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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Honest Ed's closes its doors forever

Honest Ed's closed its doors forever just after 5 p.m. tonight, December 31, 2016. There was no formal send-off, just an unceremonious darkening of half the ground floor lights to let people know that the nearly 70 year old story was finally over. Fittingly, the place was busy until the bitter end with people taking a last look at what was a Toronto institution.

honest eds closedI didn't think I'd return after visiting a couple days ago and seeing the store cleaned out, but something pulled me back to pay my last respects. The entire area around Bathurst and Bloor was buzzing with folks snapping final photos of the garish exterior to mark the passing of a giant.

honest eds closedThe lights still illuminate the massive sign for now, which was especially dazzling this evening as light rainfall rendered the street a mirror, reflecting back whatever remains of the 30,000 bulbs that once boldly announced Ed Mirvish's retail extravaganza. 

honest eds closedAt about 10 minutes before closing, a staff member took to the PA to ask that customers take their purchases to the cash. From then on the speakers played a fuzzy selection of old Ed's radio ads promising outrageous deals and rock bottom prices, the only official bit of nostalgia from the store that didn't have a price tag on it.

honest eds closedAs the clock hit 5 p.m. it seemed as though the people who weren't buying one of the remaining hand-painted signs or sturdy shopping bags were standing in place waiting for something important to happen. It didn't. A few words were spoken by former staff members and then people filed out in an orderly fashion. 

honest eds closedThe real scene was outside where the late dusk sky activated the flashes on the smartphone and mini-cameras that were busy capturing the remains of the grand old building. As the sign pulsed above and the flashes sparked below, the street became a stadium full of fans witnessing the sprawling store's last stand. 

honest eds closedThis was a spectacle worthy of the Honest Ed's we knew and loved.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Toronto New Year's Eve Party Guide 2017

New Year's Eve parties in Toronto include big events, concerts, comedy shows, dance parties and a lot more festive celebrations to help usher in 2017 with joy, friends and not too bad of a hangover the next day. 

Here are my picks for New Year's Eve parties and events in Toronto.

Events you might want to check out:

Shelter 325 NYE (December 31 - January 1 @ 325 Front Street West)
Head here for an enormous party inside a bunker downtown from Toronto party collectives Box of Kittens, Dirty Decibels, Suma, 40hz Soundsystem, Hear Here: A Creative Salon.
The Sadies NYE (December 31 - January 1 @ Horseshoe Tavern)
The Sadies' annual New Year's Eve show features Duend and Pow Wows. DJ Chico spins vinyl between sets and the whole shebang starts at 9 p.m.
NYE at the Moulin Rougestone (December 31 - January 1 @ Gladstone Hotel)
The Gladstone will transform into a Moulin Rouge playground with live music, burlesque performances and a champagne toast at midnight.
Plush New Years Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Loft404 Inspired Gatherings)
This is a great big loft party with some exciting house and techno DJs by the kind people behind the Promise parties (as well as AlienInFlux and BASSgators).
It's Not U It's Me: Farewell 2016 (December 31 - January 1 @ 2nd Floor Events)
One of Toronto's most inclusive, unique and genre-pushing parties politely pushes 2016 out of the way with the city's finest house and techno DJs.
Chronologic: New Year's Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ The Garrison)
The famous Goin' Steady DJs return to The Garrison for a dance party through the ages. You'll hear pop and anti-pop hits from 1890 to 2017 played in chronological order.
Majestic New Year's Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Royal York)
If you need a big, fancy dress up party for NYE, consider this extravagant ball at the Royal York. Claudia Maria hosts what will be the closest thing to feeling like you're starring in a Disney movie.
Royale Gala (December 31 - January 1 @ Palais Royale)
This is a big fancy gala down by the lake. Palais Royale overlooks Lake Ontario and has a ballroom which will host Klassik and Live Percussion by Soraya Lozano
The House of Filth NYE (December 31 - January 1 @ The Beaver)
The House of Filth is Toronto's most wonderfully disgusting drag family and the clan is taking over the Beaver to ring in the new year. DJ Aaryn spins in between shows.
Fuck You 2016 (December 31 - January 1 @ Track & Field Bar)
This party features an RIP 2016 countdown, a complimentary daiquiri toast at midnight, a double DJ dance party, baller champagne giveaways, cocktails on tap, free bocce and free shuffleboard and no dumb dress code.
Motown Party New Years Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Studio Bar)
Get down with go go dancers to old favourites and rare grooves from the Supremes, Otis Redding, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and more, all played by a super fly set of DJs.
Feministry: Evil Eye (December 31 - January 1 @ Holy Oak)
One of the year's best new queer parties celebrates the beginning of a new year with house, disco, hyper-pop and special guests Rose Ceremony, Mary Mack and Cam Lee.
Proper New Years Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Nest)
DJ Victor Calderone, Avision, Joee Cons, Sean Collier and opener Joey Karaj spin inside a club with one of the best sound systems in the city.
Beam Me Up: New Year's Even Disco! (December 31 - January 1 @ In the coach house beside 129 Spadina)
A Digital Needle and Cyclist spin positive, uplifting and high energy funk, boogie, disco, house and hip hop for your heart and soul. Expect visuals from the Grand Reverend Doctor Dynamite.
NYE 2017 (December 31 - January 1 @ CODA)
DJs Thugfucker with support from Alberto Jossue, Gera, Jonathan Rosa and Night Vision provide a night and early morning and dance music for you mind and butt.
The Drake Hotel Under the Big Top (December 31 - January 1 @ The Drake Hotel)
Expect a deluxe circus theme that goes over-the-top with indulgent Drake eats and gin cocktails to start the night, a Digital Fabrick photobooth, tarot readings and host Champagna Enemea.
The Dreamboats Live! (December 31 @ Junction City Music Hall)
The Dreamboats will be playing three sets of your favourite retro pop and rock tunes (1955 to 1965 exclusively!). This is for lovers of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Elvis, the Beatles and more.
Last New Years with The Central (December 31 - January 1 @ The Central)
Be part of the final count down at this Annex neighbourhood favourite. There'll be DJ's on two floors spinning the best old school hip hop and your favourite 90s jams.
New Year's Eve Disco (December 31 - January 1 @ Mill Street Beer Hall)
Bump, hustle and shake to the funked up beats of DJ Humble spinning vinyl records all night long. Enjoy a four-course dinner with beer pairings and a champagne toast at midnight.
5th annual Back In The Day NYE (December 31 - January 1 @ 99 Sudbury)
This is a tribute to old school hip hop, R&B, dance, house, reggae and pop from the 90s in two massive party rooms.
Sin (December 31 - January 1 @ The Black Eagle Toronto)
Expect a sexy dance party inside Toronto's only gay leather bar featuring Chicago's Ted Eile and Toronto's Cesar Murillo.
A Very Bowie New Year's Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Old Nick)
David Bowie hits and misses will be played all night long at this tribute night to the original Starman. I Will Be King are playing with bubbles at midnight.
NYE Carnival (December 31 - January 1 @ Amsterdam BrewHouse)
This is a carnival themed New Years event with DJs, acrobats, magicians, illusionists and other carnival performances. It's a 14,000 square foot event space with a two-storey midnight balloon drop.
Colette New Years Eve Party (December 31 - January 1 @ Colette Grand Café)
The theme for this NYE party beside the Thompson is Secret Society. The $150 ticket includes an open bar, snacks and dancing all night long.
Revolution New Years Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ REBEL)
This might be Toronto's loudest countdown to 2017. Dress code is in full effect with DJs in every massive room and visuals to blow your mind.
The Dude's New Year's (December 31 - January 1 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
Ring in the new year with hundreds of other “Little Achievers” (sunglasses and bathrobes recommended). Watch the countdown on the big screen and toast the New Year.
A NYE Ice Skating Jam (December 31 - January 1 @ Harbourfront Centre)
Count down to the new year with your whole family at DJ Skate Nights: A NYE Ice Skating Jam Named Saturdays, as DJ P-Plus serves up the hottest hits. No posing, no pretence, just real music.
NYE with CATL & Eamon McGrath (December 31 - January 1 @ The Dakota Tavern)
CATL will perform two sets and Eamon Mcgrath kicks things off right with Gregory Millson and all vinyl sets by DJ Swankenstein!
Donnie Darko: 80ss New Years Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ Velvet Underground)
Sometimes you have to ask yourself "Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?" and then dance to 80s music while bringing in the new year.
Over the Moon (December 31 - January 1 @ The Opera House)
Dance at a Balkan-klezmer gypsy-party funk-super-new-year party with Lemon Bucket Orkestra and The Soul Motivators.
Dwayne Gretzky New Years Eve 2017 (December 31 - January 1 @ The Danforth Music Hall)
Ring in 2017 with the young and energetic Dreamboats. They'll be playing three sets of your favourite retro pop and rock tunes (1955 to 1965 exclusively).
A Big Sound New Years (December 31 - January 1 @ Mod Club Theatre)
Ring in 2017 with Toronto's biggest Motown orchestra and dance the night away.
Elliott Brood NYE (December 31 - January 1 @ Lee's Palace)
Elliott Brood's annual NYE show at Lee's Palace with special guest Union Duke is a musical tradition this city is lucky to have.
Bravissimo! Opera's Greatest Hits (December 31 @ Roy Thomson Hall)
A program of over the top opera steaming with love, jealousy, and betrayal featuring this years all Italian cast of couples. This is the ninth year of this classic night of performance and once the show is done attendants are left to party.
Fresh Start (December 31 - January 1 @ Rivoli)
This big night of music features members of Hannah Georgas, Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians, Young Rival, The Elwins and so many more. There's a DJ set by Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck in between all the fun.
NY Eve (December 31 - January 1 @ The Silver Dollar Room)
This killer lineup at the Silver Dollar includes Phedre, Prince Ness and Dan & April of Hooded Fang. Jump into 2017 with a big, loud, electronic boom.
New Year's Eve Comedy Extravaganza at Massey Hall (December 31 @ Massey Hall)
This comedy event is celebrating its 16th year at Massey Hall.
NYE @ The Second City (December 31 @ The Second City)
The legendary mainstage ensemble is at the top of their game in this hilarious skewering of the 2016 news cycle that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh again.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

The top 10 songs from Toronto bands in 2016

The top songs from Toronto bands in 2016 came blazing through the occasional darkness that plagued this year musically. From hip hop to grunge to almost undefinable noise, Toronto music fans were treated to a medley of emotional songs about the future, self expression, identity, and looking forward and back at the same time.

Here are my picks for the top songs from Toronto bands in 2016.

Weaves, "Tick"

It was so hard to pick just one song from Weaves’ debut album this year, but “Tick” is just so full of effortless joy from the scream-able chorus to the nearly nonsense strings of lyrics that flow throughout the song. I was lucky enough to see Weaves play in a small space recently, and their performance hijacks the senses the same as in the video for this track.

New Fries, "Bring the Pressure Washer (BTPW)"

The album New Fries put out this year is simply called “More,” and that word seems to express a lot. Pure desire guides the driving rhythms of this song and the other excellent, spazzy, disorienting tracks on the album. This one is the most danceable of the bunch to me and features things I love like eccentric female vocals and seemingly random naming of American locations.

Drake, "Fake Love"

While Views cleaned up on the charts, I’m already looking forward to More Life with this instantly catchy tune released late in the year. It has all the classic trappings of a Drake song, whining about how famous he is and how he’s pretty awesome, but with a line like “I been down so long it look like up to me,” you’ll be humming it through the cold nights.


This secretly sensitive party track will bring a tear to any crust punk’s eye with its soulful lyrics that aren’t so different from the sentiments expressed in "Fake Love": a hopelessness about relationships and forgone conclusions about habits and personality. Driving chords are paired with words you can’t help but scream, including a shout out to the Don Valley Parkway.

Tasha the Amazon, "Picasso Leaning"

Rightfully deserving of the Amazon designation, Tasha’s powerful track features big bass, badass flow, and a semi-androgynous mesmerizing chorus, not to mention apparel from Toronto company Untitled & Co. This song also hints at self-destruction and misery behind its bravado and clever rhymes.

Clairmont the Second, "A Declaration"

This song has the perfect title. It begins with the lyrics “Spell my name correctly, spell my name correctly, not the way you think, the way you see me spell it,” the vocals doubled, the rapper staring directly into the camera in the video. It’s a representation of an unapologetic expression of self-identity that's befitting of 2016.

Lido Pimienta, "Agua"

I like this track because not a single lyric is in English but it's just captivating emotionally whether you're capable of understanding the words or not. At a recent performance at The Baby G, Lido had the crowd echo her chant of “Agua, agua,” and her dance moves are as intense as they are in this video.

River Tiber feat. Daniel Caesar, "West"

The video for this dreamy track splices together footage of our familiar TTC subway including Dundas West station with footage of beaches and other exotic locales. What’s more Toronto than dreaming of escaping the confines of the Big Smoke? This soft R&B ballad with high and floaty vocals and a tranquil vibe is all about that.

BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Charlotte Day Wilson, "In Your Eyes"

This one is for the jazz lovers. Vocals like honey drape themselves blissfully over the smooth jazz band sound of BADBADNOTGOOD, famous for recently collaborating with Ghostface Killah of Wu Tang Clan. Canadians aren’t only good-natured and cooperative in manners; it extends to sweet jazz collabs as well. This song is a soaring time-warp funk soul ballad.

The Weeknd, "Starboy"

This song hit number one twice on the Billboard charts, regaining the top spot weeks after its debut. The Weeknd’s songs have been more formulaic than the breathless with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Often,” but the lilting refrain “Look what you’ve done” here is ghostly and poetic enough to elevate this simple pop tune to something brilliant.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

The top 10 new restaurant openings in Toronto for December

The top new restaurant openings for December in Toronto really rounded out this year, with new ventures serving everything from crispy crunchy falafel, salmon “donut sushi” to Korean fried chicken and Hong Kong waffles. And, of course, because it’s the last month of the year: beer. Lots and lots of beer.

Here are my picks for the top restaurant openings this December in Toronto.

Little Sito

This Bloorcourt Lebanese restaurant is named for the four-foot-tall great-grandmother that inspired the owner and chef with her home cooking. Mezzes of baba ganoush, tabouleh and hummus as well as fried cauliflower set the stage for rustic mains like lamb washed down with local beer and wine.

Otto's Bierhalle

From the folks that brought us Otto’s Berlin Doner in Kensington Market, this new beer hall on West Queen West is spacious and cool. Though there’s not a doner in sight, console yourself with dozens upon dozens of beers and platters of ham hock, schnitzel, and pretzels.

Bodega Henriette

This new jack of all trades in the Beaches pumps out what the community needs pretty much all hours of the day, whether that be cocktails, squash bruschetta, coffee, baked goods, or even groceries like produce and dairy items.

Square Fish

Right near Queen and Spadina (and a ton of other sushi restaurants), Square Fish is reinventing the wheel a little bit with photogenic “mosaic” style sushi in square shapes, as well as creations like “doshi,” or donut sushi.


Though this is just a reinvention of Valdez on King West, it’s back and better than ever. Drinks that age as the ice melts in the glass and cocktails topped with clouds of foam and flower petals accompany ceviche flights, a raw bar and duck chaufa mixed tableside.

Oakwood Hardware

This down-home Oakwood Avenue bistro with a Chopped champion in the kitchen is way more than meets the eye. Yummy and innovative cocktails flavoured with mouse melon and plum as well as great bacon burgers, pork chop and belly entrees, and whatever else they dream up here are among some of the creations on a changing menu.

Kaboom Chicken

Head to Riverside for the Korean fried chicken and Hong Kong waffles here. The chicken is to die for. They also have humongous rice balls and Korean spins on dishes like poutine.

Jack and Lil's

Though only serving brunch one day a week at the moment out of their catering storefront, they promise to expand in the future and have good reason to with a menu of South-African-inspired stick-to-your-ribs dishes like township eggs, homemade granola, maple bacon and some of the most incredible bread pudding.


Replacing Wolf Like Me but run by the same team, they’ve amped up this watering hole with slick new branding that fits with an umbrella sports speaker series company and a full kitchen. Go here to munch on bourbon ribs, deep fried mac n’ cheese and jerk chicken sliders, and to talk sports in an environment a cut above generic pubs.

Lake Inez

Located in Little India, this place puts a twist on the all-too-familiar gastropub with Asian-inspired comfort eats accompanying your end-of-day beers. Run by the people behind The Wren, it replaces Siddhartha Pure Vegetarian.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

The top 10 new late night eats in Toronto this year

Late night eats in Toronto just keep getting better and better. This year we've witnessed a slew of new joints open all over the city. From Caribbean takeout spots to bars named after horror films, when hunger strikes in the middle of the night, you have lots of options.

Here are my picks for the top new late night eats spots in Toronto.

Locals Only

The bar located below Home of the Brave on King West is serving up delectable bite sized grub until 2 a.m. Bar snacks range from oysters to fried chicken to ceviche.


The Caribbean joint that is just walking distance from the clubby King and Bathurst is open wee into the night to satisfy all your post bar needs. Jerk chicken sandwiches and plates are offered until 12 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays.

Poutini's House of Poutine

Toronto's top late night poutine purveyor expanded to King West this year. You can now fill up on fries topped with all the fixins until 3:30 a.m. on weekends.

Lloyd's on Queen

This Shining themed bar is found in Leslieville, an area that is seriously lacking in late night grub. Alongside the great cocktail list is a menu of simple bar snacks that include ballpark hotdogs and beef patty burgers that are on offer until 2 a.m.

The Greater Good

From the crew behind Get Well, this Geary Avenue bar comes with a North of Brooklyn pizza counter. Grab a slice or a whole pie until 2 a.m.

Otto's Bierhalle

The West Queen West German beer hall does more than just tasty pilsners. From 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. they offer a late night menu which features items like a beet salad, cheese and meat board, schnitzel and more.

Three Hands

The Dundas West bar dishes out Canadian comfort food and cocktails 'til 2 a.m. Chow down on goodies like pork ribs, jerk octopus salad and fried chicken.

The Dime

This party bar from the restaurant group behind Toronto's El Furniture Warehouse and Queen Street Warehouse is serving up food until last call. The menu features a eclectic selection of snack foods and all are priced at $4.95.

Petit Potato

If you find yourself hungry in North York in the middle of the night this Taiwanese-Japanese restaurant will satisfy cravings for wings, omurice and over the top desserts.

Macho Radio Bar

The Tex-Mex joint found in CityPlace is serving up a late night eats menu until 2 a.m. Snack on chips and guacamole, tacos, flatbreads and salads.

by Jaclyn Skrobacky via blogTO

10 things that defined Toronto in 2016

The things that defined Toronto in 2016 range from the scorching heat to flash in the pan games that dominated city streets. It's been widely characterized as a difficult year, but this city remained at least somewhat insulated from the challenges abroad.

Here are 10 things that defined Toronto in 2016.

Animals shenanigans

Our city's furriest friends continue to entertain the world with their shenanigans. From the High Park capybara (who appeared in the New York Times) to the giant pandas at the zoo, our animals made international headlines. Toronto's raccoons even made an appearance in Planet Earth II.

Pokemon Go

For a few weeks in July, it seemed like all anyone could talk about was Pokemon Go. There were so many players down by the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal that the city had to reach out to game developers Niantic to remedy the situation. The excitement cooled off by the end of the summer - who's excited to never use the phrase "dropping lures" again?

Red hot real estate market

In 2016, Toronto's real estate market continued to grow; it's now one of the hottest in the country. It's still a seller's market out there and the price for single-family detached home in the city is still sitting well above $1 million.

The heat

Summer sixteen was a scorcher. Seriously, it was one of the city's hottest summers on record. Temperatures regularly soared over 40 C, which was a real treat for those of us without air conditioning.

Big store openings

The Eaton Centre and Yorkdale got makeovers this past year and welcomed a slew of new stores including Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Although Uniqlo was the only one that drew massive lineups after it finally made its debut. 


With a very short time frame, Toronto went from having no Hawaiian-style poke restaurants to having a whole bunch. This dish is a delicious one, so we'll just have to wait and see how many of these poke spots survive. 

The renewal of our sports teams

Toronto's sports teams were actually kind of good this year. The Blue Jays wowed us yet again, the Toronto FC made it to the finals and the Raptors made it to the playoffs. We even hosted the NBA All-Star weekend and the World Cup of Hockey this past year. 

Beloved spots closing

This is a sad one because we lost iconic stores and restaurants, like Honest Ed's, all of Mirvish Village, the Harbord Room, the Brunswick House and the Hideout in 2016.

Pedestrian fatalities

It was a tragic year on Toronto roads with a huge surge in pedestrian deaths. That's led to calls for increased road safety measures throughout the city, including lowered speed limits for 2017.

Parties in unusual places

Underground parties often happen in quirky spots, but in 2016, lots of massive events went to down in oft-overlooked places. Luminato fully transformed the Hearn (its takeover even included a fine-dining restaurant), Long Winter held a party at the Galleria Mall and in/future threw an art festival at Ontario Place.

What do you think defined Toronto in 2016? Let us know in the comments.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

The top 10 new Toronto condo developments in 2016

The top new Toronto developments in Toronto will redefine the city's skyline for years to come. These projects, announced or released this year, all stand out from the pack thanks to their unique designs both inside and out. This city has a reputation for bland glass box architecture, but there are many signs that we're steadily ditching this trend. 

Here are my picks for the top new Toronto condo developments in 2016.

Lower JCT

Castlepoint Numa is getting ready to bring townhomes and condos to the area around the new MOCA on Sterling Road. This will be a substantial development for the still industrial-looking area.

33 avenue road condo33 Avenue Road

With lots of greenery, this project designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects and Richmond Architects looks like it'll be particularly impressive, especially since it's slated to top out at 30 storeys. The role of the heritage buildings is, however, still up in the air.

70-72 Carleton (Stanley Condos)

If you love food and the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you might want to look into this Tribute Communities development coming to Carleton and Church. This 42 storey curvilinear building designed by CORE Architects will feature 565 units.

81 Wellesley

If you want to be in the Village, you can't get much closer than 81 Wellesley, located right by the Wine Rack at the corner of Church and Wellesley. This project by Aragon Properties and designed by CORE Architects, features a black-and-white facade and 179 units spread out over 28 storeys.

346 Davenport

RAW's designing this new Freed Developments project on Davenport. It'll feature 35 "contemporary homes" with luxurious features and finishes. It's one of a number of midsize condo proposals that made an impression in 2016.

Hill and Dale

Units start at the $1 million mark in this new development by Old Stonehenge on Yonge Street between in Rosedale. It looks like it's going to be a fancy, shmancy place, but with an expansive glass facade, it'll be pretty for those walking by too. 

home (Power and Adelaide)

Great Gulf and Hullmark are behind this mixed-use project designed by CORE Architects at 48 Power Street on the city's east side. Once complete, it'll include 550 units as well as amenities, such as a rooftop terrace and a fitness centre.

Waterworks Building

MOD Developments and Woodcliffe Landmark Properties will create 314 residential units above the historic Waterworks Building at Richmond and Augusta. It'll include affordable units managed by Artscape as well as space for a YMCA and Eva's Initiatives for Homeless YouthDiamond Schmitt Architects will be responsible for the exterior design.

wellington house condoWellington House

This sleek 23-storey by Lamb Developments and architectsAlliance will rise above two heritage houses, both of which will be heavily integrated into its design.


If you're looking to move to Yonge and Eglinton, explore this project by Lifetime Developments. It features a 29-storey geometric exterior above a three-storey podium with retail at ground level.

by Amy Grief via blogTO