The ultimate party guide to TIFF 2018

The inside scoop on all the hottest soirées in Toronto — from invite-only events to free pop-ups, along with the best spots for celebrity sightings


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Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman at the Killing of a Sacred Deer premiere party hosted by Grey Goose vodka and Soho House in 2017

(IMAGE: Stefanie Keenan)

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is finally here. Year after year, as the summer winds down, the city is abuzz with whispers of what parties to attend and what celebs will be flying in for TIFF. Whether you're looking to scoop up a coveted plus one to a swanky celeb-attended event, or just want to revel in the aura of excitement generated by the festival itself, we have you covered. Here’s everything that should be on your radar for TIFF 2018, including invite-only, hush-hush events, some free pop-ups and where you can go to catch sight of a celeb (TIFF 2018 will run from Sept. 6 - Sept. 16).

PRIVATE PARTIES
 

IT House X Producers Ball: On the evening of Sept. 7, the IT House will once again present the Producers Ball Gala, in its eighth year, hosted by Drew and Jonathan Scott. The event invites producers, talent, and directors to celebrate accomplishments within the TV, film and digital media production industry. 

InStyle Hollywood Foreign Press annual TIFF party: After 15 years of hosting this A-list party with Hollywood’s heavy hitters at the Windsor Arms Hotel, the scene of the bash is changing to the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville on Sept. 8. Crowned the most coveted party of note each and every TIFF without fail, attendees can expect to mix and mingle with a handpicked crowd of — not only celebs in town for TIFF — but other A-listers who come in from LA just to make a cameo at this event. Of all the parties, this is the one socialites and reporters always try their names at, in hopes of a pass of the rope.

Artists for Peace and Justice 2018 Festival Gala: The annual benefit presented by Bovet 1822 returns Sept. 8, marking its 10th year at the film festival. The event raises funds for Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), an organization that works in direct partnership with communities in Haiti and around the world, creating pathways out of poverty by expanding access to education and providing training in creative industries. It’s one of the most coveted events during TIFF, and will be co-hosted this year by Ben Stiller and Susan Sarandon at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Notable attendees include Alan Cumming, George Stroumboulopoulos, Jackson Browne and many more.


Ben Stiller serving at the Artists for Peace and Justice gala in 2017 (IMAGE: GEORGE PIMENTEL) 
 

Vanity Fair TIFF Cocktail 2018: Say Vanity Fair, say no more. This high profile event has found a home for itself this year at Bisha Hotel on Sept. 8. It will celebrate the world premiere of This Changes Everything, by Tom Donahue in association with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. As can be assumed, this is an invite-only event. 

A Star is Born premiere party: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will be at the Masonic Temple on Sept. 9 for the premier party for their highly anticipated film, A Star is Born. If the stars come out as they did this past week in Venice, we’re all in for a sight to be seen. 

Grey Goose parties at Soho House: Known for some of the biggest A-list film events all TIFF long, the much buzzed about parties hosted by Grey Goose at this private, members only club are also some of the most mysterious. You don’t hear about them, until after they've happened. Grey Goose has hosted the likes of major films including Killing of a Sacred Deer (Nicole Kidman), Woman Walks Ahead (Jessica Chastain), Downsizing (Matt Damon), and Stronger (Jake Gyllenhaal) to name a few.


The cast of Stronger at the premiere party hosted by Grey Goose at Soho House in 2017 (IMAGE: Stefanie Keenan)
 

Mongrel House: Events here run for a week straight during TIFF (Sept. 6 - Sept. 12). This spot is a hub for invited filmmakers, talent and industry guests, to pop in to check out live music performances, sing along to some live band karaoke and unwind in a fairly private, invite-only setting. Curator Raji Aujla partners with the Project Gallery to bring Canadian Cree artist Kent Monkman to the grounds of the museum and Ness Lee and Rajni Perera to the interior, as well as live music from international and Canadian artists, including St. Lucia, Rheostatics, The Beaches, DJ NDN from Tribe Called Red, Narcy, Zaki Ibrahim and more. 

Bask-It-Style: The gifting lounge by GLO Communications is celebrating its 10th year at the Thompson Toronto Hotel (550 Wellington St.). This year, they’re assembling and hand delivering VIP gift bags to the hotels where the stars are staying during TIFF. In the past, celebrities gifted through hotel partners have included: Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Colin Farrell, John Legend, and Sir Elton John, among others.

L’OREAL’s The Worth It Show: L’Oreal Paris is hosting this intimate, exclusive event featuring a panel comprised of Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Though this event isn’t open to the public, you can tune into the Facebook Live on Sept. 7 at 3:00 p.m.

FOR SPOTTING CELEBS
 

Mister C inside Bisha Hotel: This go-to spot is in the heart if the Entertainment District and is one of those venues where even the biggest A-listers can get away with enjoying an eve, while being discreet. Bisha Hotel welcomes some of the world’s trendiest guests on the regular (I casually crossed paths with Selma Blair on a recent visit). Stars spotted in the past include: Julianne Moore, James and Dave Franco, Andrew Garfield, Octavia Spencer, Andy Serkis, Greta Gerwig, and Margot Robbie, among others.


The Mister C Lounge (IMAGE: Maxime Bocken)
 

Amber: The little bar that could is a long standing institution in Yorkville for the city's elite. Known for being awfully tight and picky with who they let in, this beautiful bar prides itself on privacy and discretion and offers a hidden oasis of sorts for guests to kick back with high-end cocktails and delicious tunes by the ever-rotating roster of DJs.

Byblos: Each year, stars flock to enjoy this award-winning Eastern Mediterranean restaurant. Conveniently located in the same space as the film fest hub the Storys Building, it is safe to assume many after parties will be here to celebrate big-time film debuts. Stars spotted here in the past include: Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Ellen Page, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander, Emma Stone, Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Jaime Bell, Simon Baker, Priyanka Chopra, and Bryan Cranston, among others. 


Byblos has attracted a lot of celebrity clientele in past years (IMAGE: INK Entertainment)
 

FOR A TASTE OF TIFF
 

RBC House: RBC House returns in the heart of all the action at 11 Duncan St. to serve as one of the festival’s top destinations for film junkets, concerts, premiere parties, celebrity sightings and speaker series through its co-sponsorship with Nespresso and Deadline. Last year, RBC House hosted nine star-studded film parties where celebrities like Andrew Garfield, Maisie Williams, Elle Fanning, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivolan were in attendance.

MISFITSTUDIO pop up at TIFF Bell Lightbox: MISFITSTUDIO has partnered with TIFF to host a movement class that focuses on letting go, on Sept. 7 at 10:00 a.m. The event, The Calm Before The Storm, followed by an onstage conversation about self-care in high-pressure lifestyles features talent such as Sarah Gadon (The Life and Death of John F. Donovan), Amanda Crew (Freaks), and Allison Black (producer of Giant Little Ones). 

High Holiday Services at Windsor Arms Hotel: The Jewish High Holidays coincide with TIFF this year, and attendees (and locals) are invited to attend the Official High Holiday services of TIFF, at the Yorkville Jewish Centre and Windsor Arms Hotel. Services will be led by Rabbi Meir Dubrawsky, and Cantor Nissan Michael who will do a condensed service, so those who need to get back to a press junket or a work event can do just that. Due to high demand, RSVP is required.


The courtyard at the Windsor Arms
 

Gladstone Hotel’s TIFF launch cocktail party: This cocktail soiree on Sept. 6 will take guests through an immersive cocktail experience featuring live music and mixology stations, film-noir inspired art and a guided tasting of the Gladstone Hotel's signature cocktails inspired by the history of the hotel.

TIFF Bachelor party: If you’re a fan of Bachelor in Paradise or The Bachelor and The Bachelorette series, then this is an event you don’t want to miss at CUBE (314 Queen Street West) on Sept. 14. This annual TIFF party hosted by Eligible Magazine, allows you to mix and mingle with your favourite stars from the series including: Eric Bigger, Jordan Kimball, Jason Tartick, and Adam Gottschalk. 

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