TIFF 2012: Tips for the stars


These treats from the Trump Hotel’s Chocolate Lab could just be the thing to cheer up Kristen Stewart, who will be in Toronto for TIFF 2012. (Julia Pelish/

Story by Staff 

Many of the biggest names in Hollywood are about to descend on Canada’s largest city and thought the celebrities could use some help finding out the best places to go in the city.

As the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival gets ready for action, our team of travel experts took note of who’s coming and where they should be going. TIFF 2012 runs from September 6-16 and will showcase 289 feature films, including several that will go on to earn nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards.

Here’s a look at 15 celebrities who will be in Toronto and where we think they should go (with the film they are in town to promote in parentheses). Take a look — perhaps you can join them in exploring the city during an event that Time magazine has dubbed the most influential film festival in the world:

Bruce Willis (“Looper”) — Mill Street Brew Pub (21 Tank House Lane). Willis gave up drinking alcohol in 1988 but he loves his root beer and the Mill Street (21 Tank House Lane) serves up the best draft root beer in the city. Poured into a frosty glass, it’s a creamy treat that uses Mexican vanilla for added flavour. Yippee Ki-yay.

Kristen Stewart (“On the Road”) — The possibilities are endless. We could recommend K-Stew drop into St. Paul’s Basilica (83 Power Street), Toronto’s oldest Catholic church that has no doubt spruced up its confessional booth with red cloth for her pending arrival. Then again, there’s not much left for her to own up to. So we could go the other route and suggest the “Twilight” star visit the Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar (732 Queen Street East), but that might remind her of her days with poor Robert Pattinson and we wouldn’t want to see a starlet in tears, not during TIFF. What we think Kristen Stewart deserves after her scandalous affair with director Rupert Sanders that tore apart her relationship with Pattinson is peace, quiet and some indulgence (of a different kind). She’ll find it at the Trump Tower (325 Bay Street), which has a Chocolate Laboratory that turns out hand-dipped delights featuring Valrhona Grand Cru chocolate, a salt-water infinity pool and a spa with treatments using Quartz crystals that are supposed to heal hurts. If that’s not enough, the Trump also features 254 security cameras and lots of burly guards, so it might be the best place in the city for Stewart to be alone if she wants.

Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”) — Sushi Kaji (860 The Queensway). De Niro co-founded Nobu, one of the top sushi restaurants in New York (now with a location in Las Vegas too), and we suggest he head to the far west end of Toronto to try the top-rated sushi restaurant in the country, according to judges. Sushi Kaji, which offers omakase tasting menus for either $100 or $120, ranks 11th overall in the 2012 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list. Mitsuhiro Kaji is a true star on the city’s dining scene and De Niro will no doubt be impressed.

Halle Berry (“Cloud Atlas”) — Good For Her sex shop (175 Harbord Street). Berry has confessed her adoration of sex toys — news that sent men around the planet into fits of delirium (“Is she thinking about me?”), Nik Wallenda channelling (“Thank you, Lord God for making this happen”) and jealous rage (“She would choose hardened plastic over me! Are those things even clean?”). Good For Her is a female-friendly shop in a pretty part of town that is creep-free and openminded. We’re certain Berry will find just what she’s looking for here.

Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) — EdgeWalk at the CN Tower (301 Front Street West). After surviving all the devilish danger of “The Hunger Games,” Lawrence is ready for Toronto’s most thrilling attraction. The EdgeWalk gives visitors to the building formerly known as the world’s tallest free-standing structure the chance to stretch their legs on the outside — while tethered to a harness and suited up like a skydiver to withstand the high winds that occur 356 metres up (1,168 feet).

Ryan Gosling (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) — A return visit to Hopgood’s Foodliner (325 Roncesvalles Avenue). Back in June, the Torontonian who starred alongside George Clooney in “The Ides of March” was spotted dining with Eva Mendes in the Nova Scotia-focused eatery in the city’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood. We wouldn’t blame him for wanting to go back. You can’t get Lobster Rolls or Donair any better in the city — as we discovered ourselves.

Robert Redford (“The Company You Keep”) — The Academy of Spherical Arts (1 Snooker Street). For the star of “The Hustler” there’s no better place to have a pool game than this restaurant/bar/club that’s been converted from a Brunswick billiards table manufacturing plant. There’s great art work and a phenomenal wine cellar in the 21-year-old Liberty Village venue that’s hosted numerous fashion and film shoots.

Gwyneth Paltrow (“Thanks for Sharing”) — Thieves Boutique (1156 Queen Street West). One of the most popular celebrities among celebrities, Paltrow is going to be texting and socializing and, we suspect, shopping. Her website, Goop, is all about travel and packing for the road. Paltrow should escape Yorkville for the West Queen West neighbourhood and drop in on Thieves Boutique, a women’s fashion store that makes its clothes from sustainable and fair-trade material.

Marion Cotillard (“Rust and Bone”) — Vintage shopping. A passionate environmentalist and Greenpeace member, Cotillard would also enjoy a stop at Thieves Boutique with her “Contagion” co-star, Paltrow. But while she’s on Queen Street, we also think she should take a look at Cabaret Vintage (672 Queen Street West) where she will find hats, cases and all kinds of dresses from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s — the eras Cotillard adores. For similar but more upscale finds, I Miss You (63 Ossington Avenue) features sparkly clothing and glam shoes from the wild ’60s.

Keira Knightley (“Anna Karenina”) — The Windsor Arms Hotel (18 Saint Thomas Street). Knightley is back in Toronto for the second year in a row and after making quite the impression at last year’s Soho House Grey Goose party, we think she might want to go with something a little more refined. The Windsor Arms Hotel’s Tea Room is a lovely place to enjoy the British tradition. It’s a classic, oh-so-feminine perch that is a sure fit for this London-born star of so many period films. Then again, Knightley does like her vodka and she is playing an iconic Russian character, so Pravda Vodka Bar (44 Wellington Street East) could be the best choice for her.


Ben Affleck might enjoy catching the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. (Adrian Brijbassi/

Ben Affleck (“Argo”) — Red Sox tickets. Just so happens Affleck’s favourite baseball team is in town to take on the Blue Jays prior to the final TIFF 2012 showing of “Argo” on September 15. Plenty of seats are available at Rogers Centre (1 Blue Jays Way) because the Jays are slumping (again) and will miss the playoffs (again), so Affleck could probably bring the entire crew and have an impromptu screening of “Argo” on the Jumbotron after the game.

Andy and Lana Wachowski (“Cloud Atlas”) — Ontario Science Centre (770 Don Mills Road). The Wachowskis would get a kick out of the Ontario Science Centre — although when they are confronted with the realities of gravity and physics they might want to escape into the matrix. For this creative duo, filmmaking is a lot more fun when “sci-fi” is more “fiction” than “science.”

Bill Murray (“Hyde Park on the Hudson”) — The Madison Ave Pub (14 Madison Avenue). Murray loves a good frat party and the venerable Maddy is where University of Toronto students have hung out for generations. He might be able to break into karaoke and catch his Chicago Cubs in action too.

Will Smith (no film) — The Hoxton (69 Bathurst Street). The “Men In Black” star is in Toronto for a more sombre film. He and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, will be on hand to support the documentary “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners,” which premieres at Roy Thomson Hall on September 9. After that intense film, we suggest Smith get jiggy with it at The Hoxton, a terrific nightclub on Bathurst Street where bouncers could pass easily for MIB agents.

Tom Hanks (“Cloud Atlas”) — World War II Archives (City Hall, 100 Queen Street West). Hanks is not only devoted to keeping alive the spirit of those who fought in World War II, he’s done so much research on the subject that he’s a scholar. While many people might think the City of Toronto’s World War II archives to be blah, Hanks will likely be able to look at the many historic photos in the collection and correlate them to other items he’s encountered in his research and filmmaking. He might even get inspired to make a movie about Canada’s participation in WWII — including the Dieppe raid that ended up serving as a prelude to D-Day.


Tickets: Tickets to individual films go on sale on September 2. Call 416-599-TIFF (8433) or 1-888-599-8433. If you’re in Toronto, go to the box office at 350 King Street West (see map below). You can also purchase online at the TIFF website.

Schedule: View the full schedule at the TIFF 2012 website.

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Vicky is the worldly publisher of Having graduated from McGill University in Montreal, she has set about building a talented team of travel experts to deliver to you words and images of the very best places to see and experience in Canada. Based in Yorkville in Toronto, Vicky regularly jet sets around Canada — be sure to catch up with her when she's in your part of the country.

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