A Q&A with Nicole Ryan, a TL Insider, on fuss-free plans and feeling like a celebrity
Toronto Life Insider is a membership club that gives you front-of-the-line access to the best experiences and offers in the city. With your membership, you get an upgraded subscription to Toronto Life that includes access to signature events (like a taco party with La Carnita), hands-on workshops (hello, cocktail-making classes from top bartenders), hard-to-get tables at some of city’s best restaurants (we’re looking at you, Momofuku Kōjin) and candid conversations between TL’s editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford and some of the city’s most interesting characters.
We chatted with TL Insider Nicole Ryan, an academic advisor for prospective students in the Faculty of Education at U of T, about her experience with the membership so far.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Then my family moved from South Africa to Montreal, and then from Montreal to Toronto. I work within higher education at the University of Toronto. I’m basically an advisor. I help students figure out what they want to do with their life as it pertains to their education.
Which neighbourhood do you live in?
I currently live in Rouge Hill, close to Pickering, but for the longest time I lived at Yonge and Bloor. I had a child two years ago, so that’s why I made the move.
Do you have some favourite local bars and restaurants?
It took some time to find places but one spot I absolutely love is a place called Lamanna’s, that’s a deli, pizza spot and bakery all-in-one. There are two locations but the one I tend to go to is on Kingston Road. It’s my go-to for anything quick and casual. It’s a pretty happening place and it’s always packed—don’t even try going there during lunch hours.
What does your free time look like?
When I lived downtown, I was a real social butterfly. I loved going out. Now that I have a child, I have to carve out the time, but I still try to make it out. Thankfully my partner is very supportive of my active social life! In my free time—when I don’t have my son—you can usually find me downtown trying out a new restaurant. I also love checking out museums, and I’m really into the performing arts and film. I attended a lot of TIFF events, and I love Hot Docs, too.
Why did you become a TL Insider?
A friend of mine was already a TL Insider and she told me about it. I thought it was a great concept. We’re all so busy these days, but with TL Insider, all the events are planned already so you just have to show up. I find it so easy to commit to an event when it’s like: here’s the plan, here’s the date, here’s where it’s happening, this is the cost. I love that it opens up my world to places and events that I may not have known about otherwise. I’ve been to somewhere between 10 and 15 events already. It’s a really cool opportunity to get to know Toronto and the surrounding area.
Any favourite events so far?
I thought Anthony Ricciardi’s Dream Space at Yorkdale Mall was amazing. It was a bunch of his artwork made into Instagrammable spaces. It’s such good marketing, but it was also just a really cool event. Most recently I went to a post-TIFF brunch at Montecito. The restaurant was so beautiful and the food was so good, it was such a pleasant treat. Oh, and I went to the Best Dressed party, too! My friend and I felt like little celebrities, it was an amazing night.
So no regrets?
None at all!
Your friend convinced you to become an Insider. Have you convinced anyone else to do the same?
I’m working on it. I have a friend who goes out so much, she’d be a perfect candidate. I said I would be a TL Insider ambassador, I love it so much.
Be like Nicole and become a TL Insider today!