Toronto resident Tony Aspler picks his favourite spots...
Toronto wine bars and restaurants
In the 1860s, Gooderham & Worts was the largest distillery in the world. Today, this 13-acre site is a pedestrian precinct housing restaurants, art galleries, shops and artisans’ ateliers. Its Victorian-era industrial architecture has been lovingly preserved. www.thedistillerydistrict.com
Bata Shoe Museum
Housed in a stunning building that represents the opening of a shoe box, this is the only museum in North America dedicated solely to the history of footwear. The collection boasts over 13,500 items from all over the world – from prehistory to the present day. www.batashoemuseum.ca
Right up with the latest wine trends with category listings under ‘Vin Jaune’, ‘Rancio’ and ‘Amari’, as well as more familiar fare. Large Sherry selection; small, but appetising, menu and an inviting patio in summertime. Try the ‘Blind Tasting’ flight. www.archive909.com
An eclectic collection of offbeat wines and ciders are offered in this eye-popping, uber-modern wine bar/restaurant contrasted with what owner Jen Agg calls ‘almost decaying decadence’ (aged brass accents, old marble, the faded mural). Heavily into Old World wines and contemporary North American cuisine with an Asian influence. (Pictured top) www.greygardens.ca
Barberian’s Steak House
Ask to see the two-storey cellar that contains over 15,000 bottles with around 2,500 selections of the world’s finest wines.Just as impressive is the Magnum Mezzanine, a private dining space that overlooks the cellar, featuring three walls of large-format bottles. www.barberians.com
Book three months in advance for this hot, French-inspired restaurant that offers a multi-course tasting menu exquisitely served with matching wines by waiting staff who seem to have been choreographed. From the amuse bouche to the desserts, you’ll be in gastronomic heaven for three hours. www.alorestaurant.com
LCBO’s Scrivener Square store
Until 1930 the building, with its 44-foot ceiling, was Toronto’s main railway station. The building’s elegant clocktower was modelled after the Campanile di San Marco in Venice. It carries the best range of wines in the city. Up to 55,000 lines on display. www.lcbo.com
TIFF Bell Light Box
This five-storey, blocklong complex just north of the financial district on Yonge Street and King is the headquarters for the Toronto International Film Festival. Visitors have their choice of five cinemas, two galleries, three learning studios, a reference library, plus a film archive open to the public, as well as a bistro, restaurant, lounge, gift shop and rooftop terrace. Movies, classic and new, are shown throughout the year. www.tiff.net/visit/
This outdoor and in-store market is among the best street markets in North America. Vintage clothing stores, funky restaurants, street musicians, herbal stores, cheeses, vegetables, fish and meat – it’s all here, plus great people-watching. www.kensington-market.ca
A perennial award winner, the wine list at Opus is the size of a small town’s phone directory. The Amaro brothers have amassed 52,000 bottles, with all the usual suspects represented, as well as a respectful nod to their Portuguese heritage. www.opusrestaurant.com
Tony Aspler is the DWWA Regional Chair for Canada. Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas.
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