevator, steps from Casa Loma and Sir Winston Churchill Park.

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Features

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The Argument: In Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley transforms Toronto into a brightly coloured urban fantasy

The Argument | Unreal City

The urban fantasy depicted in Take This Waltz is as as beguiling and instantly nostalgic as an Instagram pic (Image: Mongrel Media)

In the middle of directing Take This Waltz, recently released in theatres, Sarah Polley hit a snag. She desperately wanted to get Leslie Feist to record a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” for the soundtrack. Given how in demand the singer-songwriter is, it was almost impossible to pin her down—even for Polley, a bona fide Canadian celebrity herself. And then one night, around 2 a.m., while Polley and her crew were shooting on a small street in Little Portugal, she heard someone call her name. It was Feist—she and fellow singer Howie Beck, both on bicycles, were on their way to Trinity Bellwoods Park to play glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. Polley asked about the Cohen cover, Feist agreed, and her version of the song is heard at a pivotal point in the film. “That kind of moment is very specific to Toronto,” Polley says now. “It’s a really special place that way.”

The whole scenario sounds like a parody of the lives of hip, young downtowners—the punch line for a skit from a rejected Torontolandia pilot, maybe. But it’s exactly the kind of bohemian and pleasantly casual community that Polley, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, set out to capture.

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Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 2, because we’re pumped for gold

The posse of Torontonians who’ll invade this summer’s London Olympics is determined to return with more medals than ever. Here, five of our top-calibre athletes assess the sacrifices they’ve made on the climb to the podium.

Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 2, Because we’re pumped for gold

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Michelle Dean: I ♥ N.Y. (Not T.O.)

I Love N.Y. (Not T.O.)

(Jack Dylan)

Dear Toronto: I’d like to say that it’s me, not you, but I’d be lying. It is you. You have no passion, no ambition. You elected Rob Ford! I’m leaving you for another city

About a year ago, in what felt like defeat, I moved to Toronto. I was looking to overhaul (some might say “ditch”) my career. I’d spent five years in New York as a corporate attorney, warring with myself from the get-go over whether I could stay in a city that I loved on employment terms I despised. When I was finally laid off and I decided to leave practice altogether, Toronto was the obvious choice for a crash landing. Though I’d never lived there, I had a lot of friends in the city, there were cultural events aplenty, and rents seemed shockingly cheap after Brooklyn and Manhattan. Maybe, I thought, I’d been crazy to stay away.

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Random Stuff

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City hall storms Casa Loma’s gates! (Well, sort of)

The City won the battle for Casa Loma (Image: Carsten Kebler)

While the rest of the city has managed to go about its business without really noticing, there’s a long-running feud taking place between city council and the Kiwanis Club over Toronto’s most romantic historic mansion. The Kiwanians have been running Casa Loma since 1937, but for the last four years there have been murmurs that the city should take over the castle’s operations. Unfortunately, the takeover probably won’t involve a Game of Thrones–style siege—nor swordplay or direwolves—so an HBO miniseries is out of the question. Instead it looks like it will entail an amicable (read: boring) breakup and, in typical Toronto fashion, a buyout.

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Culture

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Michael Cera is playing bass on Mister Heavenly tour

Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Image: Universal)

Mister Heavenly has recruited Michael Cera to play bass for their upcoming West Coast tour. Already part of the band are Man Man’s Honus Honus, Islands’ Nick Thorburn and Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer. Cera played a bassist in both Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but if you want to see him play live, you’ll have to go as far as Seattle. No word on whether Cera will be joining the band permanently.

Meet Mister Heavenly’s Bass Player [Line Out]
Michael Cera Joins Mister Heavenly [Pitchfork]

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Culture

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See “sleeper hit” Scott Pilgrim vs. the World for free tonight

This August, comic book nerds across the city flocked to opening-night screenings of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, eager to catch a glimpse of their favourite local comic book given the big-screen treatment. Unfortunately for the film’s producers and its star, Michael Cera, local packed houses were the exception, not the norm. The adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s comic about a Toronto kid who must do battle with his crush’s exes was one of this summer’s notable box office flops. It brought in around $45 million, far short of its $60 million production budget.

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Events

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Sixteen things to do in Toronto before summer’s over

(Image: Benson Kua)

The leaves may be changing and drunken freshmen may be stumbling around the streets again, but summer isn’t officially over until September 22. Instead of whinging about the inevitable end of the warm weather, make full use of the remaining lazy, hazy days with our list of 16 things to watch, eat, do, see and buy before it’s time to break out the scarves and jackets.

1. Go to Sugar Beach. The Claude Cormier–designed park is the newest addition to Toronto’s ongoing waterfront rejuvenation project, with quartz-speckled sand, pink umbrellas and grassy knolls. The beach is nestled between the slick Corus Entertainment building and the Redpath Sugar Factory, and the Muskoka chairs are a good vantage point from which to contemplate Toronto’s past and present or work on a late-summer tan. Jarvis slip, lower Jarvis St. and Queens Quay E.

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Culture

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Ten must-see events at the Bell Lightbox this fall

The Passion of Joan of Arc is TIFF's favourite film of all time

Toronto’s film industry is on quite a roll these days. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World opened last weekend to rave reviews (if not outstanding box office results). And judging from the lineup of events for the new Bell Lightbox, Toronto is getting a wicked new film house. The Lightbox is set to open its doors September 12; its programming is centred around the Essential Cinema, TIFF’s selections of the 100 best films of all time, starting September 23. There will be so much going on that a preliminary rundown is essential. Here, a roundup of 10 events to check out this fall.

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Culture

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Outrage of the day: Scott Pilgrim limps to finish fifth at box office

Scott Pilgrim vs. The Expendables

That must hurt worse than exploding into a handful of coins: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opened to a paltry $10.5 million this weekend, behind The Expendables, Eat Pray Love, The Other Guys(???) and Inception. With a gross that anemic, it’s difficult to see the Toronto-based geekfest making back its $60 million budget at the box office. If a fun, video game-besotted romp around some of Toronto’s greatest landmarks can’t bring the crowds to a theatre—especially after the whole Chloe thing—it’s possible Toronto is going to have to go back to playing, oh, every other vaguely post-industrial city in North America.

So what have we learned from this whole affair?

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Culture

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: the drinking game

Fanboy pulses everywhere quickened when it was announced that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels about Scott Pilgrim, a bass-playing Toronto trouble magnet, were being made into a movie. When Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright signed on, fangirls swooned. And when geek god Michael Cera (holla, Brampton!) was cast as the shaggy-haired slacker destined to do battle with his new love’s seven evil exes, you could practically hear brains explode. To top it off, the comic-book adaptation to end all comic-book adaptations is set right here at home (eat it, New York!), just as it should be. Straight-edge Scott quaffs Coke Zero all around town (nice product placement, Universal), but for those who prefer a bit of bite, our Scott Pilgrim drinking game, after the jump.

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Culture

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Tourism Toronto goes geek: now targeting Scott Pilgrim fans

(Image: seetorontonow.com)

So there’s this film called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (based on the Toronto comic book series) and it’s got everyone excited because it’s actually set in Toronto—as in, the city is playing itself on-screen for a change, as opposed to standing in for Chicago or New York. Settings include Sneaky Dee’s, Casa Loma, Sonic Boom, Lee’s Palace and TTC buses (see an interactive map of all the places mentioned in the comic here). Aside from residents getting giddy about the city getting international play, the local government is hoping this will bring in some major tourist dollars just like how that movie about sparkling vampires made Forks, Washington into the Twilight zone.

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Jagged Little Pill: Toronto’s Alison Pill lets loose in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

The Toronto actor lets loose in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Alison Pill

Alison Pill has a perfect moon face and two tiny, soft eyes, and at 24, she’s easily mistaken for someone much younger than her age. That girlishness is what makes her standout talent for channelling freakishly tough women memorable. Over the past five years, she has become a Broadway regular, playing an Irish sharpshooter who gleefully blinds cattle and men alike in the black comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore; a vengeful pedophilia victim in Blackbird; Helen Keller’s tenacious governess in The Miracle Worker; and a tormented ex-con opposite Edie Falco in This Wide Night. (Her breakout Tony-nominated performance in Inishmore had an eerily calm Pill presiding over a pile of corpses and a blood-soaked stage in the final scene.) On TV, in season two of the psychotherapy drama In Treatment, she was a resentful architecture student who refuses to seek help for her cancer.

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Culture

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Free party tonight to kick off release of sixth Scott Pilgrim book

(Image: scottpilgrim.com)

Scott Pilgrim is getting major all-star treatment this summer when the movie adaptation starring Michael Cera comes out in August, but fans of the original Toronto graphic novel series—about a down-and-out teen who has to fight seven exes to get to the girl of his dreams—can celebrate sooner with the release of the sixth and final book. In anticipation of the midnight release, Mirvish Village book shop The Beguiling is hosting a free party tonight; Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O’Malley will sign copies at 12:01 when the book hits the stands.

Urban Planner [Torontoist]

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Culture

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The new Scott Pilgrim vs. the World trailer is out

Sure, Michael Cera is still cashing in on his dopey doofus shtick in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but judging from the trailer (and cast list on IMDB), there’s going to be a lot more to the flick than Toronto landmark spotting. Namely, some fine young talent: Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Jason Schwartzman, Kieran Culkin and Abigail Chu. (OK, Chu is kind of a nobody, but she did play the young version of the creepy hybrid thingy in Splice.) See the new trailer below.

• Scott Pilgrim vs. The World trailer [YouTube]