Toronto: the view from the Bisha

toronto tips…from my column in iconic concierge magazine

opus restaurantAh! Toronto…. Where Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run,  over 180 languages are spoken and 25% of Hollywood movies are made.  Named the most multi-cultural city in the world by BBC  radio there are  more than 8000 restaurants that please any food craving. Running through the center of town and beyond, Yonge street is the longest street in the world (As opposed to highway). A house without a mailbox it probably hides a transformer, Torontonians like things to look nice. Whether exploring St Lawrence Market, skating on one of 54 outdoor rinks or attending a premier at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) there is plenty to keep the erudite gentleman amused.

Bisha Hotel

the lush lobby of the Bisha HotelLenny Kravitz designed a whole floor for this much needed, hipper than hip new hotel in the heart of the entertainment district. His 2 story, 2000 square foot Bisha Suite is the ultimate place to stay for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a star when stars were truly stars! Luxury, comfort and more style that you can imagine… the bathroom belongs in a magazine, the in-suite bar houses vintage glassware and Maestro Dobel tequila and the outdoor terrace is perfect place to indulge. Try and drag yourself to  the 44th pool. It is open to guests all summer. If you can’t stay the night at least the visit the super sophisticated Mr. C Lobby Bar… $1 oysters, half priced champagne and live music every Tuesday.

Hockey Hall of Fame

me holding the Stanley Cup, when not on tour it is at the Hockey Hall of Fame in TorontoAy, it’s Canada; hockey is the national sport. This museum houses its history. Its also interactive…You can shoot a real hockey puck at a simulated Carey Price or play goalie against a virtual Sydney Crosby; then share your results with the world. Every Canadian has at some point dreamed of raising the Stanley Cup above their head. It is the ultimate Canadian trophy though the last time a Canadian team won was in 1993.  When it’s not on the road it lives here.

A Toi

COC aka Coffee Oysters Champagne is a pretty cool place to grab a glass, a cup or a slurp. It has the largest bubbly list in the city. But it is really just a front for A Toi the Roaring 20’s Paris style hidden party room in the back. Chef Chris Wilkinson serves an upscale spin on classic bar food, think popcorn sweet breads, steak & bones (marrow that is), carrot terrine and the obligatory burger.  Muddled cocktails are where they earn their stripes; great craft beer and champagnes are also on the menu. Known for great music at all hours, the late night DJ takes things up a notch. No photos allowed which is refreshing in an Instagram driven world.

Harry Rosen

the perfectly fitted suit at Harry RoseStarted by Harry himself (his son now heads the business but Harry still keeps his hand in as an advisor) in 1954. The company spend more on training than any other retailer in Canada; the staff really know how to fit a suit.  Harry’s is the place to go for men’s clothing; they have exclusive rights to many top designers including Tom Ford.  Into social media before there was social media… the famous ‘Ask Harry” ads have been running since 1961. The Bloor Street Flagship store has everything the well-dressed man doesn’t yet know he needs.

Opus Restaurant

one of the wine cellars at OpusThe food is fab but go for the best wine list in Canada, ranked top 91 in the world by Wine Spectator. Owners and brothers Tony and Mario have been collecting for more than 30 years. They have more than 52000 bottles in their cellar. They will send you the wine list in advance so you can take you time choosing. Or just ask… one of them is always managing the front of house and they know the list cold.

The Edge Walk at CN Tower

the edge walk at the CN TowerThe world’s highest hands free walk on a building. Prove your stripes by doing a full circle along the 5 foot ledge 116 floors above the ground. 6 people at a time are harnessed to an overhead rail… Test their limits by leaning back over nothing but air and a great view. Start to finish, including training, take 1 ½ hours and comes with video proof.

The Gentleman Abroad, my column in Iconic Concierge Magazine

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