STAFF PICK: SPORTS BAR

Toronto is a major sports town. After all, it’s home to seven professional sports teams and two of “Canada’s teams” (the Toronto Blue Jays and Raptors proudly represent all of Canada in the MLB and NBA, respectively). If you’re hosting an event in Toronto and can’t get tickets to a game, we’ve got the next best thing. Shelley Crawford is an Account Director on our Sports Events team, so she knows her away around this scene. Check out her favourite sports bar below or see our list of Toronto’s top sports bars.

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My Favourite Sports Bar: Real Sports Bar & Grill

15 York Street Real Sports Bar & Grill website

If you’re taking in the Leafs, Raptors, or Rock games or just excited about sports, The Real Sports Bar & Grill at Maple Leaf Square is perfect for a pre-game drink or meal. Great place to socialize with lots of energy. Book ahead, especially for larger groups and on game nights, as it fills up quickly.

By Shelley Crawford, Account Director, Sport, Tourism Toronto

CASA LOMA TAKES HOME BEST VENUE AWARD

Toronto’s Casa Loma was named Best Venue for Weddings and Events at the BizBash Event Style Awards on November 15, 2016. The BizBash Style Awards honour the event and meeting industry’s best across North America, with over 1,000 submissions received this year. Casa Loma was the only Canadian finalist included in their category.

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Completed in 1914, this historical landmark is one of North America’s only castles, making it a top tourist attraction and event venue in Toronto. It welcomes more than 350,000 visitors and plays host to more than 250 events annually.

The venue offers a one-of-a-kind backdrop for any event, featuring 60ft-high oak beamed ceilings in the Great Hall and several other unique event spaces on the main floor, all decorated in traditional early 1900’s elegance, rich wood finishes and marble flooring.

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An outdoor terrace offers a magnificent view of the five-acre estate gardens below and the city skyline. The estate also features sparkling fountains, unique sculptures and an expansive collection of rare florals.

For more information on venue rentals and events, visit the Casa Loma website.

COMING TO CANADA’S DOWNTOWN

The next year promises to be one of the most exciting yet for Canada’s Downtown. With new places to stay, visit, eat, and celebrate, here are some of the must-sees and cant misses for 2017!


HOTELS

Hotel X Toronto, Opening 2017
The only hotel property in Exhibition Place, Hotel X will be a unique lakefront urban resort bringing a cutting edge mix of hospitality, sports and entertainment. hotelxtoronto.com

X MARKS THE SPOT: The Skybar at Hotel X

Bisha Hotel and Residences, February 2017
Bisha is the newest private-label boutique brand to originate in Toronto since the 60’s. Rising 44 storeys, the Bisha flagship property will be situated in the heart of the Entertainment District on Blue Jays Way. bisha.com Continue reading “COMING TO CANADA’S DOWNTOWN”

HAUNTING GROUNDS

In the spirit of Halloween, we’re exploring some of Toronto’s most lavish and exciting venues that are also home to some of the city’s most fascinating ghost stories. We hope you don’t spook easily!

College Park

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FOOTSTEPS IN THE PARK: Who roams the halls of art-deco College Park?

Hear footsteps on the 7th floor of Toronto’s art-deco gem, home of The Carlu? Then you might be having an encounter with the College Park ghost. She apparently favours the auditorium and the staircases, where the footsteps, whistling, and a woman’s voice are often heard. Some think it’s the ghost of Margaret Beattie, the wife of Eaton’s company founder, Timothy Eaton, who died in 1933.

Casa Loma

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TUNNEL VISION: Keep you eyes and ears open in the underground tunnels of Casa Loma

With a fascinating story in and of itself, it’s no surprise that, Casa Loma, Toronto’s iconic castle has some spooky goings on. Deep inside the underground tunnels of the monolithic 1914 Gothic Revival structure, built by Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, there have been reports of the unexplained sounds of horses trotting.

University College

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DIABOLOS: The diabolical story behind University College’s gargoyles

There’s an eerie story of love, betrayal and murder behind the gargoyles hanging over an entryway at the University of Toronto’s University College building. During construction in the 1850s, two stone masons working on the building, Ivan Reznikoff and the aptly named Paul Diabolos, were competing for the love of the same woman. After they discovered the infidelity, an axe and dagger battled ensued, ending in the death of Reznikoff at the hand of Diabolos. To this day, creaking and banging can be heard at night, said to be the ghost of the jilted lover. Read the whole gruesome tale here.

Royal Ontario Museum

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IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?: The original director of the ROM, Dr. Charles Currelly, sill roams its halls.

Dr. Charles Currelly, the original director of the Royal Ontario Museum, dedicated his life’s work to creating its collection of Egyptian artifacts. So it would make sense that he wouldn’t want to leave it all behind. Today, his ghost is said to wander the halls of the East Asiatic section, wearing his nightshirt.

Historic Fort York

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HOLDING THE FORT: Some refuse to leave the historic battle site

Fitting that Fort York, the site of one of the War of 1812’s bloodiest battles, is also home to a number of ghost stories. A mysterious woman roams the officers’ quarters and soldiers in uniform walk the grounds at night, along with other creepy goings on.

Get more Toronto ghost stories here!

5 IN 5: Metro Toronto Convention Centre

As part of a new series, we’re stepping outside the doors of Toronto’s convention centres, meeting spaces, and hotels to explore some of the new and noteworthy spots to check out! 5in5-MTCC-04.png

So, you’re going to a conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Think that means you won’t have a chance to see anything else in Toronto? Here are 5 things within a 5-minute walk from the MTCC that you can check out during a break or after the conference.

  1. Indulge Farmer’s Market (David Pecaut Square at Wellington & John Street). Get a little taste of the country in the heart of the city at David Pecaut Square. Every Thursday from May until October, hundreds come to the square to pick up local fruits and vegetables, grab lunch and baked goods from the many food vendors, and listen to live music.
  2. Deq Terrace and Lounge (181 Wellington Street West). When the day is done you’re only minutes away from a refreshing, hand-crafted cocktail with stunning surroundings. Head north to DEQ, an urban terrace with an open-air firepit and a view of Simcoe Park and the CN Tower.
  3. Woodpecker Column. Just outside the south entrance to the MTCC, look up to check out the Woodpecker Column, a 1997 sculpture by Dai Skuse and Kim Kozzi from the Canadian artist collective, FASTWURMS. The giant pair of woodpeckers, perched on the side of a 30-metre tall column full of holes, adds a little nature and whimsy to the downtown core.
  4. Steam Whistle Brewing Roundhouse (255 Bremner Boulevard). Just steps away from the MTCC is the Steam Whistle Brewing Roundhouse. The former Canadian Pacific Railway repair house was built in 1929. Note the 120-foot turntable to get cars in and out. Today, the red-brick structure is home to one of the city’s best local breweries, known for its Pilsner.
  5. Lick It (250 Queens Quay West). Head south for a cool, tasty treat at Lick It. It features freshly made gelato flavours every day, from decadent chocolate hazelnut to refreshing lemon rosemary. Walk across the street to the WaveDecks and watch the planes take off from the island airport while you enjoy your delicious scoops.

CHECK OUT TIME

Spring is a time for fresh new starts. And nowhere is that more evident than in the amazing new renovations ready to go at some of Toronto’s best hotels. Let’s check them out!

THE OMNI KING EDWARD

Budget: $40 million

Completed: September 2015

New & Improved: Built in 1903, The King Edward was Toronto’s first luxury hotel. Today, it’s been reimagined for the 21st century while being restored to its former grandeur.  The lobby, ballrooms, meeting facilities, restaurant, bar, and 301 guest rooms have all undergone extensive renovations. Given the building’s historical significance, every detail was closely monitored by the architect, designer and the City of Toronto’s heritage board.

FUN FACT: Famous guests have included everyone from Mark Twain to Britney Spears. Beatle mania swept the hotel when the Fab Four’s 1964 visit drew 3,000 fans to the lobby.

 

CHELSEA HOTEL

Budget: $12 million

Completed: Summer 2015

New & Improved: The Chelsea Hotel celebrated its 40th birthday last year with an upgrade. Canada’s largest hotel completed a $12 million refurbishment on about half of its guestrooms and suites. Bronze-certified with EarthCheck, an environmental management program for the travel and tourism industry, all guestrooms now include low flow showerheads and toilets, as well as energy efficient light bulbs.

Fun Fact: Has Toronto’s only downtown indoor waterslide.

 

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT TORONTO DOWNTOWN

Budget: $14.5 million

Completed: May 2016

New & Improved: The world’s largest full-service Marriott Courtyard  has redesigned all  575 of its guestrooms, making them more spacious with a residential feel, tone-on-tone décor with stylish bathrooms, new corridors and Marriott beds. There is also 13,000 sq. ft. of newly redesigned contemporary meeting space for up to 450 people and the new Lobby Bistro.

Fun Fact: In the lobby, their signature Go-Board® is a state-of-the-art interactive touch screen system that puts news, weather, restaurants, local area information and directions.

 

TORONTO MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN EATON CENTRE

Budget: $18 million

Completed: Fitness Centre this past March, Concierge Lounge in May, and Guestrooms this summer

New & Improved: With over $100K spent on state-of-the-art exercise equipment in the Fitness Centre, there’s no reason not to work out even while you’re away from home. All 461 guestrooms have been modernized with new carpeting, wallpaper, artwork, lighting, window treatment, 49” Smart TV and chaise. Also, bathrooms have been completely re-done, with stand-up showers in most guestrooms.

Fun Fact: Connected to the Eaton Centre, Toronto’s most popular tourist destination.

 

FAIRMONT ROYAL YORK

Budget: $14.5 million

Completed: May 2016

New & Improved: The historic Royal York gets some modern touches in 910 of its Fairmont Luxury and Signature guestrooms, including 42” HDTVs, new mattresses, SONIFI (a hi-def television software that lets you view menus and check-out). Other updates include a newly-refreshed lobby, re-designed health club and pool, new Technogym fitness equipment, and new tables and upholstery in the iconic Library Bar. You can even check-in on your iPad!

FUN FACT: Since 2008, three roof-top beehives on the 14th-floor terrace have housed 350,000 honey bees producing hundreds of pounds of honey every year.

 

THOMPSON TORONTO

Budget: $1.5 million

Completed: Spring 2016

New & Improved:  The re-imagined Lobby Bar opened in February, hosting its first parties during the NBA All-Star Weekend. A new high-tech, private event space, The Front Room, features a 60 sq. ft. multi-functional HD media wall. With space for 100 guests, it can be private or open to the main bar. The Portland Meeting Room is updated with new décor, furnishing and technology. And there are three newly constructed guest rooms—two Deluxe Kings and one Executive Suite.

FUN FACT: Has Toronto’s only hotel rooftop lounge

 

SHERATON CENTRE TORONTO HOTEL

Budget: $120 million+

Completed: May 2016

New & Improved: All 1,372 guestrooms got significant technology-enhancements and increased Wi-Fi bandwidth. Also, $13 million was spent on retrofitting all guest room windows to increase energy efficiency. All ballrooms and meeting spaces received major renovations, while expanding the total meeting and event space to more than 130,000 sq. ft. They’ve also stepped up their culinary experience by bringing the kitchen to the front of the house and offering guests an improved food and beverage experience.

FUN FACT: The tallest all-hotel structure in Toronto