With TIFF upon us, the opportunities to spot your favourite stars will be plentiful. From splashy film parties and red carpets to low-key dinners and a spot of shopping, there are certain haunts that A-listers favour while in Toronto.
Traditional go-to locations for the likes of Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt have been the Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville and its restaurant, One, plus Queen Street West's Drake Hotel and consummate favourites like the members-only Soho House.
There are also a number of spots where famous faces seek solitude and some much-needed respite from the nonstop action of the festival. Sotto Sotto has acted as a grotto-like oasis where stars can find a dark corner and an Italian feast, while nearby Opus hosted a low-key meal for Al Pacino and his man-scarf last year. Jennifer Aniston was spotted at Queen Wes boîte Campagnolo enjoying a meal with costars in 2014.
Where will this year's event attendees spend their time throughout the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival? With the help of industry insiders, we've rounded up some of the top locales to do some celeb spotting in the coming weeks.
TIFF TASTEMAKERS LOUNGE
Where: InterContinental Toronto Centre, 225 Front St. W.
Why: The Tastemakers Lounge invites talent to take a break from the TIFF hustle and bustle and to enjoy unique experiences and innovative gifting opportunities from Canadian and international brands (think SOREL, Sahajan, Rhone Valley Wines, Pommies Cider Co., Tweezerman and Hudson’s Bay Company).
Past Celeb Sightings: Hundreds of talent have visited the lounge, including Woody Harrelson, Ellie Goulding, Ethan Hawke, Freida Pinto, Viggo Mortensen, Forest Whitaker, Joshua Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson.
Where: Storys building, 11 Duncan St.
Why: Opened last year in a festival favourite, the Storys building, Byblos is home to Mediterranean fare and comes courtesy of nightlife kings Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji. The HELLO! Canada House will post up here to host numerous TIFF after-parties.
Past Celeb Sightings: Richard Gere, Kate Beckinsale, Tom Hardy, Amanda Seyfried and more.
Where: First Canadian Place, 100 King St. W.
Why: This is one of the city's newest “it” locations, packed with delicious items like pastries and desserts as well as coffee from Toby’s Estate in Brooklyn. We'd say it's guaranteed to be a space where A-listers go to relax during the festival, given that Blake Lively, Dakota Fanning and Ewan McGregor are regulars at the Soho location in New York.
SOHO HOUSE TORONTO
Where: 192 Adelaide St. W.
Why: This private members club is always packed with A-list celebrities looking to hide from the crowds. The House will be hosting several events with GREY GOOSE Vodka (they’ve been partners for seven years!) throughout the festival.
Past Celeb Sightings:Kate Winslet, Salma Hayek, Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Cara Delevingne, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Chastain, to name a few.
IT LOUNGE PORTRAIT STUDIO
Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W.
Why: This portrait studio, in collaboration with photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and W magazine, raises funds for Artists for Peace and Justice. While there, stars will be treated to a variety of products from Saje Natural Wellness, Flow Water and Casa Barilla.
Past Celeb Sightings: Adrien Brody, Jared Leto, Elizabeth Olsen, Julianne Moore, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne and hundreds of others.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, 60 Yorkville Ave.
Why: The revamped Café Boulud at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, which is set to reopen for the festival, will be a comfortable, lively brasserie, designed by Martin Brudnizki (known for celebrity favourite The Ivy in L.A. and Cecconi’s Miami Beach) with French favourites like rotisserie and handcut tartares (seasoned tableside). Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud will be in town for the festival, so lucky restaurant-goers may have the chance to see the celeb chef in action!
Past Celeb Sightings: Drake, Al Pacino, Bruce Springsteen, Woody Harrelson and Harvey Weinstein, to name a few. The new restaurant is sure to attract even more A-listers (especially those staying right upstairs).
THE CALVIN BAR
Where: Trump Hotel, 325 Bay St.
Why: The Calvin Bar is at the centre of TIFF action. Not only is the Trump known to host a multitude of celebrities during the festival, but its bar is also ideally located to grab a quick drink in between screenings.
Past Celeb Sightings: The Calvin Bar was Rande Gerber's venue of choice to launch Casamigos Tequila in Canada last year, a brand he co-owns with best friend George Clooney.
Where: 1275 Bay St.
Why: This hidden gem is attached to the Four Seasons Hotel and is where A-listers go to find highly coveted and rare luxury jewellery. ARCHIVES has North American exclusivity on most of its designers.
Designers Include: Delfina Delettrez (fans include Lena Dunham and Beyoncé), Fernando Jorge (have bedecked Mila Kunis and Margot Robbie), Les Petits Joueurs (loved by Amal Clooney, Jessica Alba and Olivia Palermo), Ileana Makri (Elizabeth Banks and Halle Berry and fans) and many more.
LUCKEE'S POP-UP DIM SUM BAR
Where: 328 Wellington St. W.
Why: Luckee by Susur Lee will run the first ever pop-up dim sum bar, transforming the corner of Blue Jays Way and Wellington Street. The takeout bar will offer a delicious selection of the restaurant’s most popular dim sum items, along with Luckee Duck wraps and a variety of baos. The casual atmosphere makes it the perfect place for A-listers to grab a bite in between events.
Where: 180 Queen St. W.
Why: Nota Bene was voted into the top 10 of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and executive chef David Lee is a one of the nation's best. A-listers can pop by the venue to indulge in a signature cocktail or bites concocted at the new Ceviche Bar.
Past Celeb Sightings: Reese Witherspoon was spotted enjoying a meal here last year.
THE CARBON BAR
Where: 99 Queen St. E.
Why: Celebrities looking for Southern-inspired fare and cool cocktails should look no further than The Carbon Bar. The exposed brick walls, plush chairs and Electric Circus wall light all contribute to the rock 'n 'roll feel of the restaurant, which is unpretentious and laid back.
CIBO WINE BAR
Where: 522 King St. W.
Why: Centrally located near all of the TIFF action, celebs flock to Cibo for the vibrant atmosphere and rustic Italian cuisine. Cibo Wine Bar will play host to a variety of industry events and A-list premiere after-parties this year.
Past Celeb Sightings:Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and Tom Hardy.
Where: 456 Wellington St.
Why: One of the city's newest hot spots, this multi-room resto-lounge is inspired by a residence in Beverly Hills, with each section representing a different room in the house. While the cocktail selection varies from space to space, anyone can enjoy delicious fare by Food Dudes. It's sure to be a celebrity favourite this year at TIFF!
Where: Maison Mercer, 15 Mercer St.
Why: As the official host of TIFF's "City To City" program celebrating English film and talent, London House will see a who's who of prominent Brits swing by the event over 10 days. The swanky location will hold everything from daytime press junkets to evening cocktail events and late-night dance parties with top DJs.
4TUNE LIFESTYLE LOUNGE ft. DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
Where: Templar Hotel, 348 Adelaide St. W.
Why: 4Tune returns for the second year to host Hollywood's A-list in their portrait and interview studio and lifestyle lounge at the Templar Hotel. The space will also host invite-only private events and dinners for famous faces.
Past Celeb Sightings:Jon Stewart, Al Pacino, Robert Downey Jr, Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, Wayne Gretzky, Chris Pine, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer.