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The 13 Best Spots for Stargazing at TIFF 2016

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in full force and Hollywood’s best and brightest are starting to grace the streets of Toronto with their familiar faces.

If you’re looking to do some stargazing, you came to the right place. We know where they’ll be eating, drinking and partying while they are here.

But, word to the wise: you may have better luck getting into the White House than getting a last-minute reservation at any of the TIFF hotspots.

Soho House
Naturally, the stars feel at home at Soho House thanks to the familiar global brand, a likeminded artsy crowd, and their strict privacy policy (which includes no pictures). Once again, the members-only club returns to host the exclusive star-filled Grey Goose cocktail parties both pre and post some of the biggest film screenings. Sometimes, the stars stick around after and toast their respective films on the venue’s breezy rooftop terrace.

Soho House

This year, “it” Toronto PR company NKPR evolves their annual gifting suite concept with a central hub for innovation, experiences and philanthropy in partnership with Drew and Jonathan Scott, aka The Property Brothers. Taking over the space at 128 Peter, the celebs will be found here being gifted with goodies, getting red carpet-ready with hair and makeup touchups and having their portraits taken by Caitlin Cronenberg. It’s also the venue for the annual Producers Ball party.

The Thompson Toronto
As usual, the rooftop at the Thompson Toronto will serve as a go-to watering hole for some of the entertainment industry’s most familiar faces. After all, the mixologists have created a TIFF-specific cocktail list that compliments some of the best city views any rooftop has to offer. Just ask Brad Pitt, who took in the skyline over cocktails a few years back. Celebs will also be spotted at Wildflower, which has partnered with Hyde Miami for a luxury pop-up from September 8-11. This year, the Thompson is also the venue for the annual Hello! magazine party.

The Thompson Toronto
The Thompson Toronto

Being the city’s latest and greatest view and pool-filled rooftop patio, Lavelle is a natural choice for some of the hottest film parties. The King West hotspot – which opened its doors back in June – will see no shortage of celebs grace its sleek space for parties and for casual catch-ups with their fellow famous friends.

Montecito Restaurant
Thanks to its proximity around the corner from the TIFF Lightbox, and the fact that it’s owned by Canadian screen legend Ivan Reitman, there will be no shortage of famous diners at Montecito Restaurant for the duration of TIFF. Like last year, the restaurant is also a popular venue of choice for talent-packed cast parties.

Montecito Restaurant
Montecito Restaurant

The Spoke Club
Replacing the usual Nikki Beach pop-up, for the first weekend of TIFF, The Spoke Club is transformed into an all-white, Miami-inspired oasis for the Villa Azur pop-up. The experience includes South Beach-inspired dining experiences, boozy brunches and a 4am last call.

Sotto Sotto Ristorante
Sotto Sotto has been a celebrity favourite since the days TIFF was taking over Yorkville (before moving south of Bloor). Pretty much everyone in Hollywood – from Oprah Winfrey to Jake Gyllenhaal – has dined there. Though a fire may have gutted its previous location (and destroyed many of the celeb photos that hung on the walls), the legendary Sotto Sotto name is enough to draw the stars back for another meal.

Sotto Sotto
Sotto Sotto

The Ritz-Carlton
The constant crowd of both paparazzi and camera-clad stargazers out front is a dead giveaway that The Ritz-Carlton will house some very famous guests. With its prime location near Roy Thompson Hall and the TIFF Bell Lightbox, it couldn’t be more convenient for the stars to stay and play at the Ritz-Carlton.

Momofuku is a no-brainer to grab a meal for the celeb guests that will call the connecting Shangri-La Hotel home for their stay in Toronto. Of course, the Momofuku complex includes the famous first-floor noodle bar, the second level features Nikai for drinks and Milk Bar for sweets, and the third has Daisho for tasting menus. Past celeb sightings include Robert Downey Jr., Tina Fey, and Al Pacino.


D Bar at the Four Seasons
While most of the TIFF action has moved south of Yorkville, the stars will no doubt still be found at the Four Seasons Hotel, thanks to its international stamp of star approval. Though D Bar will be packed, there’s always the chance you’ll see some famous faces next to you enjoying a pricy cocktail at a barstool. Past guests have included Woody Harrelson, Harvey Weinstein, and Bruce Springsteen.

Located right in the hub of it all at John and Adelaide, Figo will surely see no shortage of well-heeled celebs walk through its doors for its very first TIFF. The large restaurant will please the palates of the stars with their comforting offerings and their 4am last call will ensure everyone wakes up with at least slight hangover (nothing a Bloody Caesar can’t fix).

The Intercontinental
Celebs will hit the Intercontinental Hotel to get showered with Swag at the annual Tastemakers Lounge gifting suite. Here, they are treated to massages from celeb fave Dr. Liza from The Fix, eyebrow and makeup touch-ups from Tweezerman, hair touch-ups by Salon Dew and leave with a gift bag jam-packed with gifts, including a pair of Sorel boots they can select from a variety of options.

Tastemakers Lounge
Tastemakers Lounge

One King West
Canada’s homegrown celebrities will get to play dress-up at The Vault in One King West when they hit The Stylist Suite. The stunning suite provides exclusive access to a range of Canadian designed women’s daywear and eveningwear, men’s suiting, jewellery, shoes, and handbags for personalities to borrow for the red carpet, press junkets, photo shoots, and special appearances during the festival.

Mongrel House (Campbell House Museum)
For the second year in a row, Mongrel House is back to transform the Campbell House to a house party of epic proportions as its well-heeled guests celebrate Mongrel Media and Mongrel International’s TIFF films. Perks include live music, food stations, ping-pong, vintage video games and karaoke.

Other notable venues expected to attract some of Hollywood’s finest include Maison Mercer, The Hazelton Hotel, The Addisons Residence and the Shangri-La lobby.

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Erin Davis

Erin is a Toronto-based actor, writer and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis