For many of Toronto’s finest, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) means late nights, minimal sleep and double the work.
But that doesn’t mean that a crazy schedule can kill your dating game – actually, TIFF is the perfect opportunity to take it to new culture-filled heights.
That’s because the city is full of a sea of well-connected beauties from all over the world – and the savvy dater knows to take full advantage of that.
This is especially the case when you’re known as “Canada’s Carrie Bradshaw”– a.k.a. Jen Kirsch – and your catch-ups with friends are always filled with juicy stories from the multiple dates you have a week (in fact, they rely on your stories). The one thing that impressed me with the relationship journalist/my good friend during our time spent covering this year’s TIFF party beat was Kirsch’s stamina not only when it came to lack of sleep, but in the dating department as well.
Basically, there was no way the consecutive 5am bedtimes, multiple deadlines and back-to-back parties were going to put her dating game on hold for the 10-day festival.
Of course, there’s no time to waste swiping away during TIFF the way you do on some apps.
You need to act quickly to catch these out-of-towners while you can – just like everything else in the city, dating is amplified during TIFF. That’s why Happn, in particular, was just as much a star of TIFF as the celebs were for some of my single friends like Kirsch.
This has to do with its feature as the only dating app in the world created using geo-location, allowing for a real-time and real-life experience as you locate fellow singles within 250 metres of you when your paths cross. The app’s “see you there” feature lets matches know you’re available on the spot, acting similar to turning on the Facebook chat feature.
That’s why Kirsch had the right idea with being on top of her Happn profile as much as she was keeping tabs of the stars.
And she’s not the only one to tell me that the app-facilitated dating scene made TIFF all the more exciting.
Most of the exclusive parties we were at were at Soho House, which was the location of everything from intimate cast dinners with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Gardner, but also the super exclusive Grey Goose cast parties (you can read about what I saw and heard at these parties here).
Of course, Soho House is a hotbed for celebrities and the entertainment elite everywhere, so naturally, it made for the perfect spot to see who “happned’ to be in the area as well.
And there were some good ones.
“Sometimes, I would have an hour to kill between parties,” said Kirsch. “So, I would just jump on Happn and connect with someone who happened to be in my area – often at Soho House.”
Some of her connections included a journalist from Spain, an actor from LA and a cinematographer from New York.
“I have gotten to meet and have interesting conversations with people who have enriched me culturally in a way that most guys in Toronto just don’t,” says Kirsch.
Naturally, the odds that any TIFF-made connections will blossom into full-fledged relationships (or even guaranteed goodbye kisses) are slim. But even if you realize you don’t have any chemistry with the person, you still made a valuable personal and professional connection (and have a new well-connected tour guide the next time you’re in their city).
“I travel often for my job, so it’s great to meet all these people in other cities who I would never meet otherwise,” said Kirsch. With such a packed travel schedule and no desire for the white picket fence in the immediate future, Kirsch actually prefers to meet people who don’t live in Toronto, TIFF time or not. As the world gets increasingly smaller thanks to technology, forging key connections in other cities is more important than ever.
It even worked for those ‘missed connections’ that happen so often at these kinds of TIFF get-togethers.
“If I was at a party and got caught up talking to someone else or trying to do my job, I can come back to my Happn account a few hours later and find the person who caught my wandering eye at the event,” says Kirsch. “I can see how long he is in town for and if he wants to meet up.”
Some of her dates even became reliable wingmen for events later in the evening.
And if she isn’t caught up at an event, she can at least look like she is. dating apps also offer a perfect way to look occupied when you can’t bring a ‘plus one’ to events (these parties are like Fort Knox) and are standing within a few feet from Matt Damon (as we found ourselves).
For some people, the best part of taking advantage of the dating apps during TIFF is that many of your connections are only in town for a few days – enough time to get in trouble but not enough to get attached.
Of course, there’s always a chance you could swipe right on your movie star crush as well….