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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Express Your Artistic Side in Toronto

With its thrum of galleries, dives, and hipster hideouts, the T.O.—as young Ontarians call it—radiates heat throughout the winter.


1. Where to Stay

The Gladstone  

At the refurbished Gladstone Hotel (from 165 CAD) in scruffy Parkdale, 37 artist-designed rooms and suites—ranging from a cozy Canuck cabin to a quirky teen boudoir—epitomize the area's tacky-trendy vibe. The hotel's Melody Bar plays host to raucous karaoke showdowns (often pitting Blondie versus Rush) on Thursday through Sunday nights.

With its myriad of artists in residence, bars, and exhibition spaces, the Drake Hotel (from 179 CAD) has become a primary driving force behind the Queen West neighborhood's gentrification. The hotel's high-ceilinged rooms and private yoga studio appeal mainly to globe-trotting creatives, whether film-festival directors or revolving members of local rock collective Broken Social Scene.

For a more refined crash pad, check into the Hôtel Le Germain (from $245 CAD), a sleek and modern boutique in the midst of Toronto's downtown. Stocked with all manner of scented soaps and Zen-inspired linens, the rooms seem custom-suited to calming overstimulated minds.

Published on Dec 13, 2006 as a web exclusive.

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