June 23rd, 2011
Our last couch-surfing visit to the Big Smoke had us vowing never to sleep on a futon again.
Instead, we'll check in to Hotel Ocho, a new 12-room gem in prime downtown location. The rooms are lofty, spacious and bright and designed with hip, young travellers in mind. Ask for a third floor suite with views of the Spadina streetcar and the backstreets of Chinatown. Manager Kenneth McElheran and his team are so laid-back and friendly you almost feel like a guest in someone’s home.
Only you won't wake up with a kinked neck. —AT
Hotel Ocho, 195 Spadina Ave., Toronto, 416-593-0885, www.hotelocho.com
March 25th, 2010
On a recent trip to the Big Smoke, we settled into the lovely Lesliville 'hood.
Head east on the 501 streetcar to sunny Red Rocket Coffee for an organic espresso and freshly baked goodies like Retro Cheese Danish and Caramel Tortoise Bars. Park yourself on the dog-friendly terrace and watch the red rockets wind in and out of the TTC yard across the street. 1402B Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-406-0880,www.redrocketcoffee.com
Favouring wearable designs, Wilson Li stocks his Studio We! boutique with tailored-but-sexy clothes he displays by colour. We spotted a tony turquoise military-style blazer from Nick & Mo ($115), fabulous trouser jeans by !iT ($99) and a pretty, ruched Gaya clutch bag ($45). Boys can head one block west to Li’s men’s boutique (aptly named Me!). Me!, 1270 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-463-0888; We! 1184 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-463-4616, www.studiowe.ca
We love the scent of smoked peat moss (flown in from the Emerald Isles) and the Irish dancers waiting tables at the cozy Ceili Cottage. Devour kettle chips with thyme ($3), buttery mac and cheese ($12) or rich mutton stew. This former garage also serves Galway Bay and Green Gables oysters shucked to order ($14/6), which taste just grand with a pint of O’Hara’s Stout ($8.50). 1301 Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-406-1301, www.ceilicottage.com
There’s no hotel in Leslieville (yet), but do head west along Queen Street to The Ivy at Verity. Located in a former chocolate factory, this luxurious boutique hotel is set in a private women’s club, and with just four rooms (from $329) the attentive service is impeccable. Wind down in the stunning library or book an in-room Sweetgrass massage (from $125). Who knew Toronto could be so zen? 111d Queen St. E., Toronto, 416-368-6006 x 300, www.theivyatverity.ca