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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Best Fries in Toronto

fries torontoThe best fries in Toronto will get you as excited as Kanye West for their crispy and golden deliciousness. Fortunately the city is packed with places at which to indulge your cravings, where the combination of crunchy, crisp, salty, golden brown and never soggy fried potatoes can often feel like the most comforting food in the entire world.

Here are the best fries in Toronto.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

10 free things to do in Toronto this November

free events toronto novemberFree events in Toronto this November will take you from movie theatres and gyms to markets and all the way back to high school. There are also a couple of very impressive light shows that will help you get into the holiday spirit. Yup, that's right, it's already that time of the year.

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

Glory Days US election viewing party (Nov. 8, Gladstone Hotel)
You can watch the election coverage all over the city on November 8, but this event at the Gladstone is perfect because the venue is so spacious and welcoming. They'll be broadcasting the CBC coverage live starting at 6 p.m.

European Union Film Festival (Nov. 10-24, Royal Cinema)
The Royal Cinema hosts this great big film festival that highlights movies from the EU. The variety is astounding, and the quality is typically very high. The schedule hasn't been released yet, but you can expect good things.

Of Horses and Men screening (Nov. 12, The Royal)
This film won the Nordic Council prize for film (Scandinavia's most prestigious film award) and this screening is part of the Taste of Iceland fest happening this month. Set almost entirely outdoors, it showcases the island's beautiful landscapes and the human-horse relationship.

Sunday Sweat Series (Nov. 13, Academy of Lions)
Finish your weekend off right with a full, three hour power workout routine exercising mindfulness, movement and mobility. It's BYOM (bring your own mat) and you can register here.

Radiotopia Podcaster Meet and Greet (Nov. 19, Markham House)
This one's part of the city's first ever Podcast Festival, but free! Join Phoebe Judge of Criminal, Hrishikesh Hirway of Song Exploder, Radiotopia's executive producer Julie Shapiro and other audio producers for this unique opportunity to have your burning podcast questions answered.

Distillery District Christmas Market (Nov. 18- Dec. 22, Distillery District)
The Christmas Market is only free Tuesday to Friday (Friday until 5 p.m., that is). It's $6 on weekends. Otherwise walk on it, stroll around and let the Christmas spirit invade your soul! It's open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and features all types of entertainment and vendors. Perfect date night material.

Wrench Fest Dodgeball Tournament (Nov. 19, Jesse Ketchum P.S.)
This full day tournament will take you back to high school, for better or for worse. It's a co-ed tournament and both individual and and group registrations are welcome.

Illuminite (Nov.19, Yonge-Dundas Square)
You can expect big lights and music at this mega-tree lighting ceremony at Yonge Dundas Square. Ride the Tiger will perform, followed by a tree lighting performance from special guests the St. Michael's Choir. If this doesn't get you in holiday mode, I truly don't know what will.

Regent Park Film Fest (Nov. 23-26, Daniels Spectrum)
This is another completely free film festival - how lucky are we? The schedule is now live and all films play at Daniels Spectrum. Expect to see "local and international independent works relevant to people from all walks of life, with a focus on low income and public housing communities."

Cavalcade of Lights (Nov. 26, Nathan Phillips Square)
Head to City Hall to see fireworks illuminate the sky and the downtown core. It's a fun, annual tradition with tree lighting, and live entertainment. There's also a skating party with music under a sheet of twinkling lights.

Did I miss a big free thing we should know about? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Benjamin Moogk via the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Night of Dread is still Toronto's spookiest parade

Night of Dread TorontoNight of Dread, the annual parade to confront fear in Toronto, took place around Dufferin Grove on Saturday, where hundreds gathered to confront and dispatch the things that scare them the most. While there was less worry about the state of municipal affairs that in years past, the upcoming US election was a common concern/joke among those gathered.

Night of Dread TorontoCrowds assembled at the park in the dying light of a chilly fall afternoon to list their fears before embarking on an hour-long procession up and across Bloor St. designed to rage against what our most frightening obsessions, from Donald Trump to personal debt to loneliness or even merely the dark.

Night of Dread TorontoThe fiery baton that soared into the night sky along the way was a mark of defiance against the coming of nightfall, but also a precursor to the theatrics to come.

Night of Dread TorontoDrivers and pedestrians passing by who got caught in the march tended to cheer along as they made their way along the busy street. And everyone stopped and stared at the surreal-looking oversized effigies as they towered above the group. Some people even looked a tad scared (which was the whole point!).

Night of Dread TorontoOnce the parade wrapped up, participants reassembled at the park to watch a dazzling pyrotechnic display that involved the burning of the effigies set to the booming sound of a bass drum. At its brightest, it was a dazzling and spooky scene.

Night of Dread TorontoThis was the 17th year of Clay & Paper hosting Night of Dread, and it was as creepy and edifying as ever. The events tends to bring out lots of families, but the subject matter is adequately dark to pique the interest of those enamoured with the idea that the best way to face their fears is to confront them head-on.

Night of Dread TorontoPhotos by Christian Bobak.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Toronto raccoons are about to become world famous

toronto raccoonToronto's raccoons are no longer a local phenomenon. Conrad, of #DeadRaccoonTO, gained world-wide attention, and plenty of other trash pandas got famous thanks to a series of high jinks at local coffee shops and aboard TTC vehicles.

But now our beloved raccoons are getting an even bigger platform: BBC's Planet Earth II. That's right, Toronto and its raccoons will be featured in an episode titled "Cities," which will focus on animals that live alongside humans in urban centres.

Along with Toronto's raccoons, BBC will highlight 11 other animals, including hyenas in parts of Ethiopia and peregrine falcons in New York City.

The episode will air in the U.K. on November 6.

Photo by Yana and Denis via the blogTO Flickr pool.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

Japan's Pablo cheese tarts opening first Toronto location

pablo cheese tart torontoThe Pablo Store might have cause a Kanye West-related stir in Toronto this past summer. But there's a new Pablo outlet coming to town and this one's all about cheese tarts.

Pablo, which first opened in Osaka, Japan, specializes in serving up massive (and mini) cheese tarts. These desserts look much creamier than your typical cheesecake and come in a variety of flavours, such as original (plain cheese), chocolate, strawberry and matcha.

Pablo is already set up all over Japan as well as in South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Toronto outpost will be the brand's first North America locations. It's slated to open at 114 Dundas St. W., inside the old Spadina Garden space, some time in April or May of 2017.

Along with its cheese tarts, Pablo serves up a slew of desserts, including soft serve.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

12 fetching Toronto dogs dressed up for Halloween

Toronto Dog HalloweenPeople aren't the only ones getting into the Halloween spirit this year. Dogs from all over Toronto are getting dolled up for the occasion. We reached out to our Instagram followers to tag their costumed pets with #halloweenpetsTO, and the results were both adorable and wonderfully inventive.

Here are some of my favourite Toronto pups all decked out for Halloween.

Toronto DogOut of service streetcar by @ginnymonaco.

Toronto DogLobster by @kimchithecorgi.

Toronto DogPoop factory by @lennonsadventures.

Toronto DogBat dog by @brucethehandsome.

Toronto DogBulldog gin martini by @original.otis.

Toronto DogArthur by @oes_teddy.

Toronto DogWild Thing by @t_volpe.

Toronto DogPawfessor McGonagall by @stellathesamoyed.

Toronto DogYoda by @bisforbeauford.

Toronto DogHotdog by @penny_the_minidoodle.

Toronto DogAstronaut by @remixthedog.

Lead photo of Frankenstein by

by Jaclyn Skrobacky via blogTO