007 does the city — James Bond’s Toronto

007 would no doubt find action and adventure in Toronto at night. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Story by Waheeda Harris
Vacay.ca Senior Writer


The Hazelton Hotel’s upscale lobby and homages to film will no doubt win over 007 — and any lady friends he happens to encounter in Toronto. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

TORONTO, ONTARIO — James Bond is an enviable traveller with style — able to navigate and charm his way in any international destination. But if Mr. Bond arrived in Toronto, where would he be seen? Find his contacts? Seek out local connections?

He’s already arrived — at least in one form. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the suave film character, Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style opened in Toronto just days before the North American release of the latest film, Skyfall. Debuting at London’s Barbican Centre in July, this visual celebration of all things Bond made its North American debut at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on October 26 and runs until January 20, 2013.

The exhibit showcases how the icon of Bond was created – first from the imagination of author Ian Fleming, who used his experience with MI6 to create the world’s favourite spy. But the Bond phenomenon has lasted thanks to the hundreds of people who worked on the 22 films over the past five decades, like the Bond Special Effects Team, who added their imaginative additions to sports cars, tuxedoes, and gadgets. These films created items that became part of pop culture history, like the signature weapons of Bond’s enemies, such as Oddjob’s killer hat or Jaws’ silver teeth, as well as made the phrase “Shaken, not stirred,” part of our lexicon.

Each film in the franchise reinforced Bond’s style: immaculately dressed, prepared for danger and always with a backup plan, stylishly found within his mandatory accessories like his enhanced Omega watches or computer-equipped attaché cases created by Q Branch, which can be seen in the exhibit.

James Bond’s Toronto Travel Tips

Fans of the globetrotting MI6 agent will appreciate the travelogue of Bond’s world — costumes, photos, models and storyboards detailing movie locations such as Venice, Udaipur, St. Petersburg, Cairo and even outer space, when Roger Moore’s Bond left the planet in Moonraker.

But when Bond makes his way to Toronto’s downtown — where would his allies and nemesis find him?

This British gentleman would head to Yorkville, where the Bellair Suite at The Hazelton Hotel would be waiting in ready, with numerous amenities at his disposal. From the 80-square-foot dressing room to the multiple lounge areas to the handmade Hastens Vividus king-size bed, Mr. Bond would have a palatial base of operations to analyze information or entertain a lady friend.

To make contact with his old friends at CSIS, Mr. Bond would head up to the bar at Canoe, to take a survey of the city from the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Tower while listening to the latest intel from his Canadian peers. When tracking his prey into the Entertainment District, Mr. Bond might join the fashionable set for dinner at Blowfish or Buca on King Street West, before heading back to Bay Street to gain some information from a local connection — or to just play the horses — at the Turf Lounge.

A job well done for the day, Mr. Bond will treat himself to a glass of The Macallan*, 18-year-old of course, found at his preferred watering hole, Michael’s on Simcoe Street. (*His new drink of choice featured in Skyfall.)

If a meeting needed to happen with Q or another tech expert the following day, Mr. Bond would be seen with his espresso at Balzac’s Coffee Roasters, perhaps in the location adjacent to the Metro Reference Library where free WiFi and background information would be at his disposal.

And before being led out of the city on his next lead, Mr. Bond would take time to follow his prey on Yonge Street or a chase through the Eaton Centre, two visual icons of Toronto. Until next time, Mr. Bond.

More About Skyfall

Canadian Premiere: The 23rd film in the Bond series opens nationwide on November 9. The film marks the 50th anniversary of Bond on film.
Plot: Bond (Daniel Craig) takes on Silva (Javier Bardem) as he fights to restore order within the M16 unit. Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe are the Bond girls. Sam Mendes directs a film that has earned rave reviews since debuting in the United Kingdom on October 23.
Soundtrack: Adele sings the title song.

More About the James Bond Exhibit at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Location: 350 King Street West, Toronto, ON (see map below)
Contact information: Telephone: 416-968-3456; Website: http://tiff.net/bond
General inquiries: customerrelations@tiff.net
Directions: Take the TTC to St. Andrew subway station and walk three blocks west or take the King streetcar 504 westtbound to the corner of King Street and John Street. TTC $3 one way or $10-$15 taxi ride from anywhere in the downtown core.

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A Toronto-based freelance journalist since the beginning of the millennium, Waheeda has been lucky enough to visit every continent. She's always happy to travel, especially when she can swim in the sea, taste locally-made cuisine and spend an afternoon in an art gallery.

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