Take Five with… Natalie Brown: My Guide to Toronto

For Toronto’s own Natalie Brown, hearing that she landed the role of Kelly opposite Corey Stoll on the supernatural TV drama The Strain was a dream come true. The deal got even sweeter when she learned that it would be filming in her current hometown.

Though Natalie’s all wrapped up in the action, the actress tells Hello! that she still loves to tune in to the series after the fact. “Although we get to read scripts, we only work on the scenes that we’re in. It’s great watching it live and I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.”

It won’t be long before she can binge-watch the first season (The Strain Season 1 is available on Blu-Ray and DVD Dec. 2). In the meantime, we asked the Canadian actress to step away from the vampire drama and give us a tour of her favourite spots in the city.

Trinity Bellwoods Park is one of my favourite places in Toronto. I really love Queen West. I love the diversity, the snacks, the stores and the boutiques. It’s nice to know that you can have French food, delicious fish and chips, or sandwiches and just be able to sit in the park and people-watch. There are always people playing many different sports or walking their dogs. When it comes to working out, I’m a park girl. I love to stretch and exercise outside for as long as the weather will possibly permit.

Body Blitz Spa is the best place to relax in the city. It’s the perfect place to kick back and recharge. It’s a women’s only spa, where they encourage multiple cycles in the therapeutic waters. But if you prefer, you can just go and use the steam room or the sauna. There’s also an Argentinian café nearby, La Merceria, that’s just a lovely, quiet place. They have beautiful housewares and great little nibbles, coffee and tea. It’s one of the city’s hidden gems.

I love coming up with the perfect outfit for the right occasion. The Bay carries such a diverse stock of designers and labels that stand out. They have Topshop and a lot of Canadian designers too. The Room is very inspiring to see, even just to look at some of the latest items for the season. It’s ideal for one-stop shopping! Also, my friend Lauren Baker has a consignment shop called, LAB Consignment. It’s a great boutique to look for shoes, accessories, coats and dresses.

It’s great to live in Toronto and experience the city’s diversity of cultures and flavours. I’ve loved going to Terroni for years because it’s family-friendly and the food is delicious. They really have something for everyone. I’ve always been a bit of a foodie and love great Italian cooking. Their Yonge and Summerhill location has the most spectacular patio, being there is like getting a little taste of the islands right downtown. I’m a little biased, but I always order the Natalina Pizza because it has hot Calabrese salami on it, and my grandparents are from Calabria so I like their spicy salami.

If I’m out with friends, we like to go to 416 Snack Bar, where you have the opportunity to try many different things. All of my friends are foodies, so it’s always great to go to a little place that encourages sharing plates and trying a variety of flavours. I think that it’s about good food and good music. I like places where everybody can sit together. You’re not at some sprawling table or where the music is so loud, that you can’t hear each other. I think 416 Snack Bar is a great place for people to share some conversation and yummy snacks.

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