Jan 5, 2021
3 min read

An Art Consultant's Guide to Toronto

Deanne Moser is the founder of DM Public, Canada’s only cultural communications firm that inspires connections between people, ideas and places in the arts space. She is also a board member for 
Luminato Festival Toronto
, Co-Chair for the Art Gallery of Ontario young patron fundraiser, and a committee member for 
Canadian Art Foundation
 and Art Toronto Opening Night. 
Given all of the above, it’s clear she knows her home city like the back of her hand. From the Toronto artists to get to know before you go, to where to find the best fried chicken when you’re there, this is the kind of insight that only a local expert can give. Thank you Deanne!

What do you love most about living in Toronto?

Toronto is the largest city in Canada and is proudly home to some of the most talented, beautiful and diverse people you will ever meet. We’ve got the NBA Champions; a creative hub called 
 founded by The Weeknd’s Ahmed Ismail and La Mar Taylor; a huge international film festival; an all-night free public art exhibition that brings out over a million people; a crazy big and good vibe Caribbean festival; a guy named Drake; and 
 many talents that will change the game on an international level. There is so much momentum in this city and it feels like we are just getting started. 
Dundas West

What’s your favorite part of the city? 

I might be biased, but it’s my neighborhood, West Queen West and Dundas West. It’s home to cool local boutiques like 
100% Silk
, and
. Plus, the iconic
 Drake Hotel
, which essentially birthed the west-end vibe. There’s everything from dive bars to outstanding diverse cuisine. And we have the best city park, Trinity Bellwoods, which is the place to hang out in the summer. 

Best coffee shop in Toronto?

Tokyo Smoke
 – also a cannabis brand. 

Favorite restaurant? 

La Banane
, where you’ll find the best fried chicken in Toronto. Unlike so many restaurants that try to incorporate art, co-owner Sarah Keenlyside is a genius, and has beautiful pieces from artists including Douglas Coupland in her collection. 

Top thing to do in Toronto?

Go to the 
, even if it’s just to step inside the amazing Frank Gehry building. Then, walk around Kensington Market, a beautiful hippy-like area that feels like a blast from the 60s. It also has the best summer Sunday’s bar called 
Cold Tea

Your go-to fitness class?

6IX Cycle
 on Queen West. Pro-tip, book Julie or Calvin’s class.

Favorite bar in Toronto?

Bar Raval
. It’s been around for a minute, but the design and cocktails can’t be beaten. 

And of course, art galleries? 

Power Plant
Patel - Division Projects
Power Plant // Patel – Division Projects
Daniel Faria
Copper Coal
Daniel Faria // Copper Cole

Best hotels (if you didn’t already live here)? 

Toronto has had a huge influx of top international hotels like
 The Ace
The Hudson
, The W, The Andaz, and The 1Hotel. But, if you want to stay local, rest your head at 
The Drake Hotel
 in the West or 
The Broadview
 in East. Both have everything you need to make a work or play trip very fun. 

Which Toronto artists should we get to know before we go?

So many, but here are a few of my favorites – Canadian artists are so much more than landscape painters! 
  • Alex McLeod
    – he is doing mad digital works, concerned with simulation and the transition of matter.
  • Maya Fuhr
    – a photographer that has an incredible editorial eye, she examines the relationship with textiles of dresses as meaning-making. 
  • Rajni Perera
    – she uses her work to address gender submission as a way to reclaim personal power. 
  • Tau Lewis
    – a rising global star, using reclaimed objects for sculpture to tell her diasporic story.
  • Kent Monkman
    – looks at historical Western European and American stories and disrupts the narrative with provocative interventions. 
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