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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rock Lobster is closing its last Toronto location

rock lobster closingRock Lobster is closing its last remaining restaurant on Queen West this Saturday and a new collaboration from the folks behind Queen St. Warehouse and Darryl Fine from Bovine Sex Club is slated to replace it.

Set to open in early August, the new restaurant and bar will be called The DIME, and while it will feature the trademark $4.95 food menu just like at other Warehouse establishments, this location will be operated by part-owner and recent Vancouver-to-Toronto transplant Ryan McLeod.

Sean Young from the Warehouse Group is tightlipped on details, but notes that the concept will offer a unique, albeit less-than-$5 food menu, and there will be a heavy bourbon influence at the otherwise well rounded bar.

Photo from El Furniture Warehouse by Jesse Milns.

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

The top 10 events in Toronto for July 2016

july events torontoThe top events in Toronto for July 2016 mean serious business. They'll close streets, animate parks, and takeover clubs and theatres across the city.

Here are my picks for the top events in Toronto this July.

Fringe Festival (June 23- July 10)
One of our biggest and most bad ass theatre festivals is already happening. Head to the official website to map out your show schedule and don't forget to check out the free concerts behind Honest Ed's.

Digital Dreams (July 2-3)
Happening right alongside Pride is this appropriately stocked dance music extravaganza at the Ontario Place Flats. The lineup, as always, is pretty massive if you are an EDM head, or just a fan of giant dance music sounds and lights in general.

Outdoor Art Exhibit (July 8-10)
This outdoor art fair is sort of the beast of all outdoor art fairs in TO. From July 8 to 10 Nathan Phillips Square is invaded by booths and packed with all kinds of artwork from the crafty to the avant-garde. It's always an eclectic mix, but there's much talent to be encountered here.

Sailor Moon Celebration (July 9)
The Ontario Science Centre is invaded by solar sisters and their fans for this giant Sailor Moon gathering. Admission is $15, and things get started at 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Many of the original voice actors will be there as well as the original English language singing voice of Sailor Moon, Jennifer Cihi. There will also be cos play, classic episode screenings and merch.

Night it up (July 15-17)
Toronto's best night market is modeled after ones in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The weekend event will be packed with Asian street foods, food trucks, game booths, merchandise vendors and live performances. Check out highlights from last year's event.

Toronto's Festival of Beer (July 22-24)
Three words I have to mention right off the bat: House Of Pain. Yup, the "Jump Around" trio are performing on Friday, July 22. Saturday's tickets are already sold out online, so arrive early to grab some at the door. There will be 333 brews, an Ontario-focused area, and a World Beer zone.

T&T Night Market (July 22-23)
For those who can't make it to Markham for Night it Up, this smaller downtown version in the Port Lands comes with a skyline view. Check out our faves from last year to get a taste.

Veld (July 30-31)
Get your ear plugs out. Veld is happening at Downsview park this summer with a lineup including the Chainsmokers, Deadmau5, Flume and Travis Scott. There's even some sick local talent spinning... this one is for the true dance music heads. So many hands in the air.

Caribana Festival (July 28-31)
There are quite literally hundreds of Caribbean inspired events, classes and parties around Caribana fest every year. I've been to the parade three years in a row, and it's always a highlight in my summer street party schedule.

OVO (July 29)
You already know the deal for Drake's hip hop pop up concert blowout. I was there last year when Yeezy came out to do his set and the roof was in flames (not literally, but you know)! Snoop and Whiz Kalifa are the only guests announced so far, but with Drake fever at an all time high, this will most def be a very special night.

beerliciousThanks to Toronto's Festival of Beer for sponsoring this post.

Photo of Toronto's Festival of Beer by Natta Summerky

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

It's a long weekend full of road closures in Toronto

road closures torontoCanada Day Weekend brings a whole lot of activity to Toronto, and with that comes road closures. Fortunately, traffic is reduced thanks to the exodus up north that so many people make to various lakeside retreats, but you'll still want to navigate around the city carefully given how many streets are shutdown for various events this weekend.

There won't be road closures around Ashbridge's Bay leading up to the fireworks display, but note well that the area will be flooded with traffic before and after the event.

The most significant closures come from the biggest event. Along with the various shut downs to accommodate the big three parades, Church Street will also be closed between Carlton and Hayden streets between 6 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m. on Monday.

We have a dedicated guide to the various parade routes and affiliated closures, but the key streets to watch out for are Church Street, Bloor Street East, Yonge Street, Carlton Avenue and Dundas Street. Closures will start at 6 p.m. on Friday and coming into rolling effect until 7 p.m. on Sunday in accordance with the Trans March, the Dyke March, and the main Pride Parade.

Also worth noting is that Queen's Park will be closed from College to Bloor streets from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Friday for Canada Day celebrations. Similarly, Brimley Road will be shut down from Progress Avenue to Lawrence Avenue from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.

The southbound lanes of Yonge St. will be closed between North York Boulevard and Park Home Avenue starting at noon until 11 p.m for North York's Canada Day festivities, while a series of closures will take place along Cosburn Avenue for East York's celebrations from 7 a.m. until midnight.

As far as major construction goes, the intersection of College and Bathurst remains closed, while Lansdowne Avenue is closed between Dundas Street West and Rideau Avenue.

In better news, the TTC will have the subway fully operational this weekend.

Photo by Ian Muutto in the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Jarvis St. mansion is Toronto's newest event venue

Berkeley Bicycle Club TorontoWhat's swankier than hosting an event at a historic Toronto mansion? Not much. And if you want to, now you can -- because the Gooderham House at 504 Jarvis St. is now the Berkeley Bicycle Club, a smallish venue meant for intimate parties and gatherings.

The Romanesque Revival house, which dates back to 1891, had a slew of tenants after George Horace Gooderham and his family moved out in 1906. Most recently it was Osteria dei Ganzi, an Italian restaurant (and site of the In N Out Burger pop up).

Earlier this year Berkeley Events took the space over and transformed it into a multi-faceted venue suitable for about 100 people inside and nearly 200 (standing) on the wrap around patio.

While Berkeley's already hosted events here, it's holding a free launch party on July 6 from 3 to 8 p.m.

Photo via Berkeley Events on Facebook.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

Toronto startup delivers Costco groceries to your door

Costco TorontoIt's hard to justify a Costco membership when your job's a joke, you're broke and your love life's DOA (a.k.a. when you're living alone in downtown Toronto). But now you'll be able to stock your pantry with Kirkland's finest thanks to a new startup called

This locally based grocery delivery service will bring Costo products right to your apartment doorstep. Vitaliy and Madeline Savitsky, a husband and wife team, launched the company.

"They compared prices of 1000s of products of regular grocery stores and found that Costco was cheaper (often by half price) and often of better quality, and they swore never to buy outside Costco again," a company rep told us via email.

"To solve this very real pain point in the hearts (and wallets) of consumers, they decided to start to bring smart grocery shopping to downtown living."

While not affiliated with the wholesale warehouse club, only offers products from Costco (from the Etobicoke Costco to be exact) and each delivery will cost you $10. The prices will be (on average) 5 per cent higher than what you'd find in store.

And yes, according to Vitaliy Savitsky, Costco is aware of what they're doing.

Photo via

by Amy Grief via blogTO

Ontario will issue gender neutral licenses & health cards

gender neutral drivers license ontarioIf you go to renew your health card or driver's licence in Toronto, you might notice a few changes. That's because the province of Ontario is introducing gender neutral options for both pieces of identification.

By early 2017, you'll be able to select "X" (instead of "M" or "F") on your driver's licence and for your health card, you'll be able to leave the gender field blank altogether.

As of now, you can get a gender neutral health card right now (for free) through ServiceOntario, reports the Canadian Press. The provincial Liberals are implementing the changes to ensure fairness and equality for citizens who don't identify their gender in binary terms.

Photo by Louis Tam via the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

A guide to the Toronto Pride Parade 2016

Pride Parade TorontoThe Toronto Pride Parade route takes over the area around the Village and Yonge Street this weekend with a number of street closures and affiliated TTC diversions.

If you need help partying in between parades, here's a guide for you. And if you don't really feel like partying but want to take in other kids of Pride events, there's a guide for that too. If you want to avoid the joyful madness of the Village altogether, here's a hand list of queer friendly bars in other neighbourhoods who all have Pride-related things going on as well.

This year's Pride theme is You Can Sit With Us! But there won't be much sitting this weekend. Justin Trudeau will be the first-ever sitting prime minister to march in a Pride parade, and Black Lives Matter are the honoured group. It will be one for the ages.

Here's a roundup of key information about this weekend's Pride celebrations.

Trans March, Friday July 1, 7 p.m.
One of the largest trans community events in Canada, the Trans March begins at Church and Hayden Streets at 7 p.m and makes its way along Bloor Street starting at 8 p.m , south on Yonge and east on Carlton to Allan Gardens. This means Bloor East of Yonge, Yonge Street, and Carlton Street to Allan Gardens will be closed for the duration of this march. Here's a map of the parade route.

Dyke March, Saturday July 2, 2 p.m.
Led by the Black Lives Matter Toronto Coalition, the Dyke March hollers its way down from Church and Yonge Street, down to Carlton Street, and into Allan Gardens, where things conclude around queer local artists, performers, poets, and activists. You already know Church Street is closed all weekend, but Yonge and Carlton will be closed for the duration of the parade. Here is a map of the parade route.

Pride Parade, Sunday July 3, 2 p.m.
This massive parade has been going on for 35 years now, and this might be the most stunning year yet. Check out the eyebrow raising list of participants on the official site and then look out for Justin Trudeau, our mayor, the Prancing Elites, trans activist Aydian Downling, Vivek Shraya, and Black Lives Matter.

There are over 204 participants in this parade, which starts at Yonge and Bloor and ends at Yonge-Dundas Square. In the last few years the parade has run around three hours, so bring lots of water, sunscreen and maybe throat lozenges for all that screaming you'll be doing.

A large piece of Bloor Street, east of Bay will be closed as floats and marchers prepare to prance down Yonge to Dundas. The entire Yonge Dundas zone will also be closed until well into the evening. Here's map of the parade route.

Photo of previous Pride Parade by Mauricio Calero.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Canada Day long weekend events in Toronto 2016

Canada Day TorontoCanada Day weekend events in Toronto are marked by tons of Pride parties, but there's plenty of other stuff going on in the city. From the Queen's Plate to fireworks displays, it's going to be a wild Canada Day weekend.

Here are my picks for the top events going down in Toronto July 1-3.


Pretty much every public space, park, waterfront zone and backyard is hosting a Canada Day celebration of some sort. Whether you hang with the crowds at the Harbourfront, the ultra-Canada theme Gladstone party or at the Aga Khan, you'll feel fireworks in your heart and in your ears around 10 p.m.


Pride took over the entire city for a month, but from July 1 - 3 it really, really spews rainbows all over everything. Take a look at our Party Guide by Day Of The Week to fully understand the girth of this massive festival. Don't forget there are parades on all three days.


Toronto RibFest (June 30 - July 3)
There are rows and rows and rows of ribs in Etobicoke for this great big meat fest. There will be best rib competitions, two stages of entertainment and "Toronto's largest mobile midway." That's a lot of rides and colourful characters. Arrive with an empty stomach.

Brewers Backyard: Lester P Beerson Day (July 1)
The Canada Day edition of Brewer's Backyard takes over Koerner Gardens and Holcim Gallery at the Evergreen Brick Works from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for the afternoon event featuring GLB, Henderson, Pitschfork, Durham, Railway City and Brimstone along with food vendors such as, Kanga Meat Pies, Food Dudes, Urban Carnivore, and Fidel Gastro.


Redpath Waterfront Festival (July 1-3)

This huge lakeside festival takes over Sugar Beach, HTO Park, Sherbourne Common South and Queens Quay West with vendors, music and a fleet of tall ships to explore. The Royal Canadian Navy also shows up (see you at that Pride party later, fellas!) and there's an obstacle course.

Digital Dreams (July 2-3)
Get your crew, get your outfit, get someone who is willing to throw you up their shoulders, and get to this crazy dance music festival at the Ontario Place Flats. Above & Beyond, Armin van Buuren and Axwell Ingrosso headline and it runs from 2 - 11 p.m. both days.

Beaches Jazz Festival (July 2-26)
Though the actual street closures don't happen for a couple weeks, this music-centric fest is indeed kicking off with the Beach Salsa Festival. 14-piece orchestra La Gran Colombia will be performing, as well as a bunch of other impressive international Latin artists.


Queen's Plate (July 3)
Bring your giant fancy hat to this big party at the Woodbine Race Track. For the first time ever, in addition to the Hats & Horseshoes party there will be live music from seven Canadian artists on three stages. It's like its own mini-music fest... with horses as a bonus! Acts include Hedley, Matthew Good, The Strumbellas, and the Emerson Street Rhythm Band.


Gibraltar Point Market (July 3)
Head all the way over to Gibraltar Point's Artscape building (I'd take the Hanlan's Point ferry to get there) for this arts and food market. From soaps to popsicles and origami inspired jewelry, this market rules because you can head down to the semi-secret GIlbraltar Point beach once you're done shopping.

Waterfront Artisan Market (July 1-3)
HTO park (that lovely little spot by the water with the yellow umbrellas) hosts this monthly artisan market. Jewellers, sunglass makers, photography, house and style stuff, and clothing are spread out over the park as well as a bunch of great food vendors. Here are the 18 yummy things we liked at the first market.


For more events this weekend click on over to our events section. Have an event you'd like to plug? Submit it for free using this form.

grolschThanks to Grolsch for sponsoring this post

Photo of Digital Dreams by Jesse Milns.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO