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Monday, April 30, 2018

No Frills might be launching its own clothing line

Popular izakaya opening second Toronto location

Another outpost of a hot Vancouver-based izakaya chain will soon rise from the ashes of Toronto's first crowdfunded restaurant.

Zakkushi on Carlton opened in Cabbagetown just under five years ago and has been busy ever since.

Soon, Queen West will have one of the popular Japanese Yakitori Izakayas as well, right where hyperlocal Canadian cuisine focused Loka used to be.

Loka closed in February after two and a half years at 620 Queen St. W. Zakkushi will open in the space sometime this year, though an official launch date has yet to be announced.

by Staff via blogTO

Guillermo del Toro movie filming in Toronto this summer

Toronto is apparently the hottest place to film horror movies this summer. Guillermo del Toro's "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" adaptation is set to film in the city. 

It's almost no surprise that a film with del Toro's name on it is being shot in Toronto, he has a soft spot for us.

Just last year, he turned the AGO into a haunted house and his films "The Shape of Water,""Mimic," "Crimson Peak," "Mama" and "Pacific Rim" were also filmed, in part, in Toronto. 

Although, del Toro - fresh off his Best Director win at the Oscars - isn't directing the film; Norwegian film director André Øvredal is. Del Toro is producing and co-writing. 

The film is based on the book series by Alvin Schwartz . It follows a group of young teenagers who try to solve a mystery concerning sudden and gruesome deaths that are happening in their town.

by Lisa Cumming via blogTO

You can now eat gold-covered ice cream in Toronto

The top 5 gyms and fitness clubs for women in Toronto

Gyms for women in Toronto are for all the empowered women who sometimes just want a place to call their own when lifting weights, doing squats and flowing through a Vinyasa.

Here are my picks for the top gyms for women in Toronto.

Move Fitness

This boutique fitness gym in Leslieville offers strength, conditioning, and HIIT classes along with entertaining choreographed dance classes. Owner Kelly Taphouse, a former fitness model, is also a fit mom who makes daycare a priority here.

Elle Fitness

Known for its Bodies By Elle bootcamp class, this King West gym offers a challenging and extreme workout. Don’t let the pink boxing gloves and walls fool you; this gym will push you, hard. Elle Fitness offers classes like Hard Ass, Bikini Boot Camp, and Hottie Body Boxing.

Goodlife Fitness Women’s Club

This popular fitness chain has six women’s-only gyms across the GTA, including in Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke, and on Toronto Street near the Financial District. The workout schedule consists of classes like SoulBody Barre, Body Combat and Body Flow. 


This 57,000-square-foot private club near Queen and Church includes a member's lounge, pool, infrared sauna, and studios for spinning, Pilates and yoga.

Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club

This spot near Gerrard and Carlaw has been around since 1995. After getting tired of boxing at predominantly male gyms, founder Savoy Howe opened a space of her own that felt safe and positive for women. 

by Lori Harito via blogTO

Union Station just got a big restaurant and retail makeover

Union Station is now somewhere in Toronto you might actually want to eat. A long anticipated renovation has started to materialize with an influx of new restaurants, cafes, bakeries and places to shop.

by Staff via blogTO

Toronto restaurant fined after making black customers prepay for food

A popular Chinese restaurant in downtown Toronto has been ordered to pay $10,000 in fines after being found guilty of racial discrimination against four black patrons.

Hong Shing, a popular late-night haunt for students and clubgoers, was first accused of anti-black racism in 2014 after a server told some eat-in customers to pay for their food in advance.

One of those customers, Emile Wickham, filed a human rights complaint after learning that nobody else in the restaurant had been subject to the same conditions — only he and his friends, the only black people in Hong Shing at the time.

"Despite making the payment for the food, the applicant was not comfortable with having to pre-pay for his meal," reads a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling. "He stated that it did not sit well with him."

Wickham, now 31, asked the server why his friends needed to pay in advance, as other customers he'd spoken to (all caucasian, east Asian or mixed race) did not.

"The waiter acceded to the fact that they were the only ones who had been asked to pre-pay for their meals," reads the human rights tribunal ruling. "Rather than offer any explanation for the pre-payment he simply asked them whether they wanted their money back."

Servers and managers at the restaurant were described as being "very defensive" and "dismissive" of Wickham's claims at the time.

The restaurant later explained in a written statement that it was following a policy meant to deal with "transient persons" who might pose a risk to security.

"In essence, the applicant was presumed to be a potential thief in waiting despite any evidence to that effect," wrote Ontario Human Rights Tribunal adjudicator Esi Codjoe in her decision regarding the case earlier this month.

"His mere presence as a black man in a restaurant was presumed to be sufficient evidence of his presumed propensity to engage in criminal behaviour," she continued.

"At its core racial profiling is a form of short hand that enables the perpetrator of the behaviour to assume certain facts, and ignore others."

Codjoe ordered Hong Shing to pay $10,000 to Wickham — with interest dating back to 2014 — as compensation for in infringing upon his human rights.

The restaurant must also put up an Ontario Human Rights Commission Code card where it can be prominently seen by customers and staff.

Hong Shing, for its part, has issued a statement in which it says "the tribunal outcome is under appeal by legal representatives."

The restaurant's owners claim that it was under different management at the time of the incident, and that they are deeply concerned about the situation and people affected.

"It it our hope that the issue can be resolved in a way that is respectful to all involved," reads the statement, "and we can continue our focus to bring people together over great food."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

Man trashing bathroom at popular Toronto restaurant caught on video

This Week on DineSafe: Ali Baba's, Spiced Indian Bistro, One Pear, Hooters, Second Cup

This week on DineSafe, Toronto health inspectors shut down an Indian restaurant in Corktown. The restaurant managed to rack up an alarming nine infractions including failing to prevent an insect infestation.

See what other local establishments got busted by city health inspectors this week on DineSafe.

Ali Baba's (2246 Bloor St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 23, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 2, Significant: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: N/A
Bagel Time (582 Danforth Ave.)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 2)
  • Crucial infractions include: N/A
Bar Hop Brewco (137 Peter St.)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 1, Significant: 4, Crucial: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: Operator failed to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated.
Commisso Brothers (8 Kincort St.)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 2 (Minor: 1, Crucial: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: Operator failed to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated.
Don Don Izakaya (130 Dundas St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 5 (Minor: 2, Significant: 3)
  • Crucial infractions include: N/A
One Pear (201 Dundas St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 6 (Minor: 2, Significant: 3, Crucial: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: Operator failed to maintain hazardous foods at 4C (40F) or colder.
Spice Indian Bistro (320 Richmond St. East)
  • Inspected on: April 24, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Red (Closed)
  • Number of infractions: 9 (Minor: 3, Significant: 3, Crucial: 3)
  • Crucial infractions include: Operator failed to prevent an insect infestation, operator failed to maintain hazardous foods at 4C (40F) or colder and operator failed to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated.
Second Cup (3008A Bloor St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 25, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 2 (Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: Operator failed to maintain hazardous foods at 4C (40F) or colder.
Hooters (280 Adelaide St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 27, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 3 (Significant: 3)
  • Crucial infractions include: N/A
Thai Elephant (813 Queen St. West)
  • Inspected on: April 27, 2018
  • Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
  • Number of infractions: 2 (Minor: 1, Significant: 1)
  • Crucial infractions include: N/A

Note: The above businesses each received infractions from DineSafe as originally reported on the DineSafe site. This does not imply that any of these businesses have not subsequently corrected the issue and received a passing grade by DineSafe inspectors. For the latest status for each of the mentioned businesses, including details on any subsequent inspections, please be sure to check the DineSafe site.

by Jaclyn Skrobacky via blogTO

Thousands attend Toronto vigil for van attack victims

Sunday marked a somber occasion for the people of Toronto as thousands gathered in memory of those killed during last Monday's tragic van attack near Yonge and Finch.

The attack, which saw a white rental plow into pedestrians along a stretch of sidewalk in north Toronto, resulted in 10 deaths and 15 injuries.

Toronto Strong vigilThe 10 victims who were killed last week are: Anne Marie D'Amico, 30, Dorothy Sewell, 80, Renuka Amarasingha, 45, Munir Najjar, 85, Chul Min (Eddie) Kang, 45, Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Forsyth, 94, Sohe Chung, 22, Andrea Bradden, 33, Geraldine Brady, 83, Ji Hun Kim, 22.

Toronto Strong vigilSuspect Alek Minassian, 25, was apprehended by police shortly after the April 23 incident and remains in police custody. He was charged on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the attack, with 10 counts of first degree murder of 13 of attempted murder.

Toronto Strong vigilPeople from around the world have been expressing their condolences and showing support for the victims and their families en masse since last Monday.

Nearly 2 million has now been raised through the city's #TorontoStrong fund, with hundreds of thousands more coming in from individual and group GoFundMe campaigns.

Toronto Strong vigil

Dreary weather did nothing to stop locals from attending yesterday's vigil at Mel Lastman Square, which is close to where the attack took place.

Among them were Toronto Mayor John Tory, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Toronto Strong vigilA wide variety of speakers took the stage to share words of hope and comfort with the vigil's attendees, including Toronto's poet laureate Anne Michaels.

Religious leaders who spoke to the crowd include Dr. Bhante Saranapala, Deputy Abbot of the West End Buddhist Temple & Meditation Centre, Yael Splansky, Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple,  and Toronto Police Service Hindu chaplain Pandit Suraj Persad.

Toronto Strong vigilSeveral choirs, including the Toronto Children's Concert Choir (below), were also on hand to sing in honour of those affected by last week's attack.

Toronto Strong vigil

A joint high school choir composed of students from Earl Haig and Cardinal Carter (below) performed the national anthem, while church choirs performed hymns like "Amazing Grace" and "Instrument of Peace."Toronto Strong vigil

Moving into the evening, candles were lit for each of the victims.

Toronto Strong vigilIndividual mourners lit candles of their own near where the attack took place.

Toronto Strong vigil

Many brought flowers with them to the vigil and laid them in the same location.

toronto strong vigilThe candles and flowers were placed around a large shrine comprised signs with messages like "Love for all, Hatred for none" and "Toronto Strong."

Toronto Strong vigil

Some more personal signs contained individual messages from classrooms, church groups and individual supporters.

Toronto Strong vigil

Hundreds of flower bouquets filled a tribute area near Mel Lastman Square on Sunday night, where they will presumably remain for quite some time.Toronto Strong vigil

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

The Best Pide in Toronto

The best pide in Toronto brings a Turkish classic to Canada. Whether ultra-thin, crispy square slices or cheesy oblongs, pide is yet another delicious carb delivery vehicle done right in this city.

Here's the best pide in Toronto.

11 - Kebab 49

This casual joint near Kipling and Dundas does six types of side including a classic Turkish sausage one on thin crust dough.
8 - Pasha's Authentic Turkish Cuisine

The pide at this Thorncliffe Park destination comes in many varieties including spinach, sausage and Black Sea style with seasoned ground veal, onion and mozzarella.
9 - Best Istanbul

A dizzying assortment of 18 pide are available at this restaurant near Keele and Wilson including one that lets your try slices from an assortment of their best sellers.
10 - Sofra Istanbul

Near Steeles and Jane, this restaurant does eight types of side including the Konya-style topped with ground beef, onions, herbs and feta.
4 - Mr. Pide

Get the classic Turkish sausage and egg or spinach feta cheese pide at this Danforth spot, or opt for the Karisik, a combo of their best selling toppings.
5 - Mustafa

This classic spot near Dufferin and Wilson is designed to look like an actual Turkish cave. Get thin pide slices topped with crumbly, crispy meat.
6 - Byblos

This fancy restaurant in the Entertainment District is where to go for upscale pide with toppings like chanterelle mushrooms, roasted garlic, fontina, marjoram and sumac onions.
3 - Pizza Pide

This Leslieville joint has been doing pide right for over 15 years. Though flatbreads vary in shape and size from round to oval to square slices with various levels of bread coverage, they’re all tasty and halal.
7 - Dino's Wood Burning Pizza

This neighbourhood favourite on the Queensway serves up seven types of side including a gyro version with mozzarella, lamb and beef strips.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO