Take ten million trees, 3.9 million people, 180 languages and dialects, the 7th largest stock exchange, the longest street in the world, and a renowned film festival. Throw in universal healthcare, the 8th largest LGBTQ2 pride parade, and the most rollicking Caribbean street festival anywhere, and you have Toronto. North America’s fourth largest city might also be its least understood and, with a broad mix of cultures, the hardest to classify. At times, the scene here can seem disparate, caught between affected grunge and unsettling flash, complete with a campy cadre of overdressed socialites. But then again, part of this metropolis’s beauty lies in its ability to make most anyone feel at home.
Indeed, for the city’s purpose-driven movers and shakers, Toronto is a creative launchpad unlike any other. Here, 16 entrepreneurial, innately stylish and impressive women share their cultural index, proving there’s much more to the city than some guy called Drake. (On that note? Make like a local, and don’t call it “the six.”)
Sarah Rafferty, actor
On Instagram, this accomplished yet self-effacing star describes herself simply as “Bath enthusiast and that redhead on Suits.” She’s also a graduate of Yale’s drama school and, after seven years on the popular USA-network legal drama which shoots around town, a treasured Torontonian. Remarkably, the film industry in Toronto provides 28,000 jobs and brings in approximately $1.5 billion each year. When Rafferty’s not memorizing rapid-fire lines in her role as the show’s quick-witted executive assistant, she can be found exploring her adopted home with her Finnish husband, two young daughters, and dog Rupert.
Her spot: “When we’re shooting on location, our trailers park near the Cherry Beach marina which has one of my very favorite views of the gorgeous Toronto skyline. I’ve occasionally crawled up onto the roof of my trailer to just soak it in.”
Going live: “Home games in Toronto are my favorite live entertainment. Raptor, Leafs, Jays, you can’t lose. The feeling is always electric and, as a deep appreciator of all thing Canadian, I get a little choked up every time I hear the crowd sing ‘Oh Canada.’”
Favorite things: “For beautiful home furnishings, hit Mjolk and Inabstracto. If you love rotisserie chicken, head to Flock. And the coffee culture has got to be one of the best in the world. Check out Dark Horse , Boxcar Social, Sam James and Dineen.”
Fashion fix: “Judith & Charles for their classic pieces, Dean Davidson for beautiful jewelry, and lately I’ve been stalking Beaufille on Instagram. I have an amazing and versatile collection of outerwear. You’re always going to need some sort of layer here. I have a closet of Therma Kota, with a few pieces from Sentaler and Mackage sprinkled in as well.”
Must try: “My very favorite vodka brand is the Canadian Georgian Bay Spirit Co. It’s the smooooooothest.”
Local view: “I have a deep steadfast love for Toronto. We’ve built beautiful family memories of sugar shack visits, bike rides, autumn leaf piles, all in embrace of a vibrant and loving school community and beautiful neighborhood. When we are out and about shooting Suits, frequently in the wee hours of the night, Torontonians come out to support us and offer more love than we ever could have imagined.”