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15 Great Reasons to Visit Toronto in 2015

Reason to Visit Toronto #6: Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit (photo: Johan Persson)

Reason to Visit Toronto #6: Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit (photo: Johan Persson)

The Play’s Still the Thing

Toronto has long been known as one of the world’s premier stage cities. It’s a title that’s bolstered in 2015 by big-time plays and blockbuster musicals presented by Mirvish Productions, our largest theatre company. In February alone, audiences can applaud Angela Lansbury’s tour-de-force performance in Blithe Spirit, listen (again) to the beloved songs of Once, and laugh themselves silly at Cannibal the Musical. As the year progresses, Mirvish also promises the award-winning likes of Titanic the Musical (featuring famed Canadian tenor Ben Heppner), Kinky Boots, and Newsies.

New Works by Top Canadian Playwrights

The new year also brings to Toronto a pair of premieres by acclaimed theatrical auteurs. Starting March 3, Tarragon Theatre presents Cake & Dirt, the latest from Canada’s elder statesman of (writing for) the stage, Daniel MacIvor. Expect MacIvor’s trademark mixture of pathos and bathos in this play about six Torontonians dealing with the specter of dark times ahead. Also in March, Soulpepper stages the newest work by Ins Choi (he of Kim’s Convenience, and one of the country’s most promising new voices). Combining songs, stories and poetry, Choi’s Subway Stations of the Cross tells the scared-and-profane tale of a nameless vagabond.

Robert LePage’s Operatic Return

May 6 to 23 sees the Canadian Opera Company revive Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung, a double bill directed by groundbreaking Quebec theatre artist Robert LePage. The 2001 performance of these LePage-helmed operas, respectively composed by Bartók and Schoenberg, helped put the COC on the map. Back in the company’s repertoire more than a decade later, the production no doubt aims to equal its initial success—not to mention that of LePage’s more recent operatic tour-de-force, 2009’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables.

Pompeii Comes to the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum’s signature exhibition for 2015 is a real blast from the past: slated to open June 13, “Pompeii: In the Shadow of the Volcano” will explore the fate of the ancient Roman city, entombed by Mount Vesuvius’s fury nearly 2,000 years ago, through more than 200 evocative objects and artifacts.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Fly In and Out of the City

Toronto Pearson International Airport is certainly among the nicer places to arrive in or depart from the city, but moving between the suburban airport and downtown has never been particularly pleasant. A new rail link, however, aims to help travellers avoid the cab-ride-in-traffic portion of their trip: scheduled to begin operating in the summer of 2015, the Union Pearson Express will shuttle passengers between the airport and Union Station. The 25-kilometre journey will take 25 minutes, with departures every quarter-hour. And if you happen to use the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, your trip should get a little easier too: an underwater pedestrian tunnel linking the island terminal to the mainland—and eliminating an annoying ferry ride—is expected to be completed early in the year.

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