Fall is a special time of year. It’s vibrant and colourful, and the cooling temperatures mark the changing of the seasons and fresh new beginnings. With Thanksgiving and Halloween around the corner, there’s nothing better than putting on a warm sweater and sitting by the fire with a cocktail (or mocktail) in hand. And although everyone loves the timeless classics, the fall is much better matched with a glass full of warm autumnal flavours that include cinnamon, apple cider, pumpkin or cranberry. Whether you like festive margaritas, smoky bourbon, or non-alcoholic drinks for adults and kids alike, we’ve put together a list of the 10 most delicious cocktails for any occasion this season.
Autumn Apple Bourbon Fizz
The Autumn Apple Bourbon Fizz is a cool classy drink that warms you up with each sip! A delicious combination of bourbon, wholesome apple butter and ginger beer creates an unforgettable flavour profile that’s perfect for the fall season. Pair it with fresh figs for an elegant finish.
Apple Cider Sangria (or Mocktail)
Sangria doesn’t only need to be enjoyed during the summer! This delicious twist on the classic is made of fresh tart apples, zesty Pinot Grigio, brandy and sweet pears. This Apple Cider Sangria is sure to be a hit at Thanksgiving and Halloween, and can be made virgin by substituting the alcohol for fruit juice and club soda.
Pumpkin Pie Moscow Mule
This Pumpkin Pie Moscow Mule is sweet, spicy and full of autumnal flavour. Rich pumpkin butter, vanilla vodka and ginger beer come together to create the perfect dessert cocktail that tastes like a boozy slice of pie!
Honey-Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktail (or Mocktail)
This gorgeous drink tastes as incredible as it looks, and makes for a memorable party cocktail (or mocktail). Light, fizzy and not overly sweet, this marvelous drink is made with honey-roasted pears, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Pair it with champagne or sparkling wine (or sparkling white grape juice for the non-alcoholic version) for a punch.
Toasted Pecan Old-Fashioned
This twist on the classic Old-Fashioned takes some prep but it’s worth the wait. This variation takes days to make because the pecans need to be soaked in whiskey, but the end result will leave you feeling warm and joyful, and is sure to impress guests if you’re entertaining. Combined with bitters and sugar, this strong cocktail is smoky and sweet and goes down very smoothly.
The Black Russian is a simple drink but you wouldn’t know that from its strong, bold and intense flavour. A mix of vodka, Kahlua and ice cubes, the Black Russian tastes like a sweetened coffee. Pair it with a scoop of ice cream for an even more decadent end-of-the-night dessert.
One of the highlights of the fall season is the abundance of delicious, tart cranberries. This beautiful Cranberry Margarita is the perfect cocktail for Thanksgiving. Pink, festive and made in less than 5 minutes, this drink is a party-pleaser. Made with tequila, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice, it’s light, refreshing and delicious.
Vanilla Chai Old-Fashioned
The Vanilla Chai Old-Fashioned is incredibly festive and will be your go-to cocktail for the holidays. Made with homemade spiced chai syrup, warm bourbon, a touch of vanilla, winter citrus and sparkling water, this cozy drink is perfect for the cooler weather and sure to please everyone.
Pumpkin Pie Martini (or Mocktail)
This Pumpkin Pie Martini is THE quintessential party cocktail and bound to be a hit over the holidays. Made with rich crème de cacao, vanilla vodka, warm cinnamon, pumpkin spice and velvety whipped cream, this is the most delicious dessert cocktail you could make! Even more exciting is that you can make a non-alcoholic version for the kids by replacing the alcohol with chocolate extract.
Pomegranate Gin and Tonic
Who doesn’t love pomegranates? Juicy and full of antioxidants, this cocktail is vibrant, refreshing and has just the right combination of flavours to carry you over from summer into fall. The brisk Pomegranate Gin and Tonic combined with lime wedges, pomegranate arils and rosemary sprigs makes for an elegant yet satisfying cocktail.
Fall is a special time of year, with temperatures cooling and vibrant fall colours bringing our surroundings to life. It’s an incredibly beautiful and rejuvenating time. With the kids going back to school and summer holidays winding down, autumn can also feel a bit nostalgic – it’s a time of new beginnings and also of endings. To make the most of this season, there’s nothing like a quick trip out of the city to get refreshed and re-energized. Here are our top 5 favourite fabulous getaways within a 2-hour drive from Toronto to bask in all this wonderful season has to offer:
1. Elora Mill & Spa
Set in a stone 19th-century mill with annexes, this elegant hotel straddles the Tooth of Time waterfall on the Grand River. It’s located 2 kilometres from hiking trails in the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, where you can hike the Elora Gorge, one of the most spectacular natural areas in the Grand River valley, and visit the Elora Quarry.
Extravagant rooms at the Elora Mill & Spa have marble bathrooms and feature fireplaces and soaking tubs, while some have river views and terraces. Suites feature stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, and there’s also a 2-storey private villa. Enjoy dining at the upscale restaurant and spending time at the elegant bar, with its weekly live music. The spa contains a gym, yoga room and an outdoor pool, plus saunas, steam rooms and a hot tub. This is an amazingly relaxing and beautiful place to spend the weekend! Hike the beautiful natural areas, visit the charming town of Elora, and unwind at the spa for a truly luxurious getaway.
2. Blue Mountain
Autumn is a magnificent time to visit the Westin Trillium House Blue Mountain. A fall getaway at this hotel includes a tour of the Georgian Hills Vineyards, Thornbury Cidery, and Northwinds Brewery for a delightful lunch. Looking for something more family-friendly? The Westin also offers an exclusive package to experience the largest apple growing region of Ontario, known as the Apple Pie Trail. Free family activities and live music are provided during the Apple Harvest Festival and an annual Halloween festival transforms Blue Mountain into a Haunted Hill.
Also located nearby is the Cranberry Golf Course and the world-renowned Scandinave Spa. This resort maintains a quiet atmosphere that allows guests to fully disconnect from the noise and stress of daily life. The Scandinave Spa features Scandinavian baths and hydrotherapy, which are known for their relaxing yet invigorating, effects – combine this with the changing colours of leaves and you’re bound to be in bliss.
3. Ste. Anne’s Spa
Fall weather doesn’t only need to be enjoyed by hiking outdoors – simply changing your scenery can do you a world of good. Escape to Ste. Anne’s Spa, where the Fall Cottage Escape package will leave you feeling refreshed. This getaway includes a cottage-style accommodation, a seaweed body wrap, a 4-course dinner, and a selection of sweet and savoury treats. During your stay, be sure to explore the beautiful countryside and visit the property’s farm and horses, which will have the most vibrant fall colours on display in October!
4. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat
Prepare for a new way of experiencing the great outdoors: king-sized beds instead of sleeping bags, mood lighting instead of flashlights, and a wine glass instead of a canteen – this is camping like you’ve never experienced before. Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, located an hour and a half east of Toronto, is a luxurious and low-impact establishment. Experience elegant hotel-style amenities nestled within the Canadian wilderness. Choose from lavish safari tent accommodations, comfortable amenities, and participate in low-impact wilderness activities. Health and body wellness retreat and rejuvenations packages include three days of engaging yoga classes with a qualified instructor, evening wellness classes, live music by the campfire, and fresh farm-to-table meals provided by a top chef.
Cottage country isn’t the only place to experience the wonders of the fall season in Ontario. The GTA is a fantastic place to enjoy all that autumn has to offer.
Begin your weekend staycation with a visit to a local GTA café, where autumnal flavours come in the form of decadent coffees (hot chocolate for the kids!) and pumpkin-flavoured pastries. Afterwards, take the kids on a classic autumn adventure to one of the GTA’s many farms. From apples to pumpkins, squash and other seasonal produce, get your fill of fall fruits and vegetables.
End your weekend in the city with a day full of traditional fall fun at one of the GTA’s yearly fall fairs. Enjoy family activities, tasty treats, live music, arts and crafts, petting zoos and more!
We wish you all a wonderful fall season!
The 46th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will be taking place September 9-18 this year. With both virtual and in-person screenings, this year’s festival features over 100 astonishing films in its Official Selection, in addition to outstanding events featuring celebrated guests and TIFF’s industry conference. This is an exciting event that Toronto residents often look forward to all year long.
TIFF is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine recognized that TIFF “is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars, and market activity.” Founded in 1976, TIFF has become a permanent destination for film culture. TIFF’s mission is to “transform the way people see the world through film.”
Since its launch, one of TIFF’s leading principles has been to celebrate and amplify the voices of exceptional filmmakers working in Canada. TIFF is also committed to greater representation of voices by challenging the status quo, celebrating diverse storytellers and audiences, and making space for Black, Indigenous, people-of-colour, women, and LGBTQ+ creators and other under-represented talent. TIFF’s programming team works to ensure that the films they curate are reflective of the audiences they serve.
Several ticket options are available to audiences this year, from individual film tickets for in-person screenings (on sale to the public September 6th) to packages for digital film screenings that allow access to up to 20 digital films (on sale now). All ticket details are available here.
In-person screenings will take place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, the Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre, and Festival Village at Ontario Place. Festival Village comprises the Cinesphere IMAX Theatre, Visa Skyline Drive-In, RBC Lakeside Drive-In and the West Island Open Air Cinema. If you haven’t been to any of these incredible Toronto venues, now is a great opportunity to check them out!
The Festival’s virtual experience is presented by Bell, with screenings on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox available across Canada. In Conversation With…talks and interactive Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers will be hosted on TIFF Bell Digital Talks, available worldwide. To increase the accessibility of the film festival, all films screened digitally will be closed-captioned.
New this year, audiences across Canada can enjoy the excitement of TIFF in their own communities with TIFF’s Coast-to-Coast Screenings. Film Circuit, TIFF’s film-outreach program since 1995, will host in-cinema screenings in select locations across the country for one evening in each location, to help ignite and celebrate audiences’ return to movie theatres.
TIFF has announced twelve films coming to the Festival’s Official Selection for 2021:
- Le Bal des Folles directed by Mélanie Laurent (France) from Amazon Studios
- Benediction,directed by Terence Davies (United Kingdom) from Bankside Films
- Belfast, from director Kenneth Branagh (United Kingdom) from Focus Features
- Charlotte, directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana (Canada/Belgium/France) from Elevation Pictures and MK2 Mile End
- Dionne Warwick: Don’t Make Me Over, directed by Dave Wooley, David Heilbroner (USA)
- The Guilty by director Antoine Fuqua (USA) from Netflix
- Jagged, HBO documentary on iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, directed by Alison Klayman (USA)
- Lakewood, directed by Philip Noyce (Canada)
- Last Night in Soho, directed by Edgar Wright (United Kingdom) from Focus Features
- Night Raiders, directed by Danis Goulet (Canada/New Zealand) from Elevation Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn Films
- Petite Maman, directed by Céline Sciamma (France) from Elevation Pictures and NEON
- The Starling by director Theodore Melfi (USA) from Netflix
Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s Dune will also have a World Exclusive IMAX premiere at the Cinesphere Theatre at Ontario Place.
TIFF has also announced 11 galas and 21 special presentations (high-profile movie premieres with the world’s leading filmmakers) chosen for the festival’s programming, including the highly-anticipated festival opener Dear Evan Hansen.
The remaining 30 films set to screen at TIFF feature a number of notable celebrities, many of whom will travel to Toronto for the festival. Stars to look out for include Olivia Munn, Octavia Spencer, Judi Dench, Danny DeVito, Dionne Warwick, Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Riz Ahmed and more.
TIFF’s notable film programs will also return this year including Contemporary World Cinema, Discovery, TIFF Docs, Indie Films, Midnight Madness, Primetime, Wavelengths and TIFF Short Cuts. All films can be found here, while digital screenings can be found here.
Whether it’s a feeling or memory, art can evoke powerful emotions within us. Art can serve many purposes, from beautifying our homes by adding a personal touch to inspiring or comforting us upon sight. Art is truly personal – beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Buying original art for your home is an investment that will bring you enjoyment for years to come, while adding mood and character to your living space. Art creates memories, which can be passed down through the generations, and it can also gain value over time.
Toronto is home to some truly magnificent artists. Buying art locally supports the livelihood of artists, and keeps the creation of art alive and well. Here are 7 awe-inspiring local Toronto artists whose art you could take home today:
1. Maureen Faith O’Connor – Photography
Maureen O’Connor is an award-winning, art-based photographer whose work focuses on architecture and still life. O’Connor graduated from OCAD and has been featured in international publications and media. She currently has a new studio sale and fundraiser where $25-$50 of each sale will be donated to local wildlife rehab sanctuaries.
- Ramona Nordal – Mixed Media
Caravan Study #23, acrylic and bic pen on panel
Ramona Nordal began her career at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia. There she studied under renowned Canadian artist Dennis Burton. Her ambitious use of colour and style of acrylic painting creates an overwhelming sense of energy. Nordal thrives on mixing past and present cultural influences, which give her paintings a truly unique aesthetic.
- Jamie MacRae – Mixed Media
My City 341, mixed media on wooden panel with resin
Jamie MacRae is a Toronto-based artist with a background in design. His artwork consists of photography and acrylic paint, layered beneath resin. Combining his altered photo images with acrylic paint, MacRae plays with the juxtaposition of abstraction and urbanity. His collection entitled “My City” is inspired by his love for and the energy of the City of Toronto.
- Masood Omer – Painting
Spadina Morning, acrylic on canvas
Originally from Karachi, Masood Omer has three diplomas in fine art: two from Pakistan’s Central Institute of Arts and one from the Art Centre at Central Tech in Toronto. Omer is a lover of art, and his paintings of figures, still life and landscapes carry influences from all genres of art. His forte is painterly style, and most of his works are done ‘alla prima.’ Omer currently resides in Richmond Hill, ON.
- Jeff Goodman – Glass
Penny Vine, blown glass, with satin copper metal finish
Growing up on the west coast, Jeff Goodman was always inspired by nature. His first love was woodwork, but while studying at Sheridan College in Ontario, he grew to love glass. After earning a degree in fine arts, Goodman began a three-year residency at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, where he grew his portfolio and reputation as one of Canada’s preeminent glass blowers. In 1989, Goodman established the Jeff Goodman Studio and began pushing the boundaries of glass design.
- Thomas M Sinclair – Woodland Art
Naming Ceremony, acrylic on canvas
Thomas Sinclair is Ojibway from Couchiching First Nation. He grew up in Thunder Bay and immersed himself in the woodland art movement, and studied under Isadore Wadow. Facing some difficult personal challenges and the reality of systemic racism, Sinclair turned to art to not only heal himself, but his people. Sinclair’s paintings are bold, colourful and symbolic, giving light to darkness and bringing balance to life.
- Rina Gottesman – Painting
Once Again I, mixed media on paper
An award-winning artist, Rina Gottesman is known for her strong sense of colour and design. Through her use of lines and texture, Gottesman’s abstract paintings are bold and expressive. Whether she is working with acrylic or mixed media, Gottesman always seeks to create new and interesting effects often by hiding words, text or collages within her artworks for the viewer to discover.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without huge scoops of delicious ice cream and sweet treats to keep you cool and smiling on a sunny day. Whether you’re a donut fiend or a fruit monster, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the best sweet treats to try in Toronto this summer:
Machino Donuts –
823 Bloor Street West
Machino Donuts offers fresh daily 100% vegan donuts. Made from scratch, they have a variety of flavours to choose from including their Caramel Passion Fruit Glaze with passion-fruit cream filling, Sourcream Orange, and decadent Ferrero Rocher. They also have fritters, coffee, and donut ice-cream sandwiches. Yum!
Mango-Like Desserts –
280 Augusta Avenue
Nestled in the super cool neighbourhood of Kensington Market, Mango-Like Desserts offers a variety of elegant desserts with mango at the forefront. Try their signature dish – a delicate crepe pocket filled with sweet cream and golden-ripe mangoes – or their chilled Asian-inspired dessert with sago pearls, mango purée, warm mango mochi, and fresh mangoes. Light and delicious!
Grandmama’s Waffles –
363 Clinton Street
Grandmama’s Waffles serves a range of colourful, delicious waffles, both savoury and sweet. Their savoury waffles made of non-alcoholic beer batter and their sweet waffles made of coconut milk and rice flour make for a scrumptious and buttery treat. Flavours include Sweet Chili Chicken, PB & Bacon, Black Sesame, and Hot Chocolate.
Bakerbots Baking –
205 Delaware Avenue
Bakerbots is a hip bakery located in the heart of Bloorcourt Village. With a wide variety of cookies and sweets, Bakerbots is serving up some of the coolest treats in Toronto. Inventive flavours are the focal point of this minimalist bakery with some of the best ice cream sandwiches you could find. Try their Beer n’ Brown Bread or Banana Pudding ice cream on a soft, delicious puff pastry.
Summer’s Ice Cream –
101 Yorkville Avenue
Since 1984, Summer’s Ice Cream has been proudly serving the best-tasting, highest-quality homemade ice cream, without compromise. A family-business that spans three generations, and local landmark in Toronto’s fashionable Yorkville near our 1 Yorkville condominium, this ice cream joint is sure to impress. Whether you like watermelon sorbet, cherry frozen yogurt, or mouth-watering chocolate ice cream, Summer’s Ice Cream has it all. They even have a Toronto specialty flavour called Toronto Pothole made of almonds, marshmallows, peanuts, chocolate chunks, road tar and gravel! Try it today in a sugar cone!
Craque de Crème –
1360 Bathurst Street
Craque de Crème is a snug dessert shop located near Casa Loma in Wychwood Park, whipping up iconic French crème brulée in gourmet flavours like tiramisu, pandan coconut, and lychee vodka. Pots of crème are hand-bruléed in front of your eyes for a perfectly-caramelized crunchy and smoky top. They also offer sweet macarons and other homemade pastries.
2651 Yonge Street
Milkcow is a Korean dessert chain close to our E Condos residence at Yonge and Eglinton, specializing in organic soft serve ice cream with a playful twist. Not only is their soft-serve creamy and delicious and free of artificial ingredients, it comes in a sundae form with playful Instagrammable toppings, like cotton candy clouds and golden gooey honeycomb. They also serve pancakes, milkshakes, and coffee. Yum!
On Third Thought –
6 Markham Street
On Third Thought is a wine bar and gelato shop that serves pints and scoops, and more interestingly, alcohol-infused gelato! That’s right, you read that correctly – boozy gelato has made its way to Toronto’s trendy Queen West neighbourhood. Try Strawberry Mojito or Piña Colada with real rum for a cool, refreshing and memorable treat. Their gelatos are made with fresh fruit, and are vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and without nuts or soy. They also make a delectable affogato, the perfect blend of gelato and strong, mouth-watering espresso.
300 Eglinton Avenue West
Goûter is an authentic French family-run patisserie, boulangerie, and chocolaterie. In store you will find gorgeous hand-decorated chocolates, flaky viennoiseries, and decadent éclairs, to name a few. Founded by Rodney Alléguède, a chef who has worked in Michelin-star restaurants Fouquet’s and La Maison Lenôtre, the flavours of Goûter will transport you to a Parisian café overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Magnifique!
Fuwa Fuwa –
2471 Yonge Street
Traditionally served at Japanese weddings for good fortune, Fuwa Fuwa’s light and airy pancakes are sure to bring a smile to your face. Fuwa means “fluffy,” and these pancakes are just that – a perfect blend of soufflé and pancakes topped with mouth-watering toppings. These Midtown pancakes are not too sweet but they come in a variety of flavour combinations including tiramisu, bittersweet matcha ice cream, and red bean.
We wish you all a wonderful summer and hope you enjoy these delicious treats!
Father’s Day is coming up in just a week and a half, but because the pandemic isn’t over, chances are we’re in for another socially-distant holiday. While restrictions are easing up, a small outdoor gathering may be possible if you’re vaccinated, but if you’re separated by distance, a virtual celebration may be the way to go.
Here are our top COVID-friendly ways to celebrate and honour all the dads and dad-like figures in our lives:
Take a Virtual Tour Together
While we might occasionally be able to have a socially-distanced outing every now and then, we’re mostly house-bound, relying on Netflix and food delivery for entertainment. Thanks to virtual tours, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to visit some of the world’s most historical landmarks, famous museums and popular attractions with your dad this Father’s Day. Explore ancient artifacts at the British Museum in London, visit with your dad’s favourite animal at the Toronto Zoo, or board the NASA tram at the Houston Space Center for an out-of-world experience.
Have a Zoom Party
Nothing beats giving dad a big hug on Father’s Day, but having a Zoom party is a great alternative. There are many creative ways to spend quality time together. You could surprise him with sweet messages where each member of the family explains what they love about him most; send him a gift ahead of time and have him open it on video; or make a slideshow of your most-cherished times together. Want to take it to the next level? Order your dad his favourite bottle of wine and get one for yourself. Together over video conference, you can host your very own wine tasting, while cooking your favourite meal together. Alternatively, you can order your dad a gourmet meal from one of these fantastic local Toronto restaurants.
Host a Fun Games Night
Game night doesn’t need to end just because we’re apart. Some of the best games to play over video conferencing are Charades, Trivial Pursuit or Most-Likely To. For the latter, you can print photos of each family member and glue them to a stick, and hold up the relevant face to answer questions like: “Who’s most likely to eat a bug?” Smithsonian Magazine has also curated a list of some of the most popular games, which you can now play online with your dad – titles include Monopoly, Clue and Life.
Watch a Movie Together
For those who want a more relaxed evening, watching a movie with dad is a great option. Schedule a time on Zoom, Skype or whatever app you prefer, pick a movie and you can all press play at the same time, or share your screen with your dad. Alternatively, Teleparty is a new free way to stream movies together. Teleparty synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to Netflix, Disney, Hulu and HBO. Some favourite Father’s Day titles include Interstellar, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Pursuit of Happyness and Lion King. Make some snacks, sit back and get ready to laugh, cry and feel truly thankful for your dad.
With summer just around the corner and the pandemic still in full swing, now’s a great time to spruce up your yard and build your very own oasis.
Here are 5 ways to improve your backyard and make staying at home more enjoyable than ever:
Design a Space to Hang Out with Friends and Family
Designing an outdoor space can be daunting, but the best backyards have designated areas that are created with specific experiences and ambiances in mind. Start your design by creating a nice and relaxing seating area. A deck or patio is a wonderful way to unwind and relax while enjoying all that summer has to offer.
Create an Outdoor Living Space
Whether you enjoy BBQs or gardening, sunbathing or playing with the kids, there’s no shortage of ways to design your outdoor space. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for your patio, it’s time to furnish it. Consider a nice dining table to host dinners under the stars, a sofa or chairs where you and your family can hang out and relax, or a gazebo or umbrella to protect you from the sun.
Get Creative with Delightful Decorating
Now that your space is coming together, thoughtful touches can really elevate your yard. You might want to include some mood lighting, whether it be a romantic string of lights over your seating area, glowing tiki torches to keep the bugs away, or modern pot lights in the grass. Plant beautiful and fragrant flowers, lay down a stone path, or design a beautiful entranceway. Backyard water features such as a little fountain can make your oasis enchanting and peaceful.
Splurge on Fun Outdoor Appliances
With temperatures rising, thoughts automatically turn to BBQs and entertaining on the patio. When purchasing appliances, you want to make sure that you buy things that are weatherproof so that you can stay out and enjoy the party. Consider a BBQ, grill, or pizza oven to cook fabulous meals, and a cooler to keep your drinks cold. Install some Bluetooth speakers to listen to music while you spend time in your beautiful backyard. If you enjoy roasting marshmallows with the family, install a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace and bring the magic of camping to your very own backyard.
Enjoy the Summer and Have Fun!
Now that you’ve set up your beautiful oasis, it’s time to have fun! Fun comes in many shapes and forms. If you have kids, you could build forts or tree houses, or invest in a tent and camp under the stars. Build a swimming pool and splash around in the sun, or set up a badminton net and get your game on! Grow a fruit and vegetable garden. The options are endless.
Torontonians, it’s time to get creative! With many of our regular spring activities shuttered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – from backyard BBQs with neighbours and friends to patio cocktails, concerts, art shows and Blue Jays games – this is the season to think outside the box. Toronto has so much to do and discover, even amidst our current circumstances. And the weather is beautiful – so get outside and enjoy!
Here are 7 fun activities to do in Toronto this season that you probably didn’t know about:
#1: Take a Self-Guided Historical Building Walking Tour
Toronto is full of history, and that includes plenty of beautiful historical buildings. A walking tour of Toronto’s historical buildings is a great way to spend an afternoon, getting to know the City of Toronto on a deeper level while enjoying the incredible architecture and fresh air.
Check out this self-guided walking tour. Just download the app and you’ll be guided through Toronto’s architectural and historical hot spots, including Gooderham, Daniel Brook Building, Massey Hall, and more.
#2: Discover the Toronto Waterfront Like Never Before
We all know and love the Toronto waterfront, but have you explored all of the different Lake Ontario views that the lakefront has to offer? Take a tour of the waterfront with this self-guided waterfront walking tour. As with the self-guided historical building walking tour, just download the app and you’ll be guided along your route, from the Harbourfront Centre all the way to Billy Bishop, exploring all the lakeshore sights along the way.
#3: Get to Know Toronto’s Street Art
Have you ever really paused to stop and admire all the street art that Toronto has to offer? Catching a glimpse of a colourful mural can brighten one’s day, and in Toronto, art is all around us. Check out this guide to Toronto’s coolest murals and street art.
#4: Be Enchanted by the Guild Park and Gardens
A visit to the Guild Park and Gardens is like a visit back in time. This hidden gem is located in Scarborough, and it’s a historic sculptural sanctuary that’s sure to amaze and delight. With an incredible collection of rustic stone pieces of art and architecture from Toronto’s past, a greenhouse and beautiful gardens full of colourful flowers, Guild Park is an absolutely magical place to escape for an afternoon.
#5: Take a Visit to Evergreen Brickworks’ Iconic Farmers’ Market
Spring time means fresh strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, beets, carrots, and much more from Ontario’s farmers. This is a great time of year to visit your local farmers’ market, and the Evergreen Brickworks’ farmers’ market is a particularly great choice. With a bountiful selection of artisan goods and in-season delicacies set amidst a natural oasis, this is a fresh way to start any spring weekend.
#6: Check Out the Spring Countdown at the Bentway
How cool is this? To symbolize the changing of the seasons, a 7,000 pound block of ice has been set up at The Bentway, encasing a Muskoka chair. As the weather warms up, the ice will melt, gradually revealing one of the classic symbols of Canadian summers. This is a fun and natural spring countdown, and it’s worth a visit for its sheer uniqueness.
#7: Go for a Paddle on the Humber River
Did you know you can rent a canoe or kayak, and take a paddle along the Humber River? Head to Etienne Brule Park, as it’s a great point to start your paddle. You’ll forget you’re even in the city as you make your way down the river, connecting with nature and enjoying the breeze and the gorgeous views.
Make sure to follow all city regulations in accordance with the latest lockdown, including sticking to exploring areas in your neighbourhood until the stay-at-home order has passed.
Have you ever wondered how Toronto’s soaring high-rise condominium towers are constructed? Creating a building is a complicated endeavour that involves a lot of planning and many different types of construction professionals working together, from architects and city planners to engineers of all types (mechanical engineers, structural engineers, electrical engineers and civil engineers), interior designers, elevator consultants, acoustical consultants, geotechnical consultants, marketers, and a construction team, including the general contractors and their sub-contractors. It’s a full team effort and everything must be coordinated like an orchestra’s performance.
To learn more about the construction process of Toronto’s condos, we’re excited to present the latest installment of our How It’s Done series: How to Build a 50+-Storey Tower in 10 Simple Steps.
Without further ado:
#1: Finding the Perfect Location
Every iconic condominium starts with an idea and a vision – and a land assessment, too. Toronto builders and developers are always on the hunt for optimal sites to build a new condo. An ideal location is one where the land is underused but in a great or upcoming neighbourhood.
Once the development team finds a site, an assessment must be made as to the site’s viability. The team will review the land value, development possibilities, local bylaws and zoning regulations, neighbourhood characteristics, access to public transportation and more. This dynamic assessment typically involves a wide variety of professionals, from architects and market professionals to urban planners, contractors and a legal team.
If the team decides that the project makes sense and that the market will supply enough demand for a condominium at the chosen site, then the development site is secured.
#2: Design and Planning
Once the site has been purchased, the builder or developer will typically hire all of the key players needed to design, plan and complete the project. This team usually includes a construction contractor, structural engineers, a financing team or lender, interior designers and many others.
Each of these team members is involved in the planning phase, and there is much to plan. It goes far beyond the design of the building and architectural drawings. Every detail must be considered at this stage, from elevator design to landscape design to legal issues.
This is also the stage during which to engage the general public and the city – getting their support is essential.
Once the project has been meticulously planned out, it typically goes to market and presales begin. Most builders in Canada aim to sell a certain percentage of the condo suites in the pre-construction phase in order to finance the condo’s construction.
#3: Prepare the Lot
The project has been designed and presales are well underway. Now we’re ready to start construction!
First of all, the land is cleared and a giant hole is dug. Often the hole is a few stories deep. If the condominium is going to have underground parking, this hole will be even deeper.
#4: Lay the Foundation and Install Footings
Next, the foundation is laid. This phase can take quite a while. The foundation for high-rise condominium towers is made of concrete, which has to be poured in layers.
Footings are an important part of foundation construction. They’re most often made of concrete with rebar reinforcement, and they’re typically installed under foundations. These big concrete pads help to spread out the weight, supporting the foundation and preventing settling.
#5: Raise the Frame
We’ve gone down deep into the earth to lay a solid foundation, and now we’re ready to build upward. Raising the frame is a surprisingly rapid step compared to the digging and foundation laying that precede it. The frame is raised with the help of cranes. It’s during this step that the building begins to take shape and really come to life.
Did you know that high-rise 50+-storey condominium towers like the ones in Toronto are able to swing a few metres in each direction? This is to ensure that they’re able to withstand strong winds without damaging their structural integrity.
#6: Roofing and Siding
Once the frame is up, the roofing and exterior siding are installed. This includes a building wrap, which is a weather-resistant barrier that protects the building, as well as sheathing, which is important for strength and securing the siding.
#7: Inner Elements
Next up are structural inner items like floors, staircases, concrete support walls, corridors, beams, slabs and columns. Windows are also installed. Elevators must also be installed around this stage.
#8: Electrical and Plumbing
Water, electricity and other utilities are added to each floor as the construction progresses.
#9: Finishing Touches
Finally, all of the finishing touches can be put in: lighting, fixtures, cabinetry, countertops, faucets, carpeting and more. If you purchased a brand new condo, this is where the beautiful features and finishes that you’ve selected to suit your personal style will all be installed.
Once the construction is completed, the condominium is inspected by various parties to ensure that it’s a beautiful, safe and long-lasting infrastructure.
The condominium is now ready for occupancy and for homeowner move-ins.