Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Besides movie-marathoning and endurance-partying, the real amateur sport at the Toronto International Film Festival has become celebrity-spotting. With A-listers like Ryan Gosling, Emma Watson, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, and Jennifer Lawrence in town, the stakes are higher than ever!
Luckily, those without VIP access to exclusive parties or passes to the festival's gala screenings still have plenty of opportunities to scope some stars around town -- especially in the trendy areas of Yorkville, Queen West, and King West. Here are some good bets on where to scope out the stars:
Eating and Drinking
Celebs are people too, who need to nourish their bodies just like anyone else. Well, not totally like everyone else, since they'll most likely be found at Toronto's swankiest spots, like these:
Sassafraz: This golden-hued restaurant in Yorkville is an annual favourite for celebs like Susan Sarandon and Colin Firth. While you're in the 'hood, stop by...
One: Celebrity chef Marc McEwan's Yorkville restaurant is a top destination for Toronto's rich and famous. Located in the luxurious Hazelton Hotel, it'll be especially swarming with celebs during TIFF.
Brassaii: Just steps from the TIFF Bell Lightbox, this King West restaurant will be a popular choice among celebrities not wanting to stray far away from TIFF headquarters.
Sweaty Betty's: Not all celebrities are into fancy martinis and high heels. After a long day of press conferences and interviews, find stars kicking back and enjoying a beer at this Ossington bar. Venture up the street for more likely star sightings.
Drake Hotel: With a lounge, an underground bar, and a rooftop patio located on the Queen West strip, it would be weird not to see a familiar face in this place.
Soho House: For the past few TIFFs, a pop-up of the members-only Soho House has attracted a star-studded party thrown by David Cronenberg. Pasts guests have included George Clooney, Jimmy Kimmel, and Keira Knightley! Soon, a permanent Soho House will take root next to the Shangri La Hotel.
Starbucks: With all the movie-going and partying, celebs are going to need some fuel to get through TIFF alive. Though Toronto is full of great indie cafes, the 'Bucks will always be a popular choice for stars new to the city, especially close to Yorkville, the Lightbox, and nearby theatres.
The festival life can be tiring, so celebrities will need a comfy place to rest their beautifully groomed heads -- and to exercise on state-of-the-art equipment, and to imbibe at some of the city's finest restaurants and bars. Catch celebs in relaxation mode in some of these spots.
Thompson Hotel: Names like David Cross, James Franco, and Marion Cotillard can be found at the Thompson, one of Toronto's hottest night's stay with a killer rooftop patio and view of the city.
Soho Met Toronto: Kitty corner to the Thompson, and conveniently located only a few blocks away from the Lightbox, this glamorous refuge will be a reliable spot for spotting stars as they're ushered from door to car, and back again.
The Hazelton: Torontonians, get your binoculars out and your camera timers on. This is the place to find celebs on their way to and from events, screenings, or just exploring the city. Jon Hamm, Paul Haggis, and Bono are all former guests.
Heaven forbid two stars wear the same thing to the same premiere afterparty. So whether it's last-minute wardrobe emergencies, a self-congratulatory gift on a film well-received, or even just a souvenir from Toronto, celebs can likely be seen dropping a tiny bit of their wealth of cash at these locations.
Holt Renfrew: Virtually all of Yorkville's shops and boutiques have star-sighting potential, but above all is Canada's biggest high-end department store at Bloor and Yonge. Names like Penelope Cruz, Viggo Mortensen, and newly-engaged Elisha Cuthbert and Dion Phaneuf have gone on TIFF sprees there in the past.
Kensington Market: For celebrities who have a more unique style and a schedule with room for browsing, then Kensington's various vintage shops are the place to go.
When going out celeb-watching, always be sure to pack comfortable (but fashionable) shoes, lots of water, and your credit card. Because it's one thing to say you saw Ryan Gosling eating at Sassafraz, but it's another to say you were having a drink beside him. Happy TIFF!