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Friday, June 30, 2017

Sold! North Toronto home bucks trend at $542K over asking

No matter which way the Toronto real estate market is trending, some houses are always going to attract huge attention. A detached three bedroom in North Toronto that seems comparatively attainable at its $1,395,000 list price compared to many of the larger homes in the area is a sure bet for plenty of bids.

265 St Clements AvenueThis house at 265 St. Clements Ave. was view 73 times over the six days it was being shown, ultimately receiving 11 offers. The winning bidder is on the hook for just under $2 million, which represents a significant jump but still doesn't seem particularly outrageous.

265 St Clements AvenueIt's a solid house that's been well renovated and includes a spacious basement that'll easily serve as extra living space, especially with kids in the equation. There's nothing here that'll blow your hair back, but it's a turn-key property in a highly regarded neighbourhood, which helped fuel the final price.

265 St Clements AvenueThe Essentials
265 St Clements AvenueWhy it sold for what it did?

Detached. Three bedrooms. Decent backyard. North Toronto. 

265 St Clements AvenueWas it worth it?

In the absence of the recent renovations to this house, it'd probably have gone around its listing price, but with the updated kitchen and bathrooms, it's no surprise that it crept up to near the $2 million.

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by Derek Flack via blogTO

What Toronto looked like 150 years ago

As Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary with celebrations across the country, it's a natural time to gaze back at what Toronto looked like in 1867.

The city was incorporated 33 years before Confederation, though it would take another century to become the biggest city in the country. 

Yes, 150 years ago Toronto was a profoundly smaller place, though some of this early city remains in the buildings that survived our drive to tear down our municipal heritage in the 1960s and 70s.  

Fortunately, we have plenty of photographs of the city during this time, even if the slow shutter speeds erased much of the action on the street. One set in particular is fascinating to look back on during all this Canada 150 hubbub. 

Octavius Thompson, a photographer who opened a studio back in 1864, compiled a series of 40 photographs of the city under the title "Toronto in the Camera" that was published in 1868. It offers a stunning portrait of the fledging metropolis as it was when Canada was born.

Many of the buildings depicted here have not survived, but the ones that have seem all the more special for their endurance and link to the past.

Behold, the Toronto of 150 years ago. 

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, King St. looking east toward Victoria St., 1867

Toronto 1867Octavius Thompson, King St. looking east towards Jarvis, 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, Wellington St. looking east from Leader Lane, 1867

Toronto 1867Octavius Thompson, Toronto Post Office (Toronto St.), 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, St. Lawrence Hall at King and Jarvis streets, 1867

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, Osgoode Hall, 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, Trinity College, 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, College Gates at Queen and University, 1867

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, University Buildings, 1867.

toronto 1867Octavius Thompson, British Bank of North America (northeast corner of Yonge and Wellington streets), 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, Provincial Lunatic Asylum at 999 Queen St. West, 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, Richmond St. Methodist Church, 1867.

Toronto 1867

Octavius Thompson, St. Andrew's Presbytrian Church, 1867.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

12 shows to see at the Toronto Fringe Festival for 2017

Toronto's annual Fringe Festival features 1,200 artists and 160 shows for 2017. There's truly something for everyone at this event that runs from July 5 to 16 at venues across the city.

Tickets and passes are on sale now. Single tickets go for $12, while passes offer deals if you're planning to see as much as you can. 

Since the Honest Ed's Alley is no more, the Fringe Club moved to Scadding Court. It'll feature 50 free events, including concerts, talks and of course parties.

Without further ado, here are my picks for 12 shows to see at Fringe 2017.

Maddie's Karaoke Birthday Party

Head to the Monarch Tavern to celebrate Maddie's 25th birthday. This musical was created by Barbara Johnston, Suzy Wilde, and Byron Laviolette and it features karaoke-style songs by a stellar cast of five.

Shakespeare's Ghostbusters

In this staged reading, experience what the seminal film Ghostbusters would have been like if it was written by William Shakespeare.

Hands Down

The director of Trailer Park Boys, This Hour has 22 Minutes, & Coopers' Camera Warren P. Sonoda has written his first play since high school and it follows four game show contestant who really, really want to win a car.

About Time

Sketch comedy duo The Templeton Philharmonic will make you laugh as they explore human history throughout time.

The Seat Next to the King

This show by Steven Elliott Jackson explores issues of race, sexuality and masculinity after two men, one white and one black, secretly meet for sex in Washington D.C. in September 1964.

The Clergy Project

Father Daniel Brereton, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein and Reverend Shawn Newton are literally a priest, rabbi and minister who walk into a theatre. 

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

Bernadette and Oliver meet and fall in love just before their government is about to pass a new low mandating everyone can speak in only 140 words per day. This one's for all those glued to Twitter.

Bendy Sign Tavern

Comedy company Sex T-Rex presents this musical about a young puppet named Joan trying to make her way in the big city. 


This dance show from Emily Law and Ashley Perez asks, "what is the future of the feminine"

True North Mixtape

More than 50 artists come together, including the first-ever Fringe teen ensemble, to explore what it means to be Canadian through music, sketches, dance and scenes.

Office Hours

This emotionally charged character drama turns the theatre into a classroom and probes the complexities of trauma, higher education, and the tender process of healing. 

Life Records 2: Side B

Rhiannon Archer returns to Fringe with another solo show filled with music to explore those songs that become soundtracks to our lives.

by Amy Grief via blogTO

5 lazy rivers for tubing near Toronto

There are few experiences more relaxing than lazily floating down a river in a tube. Unlike white water rafting, the point isn't to bounce from thrill to thrill, but to meander along while soaking up the natural setting and some sunshine. Fortunately, there are a host of rivers near Toronto where you can do some epic tube runs.

Here are my picks for rivers to go tubing near Toronto.

Elora Gorge

The best place to tube within an hour of Toronto, the Elora Gorge travels just fast enough to keep things interesting, but not so quickly that it's dangerous. You can grab a huge inner tube at a car mechanic or at one of the registration offices at Elora Gorge Park. Some people take a DIY approach, but using the park ensures you take the best route.

Grand River (Paris and Waterloo)

When you tube in the Elora Gorge, you're traveling along the Grand River, but because the topography is quite distinct here, there are other places to consider along the waterway. Tubing on the Grand from access points in Paris and Waterloo is a more laid back experience with less rocks and mini-rapids to navigate. 

Credit River

The Credit River is a great place for canoeing and kayaking, but it's also a solid tubing spot with one major condition: you don't want to go after a major rainfall when the water levels rise and the speed of the current can get dangerous. There are multiple access points along the waterway that will allow you to float for long periods without obstacle.

Saugeen River

The Saugeen River offers the perfect lazy tubing experience, where you can hop in your dingy and cruise slowly down the waterway without a care in the world. You can float for around two hours here, which is a great way to spend a hot afternoon. The local R.V. park has some of the best runs along the river.

Vermillion River

The snake-like Vermillion River is a tuber's paradise, which is worth the trip north to Sudbury if you're planning on spending most of the weekend in the water, which you can absolutely do here. A standard float takes between two and three hours with bus service from your car to the drop-off point. 

by Derek Flack via blogTO

Now you can walk behind Niagara Falls at night

The top 10 new restaurant openings in Toronto for June

Restaurant openings in Toronto this June included brand new concepts from tried and true local powerhouses as well as plenty of novel spots incomers with offerings like dry ice cocktails and seal tartare. 

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

Drake Commissary

Pick up all your favourite Drake products, such as cured meats and prepared meals. If you’ve got time to sit, have a classic G & T or sangria along with some smorrebrod at this new Drake outpost on Sterling Road.


This brand new Indigenous restaurant uses ingredients a such as sweetgrass, juniper, cedar, elk and even raw seal to create elegant dishes in the Mount Pleasant area.

Cafe Cancan

Chef Victor Barry's newest spot on Harbord Street has lots of French flair and serves up crudites, cocktails, eclairs and much more.

Tennessee Tavern

This kitchsy bar, from the Grant van Gameren team along with Alex Colyer and Max Rimaldi, fuses Eastern European dishes like perogies, smoked fish and schnitzel with a rock-and-roll vibe and a bangin’ back patio to boot.

Caribbean Sunset

This new addition to Riverside dishes up combos of island classics, like jerk shrimp, roti, festival dumplings and much more. It also has fun bar offerings, such as coconuts spiked with rum served with dry ice.

Tabriz Persian Cookhouse

This new spot on Bay St. serves up an elegant Persian menu of dishes like saffron rice with berberis and chicken and saffron ice cream, stuffed eggplant and a strong spirit selection.

The Goodman

Head to Queens Quay for this restaurant that combines waterfront views with a diverse local beer and cider selection as well as hearty pub grub.

Chop Chop

The folks behind Fresh Off The Boat opened this new Dundas West joint with a menu of dumplings, mapo tofu, fried vermicelli and Taiwanese braised beef noodle soup.

Saigon Hustle

Vermicelli bowls are the order of the day here, but you can also get rice platters or banh mi with your choice of proteins at this new Queen West casual spot.

Morocco House

This new Etobicoke spot is serving up a menu of Moroccan tagine, kebabs, and even subs with beef tikka, falafel and merguez options.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO