Are the doomsayers right? Is it the end for Yorkville as TIFF epicentre?

Are the doomsayers right? Is it the end for Yorkville as TIFF epicentre?

The mean streets of King West (Image: Google Maps)

With the Bell Lightbox TIFF headquarters at King and John finished, doomsayers have begun predicting the demise of Yorkville as the festival epicentre. The new Lightbox—with its five screening rooms, festival programming and trendy new restaurants—is obviously going to provide Yorkville’s facilities with some competition. It’s also across from the Hyatt Regency, the official host hotel, and very close to the Thompson Hotel, where Shenae Grimes, Adrian Grenier and Enrique Iglesias have been spotted recently.

But the Star‘s Rita Zekas thinks the rumours of Yorkville’s demise are overblown. Apparently, celebrities prefer “brand name” hotels, like the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt and the Windsor Arms. TIFF VP Jennifer Bell agrees. “They are brands everyone knows, and they will stay at those hotels. The Thompson Hotel will give the studios some options, but a lot of studios will book talent through familiarity and branding. People like the Hazelton; Brad Pitt loves the Hyatt. It’s easy to hop in the car and come down to King Street.”

And, as Miriam Blumenfeld, a rep for the Bloor Yorkville BIA, told Zekas, “Yorkville is very chi-chi, very prestigious, and it is so safe to walk around Yorkville. The Jonas Brothers hung out at the Starbucks by the Four Seasons—we are very polite stalkers.” Blumenfeld seems to imply that King Street is full of unsavoury characters, a statement contradicted by the fact that King has always been a tourist destination—Roy Thomson Hall, the Princess of Wales Theatre and the row of restaurants don’t exactly scream danger.

Whether we spend our time hunting celebs at the Thompson or Hazelton doesn’t much matter to us (five subway stops isn’t particularly far). As long as the next hip hotel doesn’t open in Scarborough, we’re fine.

Yorkville has own brand of star power [Toronto Star]
• Big Stars Hit Toronto’s Thompson Hotel []