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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Drake Hotel opening huge new bar, bakery and event space

The Drake Hotel has done well with expanding in the past, and are taking another chance by opening a huge new bakery, bar and event space on Sterling Road in the Lower Junction near the future home of the MOCA.

They're calling the new location the Drake Commissary and it will open in Spring 2017 according to a press release. It will be a fully operating bakery seven days a week during the day, and offer licensed table service in the evening, as well as weekend brunch.

drake commissary

The 8,000-square foot "creative culinary hub and production kitchen"  directly across from MOCA’s new home. Image courtesy of The Drake.

It will also be home base for their new Drake Catering service where they'll be making everything in house. The vision is for this space to be a culinary community hub, coffee shop and bar.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Vigil at Nathan Phillips Square for mosque shooting victims

There have already been Toronto vigils paying tribute to the victims of the Quebec City Mosque tragedy, which coincided with tributes happening in Quebec and Ottawa. 

But Wednesday's vigil at Nathan Phillips Square will be different, if anything because of its shear size. 

"There are things that you need to stand up for and make your voice heard and support what's right," says Shahana Nassor, an international student at York University from Madagascar who's been in Toronto for over three years studying social service work. 

She's one of the vigil's main organizers.

"That's the main reason we decided to organize this vigil, [is] to let people know that we're not going to accept violence."

The vigil will last only from 7-8 p.m. (because they realize it's going to be freezing cold tomorrow), there will be a few speeches from local MPP's and an artist doing spoken word. 

"Canada has been amazing, I've seen love here between everyone every culture, it doesn't matter where people come from and what they believe in," Nassor says.

"There's love here that you don't see anywhere else. It's sad when this kind of thing happens, but especially in Canada."

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

College Street Bar's liquor license might be revoked

Many neighbours of College Street Bar and Torontonians in general are angry that the establishment has continued to operate despite the owner and a co-worker having been arrested and charged with several offences, including gang sexual assault. 

Now city councillor Mike Layton is pushing to have the bar's liquor license reviewed in hopes of a permanent closure. 

Layton told the CBC that he will be presenting a motion on Wednesday not asking to have the bar's license revoked by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. He's also calling for a review of workplace safety protocols. 

A spokesperson for Toronto's Municipal Licensing & Standards division told the CBC that the bar's current license is valid.

Layton is hoping the motion might speed up the act of shutting down the bar, which he says would show that the city stands against what allegedly happened there last December.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Toronto's Choir! Choir! Choir! is throwing a huge protest sing-along

If you've been to any of the Toronto rallies, vigils, or protests lately, you know there's been chanting going on. It's at times powerful, at others peaceful, and always a rhythmic way of making voices heard. 

Which is why it only makes sense that Choir! Choir! Choir! organize their own rally, gathering folks together for one night of very loud singing.

On Monday, February 6, C!C!C! invite folks to The Phoenix for a gigantic sing-along to L.A. artist Milck's song "I Can't Keep Quiet." The song was also sung repeatedly during the women's marches two weekends ago

Milck will be at the ticketed all ages event, which starts at 7 p.m., and all proceeds will go to the American Civil Liberties Union.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

Silver Dollar Room closing after almost 60 years

It's been a brutal start to the year for Toronto's live music scene, and now the Silver Dollar Room joins the ranks of venues slated to close. The news broke after Toronto band The Highest Order announced it was playing a goodbye show at the end of February in anticipation of the closure.

Reached by email, the club's booker Dan Burke confirmed that the Silver Dollar's days are numbered. "Right now, it looks like May 1 is our end date," he explained. "The building owner and City Hall have been working on a property re-development for some time - and it was approved about a year ago."

It's not surprising that the talk of the club's future has been mostly quiet. The venue received heritage designation back in January 2015, but that doesn't guarantee the permanent protection of the building so much as make it more difficult to ultimately tear down.

In any case, the club as we know it will be shutting down. We don't know yet about demolition plans. As to the future, there's been talk that a live venue might be a part of new plans for the site, but a shiny replacement could never replicate the nearly 60 year old club.

In the meantime, Burke is organizing numerous farewell shows. "I've been in touch with many of the best and brightest artists we've worked with in recent years, and a lot of them are on board for a final play at the club."

Other noteworthy venues to shut down in Toronto include Hugh's Room (though there's hope of a return), Soybomb HQ, the Hoxton, and (tonight) the Central. It's a scary time to be a live music fan in Toronto. 

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Developer sets date for demolition of Honest Ed's

With Honest Ed's officially a thing of the past, the eulogies have given way to news about the future of Mirvish Village and the sprawling site at Bathurst and Bloor previously occupied by the outlandish discount retailer

In addition to revealing that it had earmarked additional historical buildings for preservation as part of updated plans for the site, developer Westbank has also given the first indication of the timeline for the demolition of Honest Ed's itself.

The project's head architect Gregory Henriquez told the CBC that if all goes according to plan, the demolition process will begin in June. While it's been a Toronto icon since its installation in 1984, the dazzling sign will not be preserved.

Being composed of thousands upon thousands of incandescent light bulbs, Henriquez told Matt Galloway that it's just not environmentally sustainable.  

If you somehow haven't managed to take a photo of the sign yet, it's time to get cracking. For a last look inside the building, there's also a huge farewell party planned next month.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

16 ways to celebrate Nutella Day in Toronto

Nutella Day goes down this Sunday February 5. It's the one day of the year where consuming copious amounts of chocolate-hazelnut spread is not only welcomed but encouraged. Luckily for us there are plenty of Toronto bakeries, cafes and restaurants who can help us mark the occasion.

Here's where to satisfy your cravings for chocolate-hazelnut spread on Nutella Day in Toronto.

Cafe Con Leche

The cafe in the Junction Triangle will be serving up Nutella lattes as usual plus they're bringing back their Nutella cookies for the day.


The gelato bar and cafe on St. Clair West will be offering up an array of Nutella-spiked specialties including gelato, crepes, waffles, croissants, cookies, lattes and hot chocolate. 

Fugo Desserts

While ice cream may be their speciality this dessert spot located in Toronto's Little Tokyo will have Nutella hot drinks on offer all day.

G For Gelato

The gelato bar, cafe and pizzeria found at Adelaide and Jarvis will be celebrating with offerings of Nutella pizza, brownies and gelato.

Glory Hole Doughnuts

The Parkdale doughnut shop will be dishing out Nutella Bombs as their special doughnut of the day. It's a yeast risen doughnut filled with Nutella cream, topped with hazelnut glaze and finished with a chocolate drizzle and cinnamon.

Holy Chuck Burgers

One of Toronto's top burger purveyors will be celebrating the special day with 10% off all Nutella menu items. This includes funnel cakes, lollipops, doughnuts, milkshakes, fries and their Nutella topped burger.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

This doughnut shop on College will be serving up Nutella doughnuts all weekend long.

Lamanna's Bakery

If you find yourself in Scarborough on Nutella Day make sure to visit this popular Italian bakery. Nutella doughnuts, cupcakes, cakes and pastries will be all be available along with a few surprise offerings.

Lisa Marie

The West Queen West restaurant will be serving up their delectable s'mores pancakes all day on Sunday. Yes, this means you can have breakfast for dinner.

Nutella Cafe

The devoted Nutella Cafe inside the Sobeys Urban Fresh at CityPlace is a must-visit for Nutella-centric celebrations. Expect to find a wide variety of pastries, buttery croissants, made-to-order crepes and more.

SanRemo Bakery

The Italian bakery in Etobicoke celebrates Nutella Day with an assortment of baked goods and lattes. Expect to find the bakeshop stocked with Nutella pizza, Nutella dipped doughnuts and Nutella filled lobster tails.

The Rolling Pin 

The bakery at Yonge and Lawrence is pulling out all the stops for World Nutella Day and serving up a ton of chocolate-hazelnut desserts. Look forward to Nutella cheesecakes, s'mores bars, doughnuts, cinnamon buns and more.

Tre Mari Bakery

The bakery in Corso Italia promises a full day packed with delicious Italian Nutella desserts. Fill up on PB & J Nutella cookies, banana Nutella muffins, sfoglia, doughnuts and cannoli. 

Tripl3 Baked

The Markham bakeshop will be celebrating a day early as they're closed on Sundays. Expect an assortment of Nutella filled meringue cookies, cookie dough bars, cupcakes, mini cheesecakes all available on February 4.

Von Doughnuts

Nutella crunch doughnuts will be available at the Danforth bakery. These will be loaded with a Nutella crunch filling, Nutella butter cream topping and finished with a chocolate hazelnut tuile.


The popular waffle shop in Maple will be dishing out Nutella, Kinder Surprise and Bueno topped liege waffles along with a Nutella milkshake to help you wash it down.

by Jaclyn Skrobacky via blogTO

Mirvish Village might be saved in Honest Ed's redevelopment

It's the last day for Mirvish Village in Toronto. Most business owners have already packed up shop, but the deadline to vacate the premises is January 31, a date that'll be marked with a farewell bash at one of Markham St.'s longstanding bars. 

But perhaps there's reason to be optimistic about the future of the neighbourhood as the redevelopment process begins in earnest. Recent updates to the development application filed with the city reveal a wider scope of heritage preservation, additional green space, and slightly lower density.

mirvish village redevelopmentWhen the original heritage report (PDF) was prepared for the redevelopment of Honest Ed's and Mirvish Village, none of the buildings in the area were on the city's historical register. Following recommendations from a separate study titled "Better Bathurst" compiled by DTAH Architects, 27 buildings on the site were added.

mirvish village redevelopmentOf these, current plans (PDF) call for the preservation of 23 historic buildings. Westbank, the developer of the site, always planned to preserve some of the heritage properties, but the number has grown through each stage of the project.

The majority of new properties marked for preservation were added in a May 2016 revision to the plans, but the latest iteration also includes buildings at the south end of the site (742 and 744 Bathurst St.). 

mirvish village redevelopmentWhile it'll be surrounded by far increased density with as many as 47 new buildings added to the overall site (many of them rental apartments), much of the historical character of Mirvish Village will remain. So too, perhaps, will some of the vibe.

You can't re-create a neighbourhood that formed as a series of compromises and accidents, but Westbank does envision a street filled with restaurants and small shops that could even be closed to traffic in the summer. 

It's unlikely that the eclectic mix of tenants will return to the street once the rent for commercial space surrounded by thousands of nearby renters goes through the roof, but it looks like Mirvish Village might still be a place with historical character and a distinct identity. 

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Goodbye party at Honest Ed's is going to be epic

Toronto is still pretty bummed about Honest Ed's closing for good, but when news came of a massive farewell party it felt like there was a bit of a silver lining.

Now the lineup and details of the four-day goodbye weekend have been released and the once huge discount store is being transformed into a multi-room fun palace of free and ticketed events.

From February 23-26 you can check out an immersive art maze along with a brew from the Collective Arts Brewery, a free Town Hall for All: Community Hub featuring theatre, comedy, discussions and ice cream, a food, flea and farmers market, and the Bargain Bash official, mini-music festival, goodbye dance party on Feb. 25.

Prices for the Bargain Bash farewell party on the Saturday night will set you back $24.69.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO

15 bars & pubs for watching Super Bowl 2017 in Toronto

The Super Bowl will be screening at every sports bar in Toronto come game time this Sunday February 5 so it's easy not to miss. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. but get there early if you want to catch all the pre-game chatter about the Falcons and Pats.

Here's a round-up of some places to watch the Super Bowl in Toronto.

Events you might want to check out:

Round the Horn Super Sunday (February 5 @ Round the Horn)
The Roncesvalles sports bar celebrates Super Bowl Sunday with wings, brats, chilli, veggie quesadillas, craft beer specials and games. One of coolest spots to catch the game in the Polish part of town. 
Superbowl at The Contender (February 5 @ The Contender)
Expect prizes, giveaways and games all day long at this west end Super Bowl party. The Contender features dozens of screens (there's not a spot in the house where you can't see one) and dozens of craft beers on tap.
Super Bowl Party (February 5 @ Bar Homestand)
Bar Homestand is giving away tons of prizes on Super Bowl Sunday, offering food and drink specials all night long. There'll be $25 beer buckets, $6 Coronas but get there on time to get a guaranteed seat.
The Dock Ellis Super Bowl Sunday (February 5 @ The Dock Ellis)
Enjoy two floors with big TV's with sound, and a special super stacked hoagie with a super side bowl of chili for $12 tax in. Upgrade to a foot long for $18. There are also $5.50 tall cans of Woodhouse and the doors open at Noon.
Super Bowl Sunday at Striker Sports Bar (February 5 @ Striker Sports Bar)
Watch the big game at Toronto's only all inclusive LGBTQ sports bar. They won't be turning down the volume during Gaga's halftime show and they'll be playing Gaga hits once the game is over.
Williams Landing Super Sunday (February 5 @ William's Landing)
The Super Bowl party to be at in Liberty Village. The pre-game starts at 4pm but the Super Sunday really kicks in when the all you can eat pig roast with all the trimmings for $25. They'll also have games, prizes and giveaways. 
Wayne's Gretsky's Super Bowl Party (February 5 @ Wayne' Gretsky's)
Wayne Gretsky's Annual Super Bowl Party in the Second City Studio is $25 in advance or $30 at the door and includes entry into a raffle and access to their all you can eat buffet.
Dominon Super Bowl Sunday (February 5 @ The Dominon Pub)
Watch the 2017 Super Bowl with the fine folks at the Dominion Pub and Kitchen. There'll be a complimentary chilli bar, BBQ, games and a chance to win  big prizes. 
Superbowl Tailgating BBQ Party (February 5 @ Hemingway's)
This Super Bowl Sunday party includes a Falcons or Pats NFL Jersey draw, chicken ribs on the RoofTop Patio BBQ, Bud Light giveaways and so, so many big screens.
Gaga for Football! (February 5 @ The Lodge)
The Toronto Gay Football League (TGFL) hosts a Super Bowl party in the Village with a focus on Gaga's halftime show. Kick off is at 6:30pm, but get there early for a chance to win door prizes and show off your knowledge at football trivia.
Super Bowl Party 2017 (February 5 @ Dublin Calling)
Complimentary Coors Light upon entry to this Super Bowl bash, a touchdown platter of table snacks, swag giveaways and changes to win all kinds of beer-related prizes. You'll also be surrounded by 11 big screens.
Annual Office Bowl (February 5 @ The Office Pub)
The John Street bar celebrates their 6th year of Super Bowl partying with a $40 ticket that gets you three domestic drinks and all you can eat buffet. There are also 30 HD screens, three floors, three bars and a halftime burlesque show.
Super Bowl #51 with the Budweiser Girls (February 5 @ The Duke
The Bud Girls help host this Super Bowl party alongside 10 TV, including two theatre size screens and a free buffet at halftime. They're also giving away an NFL fridge and drinks are $5 all day.
Annual Big Game Party (February 5 @ The Addisons Residence)
The tailgate party starts at 3 p.m. with kickoff at 6:30. Tickets include food by The Good Son, party snacks, raffles and the game shown on an HD projector along with 10 HD TV's around the house.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 5 @ Graffiti's Bar and Grill)
Muder mike will be behind the bar taking care of beverage needs with cheap shooter specials and they'll be dishing out free chilli dogs. Superbowl squares will definitely be available at this cozy Super Bowl Sunday gathering.

by Phil Villeneuve via blogTO