Toronto Weekender: TIFF Edition

With TIFF officially starting today, we decided to craft the Toronto Weekender around the best open-to-public parties and hotspots where there’s a good chance you’ll catch a celeb out of the corner of your eye. Lights, camera, action, your weekend’s going to rock…

Tonight TIFF kicks off, and that means most of the stars expected to be in town have already checked into their hotel rooms and are getting ready to be paraded out at premieres and parties. Head into Yorkville and check out any of the spots in this little core. The Hazelton Hotel and Four Seasons Toronto are guaranteed to be hosting some of the hottest names, and grabbing dinner at any resto in the area with some afterwards wandering might just net you your first TIFF 2011 sighting. Check out Ciao Wine Bar or Trattoria Nervosa or even Sassafraz (maybe make reservations before you go anywhere) and get ready to keep 6. After your meal, head down to the Brant House on King Street for the Teenage Paparazzo Experience with host Adrien Grenier.

On Friday, head over to The Shore Club next to the Ritz-Carlton, where lots of A-listers will be bunking out during TIFF 2011, and grab some surf ‘n turf. Then head next door and grab a spot at the Ritz’s first-level lounge DEQ. (We’ve heard different things about what hotels will keep their restaurants/bars/lounges open. When in doubt, call in advance and see what your luck will be for space.) Lots of hotspots have extended their liquor licenses for the duration of the film fest until 4am, which means even if you aren’t into the whole “let’s find a celeb to twitpic” culture you’ll still benefit from TIFF 2011’s arrival. Nyood‘s having a fest after-party on Friday, sure to be a hotspot (you’ll want to RSVP with Desiree at and see if there’s any space left) and f-Stop’s got a shindig as well (RSVP/guest list email is

On Saturday, we suggest grabbing brunch away from the action and not too close to any theatres screening films, unless the prospect of long lines is particularly titillating to you. Try Maggie’s Eatery on Charles Street (just south of Bloor) or Patrician Grill on King East. Spend the day relaxing because it’s another hot night out. Hit up La Societe for dinner (almost guaranteed to have some action to check out) or grab a meal over at the Thompson Hotel’s The Counter (call for reservations at both spots just in case). At night, head over to the Kool Haus for Diesel presents Lupe Fiasco in support of ONEXONE, a sure hot ticket.

On Sunday, your best bet is keep low-key. Head to lunch at New Generation Sushi on Bloor, we like the North side location that’s a bit closer to Bathurst, but either one is good for some excellent rolls. Then spend the day wandering Yorkville checking out the mayhem – try to stay dignified though if you find yourself a few meters from a starlet, you’re young professionals after all, not young high schoolers – and wind up at Hemingway’s for a mid-afternoon drink. The Hoxton is the spot Sunday for A Producer’s Night, where some celeb producers are expected to be in attendance. (You won’t get in without guestlist, FYI. The link has some contacts to reach out to.) Yes, last call isn’t until 4am, but remember that Monday morning boardroom meeting is only hours away.

See? TIFF 2011 isn’t just for the stars…

Image courtesy Creative Commons.