Category Archives: Events

Toronto Christmas Market 2011

Having become a recent fan of Christmas since the traumatic “I miss my family”  Caribbean cruise trip of 2009, I decided to get in the holiday spirit with a trip to the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District

The Christmas Market is inspired by Markets held in Germany starting in the 1400s – but this market has been “updated” and holds many modern vendors and trendy food booth – it’s held annually for 2 weeks in December, this year from the 2nd to the 18th.

My trip to the market was tarnished by three “rookie mistakes” – the first, going on a Sunday, the second, going during the day and the third, expecting to be able to get a table/a meal. What this meant is that the market was CRAWLING with children, and that it was really inappropriate to drink mulled wine, being 10am on a Sunday, so I was sober, cold, and hungry. I’ve learned from my mistakes and will go back better informed (and more warmly dressed) next year.

That being said, it was still a really great and authentic feeling Christmas market – and my mistakes won’t keep me away from next year’s event.

If you do stop by, my “don’t misses” for 2011 are:

– Chocolate covered bacon at the “Pig Candy” booth

– Visiting the Reindeer on “Santa’s Lane”

– Stopping by easily the best (and busiest) shopping booth, Euro Living, to get beautiful wooden ornaments made in Germany

– Having a drink in the Bier Gardens by the fire pits


The only real disappointment of the day was how packed the restaurants were and the long lines of the food booths. We were so cold that eating outside wasn’t even an option, and with two hour waits in all the Distillery restaurants, we ended up driving to Trinity Bellwoods to try Nadege Patisserie (yelp:

The market is still open for another five days so definitely go by and check it out – but heed my warnings and go in the evening!



Movember Gala Parte

Movember: the one month span of almost every male in my life growing a moustache, including my Dad, but he’s been fully committed to his moustache for about 35 years. Thanks to my Yelp connections, I got an invite to the gala party – I have to say, I was impressed.

This year Movember raised over 100 MILLION dollars for men’s health, and over a third of that was raised in Canada! I’m not surprised – I know Canadians can get behind something that involved growing facial hair and dressing like a lumberjack. Canadians at the Toronto Movember party used this reason to celebrate (read: DRINK!) and they certainly did.

The party was full of cover bands (yay!) an amazing DJ (yay!) and then a world known beat boxer (wtf?) as a (self-proclaimed) event expert, no one wants to listen to a beat boxer at the end of the night. The crowd was thinning out and wanting to dance! Besides the audio entertainment, there was also an airbrush moustache station for the ladies, a photo booth, and silk dancers (a little bit random). They also posted a live twitter feed – always hilarious when people get drunk and lose inhibitions. The décor was excellent – especially the huge glowing pink moustache behind the band.Also very impressed by the hosts, who were hilarious – I especially loved their list of “under appreciated Mo’s” which included Lando Calrissian as #2 – and all the hilarious entries into the various mustache competitions – I have to share my respect for the overall winner, whose Mo’ was shaved into his face, and in two straight lines down his neck and through his chest hair. Such commitment.

The big damper on the night was when their credit card machines went down and they wouldn’t let us leave. This was of no fault of the Movember party, but I was not impressed by the way Kool Haus handled this… it also resulted in me missing my after party (and ending up eating Pizza Pizza in a hotel until 3:30am – still pretty awesome).

Movember Gala Parte – I will see you next year.

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Photo credits: Dishan W. –



Halloween Celebrations

I’m a huge fan of Halloween. Always have been, always will. When you’re little, Halloween is exciting because you get out to get candy. When you’re 18-21ish, Halloween is exciting because it’s an excuse to party, and as you get a bit older, it’s great to hand out candy and coo at adorable kids. Really, there is something for every age group (except maybe angsty 13-15 year olds… sorry guys).

Halloween 2011 brought with it some fun, and some “I’m too old for this”, but mostly it brought me to the realization that I won’t do a popular costume again (HELLO there were 6 Black Swans at the bar with me on Saturday!!)

My weekend:

TUESDAY NIGHT: Yelp Masquerade Party

Easily the best prelude to Halloween party I’ve ever been to, Yelp hosted an Elite masquerade party on the Tuesday prior at Bar Vespa in Liberty Village. It was a trek for me, and pouring rain, but ended up totally worth it. The food (such as Risotto Balls) are amazing – for my full review, check out yelp:

Hiding our faces at the Yelp Masquerade

FRIDAY NIGHT: The house party of horrors.

I went to a house party which turned out to be more of a wild kegger, at a location close to my house. $10 all you can drink sort of thing. I lasted about 20 minutes before I realized the combination of crowd/alcohol/music/dark corners in a creepy house is something I’m just not quite into anymore (if I ever was?). I left and went for Chinese food with my friend / makeup artist (who did my Black Swan that evening).

Note: there was only one other Black Swan at this party

Kelly and I - Firefighter and Black Swan


Saturday I hit up Clinton’s, a 60s bar with NO LINE on Halloween! Couldn’t believe our luck with that one – and only a $5 cover charge!

Bangs & Blush, the female DJ duo, were playing their 60s regulars, with a few Halloween inspired tunes thrown in (I heard Thriller, no Monster Mash though!). While the party was good, I can’t say I was too impressed by all the other Black Swan costumes – as I said, lesson learned about attempting the “bound to be popular” costumes. There was one point when I was in the ladies room, that I came out of the stall to discover TWO OTHER Black Swans waiting for it. Damn it!

Overall this was a pretty solid night. Best costumes I saw: CN Tower (who won the costume prize) and “ocean” who had a spray bottle to symbolize the ocean mist, most random/outdated costume: Group “Up!” costume – this movie came out too long ago and yet is not enough of a classic for this to have been a good idea.

MONDAY NIGHT: Actual Halloween!

So, my Halloween activities were limited to the office, where I convinced my co-workers to come in costume. Turns out we were the only department in the office to do it, so we actually ended up having a photographer come by, and our pictures ended up in the bulletin! Have to say, I was pretty impressed with our spirit. I see this becoming an annual thing.

On Halloween night, I got a total of ZERO trick-or-treaters, and went and saw Puss in Boots – not very Halloween inspired, but review to follow.



Anyone do anything special for Halloween, or have a cool (or Black Swan?!) costume?

Black Swan - not exactly as original as I thought.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; 2006 – Present

Like every Nuit Blanche, 2011 had some amazing installations that just couldn’t be ignored. This year, my heart was stolen by a few specific installations, but they got me thinking about previous years as well, and all the amazing other installations I have seen over the years.

My 2011 favorite by far goes to The Heart Machine, the interactive fire sculpture located on a parking lot on Bay Street. All I have to say about this one, is holy shit. If you can’t grasp the awesomeness of this solely by the name a description (interactive!! fire!!!) there here goes. The sculpture was a series of tubes from the ground, all representing different parts of the human heart. By touching different pads, and working as a team, people could get the machine to put out giant fireballs in certain patterns. It was absolutely breathtaking (alright, maybe I like fire a bit too much, but it really was cool!) and bonus: it also warmed the freezing cold crowd.

Other 2011 gems of note: Through the Gorilla Glass (interactive sculpture and light installation), The Free Shop, where the artist gave away his belongings if you could convince him you were of need (I was too cold to wait in line for this one!, and Intensity, which even I was fooled into thinking was a condo tent until I read the official Nuit Blanche description.

Other years have given other spectacular displays that I won’t forget, and that I was lucky enough to have a camera present for, to help me remember.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche – the good and the bad

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche has happened every October in Toronto since 2006. If you don’t know, the concept is this: a series of art installations around the city, which are displayed (and interacted with) from 7pm until sunrise the following day. I’ve been to just about every one, with some exceptions for being out of the city. But each year brings similar moments of loving, and hating, this annual event – summarized in this list.


1. Lets start with the obvious. This is an amazing, exciting and unique event, and the city comes alive in response to it. The streets are crowded, and there is such a positive vibe.

2. It allows you to have an appreciation for unique kinds of art that you may never have thought of, or had the ability to experience before it.

3. People who aren’t from Toronto, see all the cool things Toronto usually has to offer and think they are part of the event – such as statues, and lights, that we have every day of the year. It reminds us all how amazing we have it here!

4. Food vendors. I can’t resist those corn on the cobs that they dip in butter, they are my absolute weakness!


1. Drunk. Teenagers. That should be every item on the bad part of this list!! Kids drinking straight out of the bottle and chasing with a pop (ew, I so remember doing that), EVERYWHERE on the streets. It’s like the police don’t exist! Where are these children’s mothers!

2. The crowds. Unavoidable, yes. But if you’re not a fan of crowds, and I certainly am not, better to stick out of the downtown core and travel the outskirts. Or do what the most hardcore do, and come out around 3:30am when the drunken crowds have gone to sleep.

3. The “moochers on” – you know what I’m talking about. The companies that set up Nuit Blanche type displays in hopes that they draw people in – and they do – and it annoys me.

4. Why is it always so cold on Nuit Blanche?! It’s like the weather knows it’s coming and deliberately gets freezing cold on that night. Combine that with standing in lines outdoors and you get a ton of cold people.

If you love or hate Nuit Blanche, or have items to add to this list – let’s discuss in the comments!


To learn more about Nuit Blanche, check out their website:


birthday celebrations

Is it lame to do a post on my birthday? Well… I’m going to do it anyway.

My 23rd birthday was yesterday, so I had a long weekend of celebrations to plan. That’s right – four days of birthday, including three fancy dinners, two nights of drinking, and one movie (yes, only one).

I’ll start by talking about the FABULOUS weekend of dining I had! Friday night at Luma, Saturday night at Frank, and Monday night at Guu Izakaya. Any of this restaurants would be amazing for a special night out like a birthday, but having all three just made it that much better! (I think this birthday has inspired me to write a “date night” list of restaurants in a future post). First off, if you haven’t been to Luma it’s an O&B gem. Not only is it associated with cinema by its location, it also has lovely cinematic-themed cocktails, and popcorn on their dessert menu!

“Opera Cake” dessert at Luma, featuring caramel corn!

This was followed by a Saturday dinner at Frank in the AGO – another place you need to check out if you haven’t. I had the heirloom tomato and mozzarella appetizer – and I think it was the best salad I’ve ever had!

Monday night we decided to face the (potential) lines at Guu on Church – and even if we had waited (fortunately, there was a table) it would have been worth it! Not only do I love a good tapas place, but I also LOVE Japanese. This restaurant is the best of both worlds – and it has such amazing energy! I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire visit (which was prompt – all that delicious food in 1.5 hours!) AND they had the best restaurant birthday song I’ve ever heard! (For a full review:
Ah, now for the drinking. Friday night brought me to the Gladstone, where they had a band followed by karaoke (no, I did not participate!) and Saturday brought me to the Duke of York in the Annex. Why the Duke of York? While it is not the most fabulous venue in the city, the bartenders know how to make a dirty martini, and my alternate option, Oasis on the roof of Wayne Gretzky’s, randomly closed at 10pm that night (note: the weather was beautiful and they promised me they’d be open until 2am!!) Also, Duke is a great place because they have such a big venue, they can take reservations for parties late at night. Bonus: they had a big Muskoka chair.

Who can resist a giant chair photo op??

As for the movie, I saw Moneyball on Sunday, and wasn’t so impressed by it. You can see my movie review for more details!

Overall I’d say I had a pretty successful 23rd birthday weekend – and thank you to everyone who helped put it together!

Yelp – Kick off Event at Boehmer

**Note, this post has been moved over from my tumblr, as I make the switch to wordpress**

Ahh, Yelp. Personally, I am a big fan, not just because of the amazing parties, but because it is actually a very useful site! (check it out at if you haven’t already!). Most events for yelp are for ‘elites’ only, but every once in a while there is a free event that is open to the public – including food, prizes, and of course the open bar! This was one of said events, and it was packed with new faces!

This event was to kick of “Yelp Eats”, which is a week-long event where certain restaurants will donate $10 for every $30 you spend to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Definitely a good cause, and I can’t deny myself an open bar!

Boehmer, if you have never been, is an amazing trendy restaurant with great decor and ambiance. Even if you don’t go this week (which you should, to support charity!!) it is definitely worth checking out – I may even host my birthday party there this Saturday!

The moral of this post is: join Yelp. And then find my profile and add me.

tiff 2011 Volunteer Party

**note, this has been moved over from my tumblr, as I make the switch to wordpress**

So, TIFF 2011 has finally wrapped up (what will I do with my time now??) and after a weekend of 5 movies, I attended the 2011 Volunteer Party.

This year, the party was identical to last year, but since it wasn’t new and exciting, well… it wasn’t very exciting. For those of you who don’t know, for the 2200+ volunteers who work 4+ shifts during tiff, you get to go to this secret-location after party which has an open bar (beer and wine) and some pizza (really, we need more than pizza!). Also, the secret location seems to always be *spoiler alert* ”This is London”, so really they aren’t fooling anyone anymore.

I spoke to a volunteer who has been working there for a long time, and he said that before they had this same cookie cutter party every year, they used to have new venues, and sushi, as well as other types of food! I understand your desire to use sponsors to get this party for free tiff, but you’re kind of killing me. Seems to me like you could use a fresh pair of eyes to look over the party outline (and yes, I am available!)

Overall though, it was a great festival! I even waited outside in the cold to see the People’s Choice Award winner, “Where Do We Go Now” – which I definitely recommend. I saw 7 movies total, which is disappointing based on last year… but since I’m working full-time now it’s really not that surprising.

Until next year, tiff!

posing for pictures at the 2011 tiff volunteer party

tiff 2011

**note, this has been moved over from my tumblr, as I am making the switch over to wordpress.**

Tiff is usually my favorite time of year in Toronto, but (until last night) I wasn’t feeling the love as much as usual.

Really, what’s not to like about tiff? I love movies, I love events, and tiff is like the ultimate movie/event combination. This year though, work has been so busy that I haven’t got to take advantage of it like I usually do!

Last night however, I went to see “The Day” with a few friends, which is a post-apocalyptic movie that was playing for Midnight Madness. Really, the movie was only ok – nothing special and a little slow to start, but afterwards, I got to meet Dominic Monaghan!! THAT is what the festival is all about. Celebrities, parties, people, and cinema – and it reminded me why I love the festival so much!

The best thing about tiff, is that 99% of the time, celebrities are friendly to Torontonians too – (that 1% is you, Madonna)

So basically last night was the kick off to me taking full advantage of the festival for the rest of the week (yeah, three days I know!) I’m going to rush some galas this weekend, see about getting in to the Cadillac People’s Choice screening, AND of course, hit up the end of festival party on Sunday. If you also volunteered this year – maybe I’ll see you there!