My Hood: Allison

Our latest My ‘Hood: Allison talks about living in Condo Land AKA Lower Spadina.

The kitten and my view.
Moving into a condo at Spadina and Bremner was meant to be temporary; a short-term solution while I looked for a house in a “cooler” neighbourhood. Cut to two-and-a-half years later and I’m still loving living in the sky. While the City Place mecca might one day fall into ruin, as recently suggested by The Grid, it’s pretty shiny and new right now.
Best running motivation there is. 
Photo via Flickr.
On a typical weekend morning I’ll elevator down to the gym, hit the pool and finish up in the steam room. If it’s a particularly nice day, I’ll jog down along Lakeshore via the Terry Fox Miracle Mile (designed by Douglas Coupland). After that, it’s right to Thor for quick coffee or Le Gourmand for a leisurely breakfast over a newspaper.
Thor Espresso Bar
Image via Torontour.
If I feel like shopping, I’ll walk west on Queen or up to Kensington Market if I need to grab groceries (there’s a Sobey’s in my building but nothing beats Essence of Life). For retail therapy closer to home, there’s Riant, a cool boutique new to the neighborhood that carries a ton of great labels including Mackage and Rebecca Minkoff, and the Drake General Store on Bathurst (which happens to be my favourite of all three shops).
Coziest Drake General Store
Image via SheDoesTheCity
In the summer I’ll bike down to The Power Plant to check out the latest exhibit, or head over to the Harbourfront Centre for a free show or movie. I’m also right next to the Sky Dome Roger’s Centre, so I’ve gotten to know the nosebleed section quite well. In the winter I tend to hibernate but if I do go out, it’s to grab dinner at KitKat (my local gem) or a movie at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Island is also cool to visit in the winter; every Sunday, the residents play shinny on the ice against the backdrop of Toronto – so neat to watch.
Quite the rink
Image via SpacingToronto
So that’s my ‘hood. Future ghetto or not, I love my little sky pod.


Rave: Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess

Last week the TIFF Bell Lightbox rolled out the red carpet for the opening of Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess. We were lucky enough to snag an invite to this black-tie cocktail soiree and be among the first to view the collection of memorabilia from the iconic princess.

Image source.

We love our princesses, and the chance to be (pretty much) mingling with royalty while enjoying cocktails and canapés is not something we could miss.  Royal newlyweds, Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene were also in attendance to say a few words and celebrate the opening. 

Once inside the exhibit, we were instantly drawn to the couture, and of course, the jewels (see 144 diamond tiara below). It may have felt a little like reading someone’s diary, but we enjoyed looking through the handwritten correspondence from family and friends like Alfred Hitchcock and Bing Crosby.  

Image source.

We had to check out the special room designated to Kelly’s famed wedding gown, which served as inspiration for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress last spring. Designed by film costumer Helen Rose, it took six weeks and three dozen seamstresses to create the dress she wore down the aisle in 1956

Image source.

Among one of the most photographed women of the 20th century, the style icon’s timeless glamour and sophistication continue to be an inspiration to designers today. Her classic style and elegance were evident from the stunning gowns and accessories, and we may have gotten a few style tips ourselves.

Image source.

We definitely recommend checking out the exhibit – what better way to spend an afternoon than watching a classic film and checking out a style icon’s wardrobe?  Right now you can purchase a pass that includes both for $22. The exhibition is currently open at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and runs until Sunday, January 22.

Fashion-able: Stylish winter dates

During the summer, we chatted about some favourite stylish dates that were easy on the wallet. Since the holidays have come and gone, and our social calendars are looking a little more empty, we thought we’d share more thoughts about fun dates that will still let you pay off your credit card.

Get Outside!
Suck it up and embrace this long, cold winter. It will go by faster, and you’ll have fond memories of the times you spent outdoors. Fo’ realz.

Tobogganing – any big hill in the city!
There are strong debates about which hills are best for the crazy carpets, but whether east end or west end, this is one of the most fun daytime (or nighttime) winter activities. You’ll get some exercise, fresh air and have a great excuse to indulge in some boozy hot chocolate after.

High Park tobogganing, circa 1906-1910, from the torontoist.

Buy a crazy carpet for about $6, grab your posse and head out to the hills. It’s possibly more fun as an adult. More body weight means you zoom down that hill even faster. 

This is one of the coolest things in the city (well, in Etobicoke). An outdoor skating trail, not a rink, lets you enjoy the weather, snow and breeze from the lake. Gliding over the temperature-controlled curving trail is a more interesting than skating around in a circle at Nathan Phillips Square (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Grab your sweetheart and holds hands while you fly down the ice. 

Keep Warm
Ok, so sometimes you just don’t feel like “having fun” outside in the -21 degree blizzard. Fair enough. Here are some great ways to enjoy warmth and coziness inside.
In the east end of Toronto, there is a little gem of a bowling alley in the basement of a dingy building. Forget paying $37.50 for 30 minutes; Danforth Bowl is fun, casual and affordable. It’s basically like being transported back to 1997. There are funky lights, ‘N Sync on the CD player and bowls of free party mix on every table. And, get ready to whip out those rusty math skills – there’s good ol’ fashioned hand scoring. None of that fancy computer scoring stuff. 
It’s kind of like being in mom and dad’s basement. But with bowling. 
Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend an evening somewhere with the slogan “Large or small you’ll have a ball – guaranteed!”? Sign us up.

The new TIFF headquarters is brilliant – lots of screens, a convenient downtown location and even a fairly inexpensive and delicious cafeteria. We’re impressed with their diverse roster of offerings so far. They’ve been playing everything from a retrospective on Mary Pickford and a screening of The Passion of Joan of Arc with a live orchestra, to the amazing Tim Burton show and a series of top 10 Canadian films. 
There is something for everyone, and what better way to pass a snowy day than by snuggling inside a movie theater with hot, buttery popcorn?  

For those with kids, this amazing indoor playground lets them run around and play while you catch a few minutes of quiet time. Amazon has the always-popular ball pit, climbing structures, swings and slides, as well as spots for kids to play dress up. There are also spots to eat snacks, couches for you to read magazines, and even summer day camps. 
It’s so much fun, you might even be inspired to jump into the ball pit with your mini-me. 

Where are your favourite winter date spots? Tweet us @rockitpromo!