The Toronto International Film Festival is pretty much a huge deal, whether or not you bother going to the movies. In the days running up to the fest, we’ll try to help you survive it.
Illustration by Brian McLachlan/Torontoist.
Acclaimed cinema aside, every Torontonian worth their fleur de sel knows that the Toronto International Film Festival is all about the parties—eleven nights of parties, to be exact. In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of the top spots to get up-close-and-personal with the stars, exchange festival gossip, or simply be seen (paparazzi not included). Get your beauty rest now—starting later this week, you’ll be living in a city that doesn’t sleep.
Open Call at the Drake Hotel, September 9–18
1150 Queen Street West, 416-531-5042
THE CROWD: Fun-loving scenesters.
THE DRINK: Margot Tenenbaum Cocktail.
OVERHEARD: “So who’s hotter: Natalie Portman or Mila Kunis?”
For the seventh consecutive year, the Drake plays host to some of TIFF’s hippest parties, guaranteed to be a hit any night of the festival. Don’t forget to stop by the Drake General Store to pick up a TIFF gift bag complete with Moleskine film journal and paparazzi figures.
Festival Opening Party at 99 Sudbury, September 8
99 Sudbury Street, 416-849-6567
THE CROWD: Toronto’s young and eligible.
THE DRINK: Champagne.
OVERHEARD: “Lanvin for H&M!”
Tucked away between King and Queen, 99 Sudbury always draws a stylish crowd. For the TIFF kick-off, DJ Vaneska and DJ Oliver are on the tables, while The Row and Opening Ceremony are sure to be on the dance floor .
TORO After Dark at PEARS on the Avenue, September 9–12
164 Avenue Road
THE CROWD: VIP industry insiders.
THE DRINK: Stella Artois.
OVERHEARD: “Such a great film. Who was the DP again?”
The former Porsche dealership, soon-to-be It condo building, and current hot pop-up location, PEARS on the Avenue is playing host to TORO’s After Dark parties. Check out RED, a preview of the NY Times Canadian Photo Archive Exhibit curated by Caitlin Cronenberg. Other highlights? The Acura VIP car service and 4 a.m last call.
Bell Lightbox Opening, September 12
330 King Street West
THE CROWD: Families, tourists, and media-types.
THE DRINK: Bottled water.
OVERHEARD: “I can’t wait to get into my suite in the Festival Tower. I’ve got the best decorator—it’s going to be just fabulous.”
For the official unveiling of the Bell Lightbox, TIFF is throwing an old-school block party complete with performances by The Sadies, Fefe Dobson, and a “surprise appearance” by a Canadian star.
Vanity Fair, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Belvedere Vodka TIFF Soirée
The Thompson Hotel, 550 Wellington Street
THE CROWD: Media elite, cast, and filmmakers.
THE DRINK: Lychee martini.
OVERHEARD: “Toronto’s such a fun place to visit. So low-key compared with L.A.”
With the cast and filmmakers of 127 Hours, Black Swan, Conviction, and Never Let Me Go expected to be in attendance, this is set to be one of the biggest fêtes of the festival. Known as “the Vanity Fair party,” it’s yet another event marking the TIFF shift from Yorkville to King West.
Playboy’s Good Life Party at Muzik, September 10
15 Saskatchewan Road, 416-595-9998
THE CROWD: Richmond Street regulars.
THE DRINK: Stoli Vodka Bottle Service.
OVERHEARD: “Real or fake?”
Hosted by superstar Playmate Bridget Marquardt and featuring performances by Outkast’s Big Boi, flame throwers, and belly dancers (to name a few), this party is sure to be a lesson in decadence and debauchery.
InStyle Party at Ame
19 Mercer Street, 419-599-7246
THE CROWD: Fashionistas and their Bay Street beaus.
THE DRINK: Sake.
OVERHEARD: “Those squats are really paying off, you’re legs look great!”
Girls in body-con dresses nibbling on sushi while their boyfriends drink Asah. Plus a red carpet.
ONE Restaurant at the Hazelton Hotel
118 Yorkville Avenue, 416-963-6300
THE CROWD: Socialites and star-gazers.
THE DRINK: White wine spritzer.
OVERHEARD: “I don’t care what People says, George Clooney will always be the sexiest man alive.”
Yorkville’s patio of choice is sure to be jam-packed. Reservations are highly recommended, unless you’re pure A-list.
Hello! Canada Party at the Royal Conservatory of Music
273 Bloor Street West, 416-408-2825.
THE CROWD: People who would be featured in Hello! magazine.
THE DRINK: San Pellegrino with lime.
OVERHEARD: “Is that James Franco?”
Make sure you’re red carpet–ready—there will definitely be a photo-op or two.
The Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt
4 Avenue Road, 416-925-1234
THE CROWD: Seasoned TIFF-goers.
THE DRINK: Park Cosmopolitan.
OVERHEARD: “Mordecai would have loved that movie.”
A Yorkville classic with a great view, drinks at the Roof Lounge is as TIFF as it gets and everyone knows it. Be prepared to deal with crowds.
Edelman TIFF Media Room
150 Bloor Street West
THE CROWD: Exhausted journalists.
THE DRINK: Double espresso.
OVERHEARD: “Ugh, that Ben Affleck is such a bore.”
We all need a break to re-charge—especially our BlackBerrys. Media insiders will be here throughout the week, refueling before another foray into the TIFF jungle.
By Caitlin Agnew/The Style Notebook.