Dreaming in Technicolour at TIFF

TIFF is kicking off the summer by taking movie lovers back in time. From June 19 to August 15, the TIFF Bell Lightbox will be alight with more than two dozen of Hollywood’s most luminous oldies.

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“Rear Window” — Photo Courtesy of TIFF

 

I attended the media screening prior to the launch of this season-long event, which they’ve dubbed “Dreaming in Technicolour.” The film was Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, a classic I’d never seen before. Filmed in 1954 and starring original Tinsel Town darlings Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, the story enchanted me the way no modern-day blockbuster ever could. The wholehearted performances, the mid-century dialogue — everything about it reminded me that while film has evolved in many ways, it’s lost much of the magic it originated with.

As Alfred Hitchcock often did, he created a masterpiece of a film using avant-garde filming techniques that most directors wouldn’t dare try to reenact today. For instance, the entire film took place in a single spot: at James Stewarts’ character’s rear window. Stewart plays L.B. Jeffries, a daredevil photographer who’s basically bedridden for the entire film due to a broken leg, leaving him to people watch out the window. Needless to say, he catches a frightening glimpse into the life of one of his neighbours, and the story unravels from there.

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“Singing in the Rain” — Photo Courtesy of TIFF

 

Only the magic of the old-school cinema could have kept me entertained for over and a half without dishing out any explosions, sex scenes, swear words, car chases or other typical modern-day cinematic eye candy. At the end of the screening, I reluctantly removed myself from the theatre, which during those 112 minutes had felt more like a time machine, and stepped back into the more complicated world we live in now.

I, along with that large group of Torontonians who enjoy a good escape from reality, am now beyond stoked to return to the TIFF Bell Lightbox more than once this summer to savour that mid-century simplicity and artistry of the old silver screen.

Top Unique Things to do in Toronto this Summer

So, you’re not sure what to do this summer? If you want to indulge and excite yourself with some great events, we have rounded up a list of unique venues, experiences and places you should check out for an unforgettable summer.

PRISON BREAK RACE (EVENTS)

When: Saturday June 27th 2015

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Make your escape at Prison Break Race Toronto. The intense obstacle course keeps you on your toes to outsmart or run the prison guards, who try and steal three of your flags. Inside the prison, there are over 200 runners who will receive instructions before beginning on the day. The race is 5km in Toronto on the Saturday and 7.5km in Montreal on a Sunday in distance, with 30-40 obstacles for all fitness levels.

If you can’t complete an obstacle, you must perform the penalty before you can go on: 20 burpees. The goal is to finish the course as quickly as possible and with at least 1 flag remaining.

SIGNS Restaurant (The Experience)

Open Monday – Sunday 11am – 10pm

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Come for the unique experience and stay for the delicious food. From a high quality contemporary menu featuring a blend of Canadian and International food to their exquisite wine list, it is an excellent choice for a special evening, formal business meeting or quick lunch, and of course a tourist spot. The restaurant is also a great place for the Deaf community where they can find themselves at ease and fully understand by using sign language to order.

REAL ESCAPE GAME (The Experience)

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Real Escape Game, designed and developed in Japan in 2007, has arrived to Canada for the first time. In 2006, as Takao Kato was sitting in class, he looked over his friend’s shoulder and saw her playing a game on her PC. The game involved pointing and clicking her mouse around a virtual room to reveal clues needed to unlock the front door. This was and is a widely popular PC game genre called Room Escape.

In a time of digital overload, the Real Escape Game introduces an interactive analog gaming experience, where the right measure of wit, persistence and teamwork win the game. Scrap Entertainment has partnered with Company & Company to bring the Real Escape Game to Canada for the very first time.

ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT: ART CRAWL (Events)

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What makes this one-day art crawl so much fun? The amazing urban backdrops, incredible talent (artist, artisans and designers) the live DJ’s and delicious Food trucks!

Their shows are made up of some of the finest established and emerging artists and artisans from across Canada. Their goal is to curate shows that offer visitors a chance to choose unique, one of a kind items and products in the fields of: original art, photography, fashion, home decor, jewellery, body care, cosmetics, pets leather, wood, metal etc.  They also love connecting the shopper to the artist directly. Makes for truly heart-warming moments.

CHILL ICE HOUSE (The Venue)

Open Friday – Sunday 5pm-12am

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Chill Ice House has been open since July 2014, located on 82 Bathurst. Step into a cool experience that is completely made out of ice, from the walls, bar, furniture and glass you drink from. The stunning ice sculptures will feature a variety of themes, and is a unique experience for all guests during our hot summer months.

SPADINA MUSEUM: Gatsby Garden Party (Events)

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Gatsby Garden Party is a revival event at the Spadina Museum based on Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby with music, food and drinks from the roaring 1920s. Over the soft, sweet tones of cool jazz, guests participate in a costume contest, learn how to make strawberry ice cream and put their heads together to solve a mystery set within the museum. Crafts, party games.

Tip: Costumes are encouraged but by no means mandatory.

THE ATLANTIC RESTAURANT (The Venue)

Want a really unique experience? You basically can have anything made and decide how much you feel the meal was worth through cash, barter or promises. The dietary issues are easily accommodated – they use little if any gluten, dairy or other common allergens, and no red meat. Apparently they do serve crickets, but by request only. You can check out their previous menus on Facebook or other social media.

The restaurant is located at 1597 Dundas Street West (at Brock) “Closed every Sunday, some Mondays, the occasional Tuesday or Wednesday but almost never on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. When we are open, it tends to be at 7, but possibly earlier. To make a reservation, give us a call at 416.219.3819”.

iFLY TORONTO (The Experience)

In greater Toronto Area

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It’s an opportunity to experience the sensation of free falling. Imagine a 14-foot cylindrical diameter vertical tube that is 45 feet tall in which the airstream is passing at a speed of 175 km per hour.

Once inside the wind tunnel, you will have a real sense of what skydivers experience during the freefall portion of their jump, which is generally done from 13 500 to 3 500 feet of altitude at a speed of 200 km per hour. All of that in an environment that is so secure that it is even accessible to children aged of 4 years and older.

TRACK & FIELD BAR (The Venue)

Track & Field is a lawn games bar located at 860 College St. West that houses two lanes of bocce ball and two lanes of deck shuffleboard.

Track & Field Bar
Track & Field Bar

There’s 1000 square feet of game space, crokinole boards for armchair gamers, cocktails on tap, plenty of local and imported beer, and an unmatched enthusiasm for games generally played by the elderly.

There’s always one lane of bocce ball and one lane of shuffleboard designated for walk-ins only – these courts are first-come-first-served, and are free. If there are others waiting to play, each group plays for twenty minutes and then gives up the court to the next group in line. When your twenty minutes is up, you’re free to sign up a second time. If there’s no one waiting to play, you can play all night long. On top of all that, all four courts are free from midnight until 2 a.m., so come early and stay late!

TORONTO FOOD FEST (Events)

BE THERE OR BE HUNGRY. Join them on Sunday July 12 and dig into some delicious food! Now in its fourth mouth-watering year, TO Food Fest brings together the best chefs and up-and-comers to share their unique food creations.

Follow T.O. Food Fest to find out which delicious vendors will be at this year’s TO Food Fest. More details to come as the event date draws closer! There is no admission fee this year but a suggested donation of $2, or bring a nonperishable food item for donation to Second Harvest.

Will you be attending our top summer events? Tweet us @novellamagazine!

The Other Music Festivals Worth Checking Out

There are so many music festivals going on this summer. From Osheaga, Field Trip, Wayhome, NXNE to VELD, these are definitely the biggest and most buzz-worthy festivals of the summer. But for those who have been to a bunch of these before and want to scope out different grounds for different experiences, we’ve highlighted four other music festivals, that you may not know about, with some impressive lineups as well.

Turtle Music Festival: August 1-2 at Parry Sound, ON

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Now in its 3rd year, TMF is an intimate outdoor festival featuring music from folk, rock, alternative/indie and many more genres. Not only are a bunch of our Bands Spotted featured artists scheduled to perform including CAIRO, Common Deer and Ivory Hours, but Hollerado will be there too as well as another big headliner, which will be revealed to the public June 14th. Stay tuned!

Riverfest Elora: August 14-16 at Bissell park, Elora, ON

Held in Elora’s Bissell Park, Riverfest Elora is a weekend full of music, arts, food and culture. After seven years, the festival continues to flourish and this year it has expanded to three days starting from August 14th to 16th held along the banks of the Grand River. Some headliners include Metric, Sam Roberts Band, Tokyo Police Club and many more.

Pemberton Music Festival: July 16-19 at Pemberton, BC

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If you’re heading out west for the summer, then you’ll want to check out Pemberton Music Festival in BC. Located near the base of Mt. Currie, the grounds provide a serene atmosphere while enjoying some incredible music from around 100 different acts. Some headliners for this year include Black Keys, Hozier, Kid Cudi, J. Cole and July Talk.

Hillside Music Festival: July 24-26 in Guelph, ON

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The Hillside Music Festival is a three-day event starting July 24th until the 26th. It has five stages, which will have a diverse set of bands performing throughout the grounds from rock, folk, blues, jazz, electronic and many more. Some of the headliners include Daniel Lanois and Doug Paisley.

Let us know which festival you’re going to by tweeting us @novellamagazine!

Canadian Designers Discuss Inland’s Impact

Article by Anthony O’Dell

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While Capsule, Market Week & Magic are household names in the fashion industry, Canada has been missing out on a huge opportunity to promote and sell Canadian designers. Inland, which held it’s second season a couple weeks ago, is looking to fill this gap by offering a diverse mix of Canadian brands featuring more established brands such as Travis Taddeo & 18 Waits as well as up & coming brands including Mary Young and Opelle. “My goal is to build a community that focuses on the business and buying aspect of fashion and design, including both shoppers and retail buyers”, Sarah Power (Founder of Inland) says.

I got a chance to chat with some of the brands that attended and asked them about the impact Inland has had on their business and what needs to be done to take the next step.

How does Inland stand out from other trade shows?

Mary (Mary Young): As a Canadian designer I want to reach the Canadian audience and demographic as much as possible, it’s hard to penetrate the Canadian market without being involved in pop ups and events. The location [Toronto] was very reassuring to me. Having a close location gave me the freedom and reassurance to design the space, I was able to bring/create most of the fixtures at a minimal cost.

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Beth (Opelle Creative): We are committed to supporting local talent and we enjoy the collective spirit amongst fellow Canadian designers. It is also more accessible financially than most U.S. trade shows. And certainly more conveniently located!

What Impact did the event have on your business?

Raphael (Travis Taddeo): It brought us new clients and helped us reconnect with older ones. It helps us promote our e-shop, connect with other designers and meet new potential buyers.

Brittany (Brittany Watcher): It was helpful in making connections to further the development and expansion of our up & coming brand in Canada.

What does Inland need to do to take the next step?

Daniel (18 Waits): More vendors, a location with more walk-by traffic, more menswear, more established brands (Krane, Jenny Bird, etc.) and more sponsors.

Mary (Mary Young): My personal opinion on how to improve would be to encourage designers and companies participating to bring more of a brand and aesthetic to their booth. I know it’s only a two-day event but stepping up the overall look and aesthetic of the venue, specifically with the booths would be great. I think having a more professional and cohesive look would encourage more consumers and media/buyers to attend.

Only in their second season, Inland managed to double foot traffic as well as bring in buyers from retailers such as Shopgirls and Indigo. With a potential international pop-up shop in the works, Inland is laying the foundation to have a lasting affect on the Canadian market. Overall, Inland seems to be well on its way to establishing itself as a household name in Canada, which is just what the industry needs.

On Our Radar: Sean Young of El Furniture & Queen St. Warehouse

We got to know one of the guys behind those two restaurants we’re all obsessed with (you know the ones)

Sean Young has had enough of “hip.”

Ironically, by steering clear of the overused popularity-achieving techniques employed by many Toronto restaurants (think emphasizing the wares of microbreweries or boasting a snazzy signature cocktail), Sean and his team at Warehouse Group have created two of the coolest spots in Toronto.

People usually only line up for good stuff. And that’s exactly the case with El Furniture Warehouse and Queen St. Warehouse, both brand-new restaurants (the former appeared in the Annex last summer and the latter opened at Queen and John just months ago) that together have achieved the unthinkable: they’ve added something new to Toronto’s dining (and drinking) scene.

Sean Young (left) with his partners DJ Skratch Bastid (Paul Murray) and Ian Ross
Sean Young (left) with his partners DJ Skratch Bastid (Paul Murray) and Ian Ross

Young, who’s a partner at the Vancouver-based Warehouse Group — which over the years has erected premium dive bars of the same essence in its home city as well as in Whistler, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and, soon, Ottawa — saw a void in Toronto’s dining-out landscape that he knew exactly how to fill.

“[When I lived in Vancouver] I’d always come to Toronto, my favourite city, and I was like, ‘something’s missing here,’” says Young. “So I picked up my life and was like, ‘I’m gonna move to Toronto and open these venues.’ I didn’t have any doubt in my mind that [these restaurants] would make the impact that they did.”

We’ll call it the Warehouse Effect. These dive bars aren’t your typical Irish-style pub, nor are they a nightclub or sports bar. Warehouse Group, which was created by a bunch of ex-skateboarders and snowboarders who shared a passion for the restaurant industry, has fine-tuned a genius recipe for winning over an entire city, which is, quite simple, not to try so hard.

“We don’t try, you know? We just aim to be a good place with fun staff and a menu that has something for everyone, as opposed to most other places — not to say anything negative about any place, but it’s the same thing in Vancouver. Everyone’s aspiring to be the coolest, most hip place. And we’re exactly the opposite of that.”

If you’ve been to El Furniture or Queen St. — and you probably have, if not multiple times — you know what he’s talking about. While Warehouse Group (not a franchise, by the way) designs each new location to have its own unique flavour that reflects that of its neighbourhood, each of its restaurants is like a beautiful frenzy, a patched-together haven of sights and sounds that complement a down-to-earth but delicious menu of friendly-priced foods. Though the decor and overall vibe scream skate culture, it really is a space where anyone can feel at home, cosying up to a few beers with chums and bonding with their servers, who, as Sean says, are most likely crazy — in a good way.

A snapshot of the El Furniture staff — Photo Courtesy of @seanyoung123 on Instagram
A snapshot of the El Furniture staff — Photo Courtesy of @seanyoung123 on Instagram

“That’s our thing, when we’re interviewing people, we’ll take them if they have great energy and are just fun to be around,” says Sean. “The number-one  thing I hear when I’m around the city is “you have the best staff in the city.” I mean, our numbers, and the fact that we’re busy every day and night of the week, kind of speaks for itself. That’s a testament to what we’re doing. It feels great.”

We all fell for the Warehouse restaurants as soon as we stepped foot inside them — probably after a bit of a wait outside that was totally worth it. But this love affair wasn’t only sparked by the menu, the prices, the staff or the vibe. Toronto also appreciates these unique dive bars for their commitment to the community. You’ll notice at the bottom of your menu that you can buy a beer for the chef or a meal for the homeless. You can also take part in the restaurants’ numerous clothing drives and other super-fun, super-selfless endeavors they host throughout the year.

“It’s like that old saying, ‘When you’re doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life,’” says Sean. “I never feel like it’s work. I probably work 12, 14 hours a day, but I’m never not enjoying myself.”