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Features / October 29, 2016

Doing Toronto During the Art Fair

Visiting Art Toronto from out of town? Here’s what to do with your down time.
Sam James Coffee Bar Park Shop. Sam James Coffee Bar Park Shop.

This article has been adapted from Canadian Art’s Art Toronto Edition in the Fall 2016 issue, produced as a part of our media partnership for this year’s edition of the fair.

Toronto boasts plenty of attractions that aren’t strictly art-related. If you’re visiting town for the art fair this weekend, here a few spots worth looking into.


WANT Apothecary (1070 Yonge St.) stocks the perfect edit of minimalist but luxurious wardrobe pieces from designers like Acne Studios and Junya Watanabe alongside Byredo perfumes and Astier De Villatte candles. Chic bags, torso-shaped pots and whisky marmalade are just some of the offerings at Easy Tiger Goods (1447 Dundas St. W.), which strikes a balance between fun and functional. If you’re on the hunt for architectural clothing (perfect for gallery openings), Fawn Boutique (967 Queen St. W.) has you covered. Have a hankering for all things Japanese? Head to Blue Button Shop (1499 Dundas St. W.), where select clothing, magazines, stationery and accessories are brought in from across the Pacific.


A Toronto institution, Art Metropole (1490 Dundas St. W.) carries art-related periodicals, books and artist multiples—if you can’t make it to the bricks-and-mortar version, they’ll have a booth at Art Toronto and Edition Toronto. Type Books (883 Queen St. W. and 427 Spadina Rd.) is the place to pick up the perfect novel, while Monkey’s Paw (1267 Bloor St. W.) deals in vintage curiosities. If you’re in the mood for a gamble, try the vending machine at Monkey’s Paw—it doles out randomized old books for just a few dollars.


With five locations in the city (297 Harbord St., 917 Queen St. W., 150 King St. W., 15 Toronto St. and 157 Bloor St. W.), Sam James Coffee Bar can provide your caffeine fix no matter where you are. Sud Forno (716 Queen St. W.) is, first and foremost, a bakery that makes an unimpeachable sourdough, but there are also sweeter Italian baked goods and lunch foods on offer. Nadège Patisserie (780 Queen St. W., 1099 Yonge St., 120 Adelaide St. W. and 3401 Dufferin St.) does wonders with sugar, but their nougatine—with chunks of roasted hazelnuts in crunchy caramel and a chocolate coating—is particularly moreish.


416 Snack Bar (181 Bathurst St.) is a busy, dimly lit space that focuses on small plates of fusion food that are perfect for sharing: fried chicken, foie gras on toast and cheese plates. Rhum Corner (926 Dundas St. W.) nods to Haiti with foods like bananes frites and oxtail and boasts the city’s best dark and stormy. Bar Raval (505 College St.) makes tapas-style dishes, like squid and artichokes, that get rave reviews, but it’s the restaurant’s Antoni Gaudí–inspired, wooded interior that will win over aesthetes. For an unbeatable brunch, check out Parts and Labour (1566 Queen St. W.) and Drake One Fifty (150 York St.). If you’re looking for some low-key comfort food, Mother’s Dumplings (421 Dundas St. W.) makes steamed vegetarian dumplings that can’t be beat. For a full evening dedicated to the epicurean, try the five- or seven-course tasting menu at Edulis Restaurant (169 Niagara St.)—it’s the closest you can get to heaven while still in the city.


Art fairs and their attendant socializing can be draining, but Province Apothecary’s (1518 Dundas St. W.) organic facials and carefully blended skincare products (like a therapeutic roll-on made from high-altitude lavender, lemongrass and clary sage, among others) are a perfect restorative. Body Blitz, which has two locations (471 Adelaide St. W. and 497 King St. E.), offers a women-only therapeutic water circuit—think Dead Sea salt pools, saunas, steam rooms and cold-plunge pools. Or unwind by getting outside. The recently created Pan Am Path (formed for its namesake games) offers an 80-kilometre multi-use trail that winds along the Don Valley River, and features a number of murals by local artists along the way. If you feel like getting out of the city altogether, head down to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on Queens Quay W. and ship over to Toronto Island for beaches and breezes.