city guide: toronto with alessia cara

Want to know where to spot Drake? Or the best place to get coffee and go record shopping? Young singer Alessia Cara takes us on a tour of her hometown, Toronto.

by Francesca Dunn
01 March 2016, 4:15pm

19-year-old Alessia Caracciolo makes music because "it's the only thing I'm really good at and it makes me happy." Taking over the world with her beautiful voice and real talk, she hails from Brampton, Ontario, the birthplace of Michael Cera and a city close to the bright lights and tall towers of Toronto. She labels the city energetic and extremely diverse, having grown up with kids from all races and cultures. "I'm lucky to have grown up there because I think it's helped me shape my views on diversity now." Describing her music as wordy, honest and passionate, Alessia sings for the outsiders, the introverts, for those who know what it's like to stand in the corner of the party wishing they were anywhere else but there. Crossing over between pop and R&B, she weaves amusing narratives out of real-life situations and is about to release her debut album, KNOW-IT-ALL, a knowing joke at her own, teenage expense.

While she now spends a lot of her time on tour, it is clear that the Def Jam-signee holds her hometown dearly in her heart, citing Drake (duh), Shawn Mendes (one of the coolest people she's ever met) and The Weeknd (for bringing a new feel to pop music) as her favourite fellow Ontarian artists. Stick Drake's Know Yourself on (Alessia feels it's the track that best represents her city - "running through the six with my woes. I think that's exactly what people do in Toronto, just roam around with their friends and do cool things." - and take a tour of the city with one of its greatest exports.

For eating: My house. 
"My mum is the best cook in the world." 
For drinking: I don't drink. 
For coffee: Tim Hortons 
"It's my favourite place to get any type of coffee or sweet."
For dancing: My bedroom... 
"...because frankly, no one wants to see me dance." 
For music: Steve's Music
For escaping: The creek. 
"It's right by my house and I'm not sure what it's called but it's very relaxing and private. Perfect for thinking." 
For record shopping: Sonic Boom.
For clothes shoppingBrandy Melville.
For a first date: Lakeshore. It's pretty chill and there's tons to do. 
For inspirationHigh Park. it's really pretty and I feel the surroundings could spark some imagination. 
For performingMod Club. Great vibe. 
For walking: Lakeshore or Queen Street
For sleeping: My bed, of course. 
For people watching: Yonge-Dundas square.
"Some interesting people down there."
For the best views: Niagara Falls
"The waterfalls never get any less cool every time I go see them."

Alessia Cara's KNOW-IT-ALL is due for release 11th March