A Day Off at Manulife Centre

Now that the holidays are behind us and winter has a firm grip on the streets of Toronto, we can’t think of a better time to take a day just for you. So call it in and come into town for the perfect day off at Manulife Centre. Check out our sample itinerary below:


9:45 am: Let us do the parking.

This is a day for you, so let us find the perfect parking spot. When you enter our parkade off Charles Street, head to our new Valet Booth on P1 to take advantage of our Complimentary Valet Parking.


10 am: Indigo for a coffee and a morning read.

Beach-read weather is months away, so make up for it. Grab a cup from the Starbucks on the top floor, a magazine from the stacks next to it and a seat somewhere in the store. If you’re lucky you might find a fellow talented patron tinkling the ivories at Indigo’s piano, setting the tone for a relaxing day.


11:30 am: Work out at The Goodlife

What better way to blow away the cobwebs than a good workout? Luckily we have a Goodlife Fitness onsite to help you get in your daily workout. Not a member? No problem. Ask for a trial visit and check out the chain’s best Toronto club ¾ and the only one with a pool.


12:30 pm: Lunch at Scaccia

This Italian sandwich bar is known for ¾ you guessed it ¾ its scaccias. And while you really should get one if it’s your first time there (we’re big fans of the sausage), the Nicoise Salad is also one of the best in town, and will probably sit a lot better in your stomach afterwards at the movies.


1 pm: Catch a flick at the Varsity

Go for a showing in one of the VIP theatres. Midday screenings are awesome and they’re the perfect way to get your Oscar screenings in before the award ceremony on March 4th.


3:30 pm: Treat yourself.

Get your hair done at Haartek or treat yourself to a luxurious facial at GRATiAE. Don’t forget to pick up some of their amazing products to continue your pamper day at home.


4:30 pm: Grab something to bring home for dinner

Bloorstreet Market’s prepared food section is pretty great. And pair whatever you get with something from the LCBO. It’s just down the hall.


5:00 pm: Redeem your two hours of free parking

It’s nice to get something back. And we’re happy to give it. Saving some money is a great way to cap off your perfect day off.


What would you do with a day off at Manulife Centre? Let us know on social media by tagging us @ManulifeCentre or using #BloorandBetter.

Victoria Day Weekend at the Movies

The first official long weekend of the summer is finally here (took long enough). And though the warmer weather is a fabulous reason to celebrate, so is the kick-off to summer blockbuster season at the Varsity. From long-awaited action and sci-fi sequels, to super early Oscar buzz, the sidewalk isn’t the only thing heating up.

And since you can now order a beer, a cocktail or a glass of premium wine at the Varsity lounge bar and bring it into any theatre with you, it’s the perfect place to raise a glass to the Queen.

So whether you’re honouring your extra day off with a beverage or an arguably more delicious frozen yogurt from the Varsity’s Yoyo’s Yogurt Café, grab a cold one and let’s go to the movies!


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The reunion of the Guardians finds Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) unravelling the mystery of his true parentage. Armed with his family of intergalactic misfits, including a gun-toting genetically engineered raccoon, Peter and the guardians must save the cosmos from the being who created the entire universe. For Marvel lovers and movie buffs alike, it’s a feel-good movie that’s easy to love.


I, Daniel Blake

Winner at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, it tells the story of a gruff but good man down on his luck after a heart attack. A quiet observation about the triumphs and defeats of daily life, watch as Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) fights for his dignity and transforms the lives of those who struggle around him.



When Everett Lewis hires a fragile yet bright-eyed artist Maudie as his housekeeper, the two soon find themselves falling in love. Said to be the first Oscar-worthy performance of 2017, Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke star in this unlikely romance.


Their Finest

Set in 1949 London, Catrin Cole is hired as a scriptwriter for British propaganda films. When her natural flair gets her noticed, she is propelled into the epic feature film world.


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Acclaimed director of Snatch and Sherlock Holmes, Guy Richie freshens up the classic Excalibur myth with his trademark high-octane style.


Bon Cop Bad Cop 2

A francophone cop and Anglophone RCMP officer team up once again to investigate a Canadian auto-theft ring. With even more action packed into this amazing sequel, the mis-matched duo soon get in over their heads with the Italian mob.



The latest from Jill-of-all-trades-comedian Amy Schumer convinces her ultra-cautious mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) to join her on vacation and the two find themselves on a jungle misadventure. Awesome comedic chemistry makes for some laughably weird mother-daughter moments.


The Lost City of Z

Journey deep into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century with explorer Percy Fawcett. It’s an incredible true story about Fawcett’s unimaginable discoveries before his mysterious disappearance.


Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Norman Oppenheimer is an opportunist; just not a very good one. A wheeler-dealer of sorts, Norman falls in with an Israeli politician on the rise. He soon becomes an esteemed figure within the New York Jewish community, even though he may be a bit of a sham. A charming performance by Richard Gere makes Norman both infuriating and endearing, all at once.


Enjoy the show, and the long weekend! And if you’ll be driving here for the film, don’t forget to validate your parking on the way out.

The Best Cure for January Blahs

When all we want to do is forget about how dark and gloomy and awful it is outside, we go to the movies.

Think about it: comfortable chair, popcorn, maybe some chocolate and a few hours completely immersed in someone else’s world.

And January just fades away.



This Month at The Varsity

Music, Dancing and Ryan Gosling: La La Land’s getting all kinds of buzz for its performances and its bravery. Musicals are tough to pull off, and really tough to pull off uniquely. This one nails it. This is Damien Chazelle’s first film since Whiplash — and he was wise enough to recast J.K. Simmons. We love him.

Unsung Heroines: Hidden Figures is the story of the women behind NASA’s first mission to space. Science nerds love the attention to realism. Movie buffs love the actresses, especially Octavia Jackson. And look for The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons.

Younger Brother Makes Good: Casey Affleck was the kid at the end of Good Will Hunting who gets into the front seat of the beater car after Matt Damon goes to see about a girl. In real life, Ben Affleck’s younger brother gets into the front seat with Manchester By the Sea, the story of an uncle forced to become his nephew’s guardian.

Scorsese: In Silence Adam Driver (a.k.a., Kylo Ren from Star Wars) and Andrew Garfield (a.k.a., Spiderman) play Jesuit priests looking for their teacher in 17th-century Japan. This 1966 novel by the Japanese author Shusaku Endo has been on the top of Scorsese’s list to make into a move for decades.


Don’t let our upcoming construction keep you from enjoying a flick at what’s been Toronto’s best movie theatre for over three decades — even better since it was renovated. And if you’re driving here, don’t forget to validate your parking on the way out of our warm, well-lit and perfectly pleasant underground parking lot.

Movie time with the kiddies

A good kids’ movie should transcend age. It should have grandparents laughing alongside their grandchildren. It should spark imagination. It should leave an impact that lasts beyond the 90-minute run-time. And it should teach us all something new: about ourselves, about the world or even about how to electrify a doorknob.

It’s reassuring to find movies that check all of these boxes, and there are a few playing this summer: excellent kids’ flicks like “Zootopia,” “Finding Dory” and “The BFG.” That re-imagination of the Roald Dahl classic actually opened at the Cineplex Cinemas Varsity and VIP last month, and it really captures everything that made the book so magical.

But if your next family movie night with the kids is going to be on the couch instead of at the cinema, we’ve put together some recommendations. You may not recognize all of them, but we guarantee they go toe to toe with any Disney or Pixar blockbuster out there.


5. “Labyrinth”

7.4 on IMDB / 66% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com

This classic is for every child who’s ever stayed in another world long after closing a book or turning off a movie. Starring a young Jennifer Connelly and an ageless David Bowie, it follows an adolescent girl trying to rescue her baby stepbrother from the clutches of the evil Goblin King (played, of course, by Bowie in a series of outrageous outfits).

Your kids will meet an unforgettable cast of fantastic characters and creatures designed by the legendary Jim Henson — in fact, many consider “Labyrinth” to be Henson Studio’s masterpiece.

The film is wonderfully empowering to girls without alienating boys, and features music written for the film by Bowie himself. We challenge your family not to hum “Magic Dance” for weeks afterwards.


4. “Home Alone”

7.5 on IMDB / 79% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com

This brilliant film for all ages changes what for most kids is a nightmare — losing your family — into a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to pull a Kevin McAllister and turn your home into a
 booby-trapped fortress?

Macaulay Culkin shines in the lead, but special mention definitely has to be made for Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern: The Wet Bandits. Threatening, malevolent and dumb as a bag of rocks, these actors make every bowling ball-induced concussion, electric shock and tarantula attack oh so satisfying.


3. “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

7.8 on IMDB / 94% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com

Roahl Dahl + Wes Anderson + stop motion animation = well, to be honest it should equal a hot mess. But somehow this movie is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s a great example of a director injecting his own vision into a beloved story and actually making it better.

Very funny and surprisingly thoughtful, the film teaches lessons on identity and belonging without pulling any punches.

The casting is impeccable, with the usual gang of Wes Anderson regulars voicing a variety of woodland creatures in their battle against the villainous farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. This is another one that will have you humming its tunes for weeks.


2. “My Neighbor Totoro”

8.3 on IMDB / 93% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com

A gem. An absolute gem. In Japan, this movie has a special place in the heart of just about every youngster. When Disney began re-mastering and distributing the films of the incredible Studio Ghibli in the West, that magic was shared with us here in North America.

The story is simple and sweet: two young girls move to the countryside with their father to be closer to the hospital where their mother is recovering from an illness. As they adjust to their new life, they discover a magical secret in the woods near their house.

This is the perfect balance for the high-octane blockbusters of the summer, and it inspired Pixar’s John Lasseter to create the animated movies we love so much today. If you have the opportunity to watch this movie at a cottage or before a hiking trip, do it — the love and curiosity it ignites for the outdoors will last a lifetime.


1. “Modern Times”

8.6 on IMDB / 100% Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com

Released in 1936, this film has been charming families for generations. Don’t let the silence or the black-and-white stop you and your kids from sitting down with it.

A master of universal physical comedy, Charlie Chaplin is at his best in “Modern Times,” which tells the timeless story of a down-and-out gentleman looking for a job (and then finding it, losing it, getting arrested and so much more). A scene in which Chaplin is pulled along a conveyor belt through the belly of an intricate machine (totally unscathed, of course) is still one of the most impressive feats of set-based comedy today. Full of warmth and energy, it will have you and your kids laughing from beginning to end. Its perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes is not for nothing. Kids will truly fall in love with this strange mustachioed man’s charms.

Hopefully this list will help you plan the next movie night with the kids. And after the film, ask them about it — what they liked, didn’t like and how it made them feel. That’s right: turn your kids into little film critics. Just remember, in the end, a great kid’s movie is one your kids love.

5 Movies to Christen Your New Home Theatre System

We took an informal poll the other week, asking 44 Charles residents which store in the Manulife Centre they visit most. Bay Bloor Radio came up a lot. And it wasn’t that people were necessarily there to buy they just liked walking around, checking out the tech and dreaming about what their living rooms could be with a little BBR love. (more…)