Holiday Feasts at Manulife Centre

The holidays are synonymous with entertaining, but we know that sometimes we don’t have the time to be “the host with the most” between work, taking care of the kids, holiday parties and shopping for gifts.

That’s why we’re bringing you a recipe for a beautiful yet simple starter for when it’s your turn to host this holiday season. It’s elegant, light, and easy to pull together when you don’t have the time to prepare hours or days ahead of time. The best part about it? You can pick up everything for this dish right here at Manulife Centre – including the perfect wine pairing!

Festive Lobster & Lemon Dressed Greens

Serves 4

1 Bunch of Rapini, trimmed

1 Bunch of Asparagus, trimmed

6 Cups of Pre-Washed Spring Mix

8-12 Pieces of Shelled, Cooked Lobster, mix of claws and tails


For Lemon Vinagrette

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste.

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch rapini and asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Strain and cool quickly under very cold water to maintain their bright green colour. Set aside.

Prepare vinaigrette. Simply combine all ingredients for Lemon Vinaigrette in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, toss spring mix, rapini and asparagus in lemon vinaigrette. Divide salad evenly among 4 plates.

Top each salad with 2-3 pieces of cooked lobster from Bloor Street Market. Serve with Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc from the LCBO.


The Gourmet Next Door

Helen Yurman lives across the road from Manulife Centre with her husband. She’s 69 years old with two kids and two grandkids. And she knows good food.

Since she retired, she’s taken cooking classes in France and Italy. She also mastered the sous vide and hosted more than her fair share of dinner parties.

We sat down with Helen in the concourse-level lounge the other day to talk about why Bloor Street Market’s her go-to grocery store.


MC: I see you have a takeout meal from Bloor Street Market.

HY: Yeah, it’s roasted chicken with seared veggies.

MC: Good choice. Healthy.

HY: Yes. That’s what I love about their take-out section. I was debating between this and the seared salmon, but I wanted something warm. It’s cold out there.

MC: How often do you take out from Bloor Street Market?

HY: Much more so now that I have grandchildren. My son drops them off for the day, and I’d rather play with them than cook. Of course, they always want McDonald’s, but not on my watch.

MC: What do they like?

HY: The older one’s all about the sushi. He loves the ginger and the soy sauce. And he’s getting really good with chopsticks. Better than me for sure.

MC: You’re not into the Asian foods?

HY: Actually, I love Asian food. Aisle 5’s my home away from home (editor’s note: Aisle 5 has sauces and marinades from around the world), but that’s also because the younger one’s all about Thai spicy. We don’t like it, but it’s not about us anymore.

MC: Do you bring the grandkids food shopping?

HY: Are you kidding? That’s the best! We couldn’t really do it before because the carts weren’t big enough for them to sit in. But now that the older one can walk on his own, the “Boor Market” is one of his favourite places.

MC: What’s his favourite take-out?

HY: Definitely the chicken fingers. And I can’t blame him. They’re excellent.

Hosting Christmas this year?

Good for you. Someone in every family has to step up, and whether it’s your choice or your turn, you’re doing right by the people you love. Doesn’t get more Christmas-y than that.

On the flipside, hosting is stressful. So we put together a 45-minute plan visit to Manulife Centre for the express purpose of receiving stress.


Stop #1: Parker’s Cleaners (5 min)

Picking an outfit in advance will make the day-of so much easier, and help you avoid the closet-vomit on your bed. Bring your choice in for a dry clean so it’s perfectly pressed for the occasion. We recommend leaving it in the plastic wrapping until the big day.


Stop #2: LCBO (10 min)

Your ideal wine pairing will be less than ideal if the LCBO’s sold out of what you want. Stock up early so you’re good to go with no “uh-oh’s.” And for those guests who prefer shots to chardonnays, you can take the opportunity to refill your liquor cabinet. And don’t leave without a bottle of Bailey’s.


Stop #3: Indigo (10 min)

Every family has two people who can’t sit together, whether they’re too immature when they’re in close proximity or they’re just too shmoopy with each other. Table cards are a great way to avoid this. Indigo has a style for every setting. And while you’re there, you can spend a minute or two in the cooking section to get inspired.


Stop #4: William Ashley (10 min)

Yes, your food will make the event, but your table will set the tone for the evening. And nobody puts dinner decor together better than Ashley’s. Walk through the showroom for a few ideas, and take a few pictures so you know exactly what you’re doing the morning of. Also, have a look at the centrepieces in the under-$100 section. You may find exactly what you’re missing.


Stop #5: The Varsity Theatre (5 min)

Movie passes make the best stocking stuffers. Anyone can use them and everyone has time over the holidays to catch a flick.


Stop #6: Guest services (5 min)

Don’t forget that you’ll get two hours of free parking if you spend $25 or more in the Centre in addition to the free holiday valet service. Just bring your parking ticket and your receipts to the guest services desk on the concourse level.


You’re best to execute this plan the week of December 12th, partly because it’ll give you time to relax before the event, but mostly because the Steve Koven Duo will be here setting the mood with some holiday jazz.


Enjoy the holiday season, and enjoy hosting!

12 Days of Bloor & Better

Our neighbourhood goes all out for the holidays, from the gorgeous decorations in Yorkville to the windows at Holts. This year, we’re joining the festivities in a big way with our very first holiday lounge just inside the Bloor Street entrance.

Relax & Rejoice
Starting December 11th, come take a load off, kick back to some holiday tunes and watch the smiling faces come in with their lists and out with their loot. We’ll have phone-charging stations and free Wi-Fi if you want to send a few selfies to your pals (or to us @ManulifeCentre), and we’ll be serving holiday snacks and drinks throughout the day. Yum!

Munchies & Movies
We’ll be serving holiday food and drinks every day, whether you need some nourishment to get you through the busy shopping season or you want to toast yourself for crossing the last name off your list. And if you stick around a bit, you can catch a festive flick — we’ll be showing a different one every day. Between films, we’ll also be bringing you some exclusive holiday demos you can take in and apply to your preparations. We’ll look at gift thoughts, styling tips and some cooking ideas you might never have thought of but really should, because if there was ever a time in the year to go all out, it’s now.

Speaking of gifts, like last year, we’ll have complimentary gift-wrapping starting December 5th for anything purchased at Manulife Centre to save you time at this busiest of busy seasons. And to save you even more time, we’re offering complimentary valet parking starting December 6th so you don’t have to circle the area looking for a spot. We can tell you right now that it’s going to be busy down here — it already is!

Keep an eye out on our social channels for updates to the holiday lounge schedule, and for any last-minute changes to the movie line-up. And if you have any movie requests, feel free to tweet them to @manulifecentre using the hashtag #movielounge.

The 12 days of Bloor & Better run from December 11th to the 22nd. Whether you’re here to shop or just walking through, stop in for a visit. Ho ho hope to see you!