TOP SPOTS: Arlene Dickinson

Story by Caitlin Agnew. Photograph courtesy of Arlene Dickinson.

Starring in Dragons’ Den is no easy task, but Arlene Dickinson manages to do it with professionalism, grace, and impeccable style. As the CEO of Venture Communications, Dickinson provides marketing services for the likes of Toyota, Unilever, and the LCBO. With an astute eye for the next big thing (she was the first Dragon to start a Twitter account back in 2008), she’s the image-savvy dragon, and arguably the one with the best (and most fiery) head on her shoulders.

Dickinson shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“I enjoy the patio and lounge at ONE (116 Yorkville Ave., 416-961-9600) for people watching and doing business. Belvedere vodka and soda with olives, please!”

To go for a drink on the weekend

“At my cottage. If I’m in the city there’s so many options—I have a commitment to visit a new bar/restaurant every month so I can explore them all and mix it up.”

Favourite brunch spot

Fresh on Bloor (326 Bloor St. W., 416-531-2635) and Kalendar Koffee House (546 College St., 416-923-4128).”

Top date spot

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Natalie Gee

“It’s time you were gorgeous” is the tagline for Gee Beauty, and the luxe Toronto spa couldn’t have a better ambassador than Natalie Gee. Natalie is the owner (with her mother, Miriam, and sister, Celene) of the pampering destination of choice for many of the city’s chicest women. This October, the Gee team will launch 6 (next door to Gee, at 6 Roxborough St. W.), a concept shop featuring a curated selection of the good life: handmade fragrances, organic beauty products, and cashmere accessories.  

In the meantime, Natalie shared a few of her favourite spots in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week

“During the week I prefer not to drink, so it’s water and lemon for me, but I love to eat at Giancarlo at College and Clinton. I feel like I can leave Toronto and be in Italy in minutes.”

Go for a drink on the weekend (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“Definitely vodka on the rocks, lots of lemon, lots of ice. Place for me is Amber. Always great music, and with this beautiful weather, the patio is perfect.”

Place to buy books or magazines

“I love the store Type (394 Spadina Rd). Aside from biographies – I’m currently reading Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy by Isadore Sharp - it’s magazines all the way. I try to read different kinds, from fashion to decor to business. Lately, it’s been a combo of GQ, Esquire, and Details. Amazing what a girl can learn.”

Top brunch spot

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Kristen Gale

As her photo suggests, Kristen Gale is about as shy and retiring as a chartreuse manicure. Her job, as the founder of the hugely popular Ten Spot beauty bar, gives her ample opportunity to use words like “Par-tay” and “Zazam!” (When she does it, it’s totally endearing. Trust.) But behind all the fun lies a serious businesswoman. This month, Ten Spot is celebrating four years of beautifying Queen West, as well as the success of its new Leslieville location.

If you’ve been to Ten Spot, you’ll understand its appeal. Billing itself as the anti-spa experience (“screw ‘relaxation’!”), Ten Spot’s soundtrack is more Arcade Fire than loon call. It screens vintage “girl” movies, and offers both A-list beauty brands (Dermalogica, LoveFresh), and the friendliest service on the block(s).

Kristen shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink during the week?

Camp 4.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

Henhouse.”

Top brunch spot

Naco on Dundas.”

Take-out go-to

“New Ho King (416 Spadina Ave., 416-595-1881) in Chinatown.”

Favourite grocery store

Whole Foods.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Jules Power

After honing her craft at a constellation of A-list Canadian fashion brands—Roots, Danier, Joe Fresh Style—Jules Power is now a rising star in her own right. The Toronto designer launched an eponymous collection earlier this year, and the city’s stylish citizenry took notice. (Those ultra chic grey sweatpants you see everywhere? Yep, they’re her’s.) Jules’s Fall 2010 collection includes staples of the current Ossington look—floral dresses, plaid and denim shirts—but created with such care that they’re drained of any ironic hipster striving: They’re simply very, very nice clothes that happen to be favoured by cool downtown girls.

Jules shared a few of her favourite spots in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Top date spot

“If we ever get a night out again, my husband and I will go to Le Select bistro on Wellington for the city’s best French food and stunning interior.”

Take-out go-to

“Indian food! Gandhi (554 Queen St. W., 416-504-8155).”

Place to meet a friend for coffee

Cherry Bomb on Roncesvalles or Pusateri’s in Yorkville.”

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“Lucky for me, Parts and Labour just opened down the street from my studio so I’m hoping to make it ‘my local’!  I’ll order a martini or a glass of rosé.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

Terroni on Queen West is still my hands-down favourite for dinner and drinks on the weekend.”

Top brunch spot

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Natasha Penzo

In the Toronto fashion scene, Natasha Penzo is a stylish omniscient presence. As the media relations manager for ASC PR, Natasha boasts an A-list client roster, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Thompson Toronto, and the jewellery designer Jenny Bird. Natasha is also active on the philanthropy circuit—she’s on the executive committee for Operanation, the fundraiser for the Canadian Opera Company, and she’s the co-chair of this year’s Boobyball, the annual ultra-glam event in support of Rethink Breast Cancer.

Natasha shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“The Park Hyatt rooftop is one of the most charming spots in the city. I love that they give you cozy blankets on the patio to take in the spectacular view. My drink of choice is a full-bodied French Bordeaux.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

“The Spoke Club patio or the Thompson Hotel rooftop patio for mojitos.”

Top brunch spot

“Patachou (1120 Yonge St., 416-927-1105) is the greatest café-patisserie. Café, pain au chocolat, and the weekend paper….”

Take-out go-to

Rebel House for great pub food or Seven East in Rosedale for delicious Thai.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Alia and Jamil Juma

Sibling rivalry is an ancient story, but sibling collaboration is a rarer tale. For Jamil and Alia Juma, unexpected teamwork is the secret to their success. The brother-sister designers have been working together since 2003, when they launched JUMA, a line of cool, casual men’s and women’s clothing. They design the line together, then Alia, a former model, handles product design and development, while Jamil, a former investment strategist, focuses on branding.

Originating from a studio on Wallace Avenue, JUMA is carried across the globe, in boutiques from Toronto to Tokyo, Vancouver to Israel, and at Henri Bendel’s in New York.

The designers shared a few of their favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

Alia: “Sweaty Betty’s (13 Ossington Ave., 416-535-6861) for a glass of red.”

Jamil: “The Beaver (1192 Queen St. W., 416-537-2768) for a rye and ginger.”

To go for a drink on the weekend

Alia: “I rarely go out on weekends unless it’s to a concert or event.”

Jamil: “I like going to friends’ houses on the weekend.”

Top brunch spot

Alia: “I don’t go for brunch, ever. I always at work at that time.”

Jamil: “Ditto.”

Favourite overall retail experience

Alia: “I love going to Serpentine (Toronto), Pho Pa (Toronto), Oak (New York), and Joyce (Hong Kong) because of their service.”

Jamil: “I enjoy Serpentine (Toronto), Sydney’s (Toronto) as well as Uniqlo (NY, Hong Kong). Everyone is passionate about the items they have and very knowledgeable.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Marika Brose

Marika Brose has the equivalent of a fashion phD. Check out a snapshot of her CV: Brose studied design in Paris and merchandising management in New York. She worked in design for Chloé, AlexSandro Palombo and Pink Tartan, then as a buyer for retailers like Bloomingdales. She tested her marketing mettle at Holt Renfrew and at Prada’s Milan headquarters. Now, with Brose, her own line, she’s among the head of the class of Toronto fashion designers. Made up (mostly) of chic and sexy cocktail dresses, Brose is for “women who like to go out.”

Marika shared a few of her own favourite spots to go out in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)

“Our rooftop patio. My boyfriend has transformed it into Mykonos—or, at least, our version of Mykonos. We’re hoping it will tide us over until we retire there. Drink of choice is Prosecco.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

“The Thompson’s rooftop patio.”

Top brunch spot

“The Granite Club makes a mean Eggs Benny, and who wouldn’t enjoy the view of the ravine and red-clay tennis courts?”

Place to buy books or magazines

“I have too many magazines—I’ve been collecting Vogue since 1982.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Tatiana Read

Tatiana Read in front of Mark Fast’s Luminato installation. Photography by Dave Chang.

As one of the city’s favourite publicists, it’s Tatiana Read’s job to know everybody, but few make networking look so effortless. Less than a year ago, she struck out on her own, founding Knot PR, a boutique PR agency. Her clients are a stylish mix, encompassing fashion (Mark Fast, Plutino Group, and Red Canoe, to name a few), design (Templar Hotel) and nightlife (Parts & Labour).

She’s active on the philanthropy circuit too, serving on committees as diverse as Paws for the Cause and the Arnold Party, the glam gala for the Business of the Arts.

Tat shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and what’s your drink of choice?)
“Little Italy. Most places. I like Giancarlo’s or Il Gatto Nero (720 College St., 416-536-3132).”

Go for a drink on the weekend
Parts & Labour! The sea bass carpaccio is my fave app.”

Top brunch spot
The Senator, or my sister’s place where I get to eat chocolate croissants with my niece and nephew. Oddfellows always hits the spot too.”

Place to work out
“I joined Totum Life Science on King Street and train with Nicole. I’m new to the gym but I’m quickly learning that it makes a big difference, especially where stress management and keeping focused are concerned.”

Pho, dim sum or both? (And top spots for both)
“Pho Phuong (1603 Dundas St. W., 416-536-3030), for sure. I’m not big on dim sum, but my sources recommend Bright Pearl at Spadina and St. Andrews.”

Place to buy books or magazines
“I always like to read magazines at Indigo in the Manulife centre before catching a movie at the Varsity but I buy them at Presse Internationale (622 College St., 416-535-9666). I don’t buy books so much as borrow them from well-read friends and better-read siblings.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Sara Graham

Sara Graham has worn a lot of stylish hats in this city: She’s been a designer (of Sister Underwear, a lingerie and loungewear line that she launched and managed from 2003 to 2006), and the editor-in-chief of Vervegirl and Fuel. Now she’s focusing on her freelance writing career (with recent credits in Sweetspot.ca and ELLE Canada), her role as communications director for The Society, and being a committee member for Artbound.ca, a Free the Children initiative.

Sara (pictured above in Singapore) shared a few of her favourite places in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Top date spot

“If it’s a nice evening, then the rooftop terrace at Tati on Harbord is picture perfect. I’ve always liked the cozy booths at Lolita’s Lust on the Danforth—the atmosphere and the food never disappoint. For a hideaway that’s more hipster, you can’t go wrong with a table (inside or out on the patio) at Foxley on Ossington.”

Favourite vintage shop

“I don’t buy a lot of vintage…but if I did, then I’d certainly trust Kealan at 69 Vintage to hook me up.”

Place to buy birthday presents

“I used to have my own lingerie/loungewear line so I’d always let my girlfriends choose presents from the collections. Now that I no longer produce the range, I pick up gorgeous items from my friend Christina Remenyi at Fortnight Lingerie. For the new mummies in my life and other general gifts, I head to Ziggy’s at Home on College Street.”

Favourite place to go for a drink on the weekend (and drink of choice)

“It’s summer so anywhere with a patio will do. I’m partial to the Drake’s street-level patio and Terroni’s on Queen West. A Blanche de Chambly at the former, and a glass of red wine at the Italian resto, of course!”

To go for a drink on the weekend

“I live on Harbord (at least until the end of June) so my favourites on College are Kalendar and Utopia.”

Continue reading

TOP SPOTS: Emily Hampshire

Photo courtesy of Tim Leyes.

Originally from Montreal, actress Emily Hampshire lived in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood before striking out for L.A. Her latest gig is as the heroine of The Trotsky, Jacob Tierney’s film about a teenager (Jay Baruchel) who believes he’s the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. Emily is Alexandra, the no-nonsense object of his affection and a luminous on-screen presence.  (Think Ally Sheedy’s beautiful younger sister.) She’s especially winning in the scenes with Jessica Paré, who plays her BFF.

Next up? Die, a thriller with Elias Koteas, and Notre Dame de Grace, which reunites her with Baruchel and Tierney (with Scott Speedman thrown in for good measure).

Emily shared some of her favourite spots in Toronto with The Style Notebook.

Best sushi

“Sushi Island (571 College St., 416-535-1515). All you can eat for $12, but you have to finish your plate or they make you feel bad about it.”

Favourite place to go for a drink during the week (and drink of choice)

“I’m a real homebody so the next best thing to Dial-A-Bottle (which, I must say is a pretty fantastic service provided in the T-dot) was to walk two doors down to the Brass Taps Pub (934 College St., 416-533-4333) for a glass of red wine on their back patio.”

Go for a drink on the weekend

“The only thing that would get me to go to a bar on the weekend is the word ‘karaoke…?’ and then you’d find me filling out my song selections at the Gladstone Hotel (having had more than ‘a drink’).”

Continue reading