I love to travel! I am constantly taking notes while on my trips and hunting down the best shopping, dining and activities! I decided that it was time to stop hoarding my notes and start sharing them. This is my first travel entry and I hope you find it helpful if you are ever in Toronto. Toronto is one of my favorite cities in the world. I grew up in a near by town and always craved my visits to the city. It is incredibly cosmopolitan and everyone is so friendly. The late spring and through out the summer are the best times to go. The weather is amazing and it is a great city to walk around and explore. Here are a few of my favorite spots:
Always stay in the Yorkville area. You will love it's charming streets and quaint shops. There are so many delicious restaurants with patios so we never make dinner plans. We just wander until we find a spot we want to stop at. My favorite Yorkville Hotels are the Hazelton Hotel (extremely modern and private) and the Windsor Arms (where all of the celebrities stay!). When we head in at the last minute we usually check in to the Park Hyatt and make massage reservations at the Stillwater Spa as soon as we can!
I love walking up and down Yonge Street in search of the perfect things for my home. Parking is tough so put on your walking shoes and explore.
Decorum Decorative Finds (1212 Yonge Street 416.966.6829) is perfect for a treasure hunter like me. On my trip there last week I found a pair of white gourd lamps, a mirror framed in creamy white shagreen and a bar table with Lucite legs and a rattan top. There were hundreds of things I could have walked out with if I had a place to put them!
For a mixture of new and vintage finds go next door to 1212 (1212 Yonge Street 416.646.1234 they have parking in the rear!) Their design sense is chic and fresh and I adore all of their decorative accessories. You could walk in there and completely do a house from floor to ceiling. They have great gift items too! You will find things there that won't see anywhere else. They have a wonderful selection of books and I was so excited to see my favorite designer, Jan Showers' Glamorous Rooms front and center in their book shelf.
Don't miss L'Atelier (1224 Yonge Street 416.966.0200)! Their antiques and decorative objects are unique and chic! Last year we bought glass water bottles for the table that are shaped like big Evian bottles. We use them at every meal and every guests inquires about them. We also found a fantastic vintage sail boat. I stopped in last week and left with two amazing blue glass lamps with blue linen shades and a vintage leather desk set in the most odd shade of olive green. I am going to give it to my husband for Father's Day. We have searched high and low for a vintage desk set for him so I was thrilled to find one!
A quick drive from Yonge Street takes you to a great little design area around Ronald Avenue. There are flooring and carpet stores galore, re-upholstery and custom furniture shops as well as my favorite one-stop-shop, ELTE (80 Ronald Avenue 416.785.7885). Elte is a home department store that carries a lot of stock on its fantastic furniture. They have everything from traditional Ralph Lauren to modern Kartell. We were able to get a pair of white linen Mitchell Gold Bob Williams Dr Pitt Sofas delivered in two days! Working with the right sales associate is key in a place this size so ask for Meghan Smith. She is so quick and helpful!
If you are looking for decorative accessories, lamps or side tables, check out La Compania Studio (367 Eglinton Avenue West 416.487.7747). They have a fantastic selection of little accent pieces and fun items for entertaining and the owners are so helpful.
Toronto has great vintage stores both high end and scroungey (yes....I made up that word).
For high end fashions check out Revival Couture (363 Elington Avenue West 416.480.0003). I stopped in last week and picked up a Marni dress and Chanel jacket. They had a great Giambattista Valli dress in white and a Roberto Cavalli blouse that I was lusting after too but a girl has to stop somewhere!
The Cat's Meow (180 Avenue Road 647.435.5875) is another great stop for fantastic vintage. Don't miss it! They have high quality and selective fashions from the 20s thru the 80s.
Cabaret (672 Queen Street West 416.504.7126). Their website is fantastic too! They give great styling tips and recommendations. Also check out 69 Vintage (1100 Queen Street West 416.516.0669)
A stop at Cindiloowho and Jaidens Petals (130 Ossington Avenue 416.532.8040) will not disappoint! You will love the random finds scattered throughout and the floral design is unique and stylish.
Toronto has an amazing Cultural life and tons of activities that the entire family can enjoy. I adore the new update to The Royal Ontario Museum. The 1914 Beaux-Arts building looks like it was hit by a giant falling meteor. A jagged crystal looking addition by Daniel Libeskindthru their exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was put together so beautifully and we were moved.
The Art Gallery of Ontario just completed an amazing $250 million expansion by Frank Gehry. Check out their website for a list of exhibitions, lectures and special events.
The Canadian Opera Company has a dramatic new performance space at the Four Seasons Opera House. It is amazing! My aunt, Sandra Horst, is the Chorus Master and raves about it. The season's line up can be found on their website and it is certainly worth checking out!
I remember driving in to Toronto with my family when I was a teenager to see The Phantom of the Opera. I had already seen it on Broadway but the Toronto show was even better! If you like musical theatre, there are plenty of options while you are in Toronto. They are now showing one of my favorites, Rock of Ages! I also noticed lots of signs for Legally Blond and Jersey Boys while I was there. Ask your hotel concierge for the additional options.