Day time confessions of a Toronto TIFF virgin


The Bell Lightbox, on the corner of King and John Streets, home of TIFF. It contains five theatres, two restaurants, and an impressive film library and gift shop. This photo was taken in September of 2012, during TIFF.

For over a decade, I ignored the seductive charms of TIFF. Because I dislike line-ups, and I do not enjoy being indoors during the golden days of autumn, I have always resisted its sirene call.  Then I discovered that lines at the theatres, which seem terminally long, due to great organization, they enter in about ten or twelve minutes. To avoid being indoors too many hours, I decided to begin my romance of TIFF with a modest package of five tickets.

Having decided to allow the lights, films, and action surrounding the festival to seduce me, I bought a membership. When I received the official TIFF booklet, I found it a daunting task to choose from among the over 400 films being offered. However, I discovered that if I Googled a subject (e.g action films, foreign, Hollywood, sports, gay, comedy etc.), I could then click on the film titles that interested me and quickly receive a synopsis of the films.

Then I ordered my tickets on-line. However, it was necessary to pick up the tickets in person at the box office. I visited the TIFF site in the Metro Hall, but the crowds were impossible, even at the subscribers’ section. I had no films booked during the first two days of the festival, so I waited for 48 hours. When I went to pick-up my tickets, there were three people in the line. A lesson well learned. 


Crowds at Princess of Wales Theatre await the arrival of the stars for a gala performance.

Friday afternoon I strolled King Street to capture the mood on the street. The buzz was electrifying. I could feel the excitement of the crowds, and although thousands were doing the same as I was, it was easy to move around without being jostled. People talked and joked with strangers, shared information, and  chatted freely. Sidewalk cafes and restaurants were full and the conversations were animated as film-goers discussed their choices and told of films that they were planning to attend.

Photos taken during the afternoon.

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     All afternoon the crowds were already gathering at the Bell Lightbox

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At the Roy Thomson Hall, the line-ups for the evening’s gala were also building.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the art installations that were commissioned by TIFF. Some of them were amazing. In the next post, there is a photo of the canvas on the left, when it is completed.

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The red carpets were ready, and although films had been screening since the early morning hours, the real action would begin after sun set.

For photos of night scenes on King Street during TIFF: 

Other posts about happenings in Toronto and its history, follow the links:

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The CNE Air Show is over for another year and the Ex is closed.

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The new Toronto Aquarium at the base of the CN Tower, due to open in simmer – 2013

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Construction at Clarence Square on the east side of Spadina, north of Front Street.

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The northwest corner of Queen and Spadina where a McDonald’s is located.

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The history of the site of the Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Spadina and Dundas Streets.

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The historic home now occupied by Paul Magder Furs

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The 1890s church of St. Margaret’s Anglican on Spadina south of Queen street. The church is now hidden from view by a modern addition across the front of it.

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The iconic Balfour Building at Spadina and Adelaide Streets

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House on Spadina south of Dundas Street – today it is difficult to believe that it was once a prestigious residential building

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The vanished underground men’s washroom from the early nineteenth century, located in the middle of the street at Queen and Spadina.

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The site of the Consumers’ Glass Building at 239-241 Spadina, south of Dundas Street. It is presently under restoration.

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2 thoughts on “Day time confessions of a Toronto TIFF virgin

  1. Hi Doug I love your blog, Any chance you could do a piece on the Cherry St train (signal?) house. Always wondered about its history.

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