toronto-feature

Long in the shadows of other North American cities, at last Toronto is having its moment in the sun. Catch the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball right next to the iconic CN Tower at the Rogers Centre and from the bleachers you’ll see the Lakeshore dotted with hundreds of new builds rising to the sky. Buildings are a mix of modern styles and lovers of concrete can take Bluecrow’s newest map, the Toronto Concrete Map, to tour the city’s brutalist marvels like the Robarts Library and City Hall.

Known as the “Hollywood of the North” (by Canadian’s at least), Toronto attracts hundreds of film and television shoots every year, from Suits to American Psycho, and also plays host to the renowned TIFF film festival. Culture, in all forms, is proving central to the way in which Canada’s biggest metropolis is evolving. Stand-up comedy clubs are prevalent, art galleries exist in their dozens and hip hop has become the sound of the streets in The Six. Drake’s intoxicating beats have blasted Toronto onto the world music map, and its festivals – like North By North East and Bestival – bring top talent to the shores of Lake Ontario. Record stores like Steve’s echo this infatuation with music. Year round, watch bands play at Queen Street West’s bars like the Horseshoe Tavern and drink where musicians do at the Westside’s hippest dive, Sweaty Betty’s.

TO STAY

The Drake

Despite not being anything to do with the rapper, this hotel does host music shows and art events, as well as having a shop, café, restaurants and night club. It has owned the increasingly popular idea of a hotel being a hub where locals as well as guests hang out. A handful of boutique rooms are decked out like hip apartments with feature walls and mid-century furniture.

The Broadview

With a colourful history, first as a luxurious home called Dingman Hall and then as a strip club and flop house, today’s newest iteration of the Broadview oozes history. Quirks are talked up here: old posters remain, the decor is flamboyant and rooms boast record players and vinyls. A roof terrace tops it all off nicely.

Bisha

Located opposite the famous Second City comedy club, Bisha has put design at the heart of its modus operandi. To this end, it has enlisted a range of people from rock star Lenny Kravitz, perfumer Ben Gorham of BYREDO, fashion industry big-hitter Grace Zeppilli and designer Alessandro Munge to add their own touches to the interiors at this high-end offering.

Hotel X

This luxury hotel tower opened in May 2018 and everything inside is box fresh, from the sports and gym facilities to the restaurants and bars. The soaring complex sits on the site of the former Garrison Reserve where British soldiers stationed at Fort York would drill. Now the only militaristic element are the spin classes and hot yoga, while they also have a golf simulator.

The Andorre House

Black-stained brick, walnut doors and plenty of gold make The Andorre House (formerly a forgettable Comfort Inn outpost) really stand out. This 11-storey boutique hotel has rooms decked out in dark and sophisticated tones with room numbers set in tiles on the floor. Quirky and enticing, it opened in April 2018 and remains one of the most talked about openings in the city.

The Drake

The Broadview

Bisha

Hotel X

The Andorre House

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