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Friday, May 31, 2019

The top 10 new restaurant openings in Toronto for May

New restaurants in Toronto have brought us all the freshness, lightness and fun we associate with the spring season. While everyone else is going gaga over cherry blossoms and freaking out over the Raptors, enjoy the simple pleasure of getting something good to eat at one of these places.

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

The Burren Pub

Ceili Cottage in Leslieville has gotten an upgrade and turned into another Irish pub, complete with a fresh look and a fun patio.

Portuguese Chicken Place

There's nothing Toronto loves more than Portuguese churrasqueira, and we just got a new one in the form of this place that opened near Bathurst and Lawrence.

Score on King

Vancouver has brought Toronto our most outrageous Caesars yet at this bar that replaced Copetin on King East.

Colombian Street Food

Toronto’s pre-eminent bug chef Cookie Martinez has just opened this place in the Junction Triangle serving arepas and empenadas.

Udon Kitanoya

Chewy, delicious udon noodles are now available from this new spot in the Annex.

The Davenport

In the same space that used to house Bob Coffee Bar near Christie and Davenport, the same owners have pivot to an Italian restaurant.


Lebanese food has a new home at this recently opened restaurant in the heart of Greektown.

Konjiki Downtown

At long last, this Michelin-starred ramen joint has a downtown location near Yonge and Elm.


This restaurant that's fully devoted to tempura bowls opened in partnership with Konjiki on Elm.


Toronto chef Sash Simpson now has this restaurant of his own in Summerhill serving innovative twists on pasta and fish and chips.

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

June Callwood Park is Toronto's most unusual public space

June Callwood Park is an unexpected pop of pink in the heart of a concrete area.

You can spot this splash of colour from The Bentway across the street: with its bright pink benches and blooming crabapple trees, it's not hard to spot this 0.4-hectare park. 

june callwood park toronto

The June Callwood Park is located in Fort York near the Gardiner Expressway park, The Bentway.

Built and named in honour of the late journalist and social activist whose work included the co-founding of Casey House and Nellie's Shelter, the park was unveiled to Fort York residents in 2014. 

june callwood park torontojune callwood park toronto

The park is designed after a voiceprint of June Callwood's quote, "I believe in kindness." 

Callwood, who was dubbed "Canada's Conscience," was once asked in an interview whether or not she believed in God, to which she replied, "I believe in kindness." 

june callwood park toronto

The park was designed by the award-winning Toronto firm gh3.

Using voiceprinting technology, Toronto design firm gh3 used that defining snippet (said during one of her last interviews) and turned it into a map that forms the basis of the park's design today. 

june callwood park toronto

The park is made up of pink rubberized surfaces, like the Puzzle Garden benches.

You won't get the whole effect of June Callwood Park from a worm's eye view; only by observing this pink public space from above will you see its 'voice print' design: a geometric pattern that runs from north to south, like the waves of an audio file. 

june callwood park toronto

A maze of trees takes visitors from north to south.

The idea was so brilliant that it won through two stages of the international design competition, and was awarded $2.6 million to bring to fruition. 

june callwood park toronto

It took $2.6 million to bring the park to Toronto.

The award-winning design is expressed in six parts. The Puddle Plaza, made up of dips in the ground, aren't very noticeable unless its raining. The eye is drawn first to the Puzzle Garden, a series of rubberized benches. 

june callwood park toronto

The Time Strip Gardens features rows of native plants.

The Maze of budding trees will lead you through to the Pink Field, a pink, kid-friendly area before leading out into granite surfaces.

june callwood park toronto

OKTA is Toronto's first permanent sound installation. 

The Time Strip Gardens offer rows of plants and trees, along with Toronto's first permanent sound installation called OKTA: a field of 24 "sound-controlled cloud columns," inspired by Callwood's experience on a glider.

Further beyond that, the Ephemeral Pools area opens up into a wide space where kids can splash around in the summer, or on rainy days that need some extra colour.

june callwood park toronto

by Tanya Mok via blogTO

Beach season has been delayed in Toronto due to flooding

Bad news: it looks like Beach Season will have to wait this year. 

Today was supposed to be the official date for being able to swim at beaches across the city, but thanks to flooding, only five out of 11 Toronto's swimmable beaches are open. 

It'll be at least another two weeks until the rest do the same, thanks to the fact Lake Ontario's water levels are currently at the highest in history.

City spokesperson Brad Ross told CBC Radio's Metro Morning yesterday that we won't be able to take a dip at most beaches in Toronto until mid-June, at least. 

You are, however, able to lounge on the sand, but swimming will come at your own risk since there likely won't be any life guards on duty. 

The Islands' beaches are definitely a no-go right now: though you can still vist the main lands, you can't even take a ferry to Hanlan's Point since much of the main road is still under water. 

According to the City site, Marie Curtis, Sunnyside, and Rouge Beach (which is fully flooded) are also off-limits for swimming.

Bluffer's, Cherry, Kew-Balmy and Woodbine are the only handful that are fully open today, but given this very weird weather, and the fact that water levels are peaking this weekend, most of us probably aren't really in the mood anyway. 

by Tanya Mok via blogTO

10 things to do in Toronto today

There's a million ways to spend your Saturday and events in Toronto today include some great options, like feasting on brunch stuff or checking out a huge street festival. You can also pick up a new plant pal, browse through the Kensington Flea or get lost in a new art maze. 

Events you might want to check out:

Riverside Eats & Beats (June 1 @ Multiple Venues)
It's all going down on the east side this weekend with a full day of festivities along Queen Street that includes food, drinks, music and more.
Summerdaze Season Opener (June 1 @ 45 Fraser Ave)
Summerdaze is back for a new season of comic beats and dream-like vibes with a curated production of decor, sound, vendors and special surprises.
Freedom Party (June 1 @ Museum of Contemporary Art)
Pride Month kicks off with a big party inside the newly relocated MOCA, featuring a night of special festivities in support of Rainbow Railroad.
Grapetooth (June 1 @ Velvet Underground)
Chicago's new wave duo Grapetooth have a sound that fluctuates between upbeat and slow, playing off of many different musical influences.
Scott Walker: 30th Century Man (June 1 @ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema)
The story behind the enigmatic and reclusive musical genius follows his work in experimental creation and the influence he had on some of the biggest stars.
Wallace Emerson Block Party (June 1 @ Hale Coffee Company)
Bring your pals, special other and dog to this neighbourhood block party with a day of food, games, music, art, prizes and a foosball tournament.
Cactus & Succulent Club Show and Sale (June 1-2 @ Allan Garden Children’s Conservatory)
You can pick up a new plant pal at this big annual cactus and succulent show and sale featuring a big variety of hard-to-kill plants.
Brunch Fest (June 1-2 @ Grounds of Hotel X)
Get your fill of brunch food all day, for three days, at this big festival dedicated to pancakes, mimosas, eggs benny and all the best brunch goodies.
Kensington Flea Market (June 1 - September 7 @ Kensington Market)
Handmade crafts, jewellery, vintage clothing, records, antiques and other recycled and repurposed treasures can be found at this big Saturday market.
The Funhouse (June 1 - September 22 @ The Funhouse)
The Funhouse is finally ready to launch and it promises an interactive and immersive art maze experience featuring works by local artists.

by Lisa Power via blogTO

Toronto restaurants are warning each other not to use Uber Eats

Toronto restaurant owners are warning each other not to partner with Uber Eats.

On the Food and Wine Industry Navigator Facebook page, which is an online gathering spot for many in Toronto's restaurant industry, one restaurateur asked for advice on whether she should sign her restaurant up with Uber Eats.

The responses highlight the sentiment that many restaurants in the city are displeased with the company along with other food delivery apps.

“They charge you a huge amount and charge the user while they’re at it," wrote one commenter.

"Unless you have a huge volume and low overhead it’s impossible to make money. Also any times you’ll get high volume orders are also times your kitchen is already busy, so now you need to choose between putting out food quickly for guests in house or for Uber clients.”

A few years ago, UberEats announced that they were updating their pay structure and splitting it into three parts: a pickup fee, a drop off fee and distance fees.

The Facebook thread confirmed that these changes resulted in Uber Eats taking a 30 per cent cut of all orders. One commenter explained that restaurant owners generally inflate their prices in order to offset the 30 per cent fee.

“If you would rather keep prices the same as in store (ethical but costly route), you need to look at Uber Eats as a loss leader for people who want to either try your food, order your food again, or because they cannot make it to your restaurant/store like normal due to scheduling reasons," the comment explained. 

"It's better for you to look at it from a marketing sense that people are willing to pay exorbitant costs just to have your food delivered to their front door.”

In an effort to diversify from the food delivery business, Uber Eats announced this week they're piloting a new pick-up feature that will pit them against Ritual and the other meal pick-up apps.

According to Uber Eats, 600 Toronto restaurants have already signed up to participate in the pilot.

by Hannah Alberga via blogTO

Drake listed the lint he pulled from Steph Curry's hair on eBay

NBA officials can warn him all they like, but Toronto Raptors global ambassador (and massively succesful recording artist) Drake is going to do what Drake does on the sidelines of basketball games: Chirp.

The Grammy-winning rapper has become as big a part of the conversation surrounding this year's NBA Finals as any of the actual players or coaches, almost entirely due to his courtside antics.

Game 1 was no exception.

Drizzy didn't go so far as to bust out the shoulder rubs or almost come to blows with an opposing player, but he did allegedly call Draymond Green "trash" and make some hotline bling hand gestures.

The funniest of his actions, however, involed pulling some lint out of Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry's hair.

Drake doesn't eff with lint on the court, as we already know.

Overall, Drake was reasonably well-behaved during the game.

It was after Game 1 — which the Raptors won 118-109, for the record — when he really got the internet talking by putting up the little piece of fuzz he'd pulled from Curry's head on eBay.

"Steph Curry hair lint for sale on my eBay right now!" wrote the artist in an Instagram post. "Username: DraymondShouldntWear23."

Fans got a kick out of the double-shot at Curry and Draymond Green, whom Drake apparently does not believe should be wearing the same number as NBA great Michael Jordan.

An ebay account with the username DraymondShouldntWear23 does exist, but the listing for Curry's lint has been removed.

It did rise in price quite quickly, however, while it was still live.

Dozens of copycat listings have popped up on eBay since last night, most of them asking for ridiculous amounts of money and using Drake's own Instagram photo of the lint.

At least one eBay user actually recreated the photo using his or her own hand, and is selling the lint from it as a "replica."

"Take home your very own replica of the iconic hair lint captured by Drake after Game 1 of the NBA Finals!" reads a listing for the item, which is priced at $500 US. "Product may not match picture exactly as shown and all sizes and colours may vary."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

The Apple Maps car is driving around Toronto and people are hating on it

50 essential summer day trips from Toronto

Take a day trip out of Toronto and escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring the wealth of towns and attractions that are just a short drive, bus, or train ride away.

by Staff via blogTO

New Balance trolls Oakland with vicious Kawhi Leonard billboard

The Raptors vs. Warriors smack-talk-fest that's been running alongside this year's NBA Finals just reached a new level of petty, all thanks to a footwear brand that prides itself on making dad shoes.

You can't make this stuff up, but you can (and should) respect the heck out of New Balance for capitalizing on the success of their hot-as-fire spokesperson Kawhi Leonard.

Not even 24 hours after the Toronto Raptors stomped the Golden State Warriors in a history-making Game 1 on home turf, New Balance erected a foreboding billboard featuring Kawhi Leonard above an Oakland, California higway.

"The King of the North is Coming," reads the billboard, which was first spotted Friday morning and features a photo of a stoic-looking Leonard with his arms crossed.

Beside the photo are a series of of acronyms representing teams the Raptors had to beat out during this year's post-season to win the Eastern Conference championship: ORL, PHI and MIL are all crossed out with red exes.

A "GS" representing Golden State has yet to be crossed out, but the ad suggests it will be next.

The messaging is clever with its not-so-subtle nod to Game of Thrones, but its placement in The Warriors' home city of Oakland? That's downright savage — and people are loving it.

And they're loving to make parodies of it.

Even the salty west-coasters who are jealous of Toronto are taking part.

The Raptors take on the Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena this Sunday. 

After that, it's off to Oakland for Game 3 on Wednesday night.

The King of the North who, ironically, hails from California, will no doubt be throwing some shade of his own on The Warriors just by playing.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO