Toronto Neighborhoods

contact April 3rd, 2014

Thought this might come in handy if you’re trying to get a feel for Toronto. Here are the neighborhoods and their names:

Dufferin Grove
Kensington Market / Chinatown
Little India
Little Italy
High Park
Queen Street West
St. Clair West
Yonge St. (central)
Yonge & Eglinton

North York
West of Toronto
North of Toronto

In Canada Use Smartphones as Credit Cards

contact April 2nd, 2014

Canadians may soon be able to pay for purchases with a quick tap of their smartphones after a major bank and the country’s largest wireless carrier struck a deal to embed credit card information on handsets equipped with a chip to transmit data.

Rogers Communications Inc and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce later this year will launch the so-called mobile wallet on some BlackBerry models from Research In Motion Ltd. Devices from other handset makers are expected to follow.

Read the article at Yahoo

The Gift of Glenn Gould

contact April 1st, 2014

glenn gould complete collection

For the longest time, I couldn’t listen to The Goldberg Variations without thinking about Hannibal (The Cannibal) Lechter from Silence of the Lambs – let alone eat fava beans.

It made me sad because I love this recording by Glenn Gould. Luckily, I did overcome it and disassociated the two. Finally. Yay.

My baggage aside, one of the best things you can do for your life, is to stop everything and JUST listen to beautiful music for a while. You don’t have to spend the entire day doing this; just spend some allotted time to step away from the chaos of life, and just…chill. And chilling with music rules. Some of you are so used to multi-tasking and always doing a million things at the same time. You know I’m talking about you. Your days are filled with a continuous string of tasks back to back to back sans cesse, if you know what I mean. Calm, serenity, quiet, peaceful – well, these words do not exist in your life’s vocabulary.

Cut it out!

Do yourself a favor and find great music, like Glenn Gould: The Complete Original Jacket Collection

So…..WHY am I writing about Glenn Gould on this Toronto blog? I thought you’d never ask. Glenn Gould was born in Toronto on September 25, 1932. Thought you’d like that bit of trivia.

About Glenn Gould: The Complete Original Jacket Collection
Each of the 60 single and 9 double CDs consists of the exact recordings as first issued on vinyl and looks like a miniaturised form of the original disc: the CDs are in cardboard slipcases in the original design, and the CD itself is designed to look like a LP.

Supplemented by two bonus CDs, the limited “Glenn Gould Complete Jacket Collection” comprises 80 CDs mounted in a high-quality display case with a booklet of more than 240 pages. This booklet contains a new, detailed essay by the German Gould specialist Michael Stegemann on Glenn Gould and the LP recording era along with texts and repertoire details to all recordings in the edition, plus a listing and depiction of the records with reissue dates for repertoire that has appeared before.

The bonus CDs include the last great interview that Glenn Gould gave the American journalist Tim Page in 1981 and an essay on Johann Sebastian Bach and the fugue that Gould recorded in 1972 for a bonus LP. They also feature a number of late recordings that never appeared on vinyl: fragments of the “Italian Album” and Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll in its orchestral version — Gould’s recording debut as conductor and his last recording of all, made on 8 September 1982 with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Another rarity is Gould’s own film music to George Roy Hill’s Slaughterhouse Five from 1972.

Tiger Bar

contact March 31st, 2014

From an article in
tiger bar

If you’ve ever dreamed of a Guitar Hero battle in the midst of a safari disco dance party, you’re in luck. With its painted jungle décor, basement vibe and some of the city’s hottest weekly events, Tiger Bar is bringing out College Street’s wild side.

If you have no idea where Tiger Bar is on College Street, you’re not alone. Although its parties have been on everyone’s lips as of late, the venue itself is as hidden as a hidden gem could be, with two completely hidden entrances and no signage. One entrance is in the alleyway behind popular brunch spot Aunties and Uncles on Lippincott Street, while the second is tucked inside the brightly lit, cafeteria-esque College Street Diner. In fact, the only way you’ll find it is if you look for the handwritten sign simply stating “Bar.”

But don’t expect Tiger Bar to look anything like the above bar College Street Diner. Tiger Bar is dark and appropriately dressed like a…

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National Film Board, Toronto Mediatheque

contact March 30th, 2014

This gem is THE place to watch the best in Canadian animated, documentary, short and feature films in the state-of-the-art personal viewing stations. There are always new titles added monthly to a growing database of 1500+ films.

mediateque torontoFree admission.

Weekend animation workshops for kids ages 3-13; $5 per child with guardian. Mon.-Tue. 1-7p.m.; Wed. 10a.m.-7p.m.; Thu.-Sat. 10a.m.-10p.m.; Sun. 12-5p.m.

150 John St (at Richmond St W)
Toronto (Osgoode subway station)
M5V 3C3 Canada

Hours of Operation
Monday & Tuesday, 1 – 7 pm
Wednesday, 10 am – 7 pm
Thursday – Saturday, 10 am – 10 pm
Sunday, Noon – 5 pm

Fees for Digital Viewing Stations
Unlimited Day Pass – $2
Annual Unlimited Pass – $12
Annual Unlimited Family Pass – $15
Red Carpet Pass – $50

Soundscapes for Discerning Music Lovers

contact March 29th, 2014

soundscapesFrom their site:

Soundscapes is an independent CD and music book retailer located in the Little Italy neighbourhood of downtown Toronto. The shop was founded with the simple intent of carrying the best music of all styles and persuasions. Our inventory includes (but is not limited to) folk, jazz, world, psych, garage, prog, blues, soul, reggae, classical, experimental, noise, americana/country, electronic, hip-hop, R&B, metal and pop/rock. We also devote our energies to finding the best in reissues of all genres and imports from across the pond. Finally, our store has one of the city’s best selections of local indie artists.

Soundscapes is a ticket outlet for many independent promoters and we regularly provide tickets for the town’s cornerstone venues, such as The Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace, The Mod Club, The Music Gallery and The Opera House, among others. A long-time supporter of Toronto’s independent music scene, we have a large consignment section and a seven-year relationship with local indie club night Wavelength (the breeding ground for Broken Social Scene, The Constantines, Royal City and Do Make Say Think to name a few).

Since its birth in August of 1999, the store has quickly grown into one of Toronto’s most-respected and loved music shops. Most importantly, our shelves are stocked not only by the tastes of our staff, but also through suggestions of many a regular customer. We pride ourselves on a relationship with our clientele that is based on respect and a mutual love of music.

In August 1999, Greg Davis first opened the doors on a modest shop in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood. The space used to be a children’s clothing store. Now it was a fledgling CD shop called Soundscapes. Greg had arrived at this place in a very un-rock n’ roll way. Although a native son of nearby Burlington, he had spent the previous two years as an accountant living in San Diego. Like a lot of number-crunchers he found his job profitable but boring. Unlike the majority of his cohorts, he decided to do something about it.

Greg’s record-store-owner-by-way-of-accountant history was unconventional and so was his approach to the indie record shop. Instead of the cluttered bins and surly attitudes depicted in High Fidelity, he favoured clean lines, broad genre stocking, and wide-eyed enthusiasm. The idea was that while he was a huge fan of music himself, he had as much to learn as the next person. Soundscapes was to be a meeting place of like open minds, where the customer had as much to say about the stocking of the shelves as the owner himself.

When the shop first started, it had no more than a couple thousand titles and Greg was the only employee: day in, day out. In the years since, the store has greatly expanded with an inventory of some 20,000 CDs, books and DVDs, as well as over a dozen employees. The shop’s well-chosen, always-improving stock ranges from folk, pop, rock and soul to jazz, classical and experimental, not to mention numerous reissues and import titles.

572 College Street
Little Italy
Toronto, Ontario
M6G 1B3 Canada
ph: (416) 537-1620


Gems of Hope, Toronto – Supporting Women’s Development

contact March 28th, 2014

This is the best time of year to be thinking about giving to a charity in your area. Gems of Hope is a a Toronto-based charity with a global focus.

gems of hopeGems of Hope is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization whose mandate is to advance the standard of living for marginalized women in developing countries. To that end, Gems, in partnership with local non-profit agencies from various countries, implements women’s initiatives that empower women to break the cycle of poverty for good.

Development projects of Gems of Hope provide impoverished women with the following:

* Access to micro-credit for initiation or expansion of their small enterprises
* Skills development
* Human Development
* Basic health services
* Education on health and sanitation

With the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and our generous donors, we have helped over tens of thousands of women to build a brighter future for themselves and their families.

Donate online now

You can also donate with a cheque. Please make your cheque payable to Gems of Hope and mail to:
675 King Street West
Suite 304, Toronto, ON,
Canada, M5V 1M9.

Post-dated cheques are also accepted. A receipt will be issued after your funds have been deposited.

Canada Considers the U.S. to be Unsafe

contact March 27th, 2014

From rabble:

“The U.S. does not meet the Refugee Convention requirements nor the Convention Against Torture prohibition.”

In a surprise ruling the Federal Court of Canada has overturned the “Canada United States Safe Third Country Agreement” in a judgment issued on November 29, 2007.

In a 124-page decision Mr. Justice Michael Phelan ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement, which came into effect on Dec. 29, 2004 and regulated refugee movement between Canada and the U.S., violates refugee rights and that the United States did not meet the conditions required to be considered a “Safe Country” under the terms of the Agreement.

The Agreement was also held to be contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “The interest at stake is highly important to an individual’s life, safety and dignity,” wrote Justice Phelan.

The Judge stated, “I would therefore conclude that the designation of the U.S. as a safe third country leads to a discriminatory result, in that it has a much more severe impact on persons who fall into the areas where the U.S. is not compliant with the Refugee Convention or CAT (Convention Against Torture), as well as discriminating and exposing such people to risk based solely on the method of arrival in Canada.”

“For the reasons outlined in this judgment, the United States’ policies and practices do not meet the conditions set down for authorizing Canada to enter into a Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA),” Justice Phelan stated.

“The U.S. does not meet the Refugee Convention requirements nor the Convention Against Torture prohibition (the Maher Arar case being one example.) Further, the STCA does not comply with the relevant provisions of the Charter.”

The court ruled that a one-year deadline to file refugee claims in the U.S. was inconsistent with the international conventions because it increased the risk claimants would be sent back to countries where they faced danger or torture.

Justice Phelan also noted that the U.S. definition of terrorist activities can…

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Apple announces crappy TV programming available at the Canada iTunes Store

contact March 26th, 2014

More of a general Canada news item but thought it was worth posting. I wonder: do Canadians appreciate this crappy TV programming? From MacMerc:

This is either what some American executive thinks Canadians would like to watch (i.e. give them Hockey and Corner Gas) or what some Canadian Government agency dictates that we should be forced to watch (i.e. mostly Canadian content, regardless of what the people want). The inclusion of South Park as one of the few US-produced programs available may be a clue as to which one is to blame for the horrible selection–Blame Canada.

Here’s the gist of the press release:

Apple today announced that hit television programming from Canada’s top networks, US broadcasters and the National Hockey League (NHL) is now available for CAN$1.99 per episode from the iTunes Store in Canada. iTunes customers can choose from Canadian-produced favorites such as the top-rated, award-winning “Corner Gas” from CTV, smash hit comedy “Little Mosque on the Prairie” from CBC, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “South Park” from Comedy Central and the NHL Games of the Year.

CBC’s comedy programs “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and “The Rick Mercer Report,” reality programming “No Opportunity Wasted” and “Dragon’s Den;”
CTV’s smash hit comedy “Corner Gas,” dramas “Instant Star,” “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “Robson Arms;”
Comedy Central’s “Drawn Together,” “The Sarah Silverman Program” and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “South Park;”
MTV Networks programs “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Hills;” and
NHL Games of the Year, including top NHL games in their entirety for the 2007-2008 season, as well as Stanley Cup Classics, a five-game bundle of great Stanley Cup Final games.
TV shows from the iTunes Store are downloaded in near-DVD quality at a resolution of…

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Time Lapse Video of Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum’s Crystal

contact March 25th, 2014

From May 2003 to November 2007 this time lapse video was produced through a series of still images taken at 1pm every day during the construction of The Michael Lee Chin Crystal at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. Later images were captured every 10 minutes during the building’s opening week.

It is amazing.

Watch the video


Upcoming Toronto Beer Events

contact March 24th, 2014

beer events toronto These are not your every day, ordinary codswallop or run-o-the-mill kind of brew. We’re talking quality liquid gold elixir. Anyway. I had to look up some beer lingo. Can ya tell?! Back to this post. Here are a couple of not to be missed beer events in the Toronto area. Happy chugalug! (just kidding.) DON’T chugalug for your liquid sleep. Ok, I’ll stop now.

Fri Jan 25 and Sat Jan 26 2008
Robbie Burns Night
Granite Brewery

2008 (date t.b.a.)
Dogfish Head Beer Dinner with Sam Calagione

[via the bar towel]

The Spice Trader, Toronto – Organic Spices

contact March 23rd, 2014

the spice trader toronto
You’ll never need to get your spices anywhere else in Toronto. The Spice Trader has about 150 different kinds of spices that adorn the shelves yummily. All spices are organic or wild-harvested, and you can even try them before you buy them. I love Spice Trader!

Sometimes you try unusual recipes that call for uncommon spices. You inevitably just forget about the recipe unless you can find the spices. If you’ve ever been stumped trying to find Ras Al Hanout or quality reverse osmosis cando twigs from antarctica (ok. I made that one up.), look no further. It’ll be a rare occasion that you don’t find what you’re looking for. To note: there’s an excellent sel­ection of salt, from hand-gathered, flaky Welsh Halen Mon to Pacific Alderwood Smoked Salt. Also try the shop’s signature spice blends—including a dill-fennel salt for fish—and assorted dry rubs.

That’s not all. There’s a good variety of accessories, too, from quality spice grinders (Peugeot grinders, graters mortars and pestles, etc.) to frying pans. You might even turn your nose up at William’s Sonoma! Maybe.

The Spice Trader regularly creates new blends, coming up with different ways of using traditional flavours. There are also The Spice Traders own blended salts and herb spice infusions.

The gift boxes make wonderful presents for those who have everything. There are starter kits, salt samplers, and custom gift boxes.

The Spice Trader
805 Queen St. W. (at Niagara St.)
Main level
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1G1

Speak Easy

contact March 22nd, 2014

speak easy toronto
SpeakEasy is a Toronto gathering event, a way for students, creative pros, curious onlookers, well, just about everyone is welcome. Eight times a year, meet new people, mingle and exhibit some of your creations. This is a great way to get some exposure for your art, crafts, jewelry if you are trying to become a creative professional.

Where and When?
8 times a year on the first Thursday of the month
from 8pm-Midnight
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen West, Toronto
Admission is “Pay What You Can” ($4 Suggested)

Toronto’s Best Bars: Melody Bar

contact March 21st, 2014

melody bar torontoSpeaking of the Gladstone Hotel, I want to expound a bit on their awesome bar, The Melody Bar.

It was voted among The Top 10 Bars List in the World ’07 by Conde Nast. This is what they had to say about Melody Bar:

With walls paneled in rich wood, alabaster lamps hanging from the 10-foot ceilings, fat Romanesque pillars, and an original 1930s wooden bar, the Melody Bar isn’t so much nouveau retro as a rollicking saloon. Weekend karaoke nights have become the stuff of legend, with the host brandishing a giant APPLAUSE sign to stoke the crowd—an interesting hodgepodge of expertly coiffed hipsters, ad execs, pixie punk girls, and dust-caked construction workers.

Could it be their fabulous burgers? Maybe their rockin’ karaoke (Thursday through Saturday)? Or their famous Hump Day Bump Wednesday night party? Go there and tell me about it!

Open 11am – 2am Daily. No Cover.

To Note: Holiday Hours
Dec 24 Cafe open until 4pm – Brunch Menu | Melody Bar closed
Dec 25 Cafe + Melody Bar Closed
Dec 26 Cafe open at 8am – Brunch Menu | Melody Bar open at 5pm
Dec 31 Serving bubbly till 3am
Jan 1 Cafe open at 8am – Brunch Menu | Melody Bar normal hours

Melody Bar
Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto ON M6J 1J6
416 531 4635

Gladstone Hotel

contact March 20th, 2014

gladstone hotel
The Gladstone is more than just a boutique hotel; It’s a unique hotel that, in essence, is an ongoing experiment in melding cultural entrepreneurship and urban development. They even have a Green Policy. Yay them!

The Gladstone Hotel in Toronto is an urban hotel providing both travelers and Torontonians with a truly authentic experience of the local creative culture. Our historic landmark hotel features artist designed hotel rooms and suites, affordable short-term artist studios, exhibition spaces, and versatile event and conference venues. The hotel also offers great food and drink in the Ballroom Cafe and Melody Bar. Visitors can experience Toronto from within the comforts of the hotel’s thirty-seven artist designed guest rooms, eat, drink, attend art related, social, or corporate events held within the historic landmark architecture, and then step out into the heart of the city’s vibrant art and design neighbourhood.

This isn’t just a place to stay overnight. The Gladstone is more than a hotel. It is a place where local artists exhibit their work and perform and more importantly a place where artists and regular neighbourhood patrons come just to hang out. From cabaret performances to film screenings, art exhibitions to wedding parties the Gladstone hosts events for a vast range of artists, community groups, businesses and individuals.

Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON Canada M6J 1J6

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