If you don’t know it yet, Toronto lights up non-stop. Canada’s largest city, the 6ix, never loses its zest. A top tourist location and multicultural hub, Toronto’s biophilia invites countless locals and visitors each year. From the breathtaking attractions, striking architectural buildings, major events, crowd-pleasing music festivals, trendy food scene, big league sports, among other things, there is always something to look forward to. The list of fascinating things to do in Toronto is infinite. Destination Toronto also subscribes to this notion.
Destination Toronto treated us to a tour of a lifetime. Might I say it was such a congenial, eventful outing. Accompanying us on the thrilling tour was Bespoke Experiences. Their sophisticated travel experience made the expedition much more terrific. Guiding us through the artistic sightseeing landscape in the city, we touched down at fanciful spots like Gallery 1313 and the Lyceum Gallery. Both art galleries are monumental stops that exhibit palatial art pieces.
Kicking off with Gallery 1313, we were greeted by the Executive Director, Phil Anderson. Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary as an artist run centre and a not-for-profit organization, the dynamic space houses contemporary artwork and showcases over 70 exhibitions annually. Located at 1313 Queen Street West, the upscale location supports diverse artists with career building opportunities, holds numerous events, fashion show fundraisers, and continuously offers a welcoming ambience to connect with the community. Featuring a wide range of adorned paintings and stimulating display of colour, one can’t brush off the exquisite gallery.
Over the years, Gallery 1313 has held many film screenings, modern dances, spoken word and music events, making it a cultural-centric focal point. It’s not surprising that the gallery receives more than 15,000 visitors each year. Once known as the Parkdale Village Arts Collective (PVAC), Gallery 1313 has grown to become a member-based, artistic hub in Parkdale while providing accessible educational programming to creators. Also giving students an opportunity to exhibit their art, Gallery 1313 opens the door to gifted artists from the Ontario College of Art and Design, York University, Seneca College, Toronto Metropolitan University, and others.
When you visit the gallery, you will find artwork by famed members like Joan Haberman, a painter and former judge in her solo exhibition Walk With Me and exhibition of Latin Canadian Artists, Aboriginal artists and African Canadian Artists called, Our Roots and Beyond. The eclectic mix of shows from local and international artists is worth exploring.
Our second stop was at the Lyceum Gallery. This is a distinct art gallery that brings radiance to Toronto’s art scene. Located at 969 Queen Street West, the gallery offers an array of tiptop paintings and well-curated exhibits. Celebrated as a nexus point for community collaboration, the gallery is co-located with the Orchard Lyceum, a grade 6-7-8 day school, where young people are mentored by working artists in various disciplines like music, photography, and drawing. Yet another affable location, we were welcomed by Lyceum co-founder, Holly Venable and in-house chef and artist Sam Higgs. The impressive space is emblazoned with captivating artworks and crafts from various artists. And you can expect to discover this wealth of inventiveness when you visit. The gallery also provides classes and workshops for people of all ages. You will see notable artwork like Anachronicity by Sam Higgs, a deconstruction in which the book-bound relationship of pictures and stories on the page are carved and synched together in a different order. Likewise, an upcoming Phototropic exhibition by Laura Jane Petelko is around the corner, and all the luxury art pieces is worth uncovering.
Next on the itinerary is Drake’s Favourite Restaurant, Ristorante Sotto Sotto. This famous foodie destination is well-represented in the Toronto region. Located at 120 Avenue Road, Sotto Sotto espouses the romance of Italy. Indeed, the restaurant will conveniently enchant you the moment you walk in, and delight you with tempting dishes and a wine menu that you can choose from. This celebrity-affirmed restaurant offers a delectable-styled cuisine that will keep you coming back for more. The friendly waiters served us the Pennette Via Frattina ($26.95). Let’s just say just like the name, it was such an aromatic dish.
Other drool-worthy food options include the Spaghetti Vongole E Bottarga ($27.95), Linguine Allo Scoglio ($31.95) and the Galletto Rustico Al Mattone ($34.95). No wonder celebrities are frequent fans here. It is no secret that the restaurant has an influential wall of celebrity photos virtuously displayed up the stairway. Now this is one unique food spot worth tagging loved ones along and checking out. You never know, you might just see your beloved celebrity while enjoying a sumptuous meal.
W Toronto hotel was a remarkable destination to end the day. The hospitable, long-anticipated luxury lifestyle hotel officially opened this July. Since then, it’s been a sought-after place for guests. We got an initial exclusive sneak peek into what the hotel offers. And let me say the façade surely lived up to expectations. Currently accepting reservations for three distinct food and beverage sites, W Toronto embodies a socially-charged spirit that allures elegance. W Toronto gives locals a modern playground and travellers an authentic retreat. Starting with the brutalist exterior, warm LED lighting, and the vibrant, opaque orange lift to take guests to the rooftop bar and restaurant, this is one spot you must make a nest. The hotel features over 254 guest rooms – including 30 suites, two of which are Extreme Wow (Presidential) Suites.
We checked out the Hotel’s Public School venue, W brand’s signature lobby/lounge, the Living Room, the spellbinding rooftop, Skylight, and other originative event spaces at the location. Located at 90 Bloor Street East, the hotel boasts as Canada’s first W Sound Suite, the brand’s signature recording studio experience. How about that! And not forgetting the restaurant experience. With an outstanding Executive Chef like Keith Pears, I can say that the food experience was spectacular. Serving specialties and delicacies like Smashed Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Croissant, and Saved By The Bowl, you will relish in savory saving meals.
Whether you want to cruise from art galleries to refreshing dining spots, these hangouts should be on your agenda. Laudable for visitations, get to it and occupy your time with exceptional venues.