Fun Things to Do in Toronto

Manolo Blahnik Exhibit: The Art of Shoes | Bata Shoe Museum

One of my fave Carrie moments on Sex and the City is her delight when she finds what she thought was an "urban shoe legend" -the Manolo Mary Janes- in the fashion cupboard at Vogue. Carrie's love of Manolos and the spectacular styling on that show made me fall in love with the artistry that is a Manolo Blahnik shoe. The Art of Shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum is a shoe-lover's dream; an ethereal exhibit of Manolos that will have you wanting to commit museum theft. Here are some shots of my faves:


Nearly cracked the glass here... guess that's why they only display one...



Inspired by nature:



Manolo Blahnik designed the shoes for Sophia Coppola's movie Marie Antoinette:


Timeless sandals...



The Art of Shoes runs until January 6th, 2019 at the Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto. Rosie :)

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Nowruz Festival at the Toronto Centre for the Arts

One of the great things about Toronto is that you don't actually have to leave the city to get a taste and appreciation for cultures from all over the world. This weekend the Nowruz Festival celebrates both the start of Spring and the Persian/Iranian New Year! There are a number of ticketed events with this festival but there is also a lot of the free family fun that we love here at The Scoop! The free events mainly take place this Saturday March 10th at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.


There is a Persian bazaar and traditional teahouse opening at 10 for adults where you can shop a little and then starting at noon there are shows and activities all day for kids. There are puppet shows and storytelling, face painting and balloon twisting, along with a kids film and family dance party to end the day! There is also an arts and crafts station in the afternoon where children can learn about the two best known characters of Nowruz, Haji Firuz and Amoo Nowruz and take home their creations, and a pastry making workshop where the little ones can make some little treats. Check the website for more information and specific times! Rosie :)

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Free Waffles at Cacao 70 in Richmond Hill

Calling all chocoholics! There is a brand new location of chocolate paradise Cacao 70 opening in Richmond Hill this Saturday March 3rd... and they are giving away free waffles to celebrate their grand opening from 10AM - 5PM! Also, if you buy something on March 3rd, half the money will be donated to Yellow Brick Road, a charity that supports abused women and children. Cacao 70 is so delicious... they are known for their absolutely decadent drinking chocolate... a must try for chocolate lovers! Rosie :)


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Sugar Shack TO at Sugar Beach

Remember when you were crossing your fingers hoping for a white Christmas? Well, that was then, and now if you are like me you are probably like "Winter.. please... just... GO ALREADY!" There is one sweet way to wave bye to the season and that is the Sugar Shack TO. It's happening March 10th and 11th from 11am to 5pm at Sugar Beach on the waterfront and organizers are promising Ontario's finest maple taffy along with live entertainment and activities for the kids. As a kid myself I remember having the best time at a sugar shack in Quebec where you take the hot maple syrup on a stick and roll it in snow to make a delicious treat. Admission is free and there are more details at Sugar Shack TO. along with a YouTube link showing last year's event so you can get a better sense of the syrupy sweetness before fully committing to putting on all that winter gear and heading down there. Rosie :)


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Celebrate Toronto Festival at Nathan Phillips Square

TORONTO IS TURNING 184... it's PARTY TIME! Coming up March 3rd-6th at Nathan Phillips Square... the Celebrate Toronto Festival is celebrating Toronto's 184th anniversary. Food trucks, tons of cool vendors selling fun stuff, a DJ skate party... it's gonna be great! The night skate party on March 5th and 6th takes place from 5 to 10pm and features DJ Caff spinning a wicked mix including tons of tunes from Toronto artists. If you don't own skates, you can rent them, and make sure to visit the Celebrate Toronto Warming Lounge for hot chocolate! Rosie :)


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Now Free Flick Mondays at The Royal Cinema

Looking for a free movie in Toronto? Now Free Flick Mondays are the bessssst.... you can see classic films, totally free, at the Royal Cinema one Monday a month. The next one coming up is Monday March 5th and it's a GOOD ONE... one of my faves actually... the 1985 coming-of-age John Hughes classic The Breakfast Club! Free tickets are available in advance here. Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets only guarantee your spot if you arrive at the theatre by 7:15pm. Try to show up extra early because the first 100 guests get free popcorn! Rosie :)


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Toronto Light Fest | Distillery District

This is the second year that the Toronto Light Fest has lit up the Distillery District and it is spectacular. From a piano that plays light to a fire-breathing dragon to a pyramid made of thousands of gummy bears, this is a stunning display of light, art and creativity in one of my favourite parts of the city. And there is no charge- it's completely free. The Toronto Light Fest is on until March 4th, sundown to 9pm Sunday to Wednesday and sundown to 10pm Thursday to Saturday. Make sure you look for the bat signal. Rosie :)


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Ripley's Aquarium | Downtown Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto is one of those attractions that is truly fun for people of all ages. We've been several times now and have seen babies in strollers and teenagers on Saturday night dates. Even The Weeknd and Selena Gomez while they were still together enjoyed a date night at Ripley's. This is because everyone- little ones, grown-ups and globally famous pop stars- loves pretty fishes. I also love how this $130-million facility has livened up what was for years a real dead zone in the downtown core. We recently became members because with the winter we have been having, it's a great place to take my little guy so he can burn off all that little-boy-energy. He just tears through the place and the interactive kid's area where they can actually touch the fish is amazing. This is really an attraction where the pictures speak louder than words, so, enjoy! Rosie :)




Ice Cream Junction: NOW Scoops 'n More | South Etobicoke

You can still get delicious Kawartha Dairy ice cream in south Etobicoke. Ice Cream Junction is now Scoops 'n More. This spot is popular for serving up delicious premium ice cream at reasonable prices. Kids love all the fun toppings and the impressive candy selection is always a hit. Now we just need warm weather; that's when I start to crave ice cream! Peanut butter chocolate forever! Rosie :)


Scoops n' More Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Images From The City: TIFF 2016

Ruth Wilson and Bob Balaban took the stage with the cast of the "The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House" after the film's debut at The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema during TIFF 2016. Director Oz Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins) is pictured on the right, fielding questions from the packed house during the Q&A led by TIFF programmer Colin Geddes. It was a perfect TIFF Vanguard film; weird and puzzling and really, really creepy.


Send your image from the city to or tweet it to @rosieferg. Rosie :)

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Tom's Dairy Freeze | Etobicoke

Summer hasn't officially started without a visit to Tom's. Little man loves the classic vanilla swirl. Worth the wait! Rosie :)

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Richmond Hill Curling Club | Richmond Hill

Last Saturday my gang at the radio station had the best time curling at the Richmond Hill Curling Club. With the exception of Rob and Debra, we are all curling neophytes so Marlene and Dawn who are members of the club were kind enough to show us the basics. We had so much fun it was ridiculous. The club is awesome and there is a very comfortable lounge with a very lovely bar that was a great spot to hang out after for a drink. Curling is a really fun way to bond with your work peeps and it feels very good to say you took part in Canada's national pastime! Rosie :)

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Shadowpath Theatre Presents Hotel Solstice

The third annual Hotel Solstice took place at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Vaughan on June 18th. Presented by Shadowpath Theatre Productions, Hotel Solstice is a wild night of art, music and dance all under one roof. The lobby is transformed into a creative space for artists. The hotel rooms become venues for performance art. The ballroom hosted dancers of every style from tap to contemporary to belly dancing. From clairvoyants to flair bartenders to roaming musicians, the hotel for one late spring night becomes an artistic adventure. The lobby artists were amazing to see in action.


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SheDot Comedy Festival: Special Offer

SheDot-web_200ht.jpgMy favourite people are the ones who can really make me laugh, and some of the most intentionally funny people I know are women. One of those super funny women is Martha O'Neill, a veteran of Toronto's comedy scene. She had the very clever idea to corrall lots of amazing female comedians into one festival right here in Toronto. The SheDot Comedy Festival is Toronto's first and only female comedy festival and takes place May 1st to 4th. The main venue is comedy hot spot Comedy Bar on Bloor, and right now you can get a three-day pass for only $17. The pass lets you choose six of twelve different shows featuring performers such as Keesha Brownie, Allison Dore and Wanda Carroll. It also gives you a discount off admission to the inaugural SheDot Gala at the Opera House on May 4th, hosted by the fabulous Trish Stratus. Rosie :)

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St. Lawrence Market

This morning we wanted to buy some fresh salmon, so we decided to buy it at the number one food market in the world- the St. Lawrence Market. You can't take a bad foodie picture in this place. Enjoy! Rosie :)



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Shop the Neighbourhood

Saturday November 30th is Shop the Neighbourhood, a one-day event that is meant to get us out in our communities supporting small businesses. Many shops have special deals running, and if you follow @ShopTheHood_ca on Twitter there are contests and fun promotions like this one:

Even the CN Tower is getting in on the action- it's turning yellow in support of the event, which is sponsored by Yellow Pages:

Visit the Shop the Neighbourhood website to find out about the exclusive deals in your area. Rosie :)

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Free Movie Morning at Cineplex Odeon

November 16th is Community Day at all Cineplex theatres and free movies start at 9am. (Doors open at 8:30 am.) The films being screened for free are MEN IN BLACK 3 at 9:00am, THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS at 9:15am, THE SMURFS at 9:30am, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN at 9:45am and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (3D) at 10:00am. Popcorn, drinks and candy are only $2 with the 100% of the proceeds donated to the Canadian Olympic Foundation. Click here for a list of theatre locations. Rosie :)


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Autumn Oktoberfest Bash at Black Oak Brewery

Well this sounds fun! This Saturday October 26th the Black Oak Brewery is having an Oktoberfest party with beer and sausage. Admission is $20 and includes a selection of Black Oak's delicious brews and a Nut Brown Ale beer sausage from The Healthy Butcher. The party starts at 4pm at the brewery, which is located at 75 Horner Ave in Etobicoke. Click here to buy tickets. Rosie :)



Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Scaaaary movies time! Tickets are now on sale for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which takes place from October 17th to 25th at Scotiabank Theatre. This super-popular festival showcases new horror and cult movies as well as sci-fi, action, and horror-comedy flicks. Award-winning films We Are What We Are and Big Bad Wolves are the Festival's opening and closing galas. There are still some all-access passes available for $143, which gives you priority entry to all 20 screenings and saves you 45% off general tickets. You also get 2,000 Scene points if you have one of those cards. And a head's up if you are planning to attend on Saturday October 19th - that is Zombie Appreciation Night, and tickets are discounted for zombies in costume. Rosie :)


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Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles

There aren't many chances in life to see and touch a sculpture created by a living legend. That is why all I wanted for my birthday was to see Ai Weiwei's Forever Bicycles. It was unveiled for Nuit Blanche and is still on display in Nathan Phillips Square (Après Nuit!). It is absolutely beautiful. One of the coolest things I've ever seen.

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This is a new edition of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei's three-dimensional structure of 3,144 interconnected bicycles. The way they are lit is stunning to look at both from a distance and up close. There was something magical about the way we came up from the parking garage into the huge space of the square, and they illuminated the night.


Forever Bicycles Nuit Blanche

You can visit these beautiful bicycles any time until October 27th at Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West at Bay Street. But... I recommend going after the sun sets. Rosie :)

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First Annual Toronto Bourbon Week

I discovered bourbon and bitters when we got really into Mad Men and wanted to drink Old Fashioneds with Don and Roger. Bourbon has become a lot more popular and today marks the first day of the inaugural Toronto Bourbon Week. There are seven events at seven different locations, each with its own theme and bourbon selection to try. The seven days of bourbon runs from September 27 to October 3rd; some events are general admission and some require tickets which you can buy online. Rosie :)


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Canada's Baking & Sweets Show 2013

Friends of mine who are really into baking love this event. Canada's Baking & Sweets Show takes place September 27th to 29th at the Toronto Congress Centre. There are dozens of exhibitors showcasing the latest in baking and dessert trends, and cool things to see like enormous handmade gingerbread houses. This year, the theme is "Alice in Wonderland" so I bet there will be some extremely creative confections. There are a bunch of celebrity chefs who will be appearing: Anna Olson, Brian Emmett and the Cupcake Girls will be there on Friday September 27th at 7pm. For more information on show exhibits, the hands-on class schedule or to buy tickets online (save $2 on admission) visit the Canada's Baking & Sweets Show website. Rosie :)




Splash Island at the Toronto Zoo

I had no idea there was a two-acre splash pad at the Toronto Zoo. It's incredible. When we went last year, it happened to be the hottest day of the year and we didn't last very long. Our visit this year was on a perfect summer day so after exploring the African Savanna (our favourite section) we hit the Discovery Zone where Splash Island is located. "Island" is definitely a better word to describe this waterplay area- it's huge with waterslides, waterfalls and water-spouting animals. So. Much. FUN.











My little man didn't want to leave- he just sort of collapsed with exhaustion near the waterslides. Splash Island, like all the areas in the zoo's Discovery Zone for kids, is free with general admission. Rosie :)

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TIFF Bell Lightbox

Last night we saw The East at the TIFF Bell Lightbox at King and John. The Lightbox is the home of Toronto's hugely popular film fest every September, but you can also see movies there year round without buying tickets in advance. It's a great theatre, ticket prices for a regular screening are $12 (new releases $13) and you can see what is currently playing here. The Lightbox is also a cultural space with galleries for exhibitions. Right now it is showcasing New Women, the major new installation by Yang Fudong, as part of TIFF's summer flagship programme Century of Chinese Cinema.


This is a fun and lively area of the city to check out if you are a visitor. King and John has tons of great restaurants. Luma, located right in the TIFF Lightbox, has a dinner and theatre package and a beautiful view of the city.


Every Thursday in the TIFF Lounge Luma hosts Zen Thursdays. Cocktails are $7 (regularly $10.) Rosie :)

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Record Store Day 2013 in Toronto

If you like to browse local record stores, Saturday April 20th is definitely the day to do it. It's Record Store Day, which celebrates music, vinyl and independent record shops. It started in the U.S. in 2007 and falls on the third weekend of every April. Stores all over the world now host in-store performances and artists release new music on this day, as well as limited edition records. Here in Toronto, there are plenty of participating shops that will be carrying Record Store Day exclusive and regional releases including Queen West faves Rotate This and Kops Records, Sunrise Records in Cloverdale Mall and my personal favourite Village Vinyl Music Emporium & Cafe in south Etobicoke. Click here to search for stores taking part in your hood. Rosie :)


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InspiraTO Theatre Festival 2013 Auditions

Auditions are currently running for Toronto's 10-minute play festival, InspiraTO. They need over 50 actors for this event which runs from May 30 to June 8, 2013. Click here for the production schedule and to check out the plays. This is an open call for a non-paying, non-union event, and you have to been over 18. Auditions end April 11. Rosie :)

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Sky Zone Toronto Indoor Trampoline Park

Recently we discovered the joy of the Sky Zone indoor trampoline park in Mississauga. We were pretty excited to be invited to check out the new Sky Zone Toronto location which just opened in Leaside. No surprise that it is just as awesome. Three dodgeball courts, an enormous foam pit to do flying leaps into, a Sky Slam basketball court and of course a very expansive and very bouncy open jump area.

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I love taking my little man to "Toddler Time" where he can bounce like crazy and get the beans out. Toddlers jumping and wobbling all over the mats is about the cutest thing you are ever going to see. My little guy is getting to have quite the form, and he also enjoyed taking a few shots at the Sky Slam basketball court, which is a feature unique to the Sky Zone Toronto location.

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The Foam Zone Court is bananas. You use the mats to propel yourself into a massive pit of cushy foamy balls.

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Diving into the foam pit proved too irresistible for my big man to resist.

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Sky Zone offers dodgeball tournaments and SkyRobics fitness classes (low impact and burns up to 1,000 calories in an hour) and you can also host birthday parties and corporate events there. There are a variety of birthday party packages available but they all include an hour of jump time, 40 minutes in a party room with a Party Host, food, drinks, plates, napkins, cups, utensils and Party Area set-up and clean-up. You also get full colour invitations and two free one hour passes for future visits. The staff are so helpful and super friendly. Here's Eric fluffing the foam pit.

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For more information including pricing, hours of operation and a schedule of activities visit the Sky Zone Toronto website. This place is great fun and perfect for parents looking for some physical activity that will wear out even the most energetic kids. Just check out the photo below for proof. Rosie :)

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Family Fun Fest on Family Day Weekend

There is a great deal on right now if you are planning to take your family to Family Fun Fest this family day long weekend. This event at the city's largest indoor amusement park takes place February 16, 17, and 18 at Downsview Park. Right now for $40 you can get a VIP family pass for two adults and two children, plus two cotton candy bags. Or you can pay $12 for a single kid's pass.

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This deal really makes the event more affordable. There are tons of rides, huge fun jumping castles and live entertainment. Rosie :)


Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

If you have a very energetic toddler and are free on Tuesday or Thursdays between 9:30 and 11am, I highly recommend you take them to the Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. This is designated 'toddler time' on the mats and it is an awesome way to get them moving during the cold winter months. One parent has to jump with them and the adults have as much fun as the little ones.

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This place is awesome! Huge with really helpful and friendly staff keeping an eye on all the jumpers, big and small.

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There is a squishy foam pit you can dive into when you get tired of jumping. There are rules though. No back flips is one of them. This rule is harder to enforce once toddler time is over and the teenagers hit the mats.

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The Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is located in Mississauga (about a five minute drive from Square One) at 3636 Hawkestone Road. You can host a birthday party there; package and pricing information are on the website. Rosie :)


Raw Comfort Food Workshop by MAP Wellness

I'm always trying to do my best to make healthy food for my family. It's hard, but I find being knowledgeable about what you eat helps a lot. That's why I was really excited when my friend Meghan Pearson, owner of MAP Wellness, invited me to one of her raw food workshops. I didn't know much about preparing and eating raw foods but I did know it involves vegetables and nuts and other stuff that is extremely good for you. Meghan's 'Raw Comfort' class was amazing. She develops her own recipes, demonstrates how to make them, and teaches you about nutrition along the way. Last night's class focused on "comfort" dishes, and started off with mini pecan pies sweetened with dates and raisins. These tasted as good as they look:

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After showing us how easy it is to make almond milk (which Meg then turned into chocolate almond milk with raw cacao and cinnamon) she whipped up some apple sauce, also sweetened with dates.

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My little man loves corn (I hide all his protein in it) so I am eager to make Meg's creamy corn chowder, which is made creamy by the almond milk. You may think, shouldn't corn chowder be hot? This was incredibly flavourful at room temperature, which, as Meg points out, is the temperature to which most of us allow our food to cool before we eat it anyway.


The final dish was a creamed spinach stuffed tomato with a side of whipped parsnips. Cashews and macadamia nuts get thrown in with the parsnips, along with some super nutritious and crunchy hemp hearts:


Nutritional yeast is the magic ingredient that gives the spinach its creaminess. You would never know there is no dairy in this dish.


If you want to check out some of Meg's other workshops, visit the MAP Wellness website for the class schedule. On February 13th, you can catch her whipping up her famous raw lasagna on the Live Healthy Now show on Rogers, and then on Global's The Morning Show making her vegan chocolate recipes on February 14th for Valentine's Day. You can also read Meg's blog entries on Huffington Post, where she is a regular contributor. Rosie :)

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Pop Goes the Easel Clearance Sale

The Danforth East Community Association (DECA) came up with an awesome idea to revitalize their main strip. The Renew East Danforth initiative works with landlords putting temporary tenants in their empty buildings as pop-up shops. Pop Goes the Easel is one of the nine pop-up shops that have been on two blocks of the Danforth for the month of December. One of the shops, Pop Goes the Easel, is having a clearance sale of their beautiful paintings and prints over the next two days. A fun thing to do and a great part of the city to check out. Rosie :)


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Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

All afternoon I was distracted from the boring things I had to do because I couldn't wait to see the giant tree at the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. This event is free to attend and absolutely beautiful. Go at night, the lights are spectacular.

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The tree is perfect: massive and sparkling. It was donated by Trees Ontario.

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There is free hot chocolate at the entrance, and dozens of vendors selling everything from poutine and mulled wine to apple fritters and roasted nuts. There is a great area for the kids, with a ferris wheel, merry-go-round and pony rides. (You have to buy tickets for the rides.) But even without spending a cent, there is so much to do and see. The caroling performance was so festive!

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The Toronto Christmas Market runs until this Sunday December 16th in the Distillery Historic District (Mill Street and Parliament.) Rosie :)

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Free Halloween Things To Do With Kids In Toronto

Free Halloween Things to Do in Toronto for Kids.jpgIf you need some ideas for fun and free things to do this Halloween weekend with your kids in Toronto, consider these events taking place at Wychwood Barns and in Bloor West Village:

BOO! at the Barns There are tons of games, crafts, Halloween movies, a costume contest and a dance party at this event, and all of the fun is free. Food and drinks require a ticket, although there is no charge for the pumpkin seed roasting. That's one of my favourite things about Halloween- roasting pumpkin seeds! BOO! at the Barns takes place on Saturday October 27 from 5pm to 9pm at Artscape Wychwood Barns, in Barn #2.

Pumpkinfest In The Village  Kids can get their faces painted, hunt for treasure and carve pumpkins at this Halloween festival in Bloor West Village which features lots of fun family entertainment like clowns, juggling and other wacky stuff. Pumpkinfest In The Village takes place on Saturday October 27 from 11am to 4pm. Click here to print out the form you need to participate in the Halloween Treasure Hunt.

And while it's not free, the cost for the Toronto West Halloween Fest supports a very good cause- St. Joseph's Health Centre. This event takes place on Sunday October 28 and features tons of music and food, a two-kilometre community parade and a party at the Palais Royale with a performance by Jaymz Bee's Royal Jelly Orchestra. Rosie :)

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Toronto Sculpture Garden: Gold, Silver & Lead

Right now, there is a stack of Honda Civics piled up in the Toronto Sculpture Garden. Gold, Silver & Lead, the free park's current exhibit, is very cool.

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I love this little garden for the free art exhibits, and my little man loves it for the absolutely fantastic waterfall fountain. It's really unique and peaceful to take in.

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The Toronto Sculpture Garden is located at 115 King Street East right across the street from St. James Cathedral. This is a perfect spot to admire the architecture of this stunning church, which has the tallest tower and spire in Canada.

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My only knock against the park is that the city locks it up at 6:30p.m., which I think is really early for the summertime. I felt bad for the city employee who had to kick us out; it is not a good day at the office when you have to tear a happy little toddler away from a water fountain in a public park in broad daylight. But it's a lovely green space downtown with free art so I can't complain too much. Rosie :)

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C.N.E. 2012: Totally Fun for Kids

I've been to the Ex many, many times, but never as a mommy. There is a whole side to it I never knew. The C.N.E. is so kid-friendly that we were only there for five minutes before finding a fantastic water fountain just past the Food Building. My little man is water-fountain crazy, so we spent a fair bit of time here.

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What I found extremely cool about this fountain is that it was obviously inspired by Millennium Park's Crown Fountain, one of my very favourites pieces of public art in the world. 50-foot glass block towers feature giant faces, and water spouts out of their mouths. It is amazing to experience whether you have kids or not. My little man liked it so much we went back twice.

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The C.N.E.'s water fountain doesn't quite compare to the Crown Fountain, but I love that someone tried to make something like it. Afterwards we moved on to the Kid's World section where there is so much fun stuff for little ones including a giant playground, petting zoo, free pizza-making workshops and a music-making area with instruments the kids can just bang on freely. The C.N.E. ends on September 3rd, and there are two more nights (this Wednesday and Thursday) where if you go after 5pm, admission is only $5. (It's always free for kids under 4.) Rosie :)

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Celebrate Yonge at Yonge-Dundas Square

Yonge-Dundas Square is so awesome now compared to when my husband and I went to Ryerson over a decade ago. It certainly had character then, but it really wasn't an area of the city you wanted to take your toddler to run around. Now you can... it's like a mini Times Square, plus it has lots of splashy water fountains for little water lovers.

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It really feels like the heart of the city, with tons of special events like free concerts, free movie nights and the T.O. Tix booth where you can pick up discounted theatre and comedy show tickets. Right now there are temporary patios set up right on Yonge Street between Queen and Gerrard for the Celebrate Yonge event, giving the downtown core even more of a fun party vibe. There are some neat things to check out in the different event areas, including life-sized board games and a bike art gallery. Rosie :)

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BuskerFest 2012 In The St. Lawrence Market

Scotiabank BuskerFest is on right now in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. If you are like me and love a good human statue, get downtown. There is lots of entertainment and the event supports Epilepsy Toronto.

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Like all good festivals, there are dozens of delicious things to eat that are terrible for your body but wonderful for your soul. As badly as I wanted a Blooming Onion, I opted for a Moroccan Spiced Brisket on a Bun by the Sultan's Tent & Cafe Moroc on Front (that's the restaurant with the hot belly dancers).

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BuskerFest runs until August 26th. Visit for a schedule of performances and the festival mobile app. Rosie :)

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Sir Casimir Gzowski Park Playground

There is a playground on the Lake Shore that has many of the criteria I look for in a great playground. Sir Casimir Gzowski Park has a huge toddler wading pool, a fun and colourful playground with swings, lots of grass, huge old trees and a boardwalk cafe. All this, just steps from the sandy shores of Lake Ontario.

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When you are done with the playground, you can just walk across the boardwalk to the beach where you have the most stunning view of the Toronto skyline.

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Sir Casimir Gzowski was an engineer who served as Ontario's Lieutenant Governor from 1896 to 1897. His awesome playground is located at 1751 Lake Shore Blvd West. There is Green P parking, and it's free if you park before five from Monday to Friday. The other lovely thing about this park is that you are about a ten minute walk from the lovely Humber Arch Bridge, and then about another 20 minutes away from the Humber Bay Park, where the butterfly exhibit is. Rosie :)

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Public Art at the Humber Bridge

I love art in public spaces and wish we had more street art in Toronto. When we went to Chicago last summer we spent our days walking from one sculpture to another, and we couldn't get enough. That's why I love that Toronto's Interactive Arts Collective installed this beautiful sculpture on the Humber Arch Bridge.

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These "dancing creatures" caught my eye last week while driving on the Lakeshore and when we took one of our walks by the water I couldn't wait to see them up close. This installation is filled with 1,200 LED lights, making the creatures just glow with colour. I absolutely love it. You have until the end of September to see this luminous work of art at the Humber Bridge and you should. It is stunning, and costs nothing to experience. Rosie :)

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Kensington Market in Toronto: Market Sundays

I have always loved Kensington Market. It is a historic part of the city with tons of character and a really cool vibe. This summer, the market is closed to cars on Sundays. (You may have heard the ruckus over the swing gates that were installed to block off traffic.) I think anything that endeavours to support local businesses is great. Making Kensington pedestrian-only one day a week gets people walking and shopping and that is good for everybody.

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Kensington is home to some very popular shops like Cheese Magic on Baldwin. Serious cheese-a-holics freak out over Cheese Magic.

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It is also home to Mexican restaurant El Trompo on Augusta, beloved by Toronto foodies. The patio is a major hotspot. It is always packed.

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There are lots of tasty things to eat in the market and a lovely selection of bakeries and coffee shops. The coffee from The Grindhouse on Augusta is so, so good.

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You don't have to wait for Sundays to check out Kensington Market, it's always bustling. Visit the Kensington Market website for a schedule of upcoming events. Rosie :)

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Images From The City: Dîner en Blanc 2012

Toronto's first annual Dîner en Blanc took place on Thursday night. We now join Paris, New York, Barcelona and other amazing cities around the world as hosts of this chic pop-up picnic. Everyone dresses in white and dines at a secret spot in the city. The location is only revealed the night of the event when you are brought there by your host. This year the venue was the grounds of Fort York.

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Thanks Parteeee GG for this fabulous picture from what looks like a fabulous white night. If you want to dine in white next year, you have to get on the waiting list. (You don't just show up to a foodie flashmob, it requires planning.) Visit the Toronto Dîner en Blanc website to learn more. And if you have an image from the city you'd like to see on the Scoop, send it to Rosie :)

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Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park

I was pretty excited when I read that celebrity renovator Mike Holmes would be rebuilding the beloved wooden castle in the Jamie Bell playground that was destroyed by arson in March. Canada's Most Trusted Contractor was not going to mess this up. When he compared the project to building the Coliseum, I was impressed. This was going to be something really special and really grand. The playground reopened on July 13th and it is just spectacular. THIS is a playground!

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And THIS is a castle fit for little princes and princesses. It has shiny copper turrets!

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There are so many fun things to play with here that the kids are literally spinning around in circles. It's wild.

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All the colourful children's art really captures the spirit of the park. Community activist Jamie Bell had a vision to build a playground that kids would play a role in creating. Children offered their ideas of what their dream park would be, and together with parents, teachers and many volunteers that vision became a reality in 1999. In the same spirit, the 2012 Jamie Bell playground was rebuilt by the hard work of many volunteers and donors.

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My little man likes a good swing, and one of the really lovely things about this park is that there is a perfect mix of sunshine and shade from High Park's beautiful trees.

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Mike Holmes and the many volunteers who worked on the project had to deal with some pretty hot temperatures during the rebuilding. You can watch the project from start to finish this fall on an episode of Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV Canada.

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The Jamie Bell Adventure Playground is located in High Park at 1873 Bloor St. West. Kids who like parks may also enjoy this summer camp in Toronto. If, like me, you head over to Jamie Bell many times in the summer as a way to expend some energy in a VERY energetic toddler, you may want to consider the camp route. Rosie :)

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Lakeshore Mardi Gras in Etobicoke

Today we went to Colonel Samuel Smith Park for the 9th annual Lakeshore Mardi Gras celebration. What fun! There is a great schedule of live music all weekend (tonight at 8:30... Alan Frew of Glass Tiger!) and tons and tons of delicious and naughty things to eat, like ribs, Ribfest-style.


Here's a close-up of the experts in action. Vegetarians, look away.

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There were many other things to eat that you would never even consider consuming anywhere else other than a festival, like fudge, Tiny Tom Donuts and Blend-Your-Own Slushies.

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There are lots of rides for kids and tons of space to watch the live music on the main stage. Colonel Samuel Smith Park is such a nice big park with tons of trees, lots of leafy shade and plenty of green space to spread out a blanket.

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The Lakeshore Mardi Gras runs until Monday August 6th. Click here for the concert schedule. (Did I mention-Alan Frew of Glass Tiger, in one hour? You have time!) Rosie :)


Lithuania Park at Keele & Glenlake

Likely unimpressed with the planned afternoon activity of watching his mama watch Olympic men's swimming, my little man starting tearing around the house post-nap exhibiting levels of energy that only an excursion involving water play would even begin to exhaust. Weary from a busy morning of watching men's gymnastics (what a emotional roller-coaster it's been for Kohei Uchimura) I knew the answer was Lithuania Park. Located just north of High Park, it has the perfect wading pool for toddlers. Mamas and nannies can really phone it in here; the kids just entertain themselves. Once my little guy armed himself with a suitable twig, he was ready to get his pool on.

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Or so I thought I was going to phone it in. This pool proved to be so fun that little man insisted I join him. Glad I dressed up. Go Canada!

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The playground here is great, if your child lets you out of the pool long enough to get to it. I love all the lovely leafy shade at this park, and the huge beautiful trees.

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Apparently in the winter, the toboggan hills at this park are awesome. Lithuania Park is located at 155 Oakmount Road, north of High Park at Keele and Glenlake. Rosie :)

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High Park Zoo

The High Park Zoo is the perfect zoo to take your toddler. There are many different animals to see such as bison, reindeer and capybaras. It's a short walk from one species to the next, and it's situated in Toronto's beautiful leafy green High Park. Here's one of North America's largest land mammals looking very calm.

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Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. It appears that once a rodent exceeds the size of a big stuffed animal, it goes from being totally gross to quite adorable. They are a very social species as you can see here.

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Hello reindeer! You show such composure despite the constant stream of parents parading their kids in front of you saying "look, look, there's Rudolph!"

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Along with many interesting animals, there are also lots of great twigs in High Park. My little man loves to run around and pick up twigs. The bison distracted him only momentarily from intense twig-gathering.

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There are also llamas, peacocks and wallabies at the High Park Zoo, which is free to visit. Due to funding cuts by city council, this zoo almost stopped operating in June.

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The non-profit Friends of the High Park Zoo and private donors have raised funds to keep the zoo going for at least another year. Make a donation if you go (there are donation boxes) or online at the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Rosie :)

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Free Outdoor Movies in Toronto

I used to see about a billion movies a year, then I became a mum. Since then my movie-going has seriously slowed. I barely count the two movies I saw at Mommy+Me screenings- I found it impossible to concentrate on plot points while nursing a voraciously hungry baby. (Not that it should have been hard to follow the plots to The Back-Up Plan or Letters to Juliet, but mummy mush brain is a real thing.) I finally just saw my first 3D movie, Promethesus. (And it was good, because Ridley Scott thought about how the 3D should add to every scene.) But before that, it was the Descendants. And before that, Jack Goes Boating at the Toronto Film Fest. Just one TIFF movie... it used to be ten!

I really love movies, and the only thing more awesome than seeing them in the theatre is seeing them outside, for free. And because we live in such a cool city, there are some options for doing that in the summer time. TIFF in the Park is so fun. Every Wednesday at David Pecaut Square (beside Roy Thompson Hall) there is a movie screening when the sun sets. There is a different theme each year- this year it's Screwball Comedies, which really strikes a chord with me as I can't go an hour these days without doing something ridiculous. We have TIFF and the Toronto Entertainment District BIA to thank for such a lovely and free thing to do in the city.

There are more free outdoor movies to be found in Toronto... Movies in the Park in Riverdale East on Broadview not only has a totally fun line-up (you missed Ghostbusters but Back to the Future is playing on August 5th!) but donations go to kids charities like the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Club. I also just noticed a really cool tweet from MoviesRiverdale:

Um, I LOVE stuff like that- you can totally tell someone you love them ON THE MOVIE SCREEN! How romantic. And then you get to watch Back to the Future. The perfect summer night. Rosie :)

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The Junction Flea

I was driving on Dundas West last month when I noticed a sign in an empty lot advertising a new flea market. I usually find flea markets exhausting but I suspected that one being held in the now super trendy Junction would be a choice selection of antique dealers and hipster vintage clothing sellers. Checked it out on Sunday and it was definitely hipster heaven; the crap may have been old but it was kind of interesting.


There were some food sellers that looked good,


and a fortune teller in a trailer.


Please note it's not called the Junction Flea Market... just the Junction Flea. This means you can charge $10 for a Slinky, instead of $2 like you would at a garage sale.


Second Sunday of every month, last one is in September. On Dundas east of Keele, rain or shine. Rosie :)

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Caplansky's Food Truck

Toronto food trucks are awesome. I love finding them as much as eating from them. It's like a way more delicious version of Where's Waldo. I'm happy to go anywhere in the city for my faves, but it's always a treat when @foodtrucksTO tweets that Caplansky's truck is in the west end like it did yesterday, when it was on Ossington north of Queen:


Caplansky's smoked meat sandwiches ARE THE BEST! And obvi couldn't resist these freshly made bacon doughnuts. Couldn't resist three, actually.

rsz_caplanskys_003.jpg Caplansky's Delicatessen is on College if you aren't in the mood to track down the truck! Rosie :)

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Toddlers at the Toronto Zoo

Today we went to the Toronto Zoo with my little man's toddler class. It is record-breaking crazy hot outside so the trip was short but sweet. Upon arrival, my little guy went over to visit the friendly fellows at the Welcome to Toronto booth. (He later shared with me his thoughts on Toronto's hospitality excellence initiative. Unlike many, he quite likes the logo but feels it could use a punch of colour.)


We saw some monkeys, tigers, pigs and turtles before calling it a day. Because it was so hot, this tiger got up close and personal going for a drink of water.


Just love the giraffes, rhinos and zebras.




We didn't make it to the elephants, but I felt guilty about visiting the elephants anyway after learning how unsuited they are to Toronto's climate. It certainly didn't feel like that with the temperature today (34°) but summer is short in this city. I hope they end up in the place that is best for them, and that the zoo's accreditation is restored. Seeing the children's fascination with the animals and the genuine care for them showed by the staff, I think it is crucial an amazing city like ours has a zoo to be proud of. Rosie :)

zoo paw

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Port Credit Memorial Park

Ok, this is not a Toronto park. But it's so close, and so lovely, that I had to give it a shout-out despite the fact it is not in the 416. It's in Port Credit (Mississauga) right across from the Port Credit Harbour. The playground is great and it has a really adorable miniature village. Now, I saw no kids remotely interested in the kiddie-sized model of Port Credit, but I still think it is the cutest thing:


What's neat about the play area is the blue spongy ground which protects little knees from scrapes and bruises.


In 1967, part of this park was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Canada's confederation. I have a thing for flags, and there is a lovely display of all the flags of the provinces and territories.


Port Credit Memorial Park is located by the lake in Mississauga at 32 Stavebank Rd. I like Port Credit, it has a good chilled-out vibe, and the waterfront is beautiful. Rosie :)

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Wychwood Barns Farmers' Market

Besides all the lovely fresh organic food and general fun-ness, there were two main reasons I wanted to go to the Stop's Farmers' Market at Wychwood Barns yesterday. One was to get some Kurtis Coffee, which is so fresh and pure and fair-trade and all that awesome business. There are so many different blends. I wish the pic below was scented!

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The other reason was to let my little man loose in the splash area which is so perfect for toddlers. It's not too big and not too small. My little shirtless tank of a baby got pretty brave after a few runs through the very cold jet sprays.


Most of the farms at the market are organic. Everything is crazy fresh. The produce is amazing and looks the way fruits and veg are supposed to. Bring lots of cash, prices are a little steeper than No Frills. Have you seen the price of arugula? ;)

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The Stop's Farmers' Market happens every Saturday from 8am to 12pm at the Wychwood Barns (601 Christie St, at St. Clair.) Rosie :)

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inspiraTO, Canada's Largest Ten Minute Play Festival

When artistic director Dominik Loncar founded inspiraTO, he wanted to see if you could make an awesome play in ten minutes that tells a compelling story. Turns out you can, and people love it. This is the seventh year of the festival, which has produced 82 ten-minute plays and gets over 300 submissions each year. The theme of this year's festival is Vision. The inspiraTO Festival runs from June 1-10 on the mainstage of Toronto's Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street.) To check out show times and buy tickets visit the InspiraTO website. The productions are grouped into one showing of six to eight ten-minute plays, and the first grouping of shows is this Friday June 1st at 8pm. Go, go, go... every minute counts! Rosie :)


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A Park With A View

The tallest structure in the world now stands in downtown Dubai instead of downtown Toronto, but that doesn't affect my love for the CN Tower in the least. I think Toronto's skyline is stunning because of it. I have always liked how everyone knows what and where the CN Tower is whether they've lived in Toronto a few weeks or their entire life. It is a very distinct landmark. Even though I went to school downtown for years, my sense of direction is such that I would often find myself using its soaring presence as a navigation tool. As a result, the sight of it provides me with a sense of comfort and familiarity. These days my very favourite place to admire the downtown Toronto skyline is from the very awesome Humber Bay Park.


Not only does Humber Bay Park offer a really spectacular view of the city, it is home to the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat which I never get tired of visiting.


You may ask, why a picture of a big grey boulder and not some pretty butterflies? My photography skills are simply not good enough for that. However, they were good enough to capture my jumping laughing dancing little man a good foot off the ground.


When was the last time you were so happy you just leaped right off the ground? This park, and its view, will bring it out of you I swear. And if you are visiting the city and wondering where to stay that gives you easy access to popular Toronto attractions, One King West is a great downtown hotel in Toronto. Rosie :)


❤ing T.O. at Bathurst & Dundas

Today we went to the 1LOVET.O. store for 1 ❤ T.O. shirts, which really are just the cutest things ever. The kiosk is part of the awesome Market 707, located in front of the Scadding Court Community Centre at 707 Dundas St West. This little marketplace is exactly why I love Toronto. There is an amazing selection of street foods, with each vendor cooking up their specialities inside refurbished shipping containers. Yes- metal boxes. Here you have Monforte Dairy, where a really lovely lady expertly pressed the freshest sheep's milk cheese between bread from St. John's Bakery into the most insanely delicious grilled sandwiches.


Here are pieces of candied bacon from House of Jaffle.

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This little strip of deliciousness also features Filipino, Korean, South American, North African and North Indian street foods. Another bonus of Market 707 is that it is right by Alexandra Park, which has great playgrounds, a huge swimming pool and a skating rink that turns into a skateboard park in the summer. I know. ❤ it! Rosie :)


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