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East-end perk: cheap flicks!

11 Dec

I am a big fan of our neighbourhood movie theatre, the Cineplex Eglinton Town Centre.  For one, we randomly run into friends there (always nice), and secondly—as I found out earlier this week when two of us went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox for a grand total of $10.52—’cheap Tuesdays’ still exist in Toronto (or Scarborough, anyway!).  Even on a regular night tickets cost a reasonable $10.50 each.  This is at a very modern theatre with big screens.

Scarborough legend has it that several years back management at the theatre tried to introduce the higher pricing that is the norm pretty well everywhere else in Toronto, and it simply did not fly.  They lost a lot of business, and ended up keeping with (what was then) status quo.  Maybe they increased the price of popcorn to make up for it??  Who knows how long it’ll last but in the meantime…bonus!

The theatres I know of in Toronto stopped offering half-price Tuesdays years ago, but I looked into it and turns out there is actually something cheaper than Eglinton Town Centre!  Here’s a quick guide of where to go for cheaper movies in Toronto, if you’re willing to make a trek…

Note: Shortly after completing this entry, I remembered Rainbow Cinemas down at Market Square on Front Street.  This is a smaller theatre with ’90s-era tiny screens but it does show many first-run films.  Prices here appear to take the cake as the cheapest in the city—tickets are $4 for Tuesdays, $6 for matinees, and $8.50 on regular evenings—but there is a compromise in terms of the quality of the space.

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Good eats… at recession prices!

22 Apr

Boxing Day pricing seemed to kick in earlier and continue on later this past holiday season than in any other year in recent memory—retailers’ response, one can safely assume, to the economic downturn and to the threats it posed on consumer spending.

Now, six months or so into this “recession,” or “depression” — it’s hard to keep track of what they’re calling it these days — there are a number of signs, at least in our neighbourhood of Little Italy, that discounts aren’t just for retail anymore.

On College Street alone, there are a number of restaurants offering limited-time menu specials, giving all of us a little extra incentive to eat out instead of in.

  • Boom! Breakfast & Co. | 808 College Street | $3.99 Egg-O-Nomic Bailout Breakfast, Mondays through Wednesdays until May 31, 2009
  • Il Gusto Ristorante | 796 College Street | $15 prix fixe menu, includes house salad, any pasta on the menu, dessert (offered weeklong, until further notice)
  • Sorriso | 588 College Street | $21 Winter Feature prix fixe menu, includes soup or salad, main course and dessert, Sundays through Wednesdays

This is just to name the ones I happen to have noticed—there are likely other restaurants on the strip (and elsewhere in the city, for that matter) offering similar menu specials.

The cynical among us may identify the reference to the recession as a clever marketing trick, but in this case, I prefer to call the possibility of eating out for less: a win-win situation!

Ghosts of Toronto’s Past

18 Oct

Ever wondered what stood on the grounds of Queen’s Park before the provincial parliament buildings were built? Ever thought about the workers who keep the dinosaurs at the Royal Ontario Museum company at night? Want to know a secret about the family of Mr. Christie who makes such good cookies?

I’ve just come back from “The Ghosts of the University of Toronto,” a 75-minute walking tour of some particularly spooky sites in that area of the downtown. Dressed in period garb, the tour guide animates a series of buildings lit only by moonlight and the odd streetlamp (the tour starts at 10pm), telling fascinating stories made all the more haunting by being present at the relevant sites as the stories are told. In these tales of ghost sightings and strange events, a bygone Toronto of the 1800s or the 1940s springs to life. Despite the name of the tour, it doesn’t just cover University of Toronto buildings but several adjacent sites, some of which have had some ghastly things occur in their 150-odd year history.

If you’ve been to Rocky Horror one too many times or are just looking for something new this Halloween, it’s something fun to consider that will have you looking at Toronto in a very different way. Not to mention give you plenty of reasons to believe in ghosts!

For more info visit Muddy York Walking Tours.

Sneak Peek at Summer in Toronto (Things to look forward to…)

21 May

I spent last summer in Montreal trying desperately to stay focused on completing my thesis. Every day I would be confronted with some terribly tempting cultural event that would pit dedication to the work against fun in the city. (I could stay a few more hours at the library today. Orrrrr I could go see a tipsy Rachid Taha trip over his mic cord at the Jazz Fest. Hmmm. A toss up. —Not!)

Montreal as we know is a premiere summer city – festival after festival, week after week, from the Jazz Fest to Just for Laughs. Best of all, it’s mostly free and it’s mostly outdoors. It’s truly amazing anyone gets anything done from June to September.

Though I hope to make a trip back to Montreal sometime this season, I have to say that summer in Toronto is nothing to sneeze at. My mental calendar is already filling up with ideas of wonderful things to see and do in the months of sweltering heat that await. Here are some summer venues and upcoming events worth getting excited about.

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SUMMERLONG

There are many more of course – feel free to add!