Where the Stars Really Go When They're in Toronto
There’s no doubt that star-spotting is one of the biggest perks of living in a major city – and Toronto is no exception. With world-class shopping, dining and entertainment, it’s no wonder celebrities flock to our city for a taste of Canadian culture. But what hot spots are guaranteed to host your favourite stars this year? Get ready, because we’re bringing you the shortlist of past celebrity haunts and future picks just in time for TIFF 2018! See where the celebrities really hang out when they're in Toronto.
Montecito RestaurantWhere: Just a few steps away from all the action at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, you’ll find Montecito Restaurant, situated in Reitman Square at 299 Adelaide Street West.
Star power: The restaurant is an Official Hospitality Partner for the Toronto International Film Festival, and hosts several star-studded events each year.
FYI: Just last year, Montecito Restaurant hosted the annual Hugo Boss soiree as well as the film party for I, Tonya, which featured Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.
Speaking of Margot Robbie, she also makes our list of celebrities who aren’t the age you might think!
RBC HouseWhere: Returning for the second year since its debut in 2017 is RBC House, finding its place at the heart of TIFF at 11 Duncan Street.
Star power: On its debut year, RBC House played host to nine film parties, with A-listers like Claire Foy, Andrew Garfield, Elle Fanning, Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz in attendance, to name a few.
FYI: This year the venue will play host to several major events during TIFF including; nine star-packed film parties, three RBCxMusic events to be held in the Avion Lounge as well as several film junkets and celebrity panels. Also, in its first year as the Official Coffee Sponsor of TIFF, Nespresso will be setting up shop at RBC House to host Coffee with Creators, a series of exclusive panel discusses featuring filmmakers, directors and industry experts.
The Hazelton HotelWhere: You can’t miss the iconic Hazelton Hotel at 118 Yorkville Avenue.
Star power: What A-lister hasn’t spent a night at the hotel’s Bellair Suite, or munched on a bagel at the upscale One Restaurant (ahem, Kate Moss)? The star-power of this luxurious hotel and its celebrity-loved restaurant is one of the most well-known in the city. With a roster of celebrity fans that include Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, Clive Owen and Ben Affleck (to name a few!), it’s clear: the stars just can't resist this legendary Yorkville destination.
FYI: Year-round you can look to One Restaurant is the place to see – or be-seen – when it comes to the biggest stars living in and visiting the city. A go-to for Toronto’s elite, the venue offers first-rate service and dining for an experience that more than matches its long-standing reputation.
The Thompson HotelWhere: Ranking in at #3 on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 edition of Top Hotels in Canada: Readers Choice Edition is The Thompson Hotel, located at 550 Wellington Street West.
Star-power: Past celebrity guests of the hotel include Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson and James Franco.
FYI: From the rooftop lounge and pool, lobby bar, famed Thompson Diner and lower-level lounge venue Wildflower, the hotel is uniquely equipped to cater to and entertain its guests with several upscale in-house destinations. It’s no wonder the hotel plays host to several private star-studded TIFF parties each year.
Drake One FiftyWhere: A fixture in Toronto’s Financial District since 2013, you can find Drake One Fifty at 150 York Street.
Star-power: Effortlessly cool, Drake One Fifty hosts annual art exhibitions, weekly DJs and unique menu options – it’s no wonder this was the venue of choice for last year’s Alias Grace TIFF after-party. In attendance was Margaret Atwood, Sarah Polley and the film’s star Sarah Gadon. We can’t help but wonder which celebrities opted to get their palms read by the psychic hired for the event…
Want more star-spotting? Check out these luxurious international hotels where you’re guaranteed to spot a celebrity!
Drake Mini BarWhere: A few steps across the hall from Drake One Fifty, you’ll find the shiny-and-new Drake Mini Bar.
Star-power: The Drake Hotel is known to attract visiting celebrities looking for a more low-key experience and has hosted stars like Donald Sutherland and Adrian Grenier in past years. The Drake Mini Bar may be new to the scene, but we’re putting this one down as one-to-watch for after-hours celebrity-spotting.
FYI: A small venue that packs a big punch, there’s nothing “mini” about the latest Drake installment, which offers up the best in bar-friendly bites, an eclectic wine list and so much more. Did someone say happy-hour?
Fairmont Royal YorkWhere: Just minutes from the city’s biggest attractions, you’ll find the iconic Fairmont Royal York, located at 100 Front Street West.
Star-power: Past guests of the legendary (and ultra-luxurious) hotel include Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jennifer Aniston, and Susan Sarandon, for starters.
FYI: This year, the Fairmont Royal York is launching Fairmont Loves Film, a series of events, pop-up exhibits and more, from September 6 to 15 during the Toronto International Film Festival. The hotel is also known to be one of the hottest shooting venues in the city, hosting nearly 20 film projects per year – and the only Toronto hotel to have a full-time Film Concierge on staff. Past filming at the hotel includes Russel Crowe’s Cinderella Man (2006) and Jessica Chastain’s Molly’s Game (2017), to name a few.
The Shangri-La HotelWhere: Just a two-minute walk from St. Andrew subway station, the Shangri-La can be found at 188 University Avenue.
Star-power: The hotel is an Official Hospitality Partner of the Toronto International Film Festival and is well known to be a celebrity hotspot both during TIFF and year-round. From unforgettable meals at Bosk, the hotel’s signature restaurant, to the upscale comforts of the Lobby Lounge, the Shangri-La Hotel has cemented its status as a celebrity-favourite in the city.
FYI: Just in time for this year’s TIFF, the hotel has refreshed their lobby to include a new stage, which will feature a handcrafted Fazioli piano, where guests will be able to take in live music daily and into the evenings.
The Shangri-La HotelIn preparation for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the Shangri-La has crafted three exclusive cocktails to be served in the Bar and Lobby during the festival.
Our tip: Walk in like you own the place and order up two of these signature drinks – one for you, and one for the A-lister seated at the end of the bar… Our pick? The ultra-cool “After Midnight” cocktail.
Bisha HotelWhere: In the heart of the entertainment district at 80 Blue Jays Way, you’ll find the Bisha Hotel.
Star-power: Past guests of the trendy hotel include Ellen Paige, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Jake Gyllenhaal, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney – to name a few.
Read up on our list of 20 secrets hotel managers don’t want you to know…
KostWhere: The rooftop restaurant is located on the 44th floor of the Bisha Hotel.
Star-power: Martin Short, Shaquille O’Neal and Rafael Nadal have enjoyed this too-cool spot.
FYI: Kost offers unparalleled panoramic views of the city and has frequently been tagged as one of the city’s “most Instagrammable spots” since first opening in 2017.
Akira BackWhere: The second-floor of the Bisha Hotel is where you’ll discover Akira Back, the newest addition to the hotel’s growing roster of upscale venues.
Star-power: With the draw of the Bisha Hotel behind this new venue, this is another one of our pick’s for this year’s top debut venues for TIFF.
FYI: With Michelin-Star Chef Akira Back at the helm, we’re positive the food here will be as good as the star-spotting – if not better.
The Ritz-CarltonWhere: Located in the heart of downtown at 181 Wellington Street West you’ll find the incomparable Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Star-power: Previous guests include George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood – but with this destination, we could go on all day…
FYI: Enjoy handcrafted Italian cuisine at TOCA or cocktails with views overlooking the CN Tower at DEQ Terrace.
The Four Seasons HotelWhere: 60 Yorkville Avenue.
Star-power: The luxury hotel has played host to countless celebrity guests over the years, with some notable fans of the hotel's dbar and Café Boulud being Woody Harrelson and Bruce Springstein, just to name a small few.
FYI: At the heart of the city’s most luxurious district for upscale shopping and dining, the Four Seasons Hotel is a landmark destination, and consistently a safe bet when it comes to star-gazing during TIFF and year-roud.
Sofia YorkvilleWhere: 99 Yorkville Avenue.
Star-power: Having secured its place atop the shortlist of Toronto’s hottest venues of the year, we’re betting the stars will be rolling in during festival season.
FYI: With “a fresh perspective and honest approach” when it comes to Italian cuisine at this high-end venue, it’s not surprising that Sofia Yorkville, led by executive chef Christine Mast, has been on everyone’s radar since first opening its doors this past year.
ByblosWhere: Byblos is located on the first two floors of the Storys Building at 11 Duncan Street.
Star-power: John Travolta, Gerard Butler, Matt Damon and Michelle Williams – to start.
FYI: With Eastern Mediterranean inspiration, this upscale venue offers up shared plates and exotic cocktails in a sprawling space that’s more informal and welcoming than you might expect.
PatriaWhere: You’ll find the trendy Patria at the center of all the action at 478 King Street West.
Star-power: Patria has been hosting celebrities for a few years now, and all signs point to a steady stream of stars for this year’s 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Spotted enjoying some authentic Spanish tapas in the past include stars like Kirsten Dunst, Adam Levine, Sandra Bullock, Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy.
SassafrazWhere: At the corner of Bellair and Cumberland, in the very heart of Yorkville, you can’t miss the “little yellow house” – Sassafraz.
Star-power: We could take you all the way back to the 1960s with this one, but more recent celebrity guests include Cuba Gooding Jr., Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Bruce Willis… the list goes on… and on.
FYI: In a city that’s constantly shifting and changing, Sassafraz has become legend for its ability to remain current. Having recently undergone renovations, the venue continues to evolve, never ceasing to impress with style, service and of course – their phenomenal French-inspired Canadian cuisine.
Cactus Club CafeWhere: First Canadian Place, 77 Adelaide Street West.
Star-power: With celebrity chef Rob Feenie at the helm of the menu and chef Cory Vitiello heading Culinary Development, Cactus Club Cafe not only has celebrity credentials on its star-studded guest list – they’ve even got star-power in their staff! A popular spot for star-spotting year-round, the venue keeps it going during TIFF, when they’ve hosted A-listers like Benedict Cumberbatch, Angelina Jolie, Selma Blair, Nicholas Cage, and Vince Vaughan.
Cactus Club CafeBonus TIFF-bit: Last year, one of the most memorable celebrity-moments at Cactus Club Cafe may have been watching Angelina Jolie indulge in some of the delicious treats featured for her childrens’ private candy bar!
Cactus Club Cafe will be taking reservations all through TIFF – so save us a seat and enjoy the star-gazing!