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If you’re from Toronto, you love Drake. If you’re not from Toronto, you love Drake. With 22 million Instagram followers, the man really doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s impossible not to feel his impact in the ‘6ix’. Global ambassador of the Toronto Raptors, a key to the city, his own restaurant, his own whisky in the LCBO. The list goes on.
His love for Toronto can be seen on the cover of the number one album in the world right now. Think about that for a moment; the CN Tower is on the cover of the number one album in the world…What a time to be alive. His multicultural background is representative of Toronto’s cultural mosaic. His support and efforts towards supporting young artists and creatives from the GTA would make the Canada Council For The Arts proud. Yup, Drizzy has single-handedly changed the brand image of the most populated and diverse city in Canada, cementing it as the cultural Mecca of Canada — at least as the rest of the world sees it. Without further ado, here is our Drake Tour of Toronto.
Address: 202 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 1J2, Canada
Hours: 11:30AM–2:00PM, 5:30–Close
Name dropped on the song, “5AM in Toronto,” Joso’s. This high-end seafood restaurant is renowned for its eclectic decor and its celebrity clientele. Joso’s has been family run for the past 39 years, but the decor might have you thinking it’s owned by Gertrude Stein. Signed, and likely fake Picasso and Dali paintings from the 1970’s, and a weird statue that we probably aren’t allowed to describe in this blurb. Yeah, Joso’s is a weird joint. The insalata di mare (poached monkfish, grilled octopus, sweet shrimp) is apparently some of the best in North America.
Address: 120 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R 2H4, Canada
Hours: 12:00–3:00PM, 5:00–close
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Apparently Sotto Sotto is Aubrey Graham’s favourite restaurant in the city. At least, he certainly drops references to it enough to have the city guessing as much, and has gone as far to call it his second home. Sotto Sotto’s original incarnation went down in a fire, but the new Avenue Road location is every bit as cozy. Italian comfort food is done right, with the service you would expect from a high-end restaurant.
Address: 1060 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C 2C5, Canada
Phone: +1 416-780-1173
On “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2,” Drake raps, “After hours at Il Mulino or Sotto Sotto/ Just talkin’ women and vino Il Mulino and Sotto.” Il Mulino is a Forest-Hill favourite, Il Mulino is serious Italian cuisine and personal service that you would expect. Hearty homestyle Italian meals, a 400-label wine list, and white tablecloths. Yeah. It makes sense that Drake would dig this spot.
Address: 40 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5J 2X2, Canada
If you hadn’t heard, Drake is the Toronto Raptors Global Ambassador. Beyond hyping the team, being a marketing and branding consultant, and poster boy for the team’s culture, you can usually spot Drake sitting courtside centre on TV, doing Drake-ish things like using a lint roller. While it’s unlikely you’ll get access to it, Drake also has a highly exclusive club on the second story of the ACC, Sher Club.
Address: 301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6, Canada
I doubt Drake hangs out at the C.N. Tower, but he’s probably been. The distinct Toronto landmark was immortalized forever in pop-culture when Drake chose his album cover; a meme-worthy photoshopped image of himself sitting atop the C.N. Tower, presiding over the city he loves. Oh, and Drake has the C.N. Tower tattooed on his arm. So there’s that.
15 Fort York
Address: 15 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3Y4, Canada
“Apartment 1503, some couches and paintings/ When you record with two others that want the same things.”
Drake often references his original studio and apartment that he lived in with his producer, Noah “40” Shebib. The story goes, the duo cut most of So Far Gone in just six hours in apartment 1503, where 40’s room doubled as a studio. If you’re interested in getting a room of your own in this building, you can rent a single bedroom for $1400 a month.
Address: 899 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W1, Canada
With the success of his albums, a record label, an annual music festival, a restaurant, and a whisky, well why not have a flagship merchandise store? It seems that even some of the employees in his store are releasing albums that are catching the attention of hip-hop heads. Drop in and maybe you’ll meet the next Drake.
Address: 455 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4, Canada
Drake partnered up with chef Susur Lee and designer Brenda Bent to set up his own restaurant on Dundas Street West, Fring’s. Taxidermied animals, glowing chandeliers made from crystal clear coathangers, boudoir lamps, and leather booths; this place looks funky good. The menu has a little bit of everything and features some of Drake’s favourites. They’ve also been known to bring in celebrity chefs. Get ready to make a reservation in advance, but if all else fails, check out Susur Lee’s and Brenda Bent’s other restaurant, Bent, where Drake has also been known to frequent.
Address: 842 Gerrard Street East, Toronto, ON M4M 1Y7, Canada
Phone: +1 416-463-6055
The Real Jerk is known for some of the best jerk chicken in the country, but also for being the set of Drake and Rihanna’s number one single, “Work.” Opening over 30 years ago, the restaurant is a bit of a staple in Toronto. All of its jerk dishes are amazing, its roti is unparalleled and they carry 70 varieties of rum.
Address: 1939 Kennedy Rd, Toronto, ON M1P 2L9, Canada
Phone: +1 647-268-4342
“Bring you to Habibiz” raps Drake in the OB O’Brien song “Scheming Up.” Habibiz is a chilled-out cafe in Scarborough, Ontario that Drake and friends have been known to frequent. The food is good, the crowd is good, the place is usually packed. Try the Pineapple Habibi special or a burger.
Address: 607 Queen Street W, Toronto, ON M5V 2B7, Canada
Owned and operated by one of Drake’s pals, William Nguyen, Drake helped put Gangster Burger on the map. The burgers are good, but if you want to try Drake’s favourite, go with the Lucas burger with Blue Magic cheese sauce.