Tag Archives: Toronto

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Ono sushi

Image from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

I can’t quite put my finger on when – it was more than a decade ago now – but, Toronto became obsessed with sushi.  There are three places within 10 minutes walk from my home and that’s light compared to the sushi to population density ratio downtown.

Sushi from Omi on Carlton Ave in Toronto

Image via Omi Sushi

There are lots of budget sushi takeaways (great in their own rite) but these are balanced by a few really wonderful spots, Nami and Omi to name a couple.  Places that treat sushi like an art.

Sushi on a board by Omi Sushi, 234 Carlton Ave in Toronto

Image via Omi Sushi

But if it’s the best sushi in the world that you seek, it’s not surprising that you’ll need to travel east to Japan.  Once there however, you might be shocked to learn the world’s best sushi is served up in a humble ten seat place located in a Tokyo subway station.

Jiro Ono, world's best sushi chefImage from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Sukiyabashi Jiro, is the first sushi-only restaurant to ever receive 3 Michelin stars,  it’s chef and proprietor, Jiro Ono, is considered the world’s best.

Chef Jiro Ono at work with his sonImage from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, courtesy Magnolia Pictures

At 85 Jiro loathes holidays, or any reason that would keep him from his sushi bar.  And Jiro, who has been practising his art for most of his life, isn’t done evolving.  He runs his little restaurant from sun-up to well into the night, with his eldest son, Yoshikazu, by his side.  His son will one day be responsible for continuing Jiro’s legacy.    Indeed it’s this relationship between father and son, along with a mediation on the quest to perfect an art, that has formed the basis of a new documentary film called Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

The film also asks if it’s true that doing what you love means never working a day, or whether you just work that much harder, with tolls on other facets of life.  The film is, as Anthony Bourdain reviews, “Thrilling and beautiful”, perfect for foodies and anyone else for that matter.

The film is currently playing here in Toronto at TIFF Lightbox and then makes the circuit through our city’s rep cinemas.  If you’re in the US, here’s the film’s list of local showtimes.

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Bloor Hot Docs Cinema – the Grand Opening

Bloor Cinema interiors

All images via Bloor Hot Docs, photo credit Joseph Michael

Toronto is a good city for film.  We’ve got the Toronto Film Festival, with its newly established home at the Lightbox, a cinema and gallery space that curates unique film, art, and memorabilia programming year-round in addition to workshops and lectures.  We’ve even got a handful of nabes still in operation: many of these single screen gems will be celebrating their centennial in the not-too-distant future.  These cinemas, preserved in part, and frequented by, the foot traffic of their communities, offer a nostalgic throw-back to a bygone era before the multiplex, when cinema was considered art and a reason to go out, dolled up even.

The newly renovated Bloor Cinema

Another incredible film festival operating out of Toronto is Hot Docs, a documentary film festival.  Each spring, Hot Docs brings more than 150 documentaries from Canada and around the world to the screen during their annual juried festival showcasing some of the word’s best in the genre.  And the best news?  Hot Docs recently acquired the historic Bloor Cinema, a century old Toronto landmark and have spent the last 9 months painstakingly renovating it, returning the grand dame to her former glory, while also bringing in state of the art presentation technology (frequent patrons of the old Bloor Cinema, an institution in itself, will be pleased to know this includes a new sound system, woot, woot).  The Bloor Cinema is now Hot Docs’  permanent home for its annual festival as well as a screening venue for year-round documentary programming, and will function as hub for, and host to, both special documentary events and smaller film festivals.  They’ll even bring back some of the Bloor’s special programming.  Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is one of the world’s only documentary cinemas.

Rows of seats at Bloor cinema

At the entrance hall of Bloor

The theatre hosts an open house today and tomorrow with a free screening of Waste Land about renowned Brazilian artist Vik Muniz who uses garbage and food waste to create his socially conscious pieces. I’m going later this week to see Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.

And then later in the month I hope to be back for a pretty awesome  looking doc on the life of Charles and Ray Eames, AKA Mr. and Mrs. Mid Century modern, who together transformed American design.  The doc is entitled Eames: The Architect and the Painter, which I’ll happily report on here.  Here’s the trailer:

Bloor Hot Docs Cinema’s full monthly schedule can be found here. If you’re a lover of cinema and fan of documentaries, consider supporting them with a membership or discount card.   At any rate, I wish them the absolute best of luck!

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Douglas Coupland at the Daniel Faria Gallery

Daniel Faria Galleryall images from Daniel Faria Gallery

Daniel Faria Gallery is a new Toronto gallery space that showcases a number of exciting Canadian artists.  Located in a warehouse space on a mostly residential street this gallery is so nondescript that you might not even know it’s there, but luckily for me it’s in my neighborhood so I was able to pop in earlier this week to see the new Douglas Coupland exhibit.

Sworn to

Fun, Loyal to None, 2011

Fun, Loyal to None, 2011

Canadian art/literary icon Douglas Coupland’s exhibit is called “Welcome to the Twenty-First Century” and it features a number of recent installations and paintings. Coupland’s usual themes of media, pop culture and Canadiana are evident in all of his pieces, but so is his eye for colour and design.

Coupland at the Daniel Faria Gallery in TorontoThompson Pine Experiment, 2012

Coupland's Exhausted Landscape at the Daniel Faria GalleryThe Exhausted Landscape, 2011

Tom Thompson and Lauren Harris of group of seven fame get a redux in a few of the paintings. The Harris-esque arctic landscape pieces are interesting for the way they break colour and shape down into their graphic elements.

A Deep Meditation on Plastic, Douglas Coupland at Daniel Faria GalleryA Deep Meditation on Plastic, Douglas Coupland

Displayed works of Canadian icon Douglas Coupland at Daniel Faria GallerySixteen Slogans for the Early Twenty-First Century, 2011

The installation pieces are the highlights of the show where the humour and social commentary Coupland is best known for really shine. The spacious and clean setting of the Daniel Faria  gallery gives the work room to breathe, allowing the full impact  of the visuals and concepts to come through.

If you live in Toronto you should take a trip to Daniel Faria and check out the Coupland exhibit. The exhibition runs until April 7th, so you have plenty of time.

Gallery Hours:

Tuesday to Friday, 11:00am-6:00pm

Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm

Happy Friday Everyone!

Posted in Culture, Design | Tagged , ,

Video Tour of Our Showroom

Last month we were thrilled to be featured on the Steven and Chris Show on CBC.  Check out a clip below that includes a tour of our showroom!

Thanks for the opportunity guys!  It was such a privilege (and a lot of fun) to do this!

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At the Design Show with Greg – IDS12

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month Greg takes us to the Interior Design Show in Toronto with a run through of his top finds at this year’s show!

IDS12 Interior Design Show

More than 300 retailers, studios, manufacturers and exhibitors took part in this year’s Interior Design Show here in Toronto.  It was a great show and here’s my round-up of those objects, ideas, and designs that I found fascinating.

The “How Do We Live” Exhibit

An interesting mix of concepts were on display here as designer spaces were showcased within the confines of shipping containers.

"How Do We Live" exhibitwww.caseydesignplan.com

The creative collaboration between Casey Design Planning Group and Design Works Studio was astounding. The collaborators envisioned a design portal that directs us inwards on a sensual journey of exploration and discovery, revealing the vast transformative powers of our imagination.  And I did feel like I was transported into another world, one replete with fantasy peacock walls, stunning marble floors and whimsical art arrangements no less!  It was mesmerizing in it’s beauty, concept and unique oddness.

Studio North

In Studio North, the exhibit that focuses on up and coming star ateliers and design makers, I was most intrigued by the wall coverings by Mushaboom Design.  Their latest line, the Victoria Collection, takes its inspiration from the Halifax Public Gardens.  Mushaboom Design endeavors to create colourful designs and patterns inspired by the world around us, incorporating these elements into wall coverings and textiles that blend seamlessly into a wide range of interiors.  Newly honed technologies such as digital printing have dismantled the old paradigm of mass production and enabled mass customization.

Wall coverings by Mushaboom Designwww.mushaboomdesign.com

I was particularly drawn to the hazy yet colorfully vivid coverings that seemed to reference a bygone era.  Others that I liked had a sense of balance you feel when you surround yourself in nature.  Best of all I could see these wall coverings working remarkably well in both traditional and modern settings.

Also in the section was Ridgely Studio Works, who specialize in contemporary handmade lighting, sculpture and furniture using a wide variety of materials. Under the direction of Zac Ridgely they push the boundaries of form by creating lighting that refuses to blend into its scenery.

Lighting by Ridgely Studio Workswww.ridgelystudioworks.com

I loved the otherworldly “halo” with the metal stick or twigs suspended below, this would look beautiful hanging over a worn and beaten up dining table.

IDS Main Show

Back in the main area of the show I kept finding myself drawn to the stone tile booth and the incredible tiles from Mutina.

These stunning ceramic tiles maintain the raw aspects of traditional earth floors or handmade cement, allowing the material to convey the beauty of its natural characteristics. The special composition of minerals truly creates a material that has both visual depth and a sensuous matte finish.

Tiles by Mutinawww.stone-tile.com

It was hard to believe that these were ceramic tiles! Many had a very old world mosaic quality to them, while others were truly modern. Available in natural and monochrome base colours, the small honeycomb pattern would make a stunning backsplash.


My last pick is from the Student Prototype exhibit and it’s Denis Limitovski’s Amsel Console Table.

The designer was inspired by the ideas of unique perspectives and negative spaces, and this piece of furniture does indeed have a very different look from every angle.

Amsel Console Table

I loved the playfulness of the structure and also how the metal frame was imbedded into the wooden top – I could see this being used as an entry table or perhaps behind a sofa.

Did you make it out to IDS12 this year?  What were your thoughts?