The sounds, sights and Taste of Little Italy

August 1, 2017 by  
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The Mastro and San Daniele Taste of Little Italy food festival took place last month, June 16 – 18. My eyes were busy, my ears were buzzing and my stomach was full of delicious Italian food.

 

The sights of the Taste of Little Italy were plentiful. From the vendors up and down the streets to the authentic Italian restaurants, I really was immersed in the Italian culture. I was able to see some of the renowned restaurants serving the community, despite the rain. I enjoyed the sights of many restaurants extending their patios. Trattoria Taverniti embraced their Italian heritage by simply decorating their extended patio with the classic red and white checkered table clothes. This, coupled with the old brick exterior and the beautiful Italian entry door, provided the perfect visual for the festival.

 

If the sights weren’t enough, there was a combination of musical performers adding to the culture. Italian performers from the community lined the streets on almost every corner, while acclaimed electric violinist, Dr. Draw, played a memorable show right outside the CHIN building. The variety of music and the sound of Torontonians enjoying the festival made the trip in the rain all worthwhile.

 

And of course, the reason everyone goes to street festivals – the FOOD!

 

The night started off at Hogtown Pub and Oysters with prosecco – a delicious Italian white wine, paired with oysters. The two complemented each other well and made for a nice light treat to converse over. The owner shared with us his commitment to not only the Taste of Little Italy, but the community as well. He would be spending the night at his restaurant all weekend shucking oysters to ensure everything was ready each day to serve their guests – if that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is!

 

Once the rain let up we enjoyed some traditional Italian food, cosy enough for the wet evening. There was arancini, ravaioli, spiducci, and we can’t forget about gelato; the sweet, delectable gelato from Sicilian Café.

 

Café Diplomatico did not disappoint with their savoury snacks and rich history. As the first licensed patio in Toronto, Café Diplomatico continues to satisfy their customers. All of the dishes complimented each other well. The sauce on the arancini and raviolis was to die for. Nonna’s tomato sauce recipe drizzled over the freshly made arancini and raviolis made it feel like I was really in Italy.  For years guests have flocked to Café Dip for their infamous barbecued spiducci skewers during the festival. Since the very beginning of this traditional event, the Dip has sold nearly 250,000 spiducci and are looking to reach that record milestone this year.

 

The stories shared by the owners of Café Diplomatico added to the evening and brought some old-time Italian culture to light. When Café Diplomatico first opened, there was no kitchen and only hot plates. The owners at the time would make the food at home and bring it down to Café Dip to serve. In the end, Café Dip has held true to their Italian roots and continues to serve the community – which includes some high profile names like Sophia Loren and Nelly Furtado!

 

We finished off on a high note with a massive gelato dessert from Sicilian Café. It consisted of four flavours of gelato, strawberries and freshly made waffles. Sicilian Café, the oldest gelato shop in Toronto, was the first to develop tartufo and has many gelato flavours to choose from, which made it so difficult to decide which dessert to have. I will definitely be going back to try some more! As Maria Galipo says – “a lot can happen over a bowl of ice cream.”

 

There really was a little bit of everything from the sights, to the sounds, to the tastes. This was a festival to remember!

 

For some of our photos visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityeventstoronto/albums/72157682259269674

 

Northern Maverick Brewing to open this Summer in Toronto!

June 16, 2017 by  
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Good news for the beer lovers! Northern Maverick Brewing Co. has announced it is targeting the opening of its Toronto brewpub in King West for Fall 2017 at 115 Bathurst St at Adelaide St.

The brewery will feature a 10 hectolitre brewhouse with eight 20 hectolitre fermentors, a 400-seat restaurant with patio, retail store and private dining space. Northern Maverick Brewing says they plan to have nine house beers and cask beer on rotation when open, with their beer also available at the LCBO.

The restaurant will have a fiercely local menu, and they will offer an elevated gastropub experience as will feature a oyster bar, house-made charcuterie and curated food that pairings.  This brewpub also expects to have nine beers on tap brewed onsite.

Northern Maverick will also house a beer school where they will offer courses in the fine art of homebrewing, food pairing sessions, beer tasting courses, and recipe development all which could be integrated into your next event.

 

Instagram: @northernmaverickbrewing

Twitter: @NorthernMavBeer

Facebook:@NorthernMaverickBrewing

Is it a Restaurant? Is it a Comic Book Store? It’s FIGURES!

April 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Event Venues, Ontario, Toronto, Uncategorized

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Step into the past and relive memories of your childhood as you enter Figures. At first glance, Figures offers visitors a look into a their small vintage toy shop, a space that’s been specially wallpapered with comics by a local artist.

If curiosity truly gets the best of you, you’ll notice a faint outline of a door that leads to the best section of Figures.

(Photo courtesy of Figures Toronto)

(Photo courtesy of Figures Toronto)

Through the secret passageway you’ll find yourself in a beautiful restaurant that takes pride in the joys of comic book imagery; custom art, comic themes and some of your favourite superheroes and villains fill the walls, filling you with feelings of nostalgia and excitement.

But what really gets people to come back is the mix of tapas, shareable plates and delicious food that is offered on the menu (which you only get to take a look at once you visit the restaurant in person!) For the curious minds however, you have choices of Yellow Beet & Yukon Gold Gnocchi ($22) or even a Warm Crab Cake over Lightly Truffled Crab Salad ($26) and more.

In terms of events, the venue is a fantastic space for networking and entertaining as the atmosphere provides an intimate space with plenty of character that will be sure to be an icebreaker for guests

Space: 2,000 Sq. Feet

Capacity: 80 seated | 150 cocktail

This space also has a DJ booth and an area for socializing, Figures’ guests can enjoy a delicious dinner into a vibrant nightlife.

Whether it’s through the use of stormtrooper appearances in your latte’s and cocktails or the Pac-Man that seems to leave behind neon trails on the ceiling, you’ll be fascinated with what Figures has to offer.

Figures Pac Man

Ceiling view (Photo courtesy of Figures Toronto)

For more information visit: http://figuresto.com/

Or email: info@figuresto.ca

Twitter: @figurestoronto

 

137 Avenue Road

Toronto, ON, M5R 1R2

416-900-1022

A Timeless Beauty – Omni King Edward Crystal Ballroom

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Event Venues, Ontario, Past Events, Toronto

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The Omni King Edward Hotel welcomed more than 100 guests to enjoy delicious foods and fantastic entertainment while leading up to the main event of unveiling the timeless beauty that is the Crystal Ballroom, fully restored and as pristine and elegant as ever.  The Omni team is excited about the new space and is already booked for a number of weddings over the next few months.

Crystal 2

Our Deb Lewis from CityEvents was lucky enough to see the ballroom a few times over the last decade at Doors Open Toronto. The first time over a decade ago, when the room was full of cobwebs and was only used by a local fly fishing club. After that the ballroom was deemed unsafe so it was years later after the renovation started she was able to see the ballroom starting to take shape.  “It is such an exciting time to see the King Eddy ballroom rebirth for another century of key events.”

Crystal 1

Named after their adorned crystal chandeliers, the Crystal Ballroom also kept its old-world charm meets modern luxury with ornate moldings, 8-metre high coffered ceilings and floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of the city. These features are what makes the Crystal Ballroom the most popular venue for hosting grand society affairs, royal galas, debutante balls, weddings and conventions.

In fact, since opening in 1922, the venue, located on the hotel’s 17th floor has hosted some of Toronto’s most prestigious and extravagant events from the 1920s to the 1970s including:

  • August 8, 1927 - The Prince of Wales (later, the uncrowned King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor) and British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin were entertained with a lavish state dinner.
  • 1939 – Senator Frank O’Connor founder of Laura Secord Candy in Canada, received a remarkable testimonial dinner, which had a crowd overflow the hall and the head table was filled with the chief representatives of the king, the government and the city including Mayor Ralph C. Day
  • April 12, 1955 - Polio Vaccine proved effective and safe for 80% to 90% of children across Canada and the US. Nearly 700 doctors, technicians and nurses crowded the Crystal Ballroom to watch the news report on two dozen TV Sets, installed specifically for the occasion.

And it seems that the hotel has some very strong intentions to keep doing so, especially with the new restoration that has brought new life and shine to the ballroom.

For more info about the Crystal Ballroom re-opening, click here: Omni King Edward Hotel 

Not so Empty Nesters – Crowsnest Theatre, The New Home for Events in the East End.

February 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Event tips, Event Venues, Ontario, Toronto

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Exterior view of Crowsnest Theatre Courtesy of Crowsnest Theatre

Exterior View Courtesy of Crowsnest Theatre

 

After over seven years and $11 million, Streetcar Crowsnest is the newest east end home for events. Located right at the corner of Carlaw Ave. and Dundas St. E., Crowsnest is going to be booking for their upcoming season very fast, keep reading to find out why.

The Crowsnest has three different areas to that can be booked individually or all together for meetings, performances, community events, classes, workshops, rehearsals, kids programming, and social and corporate functions.  It has State-of-the-Art technical inventory (sounds and lighting included in rental prices!) and completely wheelchair accessible.

The largest of the spaces, The Guloien Theatre is 2,600 square feet and can fit 200 seated or 350 standing. The impressive $1 million catwalk that sits high above the theatre ground makes for easy rigging of decor and lighting or other installations.

Next is the 1,250 sq. ft., 52’ x 22’ Scotiabank Community Theatre. This space can accommodate up to 90 when in lecture/theatre mode, plus more once the modular seating is taken away. The full glazed window directly facing Carlaw makes for beautiful ambient lighting day or night. Included in the Scotiabank Community Theatre is a full lighting and sound grid system.  There is also a larger bridal suite and a few dressing room areas downstairs all with lighting and facilities.

The smallest of the spaces, Lobby Bar, can be used for receptions in conjunction with the other spaces, or solo for gatherings and exhibits. Floor-to-ceiling windows cover the north and west walls and there is a fully functioning, fully licensed wet bar.

The whole space was designed as a “floating box” so no sounds will escape and disturb neighbouring residents or other spaces within, party on! An attached yet-to-be-named restaurant (same owners as Table 17 Catering) will be open which holds 65 seats inside and up to 50 seats on the corner patio. Outside catering is allowed, with a 20 per cent landmark fee, as there is a warming kitchen for use.

For availability and tours contact:

Fiona Christie, Event and Sales Manager

647.341.7390 x 1004

Fiona@CrownTheatre.com

345 Carlaw Ave. Toronto, ON M4M 2T1

 

Written by: Paula McDines

 

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