We’ve rounded up the best reads, eats, arts and shopping to get you through those long cold nights in deepest, darkest winter.
A noirish encounter with an unnamed art thief helped launch author Joshua Knelman on a four-and-a-half-year dig in the dirt of Canada’s underground art world. His book, Hot Art, reveals a booming trade in illicit art that defies Thomas Crown Affair stereotypes and directly implicates the legitimate art establishment. Hot Art is devoid of stuffiness and reads more like detective fiction than art history. Watch for repeat appearances by Toronto art lawyer Bonnie Czegledi.
In Suits, a legal drama that premiered in Canada this fall, Toronto native Patrick J. Adams stars as Mike Ross, an uneducated fraudster with a photographic memory who makes a living taking the LSATs for the less gifted. After ducking into an interview to avoid some cops, he talks his way into a job at an NYC law firm. The premise might elicit an eye roll, but the execution is surprisingly charming. And let’s face it, even with a law degree, most of us feel like we’re faking it from time to time. On Mondays at 10 p.m. on Bravo!.
This winter, upgrade your wardrobe without braving the cold. Former lawyer for MTV Jan Gandhi and her business partner, marketing strategist Nancy Sahota, launched the Peacock Parade in July 2011. The site offers up to 70 percent off designer brands like Pink Tartan, Missioni and Rich & Skinny Jeans — but only if you sign up for the email notifications online, and pounce on the deal as soon as it becomes available. Deals last for five days, but hot-ticket items can sell out in a day. thepeacockparade.com
Nomad describes itself as a supplier of menswear for the discerning gentlemen — but think Queen Street, not Savile Row. The Toronto locations — at 819 Queen Street West and 431 Richmond Street West — strike the perfect balance between serenity and opulence, and the website does the same. Shop online from a selection of local and international designers — Wings + Horns, A.P.C., Janya Watanabe — and you’re guaranteed to rock casual Fridays. nomadshop.net
Need an outfit for the holiday party but can’t get away from your desk? Toronto-based website Rent Frock Repeat rents designer dresses, by the likes of Christian Siriano and Badgley Mischka, at a fraction of their ticket prices. Shipping’s included, complete with pre-addressed return packaging. The site provides detailed measurement charts to help you find the right fit, plus they send the dress in two sizes just in case. Now that’s pretty frockin’ awesome. rentfrockrepeat.com
Unwind over a steaming plate of gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and pancetta ($16/$22), or opt for the saffron risotto with braised ossobuco and bone marrow butter ($16/$22). New Cabbagetown joint F’Amelia serves up northern Italian cuisine in a cozy old cottage. Executive chef Maurizio Verga hails from Splendido, where he served as sous chef under Victor Barry. Look for a spot near the imported Italian pizza ovens and open with the antipasto misto ($20/$28), featuring a selection of house-made salami.
12 Amelia Street, Toronto, 416-323-0666, famelia.com
Definitely not the ballet
Featuring music by Jon Hopkins, an electronica and ambient musician who has worked with Coldplay and Massive Attack, this modern dance performance, Entity, by British choreographer Wayne McGregor and his company, Random Dance, is not to be missed. Ten barely clad dancers move in ways that blur the boundaries between body and technology. The show makes its way to Canada as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s 2012 World Stage. February 28 to March 3, $45, 416-973-4000, tickets.harbourfrontcentre.com