The ‘make believe’ New York

Sometimes when talking about certain parts of Toronto, or a particular location I mention that this or that film took place there, but actually the city itself appears in more movies than you would think.

Apparently downtown Toronto is a great place to build a mini New York city, and it is a common occurrence to see New York taxis passing by.

This weekend they were shooting a tv film and there were not only taxis, but a New York bus, Christmas decorations and even a little bit of snow.

Hope you enjoyed our paparazzi moment ūüôā

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Yorkville

As many other districts in Toronto Yorkville is a former village annexed by the City of Toronto.It was founded in 1830 by entrepreneur Joseph Bloor (after whom Bloor Street, one of Toronto’s main thoroughfares, is named) and William Botsford Jarvis of Rosedale, Toronto and it¬† began as a residential suburb.

In the streets they still are testimony of that time including the beautiful picture on the side of the building that portraits what was known at the time as the Incident on the Old York Lane.Check out the second picture to know what the fuss was all about.

In the 1960s, Yorkville flourished as Toronto’s bohemian cultural centre. It was the breeding ground for some of Canada’s most noted musical talents, including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as then-underground literary figures such as Margaret Atwood, Gwendolyn MacEwen and Dennis Lee. Yorkville was also known as the Canadian capital of the hippie movement.

Wondering  what happened to this part of town?

Well, right now Yorkville¬† is a high-end shopping district.Upscale Bloor Street, the main shopping avenue, vies nationally with Vancouver‘s Robson Street. In 2006, both were the 22nd most expensive streets in the world.

Check out  some of the stores :

Such a nice place to visit.

Cavalcade of Lights

Nathan Phillips Square(ie, the place where you have the building of City Hall)  is a great place to skate or people watch, depending on your mood,features Toronto’s official Christmas tree as well as a holiday concert and fireworks show every Saturday night from November 28 to December 19, 2009.

This show is called The Cavalcade of Lights  and is a mix of concerts, lighting displays, shopping and more.

The fireworks show is approximately 10 minutes in length, and is followed by a skating party in the square. Featured performers this season include Matt Dusk, Steven Page, Jully Black, and Faber Drive. The skating parties are complemented by a series of DJs spinning festive music and modern tunes.

We couldn’t stay for the fireworks because there is so much cold and noise a small girl can take but I ‘ll leave you with a taste of Faber Drive.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Casa Loma – Dressed for Christmas

You can say that this is the Toronto Castle.At least that’s how Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man envisioned it when in 1911 he started putting to reality his dream.

The construction of the building took nearly three years  and cost $3,500,000 at the time.But in this case money came associated with a great passion for detail, the desire to have in the house the latest conveniences and the obvious goal to use this house not only to live but also to entertain guests.

At this time of the year the castle is elaborately decorated for the Christmas season.And that’s the perspective I want to give you today.

As soon as you enter  you see the Great Hall on top of wich you can see the Pipe Organ. To your right you have probably the most luxurious room of the house, The Oak Room. The Oak panels were so beautiful that they were exhibited at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal prior to their installation at Casa Loma.

The Oak Room

Detail of the panels

In this floor among other things you have the Conservatory wich at this time of the year is used for Storybook Magic. This weekend was Peter Pan the story being read.

Still regarding seasonal events at this time of the year the Billiard Room is transformed in Santa Claus Room where you can visit Santa and the toys or even take a picture with him.

But just beside the Conservatory you have the Serving Room where Sir Henry and Lady Pellatt used to have their intimate dinner.

Serving Room

Continuing in this more intimate feeling upstairs there are the rooms.Guests would be accommodated in the Windsor Room with its Venetian Bed or another suite such as the guest suite that compliments Sir Henry’s collection of lacquered Oriental furnishings.

Windsor Room

Guest Suite

Let’s then proceed to the main Suites.

Sir Henry’s Suite

From Sir Henry’s Suite you have a direct view to the Great Hall and the¬† Pipe Organ.

View from Sir Henry’s Suite

Lady Pellatt’s Suite is beautiful.That is really the only thing that occurs to me to say.

Lady Pellatt’s Suite

These are just the Christmas Decorations and some of the main rooms. There is much more to talk about and I’ll do it someday because I intend to return there in Summer to see the gardens, the tunnel, the stables and participate in other activities such as Archery, and generally have a wonderful day.

I didn’t get a good picture of the big tree on the Great Hall because there were so many people there but I’ll show what I have . And to finish another Christmas tree in a corner that has some interesting decorations.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour.

Christmas Downtown

Downtown is ready for Christmas.Even with the cold you can window shop and appreciate the christmas decorations that every store presents one way or another.

For me the most impressive display of holiday enthusiasm is by miles the Hudson’s Bay Company. Check it out:

Somewhere there had to be a christmas tree ad what better place to have it than Dundas Square?Here it is:

Another thing that tradition demands is the musicals for the whole family.The options downtown are:

Fiddler on the Roof on Canon Theatre

or Robin Hood at the ELGIN & Winter Garden .

For  Christmas perfection the only thing missing in this pictures is the snow.But things are changing.

The Junction

This was first place where we lived here in Toronto.

If you want to look at facts I can say that this neighbourhood was previously an independent village, town and city until amalgamating with Toronto in 1909. The main intersection of the area is that of Dundas Street West and Keele Street.

But I started thinking about what makes a neighbourhood our home, not just a passing street and I realised that it’s the supermarket you usually go, the place where you buy your bread, a hairdresser that understands your wishes,the places you pass by every day and regularly window shop.

All of this only comes with time and it’s not something you would go there for. But, on the other hand some restaurants of the area are worth a try.My recomendations are:

P1050859Crema Coffee Co-If you want to have a coffee, a cake and spend some time talking with your friends this is the place. It is also a super kind friendly place and on the weekends you can see the kids from the karate school across the street lining up for a muffin after practice.

P1050857FATIMA’S CAFE BISTRO – You can actually have a healthy , tasty brunch here.The food has an european/french delicacy to it. Sometimes there is live music at night.

P1050870VESUVIO – If you’re in the mood for pizza and pasta here they are delicious. Apparently they are known as one of the best among the italian community, so they must be really¬† that good.

P1050873Indian Kiss – Unfortunately just Take- Out but delicious, spicy indian food.The owner is super friendly, one of those persons who puts you in a good mood just with her smile.

This are all good reasons for a visit to the Junction and , who knows, maybe you’ll find something that makes this part of town your neighbourhood.

Around City Hall

When we started planing to come to Toronto we run to the next bookshop to find a book about the city. It was not as easy as all that because although there are several books about Canada there aren’t many about Toronto(in Portugal, that is). In fact we could only find one that had some detailed information about what to see, what to expect and so on.

One of the buildings that caught our attention in the pictures and we wanted to see up close was the City Hall. In our walks around town we always wondered about the exact place of it but never really looked in the map to find it.

Also whenever we went to the Indigo bookshop in Eaton Center we could see trough the window a lovely old buildings that looked important but we didn’t know what to make of it.

As you might have guessed by now, that old building is the Old City Hall and right across the street from it is the City Hall.

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The Old City Hall was home to its city council from 1899 to 1966 and remains one of the city’s most prominent structures. It is at the corner of Queen and Bay Streets, opposite the new City Hall in the centre of downtown Toronto. When it opened on September 18, 1899 it was the largest building in Toronto, and the largest municipal building in North America.

Right now the building is used as a courthouse.At the foot of the front steps on Queen Street is the Cenotaph, erected to honour the dead from The First World War, The Second World War, the Korean War, and Canadian peacekeeping operations.Ceremonies are held here  during Remembrance Day every November 11.

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The City Hall is one of the most distinctive landmarks of the city. The architecture of  the building looks extremely modern even for today standards and must have been impressive when it opened in 1965.

While the building’s base is rectangular, its two towers are curved in cross-section and rise to differing heights. The east tower is 27 storeys (99.5 metres) tall and the west tower is 20 storeys (79.4 metres). Between the towers is the saucer-like council chamber, and the overall arrangement is somewhat like two hands cradling the chamber.

From the air, the building is seen as a giant unblinking eye, thus the building’s original nickname of “The Eye of Government”.

To my companion in adventures this building is also memorable because in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the building portrayed the City Hall in Raccoon City and it was destroyed by a neutron bomb blowing up over it.But some other films were filmed here(as in Old City Hall).

Also worth mentioning around this area for its beautiful architecture is Osgoode Hall.

Osgoode Hall houses the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Divisional Court of the Superior Court of Justice, and the Law Society of Upper Canada. The buildings also housed the Osgoode Hall Law School until 1969 when the faculty was relocated to the campus of York University in the North York community of Toronto.

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