Month: March 2017

Easter Fun at Yonge + St. Clair

Easter at Yonge + St. Clair means a fantastic range of great Easter events, even for those that don’t usually celebrate Easter. After all, Easter long-weekend is a time to enjoy the long awaited pleasant spring weather with friends and family – chocolates, egg painting, and Easter egg hunts abound.

If you’re still looking for fun family events and ideas in the heart of Toronto, you are in the right place. Today, we’ve curated some of the best Easter weekend events and gifts around Yonge + St. Clair. So hop to it and make plans for the best Easter ever, right here, at Yonge + St. Clair.

Easter Egg Painting at Todmorden Hills

Some of Toronto’s best spring events are also family-friendly, with the city offering families a chance to “learn an ancient art form” at Todmorden Hills, set in the beautiful Don Valley. From March 24th-31st, you and your family can get into the Easter spirit by creating your own personalized pysanky (Easter eggs) using traditional wax resist techniques. The event requires pre-registration by contacting the Todmorden Hills Heritage Site. You can read more about the event here.

Easter Brunch at Casa Loma

Experience the splendour of Casa Loma this Easter Sunday. The much-celebrated historic site is once again holding their Annual Easter Brunch “served in the stately elegance of Toronto’s famous castle.” Reservations are required, and you and your family are welcome to explore the castle after the meal. Read more here.

The Good Friday Concert at Yorkminster Baptist Church

The Yorkminster Baptist Church has a deeply rooted history at Yonge + St. Clair, originally congregating in 1829. On Good Friday, the church will be holding their annual Good Friday concert kicking off at 4 PM at 1585 Yonge Street. All are welcome!

The Easter Treats at Yonge + St. Clair

Yonge + St. Clair is blessed to have one of the best chocolatiers in the city, right down the street at Nadege Patisserie. This year’s Easter Collection features their signature Grand Cru Valrhona Chocolate moulded into delightful hens, eggs, and bunnies for the holiday. All Easter products are in limited supply, so visit their shop at 1099 Yonge St. soon. Additionally, if sweets aren’t your thing, DAVIDsTEA at Yonge + St. Clair is offering limited edition Easter Teas, from Chocolate Cake to Sunny Citrus, packaged in adorable Easter eggs.

Easter dinners at Yonge + St. Clair

With Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday occupying the long weekend – it’s often difficult to gauge which restaurants will be open during the holiday. Luckily, we have you covered. It will be business as usual for most restaurants at Yonge + St. Clair for Good Friday, with Barnsteiner’s and The Monk’s Table offering seafood specials to commemorate the holiday. Barnsteiner’s, Schnitzel Hub, Scallywags, The Jester on Yonge, and Union Social will be open Easter Sunday, with Union Social also offering brunch Easter Monday.

Easter long weekend is a time well spent with family, and there’s no other place like Yonge + St. Clair to find the perfect spot for a gathering. We hope our guide helped with your hunt to make this Easter a truly memorable one.

A Daily Bread Food Drive To Show Our Thanks

On behalf of the Yonge + St. Clair community, we are thankful for the heroic work demonstrated by the First Responders, Toronto Firefighters and Toronto Police throughout the Yonge and St. Clair Fire on Valentine’s Day.

As a token of the community’s appreciation, a food drive is being hosted in honour of the Toronto Services for The Daily Bread Food Bank. They work with Fire Halls across Toronto to collect food that helps feed those in need, supporting almost 200 food programs across the city. The food drive will run from March 10th until April 10th, 2017.

Donation bins will be located in the main entrance lobbies of eight office buildings along Yonge + St. Clair.

21 St. Clair E, 2 St. Clair E, 1 St. Clair E, 1 St. Clair W, 2 St. Clair W, 30 St Clair W, 40 St. Clair W, and 55 St. Clair W are participating.

The Daily Bread’s ‘most needed food items‘ include peanut butter, dry pasta, oatmeal and cereals, tomato sauce, fruit juice, baby formula, diapers, and canned fruit, soup, fish, stews and chili.

Please join us in showing our appreciation and gratitude by making a donation to The Daily Bread Food Bank on behalf of Toronto Fire.

Thank you!

The Jester on Yonge isn’t fooling around

Everyone loves a great local bar. These days, that’s especially true when it’s a craft brew-centric bar. That’s just one of the ways the Jester on Yonge has evolved with the neighbourhood over the years. Situated on the southeast corner of Yonge + St. Clair since 1989, The Jester is one of the longest serving bars in the area. Known for its wide selection of beers, live music Fridays, and friendly atmosphere, it’s an establishment that has consistently reflected the ever-changing energy of the community and city.

We sat down with owner Shelly Zelden, who has seen the Yonge + St. Clair neighbourhood evolve since taking over ownership in 2002. “The area has gone through quite a demographic shift over the years, with more young professionals coming in,” explains Shelly, “and we wanted the Jester to reflect that.” So in 2015, the longtime sports pub converted 25 of their 32 taps over to local craft beers – becoming the craft brew house of midtown Toronto.

Shelly recognised the importance of being proactive early on. “Not many restaurant owners my age like to change much,” he shares, “but my two young daughters are very connected to the trends of the city.”

The Jester understood the city’s rising interest in craft and local beers, and with no real midtown options for craft beer, the switch in 2015 became obvious.

Today, The Jester on Yonge’s 31 of 32 taps serve local favourites like Collective Arts, Amsterdam, Great Lakes, Double Trouble and Mill Street. This includes a selection of ciders and a rotating seasonal tap.

“Nobody from Eglinton to Rosedale can compete with our selection.”

With a change in beer selection, The Jester also upped their food offerings with a new chef and the introduction of rotating specials like Chicken and Waffles ($17) and Coconut Sole ($17).

“I always recommend the California Blasters ($11). It’s our signature appetizer,” manager Wendy tells us. “Chicken, avocado and cheese, hand rolled and fried in a flour tortilla shell. It’s served with a sweet chili sauce and is perfect for first timers and sharing. It’s a local favourite.”

Longtime friend and customer of The Jester on Yonge, Adam, also sat down with us to share his thoughts. “The build your own burgers ($12 +) here are really good.”

“There’s a sandwich here called the Mother Clucker ($14). It’s a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich that’s also really good.” The sandwich is served with bacon, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli, and an onion ring.

“I don’t think that a potential customer would expect to find this kind of craft beer selection and quality menu,” shares Adam. “I think the quality of it all is indicative of the proactive direction Shelly is trying to take Jester.”

To that end, The Jester launched a Friday night live music series last year to address the desire for more arts and culture in the neighbourhood. “Having lived here for 15 years – it’s becoming easier to see the differences as the community grows.”

“Live music is going to be a big deal here” – and it already is. The Jester has been able to attract many outstanding artists for Friday shows, including Juno nominated and Maple Blues Award-winning musician Paul Reddick. “The community needs to keep growing culturally to continue to bring that  caliber musician into midtown, and we are excited to be a part of that.”

Ultimately The Jester on Yonge is “trying to bring the downtown experience uptown,” explains Adam. “You don’t have to go downtown to get the full Toronto experience. It can be found right in your backyard.”

The Jester on Yonge is located at 1427 Yonge Street and open 11AM to late seven days a week.

Get lost in a book with Book City’s top picks of 2017

Distraction. Escapism. Enlightenment. From tales of lost loves and second chances to historical retellings of life after death, for whatever reason 2017 is shaping up to be a big year for readers. With so many great books coming out this year, we spoke with Chris, the manager at Book City Yonge & St. Clair, to get his thoughts on the top ten books that are coming out the first half of the year.

Drop by to browse these titles and so many more. It’ll put spring in your step and inspire thoughtful contemplation. And 2017 may finally be the year to start a book club.

10. All Our Wrong Todays

By Elan Mastai, out now

Remember how people in the fifties imagined the future with flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases? Well, that future happens in All Our Wrong Todays, which follows the story of time-traveller Tom, who goes back to the moment right before the groundbreaking experiment that propelled humanity into this future. Only, thanks to an accident, the experiment fails and he returns ‘home’ to find his world erased and replaced with our own 2016 that, by comparison, is a mess. What is Tom to do?

9. The Best of Adam Sharp

By Graeme Simsion, out now

Chris tells us that Graeme Simsion’s newest book is “a very charming read.” The book follows the life of middle aged Adam Sharp, who for all intents and purposes, enjoys the life he has made for himself – but he starts to feel like something is missing. He can’t shake off the nostalgia of a blazing affair from twenty years ago with an actress named Angelina Brown – until she reaches out to him from the other side of the world. It’s a story about lost love and second chances.

8. The Refugees

By Viet Thanh Nguyen, out now

Nguyen’s last book The Sympathizer was one of the most highly praised novels of 2015, winning a litany of awards, including the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His next book, titled The Refugees, is a collection of short stories written over twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. It explores “the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.”

7. The Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann, April

“I’m really excited for this novel,” Chris gleams – “It’s about the Osage Indian Nation murders of the 1920s, which lead to the birth of the FBI. David Grann is a well-respected novelist with a high pedigree; he also wrote a book called the Lost City of Z, which is releasing as a movie this spring. I’ve read his short non-fiction pieces and they have been great. I expect the same quality with Killers of the Flower Moon.”

6. South and West: From a Notebook

By Joan Didion, March

Joan Didion rose to fame with her best-selling novel and National Book Award winning The Year of Magical Thinking. Her new novel South and West: From a Notebook is just that – it’s literally a collection of stories from one of her notebooks. “She is an excellent writer and this novel should be an illuminating glimpse into her mind and process.”

5. This I Know: Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence

By Terry O’Reilly, out now

Terry O’Reilly is a radio personality and host of the CBC Radio One series, Under the Influence. It’s a collection of his career’s wealth of marketing wisdom, sharing the benefits of counterintuitive thinking and knowing an opportunity when you see one. “I don’t typically enjoy novels like this, but it was a very entertaining read,” Chris shares.

4. Walkaway

By Corey Doctorow, April

“I’m very excited for this book. It’s Corey’s first adult novel in almost a decade. Walkaway follows the story of Hubert after the breakdown of modern society once the world is wrecked by climate change.” Per the book’s leaflet, Walkaway is a “fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous science fiction thriller about the changes of the next hundred years and the very human people who will live the consequences.”

3. 4 3 2 1

By Paul Auster, out now

“I love the premise of this novel – it’s the story of one man’s life told in four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four boys that are born the same person, but go on to live four entirely different lives.” This 900-page epic came out last week.

2. Ill Will

By Dan Chaon, March

Ill Will is a psychological drama that follows the story of Dustin, a psychologist that gets caught up in following a string of mysterious deaths of college-aged men. He gets consumed trying to figure out what’s happening to these boys, while also dealing with the fallout of an overturned conviction of his family’s alleged murderer. “It gets really dark and is really, really good. I definitely recommend it.”

1. Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders, out now

“George Saunders is normally a short story writer, but it’s his first novel, and it is fantastic. I already think it’s the best book of the year. It’s dark and funny, and full of humanity. It’s Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven-year-old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War. Willie is placed in a sort of purgatory where the ghosts of the cemetery speak to the young Lincoln as his father visits his crypt. The humanity of the novel is astounding.”