Hogtown Enlightenment: The TIFF Lightbox

By Aaron Boehlert

The new TIFF Bell Lightbox, located on King Street about three blocks east of Spadina, is a cultural and architectural revelation. Designed by architectural firm KPMB, the five-story complex houses an atrium, five cinemas, two galleries, two restaurants, and a cocktail lounge, as well as areas for film students. The modern interior makes effective use of vibrant colors: a deep-purple wall or a suspended projection studio in orange. Though the space is massive, it does not feel clinical or cold like the ROM or the Telus building.

TIFF has also created an ‘Essential Cinema’ list, which features everything from Amelie to Psycho. Plenty of Hitchcock and Spielberg. The theatres are several grades better than those at Silver City, with plush seats and gourmet concessions, as well as some classic favourites.

The restaurants are both fantastic: Luma offers more upscale dining, while Canteen is described as a ‘gourmet cafeteria.’ But don’t worry: the food is far from LDH quality. Both are headed up by renowned Oliver and Bonacini, whose CV consists of such famous Torontonian restaurants as Jump and Auberge du Pommier. Like many restaurants in Toronto, the two at Lightbox focus on simple, local ingredients that are seasonal, the menu turning over every few months.

Finally, a public theatre that is truly accessible to the masses. Tickets range from $8.50 to $18.75, depending on your age and whether you are attending a regular screening or a premium one. This venue is no doubt a part of Toronto’s cultural renaissance.