What to Do in Toronto’s Yorkville Neighborhood

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Posted October 02, 2017

The upscale Yorkville neighborhood has become a mainstay for celebs, having been the former HQ of the Toronto Film Festival.

The upscale Yorkville neighborhood has become a mainstay for celebs, having been the former HQ of the Toronto Film Festival. It remains popular today among Hollywood royalty in part because it offers luxury shopping galore. And during the festival, chances are good you'll find celebrities browsing in high-end department store Holt Renfrew and other five-carat boutiques along Bloor Street. The neighborhood's Four Seasons Hotel's bar, created by celebrated French chef Daniel Boulud, has fed hungry celebs like Woody Harrelson and Bruce Springsteen. For your own visit to Yorkville, start with an afternoon (or an overnight) hitting up these quintessential neighborhood places below.

Holt Renfrew

What began as a humble hat shop has, 177 years later, turned into one of the best luxury brand department stores in Canada. In 1947, the store hosted Christian Dior when he launched his "New Look" collection. Personal shoppers, leading and upcoming designers, children's clothing, home accessories, shoes, cosmetics are available, all of it upscale in a well-designed environment.

Buca

Chef Rob Gentile makes a pilgrimage or two to Italy every year to research the country's regional cuisines. The results are some of the most delicious and authentic dishes outside of the country. Stop in for lunch (or weekend brunch) to taste it first hand in entrees like tagliatelle with shrimp, rainbow trout roe, and green garlic and mint pesto.

Royal Ontario Museum

The Royal Ontario Museum, located near Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto, attracts over a million people each year. Opened to the public in 1914, the Neo-Romanesque brick façade received a dazzling—if controversial—upgrade in 2007 with the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal wing. Architect Daniel Libeskind's deconstructionist plan for the Crystal (five interlocking prisms supported by steal beams) seems to crash into the original building. The museum's permanent exhibits focus on world cultures and natural history, including a stunning gem collection that inspired Libeskind's design for the Crystal, the Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, and the second-level dinosaur galleries.

Cafe Boulud

If romance and French fare speak amour to you, perhaps a four course feast at the Four Seasons’ Cafe Boulud might be the perfect spot. Courses include a starter of beef tartare with its accompanying condiments, or a plate of Canadian oysters with a celery and apple jelly, followed by a pike quenelle in a cognac lobster sauce, a main of braised short rib, and a dessert including vanilla ice cream-filled profiteroles drizzled with a candied pecan and dark chocolate sauce.

Hazelton Hotel

This 62-room, 15-suite, boutique hotel opened in Yorkville in summer 2009. Common areas evoke a luxe aesthetic with dark wood, marble, and granite surfaces, suede-panelled walls, and Art Deco-inspired furniture. Standard rooms boast nine-foot ceilings, walk-in dressing rooms, and private balconies. The granite-clad bathrooms have separate rainfall showers and soaker tubs, plus LCD-TV embedded mirrors. Celeb chef Mark McEwan's onsite ONE restaurant has a modern steakhouse-style menu. High-end shopping, the Royal Ontario Museum, and many of the city's most popular restaurants and lounges are a short walk away.

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