The sights and sounds of Toronto

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The sights and sounds of Toronto

By Janice Cardinale | Oct 18, 2021

As the season turns and Autumn takes flight, it’s time to explore the heartbeat in Toronto with hope towards a brighter future.

I am blessed to be born, raised and rooted in Toronto. I love my city! The culture, people, development, arts, entertainment, sports, film, food, festivals and fashion—to name a few—are the influencers that have made Toronto one of the greatest cities to explore in the world.

The Economist recently ranked Toronto as the second-safest city in the world, behind Copenhagen.

When was the last time you spent a weekend in “Canada’s downtown?” I am referring to Toronto, and I would venture to guess, not for quite some time. You’re not alone, but if you want to reconnect this fall, I have some great new tidbits to share about all the noise and excitement taking place in this ever-growing metropolis.

The great escape

Pack your overnight bag, as our first stop is 1 Hotel. This eco-luxe space, designed by the Rockwell Group NYC, was a collaboration of like-minded locals who embrace the city’s diverse natural environment. The hotel takes sustainability seriously as seen in its impressive biophilic design, which uses existing structural and reclaimed materials gathered from the local community, including timber, driftwood and local limestone. The living wall installation curated by Lauren Wilson of local studio Timberlost sets the tone upon entry and throughout the lobby and bar. The breathtaking paper installation behind the bar by internationally acclaimed artists Moss & Lam will have you ordering a cocktail in no time just to gaze at it. If you enjoy the sunset, stop by Harriet’s Rooftop, surrounded by a 360-degree view of the city. Brunch on Sunday at 1 Kitchen is farm fresh and fabulous. Having indulged there on a recent girl’s weekend, I give this a 10 out of 10.

A smart balance

If you have experienced Airbnb, but have not experienced a virtual concierge, then what are you waiting for? Sonder is leading the way in disruption on the accommodation front. This is a hybrid meets Airbnb rental property. You must be app savvy to stay here because this is your communication on everything and anything. This is the fifth Sonder property in Toronto but certainly not the last. The trend towards hybrid hotels is stronger than ever and certainly a people-centric experience for millennials and tech-savvy individuals. I spent a night at this hotel back in 2018 and found it comfy and cool. There’s no dining here, just a roof top communal bar, and coffee is available anywhere along Queen St. This hotel is part of a macro trend that will see thousands of these types of properties worldwide. You will love the price. 

Are you an A-lister?

Among the new hotels scheduled to open in 2021 is the first Canadian outpost for the Ace Hotel chain from California. The 13-story, 130-room luxury hotel at the southwest corner of Camden and Brant Streets designed by Shim-Sutcliffe is inspired by the multi-cultural amalgam of the city. Built on our rich traditions and history of materials, this space will house a restaurant and bar while my guess is that the arcade-like ceilings will draw the eye to the wow of the property upon entry. is a

Fashions kitchen

A collaboration set in style and taste is the latest venture for Joe Mimran (aka, Joe Fresh & Club Monaco fame) and Tony Luongo, hospitality veteran, food and restaurant purveyor. There are no barriers when it comes to fashion and food and these two stylish men are interested in finding the visual components, the colors and contrasts that create the ultimate experience for the guest. Quadro Ristorante, aptly named for its rich Italian cuisine, is set in a modern environment that is engaging, welcoming, fresh and noteworthy. Knowing these two well dressed, stylish men, you can bet that reservations will be needed long before you decide to go there. 

Show the love

Thanks to John Tory, mayor of Toronto, CaféTO in the city’s Junction area has become a home to 52 different patios, which has helped transform the neighborhood and brought a variety of multicultural food experiences for all to indulge. This outdoor eatery is open until November 1. Local restaurants participating include ATA1 Bistro, Indie Alehouse, Kanto by Tita Flips, Deco Ristorante & Wine Bar, Isaan Der and many more. Try eating an appetizer in one place, your main in another and round it out with dessert from any one of these food purveyors. Register at CaféTO sidewalk café at Dundas Street West between Indian Grove and Quebec Avenue.

Chung Chun Rice Dog

If there are two things Toronto loves, its good food and popular trends. That’s why it should be no surprise that Chung Chun Rice Dog, a famous Korean brand, has taken the city by storm. The chain’s success comes from a combination of fusion cuisine alongside easy to eat street food.   Choose from a Chocolate dog, Gamsung (potato) dog, Ramen Chip dog and the original Chung Chan dog to name a few. With several locations in Toronto and now streaming across Canada, this is for the foodie on an adventure.

Fall is all about comfort food and warmth, so put this on your “must-try” list. There are 10 locations in the greater Toronto area. 

Not your average Joe

Have you been to the Bulldog Coffee Company yet? If not, then this is what you’re missing out on. Rainbow lattes, award-winning espressos by a champion barista. Blue matcha tea, whipped cold brew, the perfect cortado and you can smell the baked goods from across the street. See you there for a caffeine injection followed by the best homemade biscotti. 

Boozy ice cream flights?

If you live in the burbs, you may not have been exposed to the latest ice cream parlor: S’Cream in Yorkville. The buzz here is all about the four flights of boozy ice cream. Get ready to try Mango Aperol, Raspberry Limoncello, Peachy Vanilla Vodka and Jack Daniels Chocolate, known as Coffee Baileys. The latest flavor dropped is Maple Vodkow, made with Ontario Maple Syrup Liqueur, caramel and sliced almonds. Stop the car but be careful how many you have as the alcohol content is generous.

The must see…

Toronto is Canada’s largest little city, according to Jean-Louis Brenninkmejer, the founder and president of the city’s newest exhibit: “Little Canada.” This passion project came to life this past August after 10 years in the making, with a vision for entertaining people of all ages. An opportunity to celebrate a country full of sights, sounds, culture, landmarks, skylines and energy. You do not want to miss this celebration of all things Canada. 

Love letters to Toronto

Luminato, Toronto’s international arts festival, returned live and online October 13-17 featuring five days of art, music, film, podcasts and digital magic. This festival was full of love letters to Toronto, from culture creators across all neighborhoods who challenge, inspire and delight. 

The art mindset

The Toronto Art Fair is back live and ready to host you in-person as well as online. Mark your calendars for the in-person experience Oct. 29-31 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.  The online experiences begin Oct. 29 and run through to Nov. 7. I have waited with patience to attend this show live after a long hiatus, because the ideas and vision of the curators are impactful, genuine and fabulous.

I could write a book about the sights and sounds of Toronto, but for now I hope that this is enough of a reason to explore the city if you have not yet felt like going downtown. The city is safe, clean and thriving. The passports are on the way and all public activities like sports, theaters, convention centers, etc., will abide by government protocols as set out for the Province of Ontario. Toronto is a people-centric city and the human element has never been more important than now. 

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash



Janice Cardinale
Janice Cardinale

Janice is a heart-centric entrepreneur, leader, mentor, creative content writer and speaker on trends in the event industry. She has garnered many awards for her outstanding work over the 18 years that she has been in the event industry. She is the board chair at Seneca College for the Event Management and Creative Design course. She recently began her own bursary with the MPI Toronto Chapter to help students graduating from the events and hospitality programs across the province. She continues to volunteer within MPI both at the chapter level and on the global board. Janice cares about people and has dedicated her lifelong work to giving back. You can find Janice at