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Getting Around Toronto

It’s all about Yonge Street which starts at Lake Ontario, and theoretically goes all the way to Minnesota. One block to the west is Bay, where Toronto’s financial district lay, and to the west of that is University and so on and so forth until you reach Spadina. Between Younge and Spadina is all you need to be to properly do the Toronto Film Festival.

Crosswise between these two streets is Bloor Street, and a block north of that, is Cumberland Terrace, which almost qualifies as a shopping mall, and traffic not allowed there.

And there you have it: 75% of the festival is in three venues: The Varsity multiplex in the Manulife Center on the South side of Bloor; the Cumberland Fiveplex, just west of Bay; and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Bloor and Queen’s Park just west of the fiveplex. Everything is within walking distance, and if it isn’t, the two major subway lines meet on Yonge and Bloor can get you pretty much anywhere downtown from there in a matter of minutes.

Every morning, I would get up at my “hotel” on Augusta Avenue, in the Kensington District (I like it because it’s cheap and the neighborhood is funky), go south one block to Dundas, then one block east to Spadina, take the northbound bus to Bloor, and take the subway three stops. You can get from the subway to the Manulife Center without going aboveground, which is great when it rains. Then I spend most of the day at the Varsity Theater, where 60% of the press screenings are; and except for a few at the ROM, the other 40% are at the Cumberland. That’s the festival for me, and much of the rest of the press people.

As for Food? The supermarket at basement of the Manulife Center has really good take-out, and Toronto has the best hot dog carts in the World. What more do you want?


The celebrities hang out at primarily five hotels, the Four Seasons, (Avenue Road) which is where the festival had its headquarters for a number of years; the Park Hyatt across the street usually houses all temporary offices of the major studios; the Intercontinental (220 Bloor St. W.), where all the other movie studios have their temporary offices and do a bunch of press junkets; and The Drake, which is south on Queen Street, is really expensive, (if you can afford a suite here, you can afford a limo); and The Sutton Place on Bay, which is where the all the events and press and industry offices are. If you cannot find a celebrity coming out of one of these places, you’re not trying.

If you’re not with the press, you can use the above information anyway. There are plenty of public screenings at the above locations. Plus there’s the Scotiabank Multiplex down on 259 Richmond Street West, just south of King Street. They've got good pizza. It's also possible to get into the Ryerson Theater, which is a bit of a slog. Forget about the Galas, they've been sold out ages ago.  

As to food, if you’re up around Bloor and Cumberland, there are dozens of restaurants. Torornto is a world-class city and there are ample guides which list countless fine cusine houses. You can tell which is best by the length of the lines outside the places.

For my consumption, I recommend Hemingway’s (142 Cumberland Street, 416-968-2828). In the heart of Toronto's Yorkville neighborhood, with a double-decker, roof-top patio (heated in winter and misted in summer) and packed bar,  it’s good and cheap. But that’s just me.

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