Year in Review: A look back at all the amazing TL Insider events of 2019

Year in Review: A look back at all the amazing TL Insider events of 2019

It’s been just over one year since we launched our TL Insider membership program—and what a year it’s been. More than 1,500 members have already enjoyed front-of-the-line access to over 150 events, including private dining experiences and exclusive invitations to Toronto Life’s salon-like discussion series. (Sign up today and you too can live your best Toronto life!) Here, a look back at all of TL Insider’s events, including some highlights.


January 13-27: Special access to Canadian Stage’s Tartuffe
January 14: TL Masterclass with Siminovitch Prize–winning artistic director Chris Abraham at Crow’s Theatre
January 15: In Conversation with city councillor Joe Cressy
January 17-20: Special access to The Interior Design Show

January 30: A one-of-a-kind experience at Pearl Morissette
A group of lucky Insiders kicked off the new year with a private dinner at Jordan Station’s Pearl Morissette, named Canada’s Best New Restaurant by En Route. The multi-course tasting dinner was narrated by chef Daniel Hadida, and guests enjoyed pairings from the exclusive lineup of Pearl Morissette Library Wines.


February 3: Mixing it up at PrettyUgly
TL Insiders took part in Sunday School at PrettyUgly for the first of a series of monthly masterclasses and cocktail workshops, led by Robin Goodfellow and the rest of the talented crew at his Queen West hot spot. (We’re positive the Insiders that took part are going to wow party guests with their new skills this holiday season.)

February 7: The Homecoming celebrating La Carnita’s seventh birthday at One Method
February 24: R&D Nights with Toronto Life at The Chase
February 24: Another Sunday School Cocktail Workshop at PrettyUgly
February 26: In Conversation with international speaker, community leader and social entrepreneur Samra Zafar
February 27: R&D Nights with Toronto Life at Actinolite
February 27: Special access to TO Live’s Dance Me
February 28: Special access to Toronto Winter Brewfest


March 11: R&D Nights with Toronto Life at Tanto
March 12: TL Masterclass with city builder, Raj Kothari
March 13: Canadian Stage Revisor Experience with post-show Q&A with Artistic Director, Brendan Healy
March 13: Hexagon collaboration dinner
March 19: Toronto Life Best Restaurants event
March 20: R&D Nights with Toronto Life at Parcheggio
March 22: Special access to Evermore Theatre’s Dry Powder
March 26: In Conversation with Bruce Linton
March 27-31: Special access to the One of a Kind Show
March 27: Special access to The Musical Stage Company’s Next to Normal
March 28: DaiLo x AngloThai Best Tables event
March 29: Access to Toronto-based artist Anthony Ricciardi’s Dream Space Exhibit Opening


April 3: R&D Night with Toronto Life at Montgomery’s
April 6: Maison Selby sneak-preview dinner
April 10: Special access to the Valkyrie Ink art exhibition
April 14: R&D Night with Toronto Life at Kasa Moto
April 23: In Conversation with chef Paula Navarrete

April 26-May 5: Hot Docs in the city
Rush lines? What rush lines? TL Insiders took advantage of complimentary tickets to last spring’s weeklong documentary festival. The only line they had to wait in was the one for the concession stand.

April 29: Weber Grill x DaiLo Best Tables event


May 5: Spring Picnic at Dufferin Mall
May 6: In Conversation with Derek Black and Allison Gornik
May 7: TL Masterclass with Canadian writer and artist Jordan Tannahill
May 10: Special access to the Creative Works Conference
May 14: Special access to U-Feast’s Rioja Dinner
May 19: Tanto Pop-up with London chef Scott Hallsworth
May 22: Dining Experience at Founder Bar
May 22: Jeremy Charles cookbook launch event
May 24: Special access to The National Ballet of Canada’s Physical Thinking
May 25: Special access to Greenwood Stakes
May 26: Sunday School at PrettyUgly
May 27: Plate Swap dinner at Piano Piano
May 27: Special access to Gambero Rosso Vini d’Italia
May 27: Special access to RamsayTalks with Patrick Radden Keefe
May 28: In Conversation with Airbnb Canada’s director of public policy, Alex Dagg
May 29: Special access to Toronto Dance Theatre’s Marienbad


June 4: R&D Night with Toronto Life at Cava

June 4: A private Warner Bros. party
TL Insiders were invited to join SHAFT star Jessie T. Usher at an exclusive reception held at Bisha Hotel, to celebrate the film’s release.

June 5: Momofuku Kojin’s first birthday party
TL Insiders were treated to a very exclusive R&D Night: an intimate one-year birthday celebration at Momofuku Kōjin, Toronto Life’s best new restaurant of 2019. Executive chef Paula Navarrete (who just recently moved to the US of A) hosted the evening, and Insiders were treated to some of the most exciting food in the city—not to mention some delicious sour beer, sake, champagne and wine pairings.

June 6: Future of Transportation panel event at WeWork
June 6: Special access to a French dinner with winemaker Ophélie Loubersac at Vantage Venues

June 11: A west-end kitchen party
TL Insiders joined the team at Donna’s for a special family-style supper shindig at Donna’s, which holds the No. 2 spot on Toronto Life’s Best New Restaurants list.

June 11: Special access to the patio season launch with The Wine Sisters
June 12: Pasta Masterclass at Parcheggio
June 16: Special access to see Jonathan Antoine in concert
June 19: Special access to Weddingbells: “Something New”
June 25: In Conversation with founder and CEO of knix and knixteen, Joanna Griffiths
June 26: R&D Nights with Toronto Life at Cantina Mercatto

June 27: Puttin’ on the spritz
For one month in the summer, Aperol-loving Torontonians got their fix of that citrusy Italian aperitif at Bar Aperol, a pop-up bar on Queen West. However, TL Insiders had the chance to sip on spritzes before anyone else did, at a members-only preview party.

June 27: Special access to Rosé in the City
June 27: By The Glass wine event at Montecito


July 3: A Masterclass on expanding your brand
TL Insiders took part in an intimate Masterclass with Fatima Zaidi, the CEO and co-founder of Quill and the vice-president of Eighty-Eight Agency. With more than 10 years’ experience in business development, marketing and strategy, Zaidi gave attendees the run-down on the 10 keys to killer brand development.

July 4: Special access to TIFF’s Trivia Showdown
July 4: Playing with Fire/Grilling 101 Masterclass
July 5-6: Special access to Wine Fest Toronto
July 6: Hone Your Knife Skills Masterclass
July 7: Freedom Boat Club’s Big Smoke BBQ
July 7: Sunday School at PrettyUgly

July 8: Duck, duck… duck
In early July, a group of Insiders gathered at Tanto to see up-close how chef Julian Iliopoulos prepares his signature duck dish. It’s called duck al hilo—duck by a thread—for the method in which the meat cooks while dangling over a live fire, resulting in a beautifully golden-crispy duck with plenty of smoke flavour. On this particular evening, it also resulted in an unforgettable meal.

July 9: From Turmeric to Tabouli Masterclass
July 9: Taste of Kentucky dinner at the Spoke Club
July 11: Special access to Toronto Summer Music Opening Night

Jul 11: Cooking with Kelis
Yes, that Kelis. Insiders got up close and personal with the Grammy-nominated artist as she showcased her signature line of barbecue sauces during a cooking demo at the Harbourfront Centre.

July 14: Sunday School at PrettyUgly
July 16: Special access to Drink Toronto’s July patio party
July 17: How to Cinch Ceviche (Sous-Vide Simplified) Masterclass
July 17: Toronto Life’s Garden Party
July 23: Craft Cooking (An Intro to cooking with Craft Beer) Masterclass
July 24: Dining experience at Oakville’s Hexagon
July 25: Pig roast at Stackt Market
July 27: Tamarack Farms Feast at Canoe


August 15: An end-of-summer cocktail soirée by Mercedes-Benz
Insiders enjoyed a night of eating, drinking and networking among luxury cars at Mercedez-Benz’s downtown dealership. There was live entertainment and a sneak peek of what TL Insider had planned for the fall.

August 19: Tromba patio party at Baro
August 20: Maison Selby meets Montreal’s Bar George
August 20: Special access to Drink Toronto’s August patio party
August 21: Special access to BOSS Yorkdale grand opening
August 23: Special access to NULOVE: Rebirth

August 25: A fantastic (and free) feast in the east
Leslieville’s Core Restaurant hosted a complimentary five-course tasting menu of chef Hyun Jung’s delicious dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients. Extra bonus: the dinner included wine pairings.


September 5: Toronto Life’s Best Dressed event
September 6-8: Toronto Life’s Style Lounge

September 11: A first look of Xango
TL Insiders got to check out MasterChef Canada’s Claudio Aprile’s new Nikkei restaurant Xango (that’s pronounced “Chango”) before it opened to the public.

September 12: Special access to Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria

September 14: A red-carpet brunch at Montecito
Insiders celebrated the end of TIFF with a fancy mid-morning meal at Ivan Reitman’s Entertainment District restaurant. Members enjoyed a four-course brunch that featured California-inspired dishes and—because brunch isn’t brunch without booze—wine pairings.

September 17: R&D Night with Toronto Life at Rosalinda
September 18: Special access to Elle Cuisine’s End of Summer party
September 19: TL Wine Club Masterclass hosted by Erin Henderson
September 22: R&D Night with Toronto Life at Arthur’s
September 23: Special access to The Big Social
September 23: Roma DOC Wine Dinner at Deco Restaurant
September 24: New Zealand Naturally Dining Experience at Café Belong
September 30: Malcolm Gladwell VIP Reception and meet-and-greet


October 1-31: Complimentary access to the Textile Museum of Canada
October 3: Pasta Masterclass at Parcheggio
October 4: R&D Night with Toronto Life at the Ritz Carlton
October 4: Special access to FoodBall
October 8: Special access to The National Ballet of Canada’s Giselle

October 9: Communication is key
Who couldn’t stand to improve their communication skills? Executive communication coach Franca Miraglia taught Insiders about the art of storytelling over a little wine and some cheese at Tiger of Sweden.

October 10: Wealthsimple and Willful panel event
October 15: Toronto Cocktail Week’s opening party at Evergreen Brick Works
October 15-20: Special access to Toronto Cocktail Week events and seminars

October 16: In Conversation with Ian Black
Insiders were invited to the Toronto Life offices to listen to senior editor Malcolm Johnston interview Ian Black, the senior director of retail at Shopify. They got the low-down on how he oversees the development of e-commerce, retail, and multi-channel shopping experiences for more than 800,000 merchants.

October 16: A “spirited dinner” at Xango
October 17: Special access to Art Toronto
October 20: Brunch and Bubbles at Auberge du Pommier
October 20: A “spirited dinner” at the Carbon Bar
October 21: Special access to Foreign Affair Winery

October 23: A night to remember
International bestselling author and CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge), invited Insiders to join him at the Costume House in October to discover the secrets of creating and holding on to happy memories, in honour of his latest book, The Art of Making Memories.

October 24: Special access to Salesforce’s Grow your Business event at Stackt Market
October 26: Preview dinner at O&B’s Babel

October 27: An epic night at Canoe
Seven of the city’s top chefs—all Canoe alumni—reunited for one epic event. Guests enjoyed a seven-course meal cooked by chefs including (but not limited to) Grant van Gameren, Doug Penfold and Anthony Walsh. And of course there were wine pairings (we did use the word “epic,” after all).

October 30: Beau’s Beer Dinner at Liberty Commons
October 30: Special access to Crow’s Theatre’s The Flick


November 5: Special access to the Chilean Wine Festival
November 5: Special access to the Patron Pro Competition
November 10: An Italian brunch at Bar Buca Eglinton
November 11: Tourism New Zealand wine dinner at the Chase Fish and Oyster

November 11: A wine maker’s dinner at Bar Buca Eglinton
Italian chef Sarah Ciccolini and Toronto’s own Rob Gentile teamed up to make Insiders a five-course dinner paired with just as many Super Tuscan wines from Ruffino Estates (plus some bonus welcome prosecco).

November 12: Dinner with bourbon pairings at Jump Restaurant
November 12: Special access to Canadian Club’s event featuring David Bensadoun
November 13: TL Masterclass with the president and chief media officer of Havas, Alex Panousis, on the future of media and marketing
November 13: Special access to Antony Ricciardi’s gallery opening at Yorkdale Mall
November 14: Special access to Tiger of Sweden’s 1903 photo exhibit

November 14: A holiday-inspired Masterclass
TL Insiders were invited to a festive Masterclass hosted by chef Dustin Gallagher of People’s Eatery and 416 Snack Bar. It focused on food, culinary and entertainment trends in 2020, and members learned how to cook plant-based dishes for the holidays.

November 17: Dining Experience at Core Restaurant
November 17: Sunday School at PrettyUgly
November 18: Casale del Giglio wine dinner at Coast Restaurant
November 19: Biff’s Bistro x Cheese Boutique dinner
November 19: Le Clos Jordanne relaunch event
November 20: Kamayan feast at Mother Tongue
November 21: Toronto Life’s Most Influential event at Holt Renfrew
November 25: Advance screening of Queen & Slim
November 26: Dinner and karaoke at DASHA
November 27: TL Masterclass and cheese cave tour at Cheese Boutique


December 4: TL Masterclass with writer and communications consultant Bob Ramsay
December 10: In Conversation with Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods
December 10: Special access to Leone Napoli’s Menswear Launch
December 11: Ugly Sweater Kitchen Party at Donna’s
December 13: Special access to the National Builder of the Year Award, being accepted by Masai Ujiri on behalf of the Toronto Raptors
December 16: Scotch and Steak Dinner at Tanto
December 17: McEwan Yonge and Bloor Holiday Shopping Event
December 31: NYE dinner and party at Montecito

Want in on all of this amazing action? Then become a TL Insider today and stay tuned for more announcements and access to incredible cultural events in the city.