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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The top 10 new restaurant openings in Toronto for December

New restaurants in Toronto closed out the decade with new locations from old favourites and exciting ideas we've never seen before. What better way to ring in the new year than with dosa, unicorns, burgers, fried chicken and pasta? 

Here are the my picks for the top new restaurants that opened in Toronto last month.

Lobster Burger Bar

Those in the mood for lobster and burgers can head to this brand new King West restaurant serving both.

South Indian Dosa Mahal

This fiercely loved vegetarian Indian restaurant known for samosas and thali platters relocated to Ronvesvalles in December.

The Grand Elvis

A sweeping menu of items like mussels, pasta, fried chicken and an epic burger along with magnums of wine are what this Annex restaurant replacing Rose and Sons is bringing.


Falafel, flatbread and za’atar chicken are now being served at this  restaurant on Bayview just south of Eglinton.


Taverniti in Little Italy has opened up this little sibling bar for pasta, pizza, gnocchi and gelato.

Piano Piano on Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant just became home to a second outpost of this popular Italian restaurant.

The Originals Dining Lounge

Thought to be gone for good from Parkdale once the most recent Grant Van Gameren edition of this place called Harry's closed, this burger joint is back under a new name thanks to some former staff.


Expect Arctic char, chorizo and lengua tacos as well as treats like orange duck egg flan at this new cocina Mexicana in Liberty Village.

Knockout Chicken

Kensington Market just got another Halal restaurant in the form of this fried chicken joint.

Unicorn Cafe

The people who brought us Poop Cafe have similarly blessed us with the recent opening of their completely magical Unicorn Cafe in the Annex.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

Rental of the week: somewhere near Glencairn subway station

So did you know that a bedroom in Ontario doesn't require a window? 

According to the Ontario Building Code, as long as there's a door to the exterior on that level you don't need a window. 

That's so messed up! 

Glencairn TorontoI only discovered this after going down an Internet black hole trying to figure out if this terrible rental was actually legal or not because, you guessed it, there are no windows in this 500-foot-squared dungeon. 

As depressing as the no window thing is, the rest of the apartment is pretty bleak. 

From the eerie yellow glow to the all tile floor, I can't imagine living here is worth the listed asking price of $1,300 a month. 

Glencairn TorontoNot to mention the lack of a full kitchen. Last time I checked a fridge and a panini maker don't count.

And the dumb thing is it's not like there isn't enough room to put a stove or even a dishwasher. The space is clearly there! The landlord has just chosen to put a weird set of drawers that where the stove would go.

Also how hard would it have been to at least get matching cabinetry? Did they run out of white drawer fronts at Lowe's that day? Just asking. 

But honestly, I still can't get over the no window thing...  Glencairn Toronto

  • Address: somewhere close to Glencairn subway station
  • Type: Basement
  • Rent: $1,300 month 
  • Furnished? No
  • Utilities: No 
  • Air conditioning? No
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1 (unconfirmed)
  • Parking: Attached garage 
  • Laundry? Onsite
  • Outdoor space? No
  • Pet friendly? No
Good For

Developing seasonal affective disorder and a vitamin D deficiency in the summer.

Move On If

You like being able to see the outside world. 

by Misha Gajewski via blogTO

5 things to do in Toronto for New Year's Day 2019

There are plenty of things to do in Toronto on New Year's Day, though most of you are probably too tired to get out of bed after last night's festivities. But for anyone who wants to keep the party going, there's a polar bear dip, a free community skate, a 24-hour NYE afterparty and more. 

Events you might want to check out:

The New Year's Eve 24HR Afterparty Marathon Inside 120 (January 1 @ 120)
If you partied hard last night and you just don't want it to end, be sure to hit up the New Year's Eve 24-hour afterparty at Club 120. The celebration is on from 4 a.m. until the following day at 4 a.m.
Salute to Vienna New Years Concert (January 1 @ Roy Thomson Hall)
This New Year’s concert of Viennese music combines European singers, ballroom dancers, and ballet to bring you a wonderful show on the first day of the year.
Toronto Polar Bear Dip 2020 (January 1 @ Sunnyside Beach)
Those of you hoping to be braver versions of yourselves in 2020 should think about kicking it off with the Toronto Polar Bear Dip.
Free Community Skate Toronto (January 1 @ Mattamy Athletic Centre)
If you're looking for a free and family-friendly way to spend the New Year's holiday, head over to the Mattamy Athletic Centre for a mid-day skate at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens.
Aurora Winter Festival (November 22 - January 5 @ Ontario Place, West Island)
This wonderful winter festival is only on for a few more days, and what better way to ring in the New Year than with stunning light installations, great food, vendors, amusement rides and more?

by Mira Miller via blogTO

The top 10 viral videos from Toronto in 2019

Whether you'll savour the memories of 2019 for the rest of your life, or you're ready for this hellish year to be over, it's hard to deny how much premium content the people of Toronto have given the internet over the past 12 months.

From fierce brawls and TTC scream-offs to weird happenings around the Eaton Centre—I'm not about talking glossy music videos or produced campaigns, but wild moments captured on the streets of the 6ix by people like you and me.

Here are my picks for this year's best viral videos out of Toronto.

Adam Sandler gets reamed out in Yonge-Dundas Square

Hollywood funnyman Adam Sandler experienced first hand the kind of characters who frequent downtown Toronto's most-popular tourist hangout when a man inexplicably started screaming at him outside the Eaton Centre. It's not know why the man freaked, but it might have had something to do with the actor's sleazecore ensemble.

Toronto woman stands up against vaping teen on the TTC

Canada's answer to the "cash me outside" chick from Dr. Phil (now known as the rapper Bhad Bhabie) made her viral web debut while threatening to beat someone up on a TTC streetcar. The person she threatened made a hero of herself by sticking up for an older woman who'd simply asked the teen to stop vaping.

Fight breaks out between driver and cyclist at busy intersection

I could fill a whole new listicle with all of the road rage videos that were floating around Toronto this year, but July footage of an alleged bike courier slamming an angry motorist to the ground while other drivers attempt to manouvre around them is perhaps the most representative of Toronto's tense street situation right now.

Woman jumps on hood of car after driver almost hits stroller

Speaking of drama between Toronto road users, the security system of a midtown home caught someone literally jumping onto someone else's car after a driver nearly rammed into a stroller that may or may not have contained a child. The jury's still out on that one.

Students call Ontario Premier Doug Ford a waste yute

Two young men got Toronto Twitter howling by filming their chance interaction with DoFo in a gas station parking lot. The students grilled a jolly-looking Ford on his government's sweeping cuts to OSAP before calling him a "waste yute" and a "goof."

Violent brawl breaks out at Toronto Eaton Centre

Members of a far-right political protest group in makeshift combat gear clashed with activists during Toronto Pride in June. Clips from the resulting 18-minute-long YouTube video of roughly a dozen people punching, kicking and grabbing each other inspired many a head shake.

Fat raccoons refuse to leave porch

It wouldn't be a blogTO year-end video roundup without an appearance by everyone's favourite mischevious fuzzballs. A whole familiy of the most obese raccoons you've ever seen gave the entire city a chuckle in December by obstinantly refusing to leave someone's porch in a great Gates Wildlife Control YouTube video.

Police take down man with knife inside Toronto library

Footage from a dramatic altercation between Toronto police and a knife-weilding man inside the Toronto Reference Library made the rounds in early April. Nobody was hurt during the incident, but the unidentifed man was tased by cops after resisting arrest and screaming at them to "shoot" him while hundreds looked on.

Lady sings karaoke while paramedics load ambulance behind her

Millions were amused by a truly bizarre TikTok clip of a young woman singing Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" outside the Eaton Centre in Toronto while paramedics loaded someone into an ambulance behind her. "What the f*ck goes on in Toronto?" wrote the original uploader. Toronto just shrugged.

Woman tosses chair from condo balcony

I'd be remiss not to mention what was actually the most-talked about viral video of 2019 (save for all things Raptors). Yes, the woman who became known as "Chair Girl" for tossing a chair from the balcony of a high-rise over Toronto's Gardiner expressway in February captured much attention... and potentially a six-month jail sentence.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

You can park for free in some parts of Toronto on New Year's Day

If you're heading out on the town tonight and planning to stay out late, as people often do on New Year's Eve, you're totally free to ditch your car and leave it parked on the city's streets overnight. 

That's right, the Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Unit just announced they won't be enforcing several on-street parking bylaws on January 1. 

Those bylaws include pay-and-display/metered areas, rush-hour routes and posted signs indicating Monday to Friday regulations.

That means you can drive your car to wherever you're going, have some champagne and get home safely while your car sits ticket-free after the clock strikes midnight. 

Unfortunately, all other areas and parking offences will continue to be enforced.

But as long as you park in one of the above-mentioned areas, you're in the clear to have a fun-filled, safe New Year's Eve in Toronto. 

by Mira Miller via blogTO

The 407 is raising its toll prices for 2020

GTA residents who use Highway 407 to evade traffic on busier, non-tolled routes will be facing higher ETR bills starting next year.

The private company that owns and manages most of the east-west Ontario highway has decided to increase rates for use of the route during the months of the year that it sees the most traffic — from May 1 to October 31, which it calls the "summer" season.

The new pricing model will take effect in 2020.

As usual, the day of the week and time of the day that the road is used will also affect the toll amount, as well as the section of the highway used, the weight of the vehicle using the road, and the direction it is traveling in.

Base trip toll charge, monthly account fees and monthly transponder fees will remain the same as in 2019.

According to studies solicited by the 407 ETR Concession Company Limited — which is owned mostly by a branch of the Spanish transportation company Ferrovial and indirectly-owned subsidiaries of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board — the highway gets up to 25 per cent busier during the summer than during other seasons.

The new cost hike is meant to reduce congestion during these times, though the highway itself was built to cut down on gridlock on the parallel Highway 401. More than 400,000 drivers now use the 407 daily.

Rates will go up as high as 65.70 cents per km in peak summer periods, compared with 62.24 ¢ents per km for the same zone, time and direction in the spring. (For comparison, when the highway first opened, tolls were around 10 cents per km.)

The difference is slight, but will definitely add up over long distances and with regular use for those traveling to and from cities like Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Pickering.

Along with the change in fares, the 407 has announced that 30 km of additional lanes will be added during 2020 to help further reduce traffic on the highway.

To avoid unnecessary costs and impact to the environment, taking public transit in lieu of driving is always advisable — that is, if your city isn't one of those whose transit projects have been cancelled by Premier Doug Ford recently.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

Bombardier late to deliver Toronto's final new streetcar

In what feels like a fitting end to the years-long saga of Toronto trying (and failing) to get all of its new streetcars from Bombardier, the Montreal-based transportation firm just announced that it will ship the very last of 204 vehicles it owes the TTC in January of 2020.

"In 2018, we made a commitment to the #TTC and the people of #Toronto," wrote Bombardier on Twitter Monday morning, referencing its most recently-pledged delivery timeline.

"Our #ThunderBay team is happy to confirm: car203 will be ready to ship this week and #car204 will be completed tomorrow and shipped next week after testing and customer inspection."

This, after nearly a decade of production problems, missed deadlines and even a lawsuit against Bombardier for breaching the terms of its $1.2 billion contract for 204 new TTC streetcars.

In February of 2018, with only 66 of the vehicles ordered complete, the company announced a new strategy intended to help meet the revised contract deadline of December 31, 2019.

That strategy hinged on setting up another production line at Bombardier's Kingston, Ont., plant, in addition to its slammed Thunder Bay plant.

Bombardier reaffirmed its commitment in July and pledged that it would indeed be able to deliver the rest of Toronto's streetcars by year's end (though some riders remained skeptical, for obvious reasons.)

As it turns out, the company's strategy for finishing the order by 2020 worked... or just about.

The second-last of Toronto's Flexity streetcars is being shipped this week, according to the aerospace technology company, though it remains to be seen if it'll reach Toronto before the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

The 204th of Toronto's long-awaited new streetcars will be shipped next week, putting it just past the last agreed upon deadline.

Bombardier is counting this as a victory, nonetheless — and to be fair, it did produce an impressive number of streetcars over the past two years, cranking out more than double the amount it had produced previous to 2018.

"This completes the delivery of all 204 of the TTC streetcars, and we continue to work with the TTC to ensure service excellence to Toronto and TTC passengers," said Bombardier spokesperson Kaven Delarosbil by email to the Toronto Star of his company's impending delivery.

It's a good thing, too, because Toronto took the last of its classic, cherry red CLRV streetcars off the road for good this past weekend, as originally planned.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

Toronto Zoo animals share New Year's resolutions in adorable photo series

It's the final day of the year which means most of you are gearing up to declare the New Year's resolutions you'll promptly give up on come January 21, and it turns out the Toronto Zoo's animals are no different. 

With January fast approaching, the zoo is sharing some of the animals' resolutions for the New Year and they're ridiculously adorable. 

In addition to being cute, they're also incredibly relatable. 

Although the zoo's social media manager is probably behind the creative resolutions, I prefer to believe these beautiful animals thought them up themselves and communicated them somehow. 

There's something quite reassuring (and hilarious) about the idea that human beings aren't the only species dedicated to self-improvement. 

And who doesn't love a Himalayan Tahr that also believes in self-acceptance?

Only time will tell whether these animals are as terrible at keeping New Year's resolutions as the rest of us!

by Mira Miller via blogTO

People are heartbroken over the video of this Toronto dog's final walk

A Toronto man has captured the hearts of strangers across the world with a video he posted of his 14-year-old dog's final walk.

Dale Thompson's senior golden retriever Murphy was suffering from metastatic cancer, so the Toronto-based designer and former journalist had to make the difficult decision to put his beloved pet down on Christmas Day.

The duo is shown taking their last adventure along what appears to be Queen St. West in a video that has now been viewed on Twitter more than 1.3 million times.

In the clip, Murphy meanders slowly down the sidewalk on the way to the vet, his old age evident but a smile on his face nonetheless.

"He left this world the same way he came into it: With style, grace and happy," Thompson writes in the post's caption.

He proceeded to share photos and memories to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of his long-time best friend, resonating with social media users around the world who flocked to offer their kind words and support. Many shared their own personal stories of the loss of a pet.

Murphy's story was even picked up by international news outlets.

Though nothing will replace Thompson's fluffy friend, it's always heartwarming to see people come together online to console one another over a shared human experience.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

Ontario bar accused of promoting rape culture with inappropriate sign

The owners of a Waterloo bar are publicly apologizing after outrage from residents over a photo of an inappropriate sign that surfaced on Facebook. 

The Drink Uptown in Waterloo posted an audio-less video to their Facebook page earlier this week that contained footage of a sign saying, "I thought she was 18."

The video sparked strong reactions immediately, with many calling it "disgusting" and others saying it "[promotes] rape culture and [targets] underage girls," according to CTV News. 

Facebook user Spencer Harrison initially reposted the video, encouraging others to share it to raise awareness, according to the Waterloo Chronicle. 

"While you read this post please be mindful of the young women in your life ie. little sisters, nieces, cousins and daughters. If you are committed to their safety within this community I strongly encourage that SHARE this," she said.

"I'm addressing the business within my hometown that finds it appropriate to blatantly promote RAPE culture. The fact that they made this sign LETTER by letter, carried it into a group of men, whilst laughing and making LIGHT of 'F****** girls under the age of 17' is saddening, unacceptable, sickening and should not be tolerated."

Her post has since been removed, along with the bar's original video. The owners of The Drink Uptown posted a fairly long apology online yesterday. 

"The Ownership and Management of the Drink Uptown have been made aware of a sign that was presented in our establishment to a group that was intended to be a personalized sign. The sign that was presented was inappropriate. Nobody should have to see what was presented to this group and for that we apologize," they wrote on Facebook, adding that personalized signs do not get approved or reviewed before being presented. 

"We have given the freedom to groups to make personalized messages and it is clear that we need to do a better job ensuring that inappropriate messages are not presented."

The owners also said the sign does not reflect the values of the bar (to provide a safe, fun, and inclusive atmosphere for students to enjoy a responsible night out in uptown Waterloo) and that they plan to provide diversity, inclusion and safe space training to all staff, managers, promoters and DJs.

"The Ownership and Management of the Drink Uptown acknowledge that there is no place for this type of content and we sincerely apologize," they said. 

And although some may not be satisfied with the bar's apology, Harrison said the response was encouraging. 

"This is not only an apology but an action oriented apology," she wrote on Facebook.

"We cannot wait to see on social media the training that will be taking place @thedrinkuptown businesses and individuals should take note of this establishment's response. Thank you for hearing our voices and committing to do better."

by Mira Miller via blogTO