The Toronto of Hortense des Dorides, author of Indie Guides Toronto

As a French journalist based in Canada, Indie Guides Toronto author, Hortense des Dorides is also very passionate about music. She’s combed through the concert venues and loft parties of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa to bring you the best of the underground scene. For the release of Indie Guides Toronto, she tells us about her favorite spots, the atmosphere of the city, and a few artists she thinks we should know.

How does Toronto influence your work?

Toronto is a very bustling city where you can easily meet new and interesting people all the time, particularly in coffee shops, where a lot of freelancers work in culture, media and the arts. The big concentration of artists of all kinds is a big source of inspiration and motivation for me.

Tell us about one of your guilty pleasures in Toronto…

I like to visit Allan Gardens, a botanical greenhouse with lots of tropical plants. It’s a lovely experience, especially in the winter when it’s cold and there’s snow on the ground.

Tell us a funny/unexpected anecdote that happened to you in Toronto…

During an international tennis tournament, I met two French women who were waiting to be able to attend a match. We ended up spending the day together. At the end of the day, we exchanged info and it turns out one of them had done to elementary school with one of my cousins, in a tiny little village in Deux-Sèvres, France. The expression “small world” never seemed so true.

What do you dislike the most about Toronto?

Its size. Toronto is an enormous city (243 square miles) so sometimes it’s impossible to get out of it.

What would you miss most if you left Toronto?

Its old tramways, which are iconic. Unfortunately, the city has started to replace the old streetcars with new, futuristic ones. By 2019, all the old tramways, which date back to the 70s, will be gone.

What is your favorite food/drink in Toronto?

The cheesecake at Future Bistro, a restaurant/bakery with a big selection of cheesecakes. My favorite is the caramel-chocolate-peanut butter one. Nope, it’s not a light dessert!

Where do you go when you want to escape the city for an hour?

The Toronto Islands! 1) If you take the ferry, you get the best view of the city, and 2) you really feel like you’re getting out of the city. With their beaches and big parks, the islands are the green lungs of Toronto. Perfect for picnics and summer festivals.

Name one local artist everyone should know.

Tala Berkes, a talented clothing designer who studied fashion at Ryerson University.


What song do you think best captures the ambiance of Toronto?

Crystal Castles is an experimental/trash/electronic band from Toronto. Like most of their songs, their hit Baptism is like a bomb – a chaotic mess of intense, rhythmic sounds, which is totally representative of Toronto – a dense, intense, vibrant, noisy city full of multiple layers of creative talent.

Discover Toronto with our city guide Indie Guides Toronto dedicated to cultural and alternative locations in the city.

Article translated by Andrea Perdue