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Clips From Anthony Bourdain’s Visit to Toronto Now Online

He came and shot an episode of Travel Channel's The Layover. Now you can see the not-altogether-flattering results.

Anthony Bourdain, architecture critic. Don't drive yourself crazy clicking that "play" button on this screenshot. Links to the vidoes are below.

Over the summer, celebrity chef (or maybe celebrity/chef?) Anthony Bourdain came to Toronto to shoot an episode of his Travel Channel show, The Layover. We’ve known for quite some time what he did while he was here, but it was only yesterday that the episode aired for the first time, and now you can see some clips of it online.

To be honest, we missed the show on TV, but here’s a rundown of highlights from the bits that have ended up on the web.

Bourdain thinks Toronto is ugly. “It’s not a good-looking city,” he says in one clip. “They’ve got the worst of the architectural fads of the 20th century.” This monologue is accompanied by shots of some dowdy-looking Toronto high-rises. Oh well, at least it’s more engaging than tourism B-roll.

Fucked Up makes an appearance. Damian Abraham and his crew hang out with Bourdain at Cold Tea, a trendy back-room watering hole in Kensington Market. Bourdain gets them to talk up Toronto’s fun side. The message to tourists seems to be that though we may be ugly, we do have alcohol, food, and this one awesome band.

Other notable cameos include Jen Agg, of The Black Hoof, who shows up for a split second. She is—no joke—pouring bourbon down a chute made of a hollowed-out bone into Bourdain’s mouth. This is apparently known as a “bone luge.”

Yvonne Bambrick, former executive director of the Toronto Cyclists’ Union (and now a BIA coordinator and urban cycling consultant) shows up briefly as a talking head.

Maybe there are some other people we don’t recognize. You should let us know in the comments if that’s the case.

Bourdain’s producers think “Palmerston” is a neighbourhood. The crew visits Tosho Knife Arts, which is in Mirvish Village. But they refer to the area as “Palmerston, Toronto,” like it’s a borough.

Anyhow, come to Toronto, Travel Channel viewers. We appreciate your tourist dollars.


  • Anonymous

    1. Shouldn’t you at least watch a TV show if you’re going to write about it?

    2. This guy is a minor celebrity with a show on one of the less subscribed cable channels, no?

    3. I assume Torontoist writers are cool plugged-in types. If you have such an obvious dearth of content, why not call up and interview your friend who’s:

    * in an up-and-coming local band, or even something more established

    * is involved in an indie movie production,

    * is involved in an interesting local political campaign,

    * volunteers somewhere interesting in the community,

    * or just do one of those cool “man on the street” things like The Grid does?

    Surely you could come up with something better to write about than a TV show you didn’t watch. Especially considering that it’s just pointlessly bemoaning the city.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t think there’s value in small link-out posts like this one, we’ve got plenty of other stuff for you. In fact, a post very much along the lines of the ones you just described will be along in about fifteen minutes.

      But things would get pretty monotonous around here if we posted only one type of thing.

    • Anonymous

      Excuse me? Bourdain is right. Maybe because it’s filled with noobs to the City such as yourself, Dang. But a level of celebrity is what validates someone’s opinion? Any dork on the street can say Toronto is ugly, and they’d be right.

      But ya, nothing as original as talking to an “up and coming band”. Or talk to a guy in charge of lightbulbs in a zombie movie filmed in the Junction. Ooh, riveting. And I really miss all those tributes to Jack Freeloader Layton.

      • Anonymous

        Pontypool was an awesome movie, and I’d love to read that article.

        • Anonymous

          Hey that’s fascinating. And you call Bourdain a minor celebrity.

    • Anonymous

      You need to start your own blog!

  • Anonymous

    “They’ve got the worst of the architectural fads of the 20th century.”

    Ugh, it’s true! And some of the worst of the 21st century are are yet to come.

    Oh, and until recently Google Maps also said Palmerston was a neighbourhood. (It’s now Palmerston-Little Italy, because there aren’t enough hyphenated place names in Toronto.)

  • magarets

    I’ll bet they got the “Palmerston” name from the City’s neighbourhoods map.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck him.

  • Anonymous

    Well, if you live outside of Toronto for a while you do realize it is pretty ugly. Every city has its blahs, but the problem in Toronto is that even the best neighborhoods have cheap architecture and cheap public spaces (concrete curb, concrete sidewalk, concrete tree pit, concrete streetcar median, concrete poles, concrete concrete concrete). No trees on the major streets, overhead wiring, piss-poor signage, etc. Virtually any American city looks more polished in its touristy areas than Toronto does in its supposed showcase parts of town.

    “Messy urbanism” is an excuse. Toronto is just messy.

    • Brett Lamb

      Rob Ford is the mayor we deserve, as a city, we’re cheap. Examples abound.

    • Anonymous

      Our signs. Man are they absolutely horrible. Concrete and steel public men’s washrooms smell like chlorine and piss. Who had the poor taste to design those things? Toronto used to have class. Now it’s rap music, and clubbing.

      • Anonymous

        Hey Rico, why not get you big flatulating buthead of an ass out of Toronto, and go someplace else?

        • Anonymous

          You should really get your homework done before your mommy finds out you’re making silly comments again. I was born here, whereas you are probably some small town boob. Farmers in the big shiny city, ruining it for everyone.

  • JP

    Haven’t seen the episode, but read an interview with Bourdain about the Toronto episode. He sounded extremely positive about the city. Something like ‘its past gave it some ugly architecture, but great, restaurants, night life, love visiting’ etc. So I doubt the episode has a negative tone.

  • mintyy

    Friends from Crows Nest Barber Shop get a spot (but to rep California Sammich Shop).

  • Ostensibly True

    Toronto is not a World Class city. We are obviously a place that has adopted and suffered from the mistakes of a modernizing architecture and spatial negotiation. But hey… Do you want to be a part of building a young city? Want to contribute to the cultural infrastructure of ‘here’, then Toronto is pretty great, errr, well, its pretty ok and nice. There is potential. Just ask Fucked Up, Born Ruffians, Bonjay, The Wooden Sky, Evening Hymns, etc. Ask Le Gallery, MOCCA, Copper Cole, Butcher, Video Fag, Vs Vs Vs, Wavelength, etc etc. Do it because you love it. Not because you want to be in the pinnacle/ climax of North American Culture (NY, SF, CH, LA – where you can be one in 20 miilion), but because you might make an impact and build the kind of city that you want to live in.

    Bourdain coming here and trash talking the city should be a fun point in our daily lives – because.. how could he get it???? he’s not a part of what we’ve built.

  • Sunny Ng

    They said that Evergreen Brick Works is in Don River Valley. Yikes!

  • Dinky

    Not a very good writer, are you, Kupferman?