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Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal : In The News

30 Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal Articles | Page: | Show All

Toronto deemed a "special and unusual place to visit"

Multicultural Toronto has been lauded as a top travel destination whose “rich blend of immigrant neighbourhoods and authentic ethnic restaurants” makes it “a great town for dining and exploring on foot.”

The Seattle Times writes:

Some of the neighborhoods are known for their architectural beauty: the charming Victorian houses along the tree-lined streets of Cabbagetown, originally a working-class Irish enclave; the equally attractive brick mansions and neo-Gothic cottages of the Annex, a district of artists, professors and students who attend the nearby University of Toronto; the brick row houses and manicured lawns of Roncesvalles and the mansions of Forest Hill.

But when Toronto natives talk about their neighborhoods, or when I rave on about the areas in which I most like to spend time, we’re more often referring to those places populated by a particular immigrant group, or districts in which very different populations live side by side.
The writer also observes that Toronto, perhaps more than other North American cities, truly relishes its multicultural heritage. We're inclined to agree.

Read the full article here
Source: Seattle Times

Does Toronto have better food than New York?

Toronto's “multicultural snacking and molecular cocktail” scene got love from influential alt weekly The Village Voice last week. It shouldn't be a huge surprise; the city's diverse and eclectic neighbourhoods have drawn plenty of international attention in the past.

King and Queen Streets West get a shoutout, as do a number of Kensington Market hotspots including Italian-Jamaican fusion joint Rasta Pasta, taqueria Seven Lives, and people-watching patio, Ronnie's. As the article states, “Ontario's capital is anything but provincial.” We couldn't agree more.

Read the full article here.
Source: The Village Voice.  

Kensington's rich "patina" a reflection of its history

Kensington Market is a unique neighbourhood in Toronto revered by locals and tourists alike. Known for its garden car, graffiti and murals, the unique shops, and the hippy vibe, these eccentricities continue to inspire people around the world to tell its story.

"At its peak, the area was home to 60,000 Jews, worshipping in 60 synagogues. But when they moved on - only two synagogues remain - their place was taken in turn by Italians, Portuguese-speaking exiles from the Azores, West Indians, Koreans, Vietnamese and Latin Americans," wrote the Sydney Morning Herald.
"As each nationality became more affluent and moved on, they left behind a layer in the rich patina that coats Kensington Market."
In its profile on the neighbourhood, the Sydney Morning Herald points out that the market is only a short walk from downtown's staple, the CN Tower.
"Locals know it as the place to head to for superb produce, a tasty, inexpensive meal, or just somewhere to hang out and people-watch on a sunny Sunday afternoon," the article continues.
Toronto's street art has been getting a lot of attention lately. It was part of the reason West Queen West was recently named the second hippest neighbourhood in the world by Vogue, and now its cited as one of Kensington Market's must sees. 
"Yet although Kensington Market was the first Toronto neighbourhood to be declared one of Canada's national historic sites in 2006, it is constantly changing. These days, one of the market's drawcards is that it has some of the best street art in the city, with mural-sized work by recognised graffiti artists."
Read the full story here
Original Source: Sydney Morning Herald

MakeWorks partners with Indiegogo Canada to expand reach

On Monday, Toronto's MakeWorks announced a partnership with Indiegogo Canada that will help the co-working maker studio expand their programming and potentially finance a second location.

MakeWorks is the first coworking space of its kind in Toronto, providing support to both digital and physical-focused startups. The 10,000 square-foot space houses some 30 different startups, prototyping tools and maker tools such as 3D printers, and acts as a large event space for community and hackathon events alike. 

"Toronto needed a new kind of shared workspace catered to the next generation of startups, products, and services. We built MakeWorks to serve a more diverse group of startups, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” MakeWorks founder Mike Stern said in an article that appeared in Tech Cocktail

The partnership with Indiegogo Canada will allow the studio to enhance their community workshop programming and expand their in house equipment offerings. MakeWorks has been working to increase the number of startups involved in the space. As such, Indiegogo will move its Canadian headquarters into the space as part of the deal. 

Read the original story here
Original Source: Tech Cocktail

Why Toronto is a great city to watch the World Cup

Toronto, with its diverse neighbourhoods and large population of immigrants (we've got roughly 2.6 million foreign-born inhabitants), makes it an ideal place to watch the World Cup, says an article that appeared on cbc.ca. 

“In Toronto you can see an articulation of world events at street level,” says Shawn Micallef, former Yonge Street managing editor and author of the book Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, in the article. 

"Toronto allows residents to understand and participate in events that transcend their own neighbourhoods— whether it's one of the many city-hosted cultural festivals, or more politically motivated events such as protests at area consulates," the article continues. 

With our Little Italy, Little Portugal, and various other neighbourhoods, Toronto truly is a hub of diverse culture that comes alive during the World Cup. 

Micallef recounts his many experiences during the World Cup finals over the years, and as a neighbourhood enthusiast has amassed one very strong piece of advice, especially if you don't tie yourself down too tight to one country:

“Walk around, find a random bar in the neighbourhood. You can always sit with the home team and, if they win, you get to share in the celebrations,” he says in the article. 

Read the full story here
Original source: CBC

Bar Isabel voted second best restaurant in Canada

Ten Toronto restaurants ranked among the country's top 50, according to the third annual guide determined by Vacay.ca and a panel of judges consisting of some of the nation's top chefs. 

While the top prize went to a small, but elegant eatery in St. John's Newfoundland—recognized for elevating the province's local cuisine—Toronto took home 20 per cent of the honours with Bar Isabel, a Spanish eatery found along College Street at Shaw, leading our city's rankings as the second best restaurant in Canada. 

Executive Chef Lucais Syme of La Pentola della Quercia hailed, "Simply presented food with awesome flavour made of great combinations. Great style and interesting." While Executive Chef Paul Brans of Artisan proclaimed, "Great sharing plates that take you back to those crowded tapas bars in Barcelona. Perfect."

"Go for the charcuterie and cocktails; stay late for the fried chicken," says Little Room President Joseph Caturay. "Check out your fellow diners; chances are they are some of the top chefs, bartenders and servers in Toronto."

Bar Isabel is a newer establishment that did not exist at the time of nominations in 2013, thus 2014 marks a strong debut. 

Here's how Toronto restaurants ranked:

2. Bar Isabel, 797 College St.
7. BUCA, 604 King St. W.
12. Bar BUCA, 75 Portland St.
15. Hopgood's Foodliner, 325 Roncesvalles Ave. 
28. Auberge Du Pommier, 4150 Yonge St.
34. Momofuku Shoto, 190 University Ave. 
35. Canoe, 66 Wellington St. W.
36. Patria, 478 King St. W. 
38. Splendido, 88 Harbord St. 
40. Chantecler, 1320 Queen St. W. 

Read the full list here
Original Source: Vacay.ca

Paris newspaper calls "Toronto-Mania"

"La ville a donné naissance à un nombre incroyable d’artistes," Paris-based newspaper Libération writes of Toronto, which translates to, "The city has given birth to an incredible number of artists."

It describes neighbourhoods—Kensington, Ossington, Parkdale, and Queen West—and how they are seducing young people.

"Avant que l’ouest de Queen Street West ne lui vole la vedette, Kensington Market était le quartier alternatif de Toronto," the newspaper goes on.

Yes, before Queen Street West stole the spotlight, Kensington Market was the alternative district of Toronto. The article likens Kensington and it's Carribean-style houses and Bahamas' inspired street names (Nassau) as distinct charms that beam like rays of sun. The writer is in the know of our locales, referring to Parkdale as P-dale and mentioning the area's growing number of cafes, vintage stores and restaurants, alongside wandering raccoons. The article praises the culture, the creativity of the neighbourhoods, and the sheer star power that has come out of the city. 

"C’est ce qui fait la force des Torontois, cette capacité à conjuguer les talent," the article says.

Or, roughly, "This is what makes Toronto strong, this ability to combine talents."

Read the full story here
Original Source: Libération

New York Times explores our 'Ethnic Buffet'

"…The truth is that what I really like to do in Toronto — besides walking around and exploring — is to eat," writes Francine Prose in the New York Times
The travel section ran a lengthy and thorough piece last week discussing our city's vast array of multicultural food offerings and neighbourhoods, comparing it at times to that of New York and noting, at others, that the food is in and of itself enough of an attraction to warrant multiple trips to the city. Beyond this, the article notes that the food in Toronto echoes that of our diversity and heritage. 
"One paradox of Toronto is that even as the city enables new arrivals to assimilate into Canadian life — people talk about how a certain neighborhood was originally home to immigrants from one area, who then moved on to a more prosperous district, making room for the next wave of people from somewhere else — its ethnic neighborhoods are strongly evocative of their residents' countries of origin, and the shops (and most notably the restaurants) seem more authentic than they do in other cities to which immigrants have imported their culture and their cuisine," Prose writes. 
It explores Kensington and our many Chinatowns, Little Portugal to Koreatown, and points out emerging food hubs in the surrounding area. 
"Had I eaten in Little Iran, up in North York, or visited Mississauga, the near-suburb that has become home for a huge variety of Toronto's ethnic groups, and where the food — people kept telling me — was even better than it is nearer downtown? Had I been to Markham, where there was a newer Chinatown, and an Indian neighborhood that outdid the Bazaar?"
To which the reporter says, "I'll simply have to do all that, the next time I return."
Read the full article here
Original Source: The New York Times

Toronto's Lovebot invasion is growing

Have you seen the Lovebots? These child-sized concrete robots have been popping up around the city in areas where people and companies have done good deeds. You can see them at Nadège Patisserie, Atomic Toybot, and various other locations. By the time the invasion is complete, 100 Lovebots will be spread around the city and surrounding area.
“The whole idea was that we’re not just faceless robots who don’t talk to each other on the bus. We all have big hearts. I wanted to make a symbol that represented the people in this city," creator Matthew Del Degan told Samaritan Magazine
Del Degan is in his fifth and final year of industrial design studies at OCAD and originally created a toy version of the Lovebot for a class project. He loved it so much, and the response was so positive, he decided to make it something bigger.
People submit "love letters" via Lovebot.com, an interactive map-based platform that not only displays the locations of current Lovebots, but also encourages others to do good deeds in the name of kindness and love. These love letters are used to decide where to place the Lovebots, in places where people have done charitable deeds or simply been good people. 
Del Degan has big plans. In another article, he talks about wanting to take the Lovebot invasion global, but in Samaritan Magazine he discusses his desire to make the Lovebots more of a permanent fixture in Toronto.
“There’s this giant robot I want to make. I can make it a monument in Toronto,” he says. “If you had a giant robot in your city, it would be a cool thing to come and see. I want the project at the core to be from Toronto because the cement robots sprung out of the city, the ‘cement jungle."
Read the full story here
Original source: Samaritan Mag

Local barista moves on to International Brewers Cup finals in Australia

Lit Espresso Bar's Joshua Tarlo, 25, has been crowned Canada's best brewer at the Canadian Brewer's Cup. He will move on to the International Brewer's Cup Championship in Melbourne, Australia next month. 
Lit's smooth espresso is a favourite among locals. Using ethically produced Ethiopian beans that are roasted at Pig Iron Coffee Roasters in Mississauga, Tarlo won judges over with his customer service and his ability to explain his process and show knowledge of his product. 
The second annual Canadian Brewers Cup took place in Ottawa where Tarlo had to get innovative to recreate the taste of his Toronto coffee, which was altered due to the difference in geography. He told the Ottawa Citizen he stayed up late into the night before finding a balanced blend of spring water and distilled water. 
"These guys put a lot of effort and time into their presentation … It’s a very fun, but slightly wonky group of passionate people," Pat Russell, a senior product developer for Second Cup and one of the judges at the competition, told the paper. 
The World Brewers Cup takes place at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from May 23-26, 2013. 
Read the full story here
Original source: Ottawa Citizen

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives wraps up Toronto tour

Guy Fieri and his penchant for greasy food have been making the Toronto rounds on the past few episodes of his Food Network hit Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Toronto Life has been keeping tabs on his visits to eateries such as Caplansky's and Hey Meatball on College Street, The Ace in Roncesvalles, and the Lakeview on Dundas Street West. 
Here are some of the best quotes featured in the summaries:
"If you’re a fan of delis, and I’m talking old-school, Jewish-style deli's, and you’re cruising through Toronto, Canada, don't worry, they got a joint for ya. It’s right here, at Caplansky's," Fieri says about the deli that's been featured previously in the New York Times, Maxim, and various other publications. He wasn't as sold on the Canadian pallet of maple bacon though, saying it was not as he expected. 
Christmas came early though when he took a bike out of the Ace's Christmas burger, which consists of a turkey patty, stuffing, and cranberry compote. 
"If you took your whole Thanksgiving dinner, wadded it up into a ball, put a little crisp on the outside of it, that’s what this tastes like," he said. 
The festivities continued with the Lakeview's freedom cheese bread, "It’s always a party when you have Havarti!" Fieri said. 
Perhaps his greatest love though came in the form of a sandwich. "You’ll have to pry this out of my dead hands," he said of Hey Meatball.
Read the full summaries here
Original Source: Toronto Life

Two new cycling companies to launch custom Toronto bikes

Post City is reporting that two new cycling companies with an emphasis on locally produced urban-minded bicycles are preparing to launch in Toronto.
The first is Gallant Bicycles, which focuses on "the end-to-end production of a Toronto city bike." Frames are constructed in China, but everything else is conducted out of their Annex shop at 678 Bloor St. W. Launching this month, shop owners Jason Wood and Tony Mammoliti told Post City the bikes are made to order. “We are bringing in the frames raw, painting here and assembling just the way you like," Wood said.
Gallant Bicycles will offer two frames with various add-ons starting at $699. 
The second is Simcoe Bikes, which is "taking the design side a step further by creating a bike with T.O. riding in mind: think extra-strong wheels for streetcar tracks and increased rustproofing for Canuck winters."
This shop is set to launch later this summer, but co-owner Eric Kamphof told Post City they're already running behind in part because their Taiwan manufacturer is behind schedule. 
“There is a need for this in North America, even globally,” Kamphof says in the article. “In the city, bikes are now people’s primary transport,” he explains. “Like owning a car, it’s a design and fashion thing, too. It is very important to our market.”
Simcoe Bikes will come in three- or seven-speed versions retailing for $899 and $1,150.
Read the full story here
Original Source: Post City

Toronto shop specializing in rare and odd books catches NYT's eye

A recent article in New York Times magazine highlights the Monkey Paw's unique affinity for oddball books, claiming the small Toronto shop might be "publishing's great new hope."
Stephen Fowler opened the shop in 2006 along Dundas West near Ossington. Described as "antiquarian," the used bookshop "is an idea masquerading as a bookshop. It’s a cross between a retail establishment and a conceptual art installation," the article says. 
But it's not just the shop's seemingly eclectic repertoire that led to the profile, a randomness Fowler likens to the Web. It's the store's latest innovation, one that turns the old new again. 
"Recently, Fowler unveiled his splashiest experiment in randomization. In the rear of the Monkey's Paw, you’ll find the Biblio-Mat, a vending machine the size of an industrial refrigerator, created for Fowler by the designer Craig Small. A customer drops a Canadian $2 coin into a slot; the Biblio-Mat makes a buzzing noise, a bell rings, and out pops a book. Fowler calls it the 'the iPod shuffle of books.' But behind the stunt, there is a theory: the idea that the most marginal books can offer the pleasure, the value, we associate with canonical literature."
Read the full story here
Source: NYT Magazine

Choir! Choir! Choir! belts it out and puts a stranger in your ear

Toronto Life writes on Choir! Choir! Choir!,  the collaborative choir project held every Tuesday night at the College Street bar No One Writes To The Colonel.  At every Choir! Choir! Choir! night, project founders Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman divide participants  into three groups (highs, mediums and lows) and lead them in a one and half hour singalong. Launched three years ago, Choir! Choir! Choir! has become a Toronto institution with as many as 100 eager participants joining in.
"Over a few hours of trial and error, their unique arrangements become full-fledged, clappable, even beautiful songs. It all started three years ago, when Adilman organized a singing birthday gift for a friend. Now the group is landing gigs, like opening the Reel Asian Film Festival, which means anyone can indulge their Glee-like fantasy of performing before hundreds. The material—George Michael, TLC, Fleetwood Mac—has an ironic tinge, but there’s no hipster posturing in a crowd that includes moms, students, the hip and the not so hip. The experience is a sort of extended version of that moment when the star holds out the mic and the crowd finishes the chorus. Choir! is all the things Toronto thinks it is—democratic, inclusive, creative—without any of the self-consciousness. It’s a chance to break the urban isolation, turn off the devices and hear a stranger in your ear."
read full story here
original source Toronto Life

USA Today tips its hat to Little Italy milliner

USA Today travel writer Alison Stein Wellner raves about Liliput Hats, Little Italy's iconic millinery boutique. Owned and operated by designer Karyn Gingras, the 17-year-old Toronto mainstay makes all stock on-site and sells in boutiques across Canada and the United Sates. 

"[Karyn Gingras] shows me her collection of vintage hat blocks, or molds, which are used, with the help of steam and sometimes heat, to form the capeline into a certain shape. And then how that is finished, with hat band and wire and eventually embellishment, to become the hats that are sold around the store. We talk about how long it takes to make a hat (as fast as one day in a pinch), how the royal wedding this year created more interest in hats, which led to talk about fascinators, and then about hats as a form of individuality."
"'Clothing has become very mass produced, hats are a way of expressing yourself,' Karyn said. 'You don't replace a winter coat every year, but you do get new accessories.'"
"She stepped away to help a customer, and I wandered over to a display of fascinators, and tried on a modest one with a spray of black feathers and sequins. I turned my head this way and that. This would be very handy for me when travelling, I thought, building a mental case for dropping $70 Canadian on it, since I don't  pack dressy clothes and often need to dress up a basic outfit with a scarf or whatnot...."
"Karyn returns and begins to select hats for me to try on. And then, as they're sitting a little awkwardly on my head, she stops and says, let's just settle this and get your head measured. She wraps my head tape measure. 'Okay,' she says, 'the average head is 22 1/2 inches and yours is 22 3/4s. That's not much!'"
"She had the hat band stretched on a couple of hats that seemed promising and eventually I walked out with a hat box, and my very own 1920s cloche: gray, and embellished with felt in other shades of gray. Which fit my giant head, and I daresay my personality, just right."
"If you're visiting Toronto, you can call ahead to reserve an hour with Karyn, who will go over the basics of millinery and hat style with you and help you pick out a hat. And tell you how your head size relates to average."
read full story here
original source USA Today
30 Kensington Market - Little Italy - Little Portugal Articles | Page: | Show All
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