September in Toronto is a beautiful time. The leaves change colour, favourite fall outfits come out of the closet, and, thanks to the Toronto International Film Festival, A-list celebrities suddenly walk among us in droves. During TIFF, every outing is a chance to rub shoulders with the most exciting actors and film industry professionals of the moment. If stargazing is your pastime of choice, you will need to venture further than your neighbourhood pub to encounter celestial beings. Herewith, recommendations for where to best soak in the effervescent atmosphere of TIFF.
Montecito: Located just around the corner from TIFF Bell Lightbox, Montecito is a perfectly convenient place to enjoy a meal. Owned by iconic director Ivan Reitman (of Ghostbusters fame) this farm-to-table bistro is a beacon of exceptionally fresh, no-fuss meals (tip: when wild mushrooms are available, they’re always a wise order). Last year, George Clooney, Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, and Brie Larson all stopped by for a bite.
The Thompson Hotel: The Thompson Hotel lobby bar is a great place to people-watch, but for a truly elevated experience, you will need to secure an access card to visit their rooftop bar, 16 storeys up. A major TIFF event venue, the roof of The Thompson boasts the best views in Toronto (improved only if past guest Brad Pitt is in your sightline).
Bloor-Yorkville: The Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood is an excellent locale for low-key celebrity watching, as most festival attendees will be darting in and out of the areas shops and restaurants throughout the day (even Beyoncé—who was, take note, politely left to her own devices when spotted one year). The hotels clustered in Bloor-Yorkville, including the Four Seasons (where Harvey Weinstein and Woody Harrelson routinely stay) and the Hazelton always have paparazzi milling about during TIFF. Just keep your cool when Drake walks by.
The Windsor Arms: All of the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association stay at The Windsor Arms, and it is the venue for their TIFF party which is, without fail, one of the most fun events of the festival. The Windsor Arms is also a great place for high tea—keep your eye out for stars like Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain, and Channing Tatum between bites of scone and clotted cream.
Soho House: Since Soho House is a private members’ club, it is virtually paparazzi-proof, which is what makes it the ideal last stop of any night out during TIFF (Jane Fonda, Drew Barrymore, and Mark Ruffalo all seem to enjoy its homey atmosphere).
See inside TIFFs past, here.