Sep 3, 2011


With an abundance of celebrities, red carpet premieres and roaring after parties, September is truly the most wonderful time of the year in Toronto. From September 8 to 18, the Toronto International Film Festival descends on our beloved city and transforms us into Hollywood of the north. The energy in the city is electric, the (good) restaurants are reservation-only and Yorkville Starbucks are perfect for celeb spotting.

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This year's TIFF guest list is a who's who of Hollywood elite. From George Clooney and Brad Pitt to Jennifer Garner and Blake Lively, the star power will be shining brightly in T.O. Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Michelle Williams, Carey Mulligan, Madonna, Dominic Monaghan, Hugh Laurie and Jennifer Lawrence are among some of this year's must-see attendees. For a full list of A-Listers, click here.

Hazelton Hotel
Hot Spots
Toronto is a big city so you need to be strategic if you want to spot your A-List crush. The majority of celebrity guests camp out at the Four Seasons, Hazelton Hotel and Windsor Arms in the swanky Yorkville area. Reservations should be booked at Hazelton's ONE, Four Season's Studio Cafe, Asuka, Ciao and Cafe Nervosa. For the ultimate celebrity spotting, camp out in one of the four Starbucks in the vicinity (Yorkville, Cumberland, Yonge St and Bloor) - celebrities need their caffeine before their big night! 

If you're partying post-premiere, check out The Avenue at the Four Seasons, the Sky Yard at the Drake Hotel, Goodnight Bar, The Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt, Rooftop at the Thompson Hotel and Nikkia Beach Club. Don't forget to turn on your flash - things might get a little dark. 

Galas For the Win
Gala premieres are the hot tickets during TIFF. With red carpet arrivals, opening remarks and center stage photo opps, galas are the ideal place to soak up the Hollywood vibe. Take last year's premiere of The Town. The entire cast, including Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Jeremy Renner and Rebecca Hall, were in attendance along with their significant others. While the principal cast all took the stage, Ben Affleck welcomed the audience to the show and professed his love for wife Jennifer Garner. I mean, really - when else will you ever hear Ben gushing over Jen? It was priceless.

Must See Films
Movie lovers beware: there are a ton of contenders for this year's TIFF Best in Show. Here's a list of my top galas to attend. 
- Team Pitt! Brad's gracing us with his presence for Moneyball. (September 9, 6:30, Roy Thompson Hall)
- Want a reason to see Ides of March? I'll give you two - George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. (September 9, 9:30 pm, Roy Thompson Hall)
- Can't get tickets to see George Clooney in Ides of March? Don't worry, just head to The Descendants (September 10, 6:00 pm, Elgin)
- Same problem for Ryan Gosling? Check out Drive, also starring Carey Mulligan. (September 10, 9:15 pm, Ryerson)
- Filmed in Toronto, it's only right stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and director Sarah Polley premiere Take This Waltz at TIFF. (September 10, 9:30 pm, Roy Thompson Hall)
- Are you a Jon Hamm fan? He stars in Friends with Kids, produced by wife Jennifer Westfeldt. (September 9, 6:00 pm, Ryerson)
- TIFF goes 3D with The Flying Machine starring Hollywood beauty Heather Graham. (September 11, 12:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2)
- Competitive butter carving never looked so good. Butter stars Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Alicia Silverstone and Ashley Greene. (September 13, 9:30 pm, Roy Thompson Hall)
- Are you a comedy fan? Jason Segal stars in Jeff Who Lives at Home. (September 14, 9:00 pm, Elgin)
- British thriller Page Eight stars Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes (September 17, 9:30 pm, Roy Thompson Hall)

Grab your hottest bag, camera and get your Twitter ready - it's #TIFF11 time!

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