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Eric Lurio Headshot

Here We Go Again! The Toronto Film Festival is about to start!

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It's all about Yonge Street. It starts at Lake Ontario, and theoretically goes all the way to Minnesota. To the west one block is Bay, where Toronto's financial district lay, and to the west of that is University and so on and so forth until you reach Spadina. Between Younge and Spadina is everywhere you need to be to properly do the Toronto Film Festival.

Crosswise between these two streets is Bloor Street and a block north of that, Cumberland Terrace, which almost qualifies as a shopping mall, were traffic not allowed. There you are: 75% of the festival, in three venues: The Varsity multiplex in the Manulife Center on the South side of Bloor, the Cumberland triplex, just west of Bay, and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Bloor and Queen's Park just west of the fiveplex. Everything is within walking distance, and if it isn't the two major subway lines meet on Yonge and Bloor, and you can get pretty much anywhere downtown from there in a matter of minutes.

Every morning, I would get up at my "hotel" on Augusta Avenue, in the Kensington district (I like it because it's cheap and the neighborhood is funky), go south one block to Dundas, then one block east to Spadina, take the northbound bus to Bloor, and take the subway three stops. You can get from the subway to the Manulife center without going aboveground, which is great when it rains. Then I spend most of the day at the Varsity theater, where 60% of the press screenings are, the other 40%, except for a few at the ROM, are at the Cumberland. That's the festival for me, and much of the press.

Food? The supermarket at basement of the Manulife center has really good take-out, and Toronto has the best hot dog carts in the World. What more do you want?

Oh...okay.

The celebrities hang out at primarily four hotels, the Four Seasons, (Avenue Road) which is where the festival had its headquarters for a number of years; the Park Hyatt across the street, has all temporary offices of the major studios, the Intercontinental (220 Bloor St. W.), where all the other movie studios have their temporary offices and do a bunch of press junkets; The Drake, which is south on Queen street, is really expensive, (if you can afford a suite here, you can afford a limo), and the Sutton place on Bay, which is where the all the press and industry offices and events are. If you cannot find a celebrity coming out of one of those places, you're not trying.

If you're not with the press, you can use the above information anyway. There are plenty of public screenings at the above locations. Plus there's the Scotiabank multiplex down on 259 Richmond Street West, just south of King Street. They got good pizza. The other venue you can get into is the Ryerson (getting into a Gala? NOW?!?!?! fuggetaboutit), but that's kind of out of the way....

As to food, if you're up around Bloor and Cumberland, there are dozens of resturaunts. You can tell which is best by the length of the lines outside the places. I recommend Hemingway's, it's good and cheap. But that's just me.