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Casa Loma

Canada Day Bashes

Join all of Toronto in celebrating Canada’s 143rd birthday! The city is bursting with memorable parties, activities and festivals to commemorate the special occasion.

photo by Ian Muttoo

There’s no such thing as too many birthday parties!
>> Sing “Happy Birthday” to this country on Canada Day at Mel Lastman Square. The North Toronto venue offers magicians, fire-breathers, jugglers and musical entertainment, including performances by Digging Roots and God Made Me Funky. There’s also an opportunity to meet 2010 Olympic gold medallists Vicky Sunohara (from Canada’s women’s hockey team), Kristina Groves (long-track speed skating), and Charles and François Hamelin (short-track speed skating). Fill up on barbecue fare before the evening culminates with an explosion of fireworks. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, June 18 to 20

This Father’s Day weekend is bursting with food, fun and festivals. Dad’s not the only one who’s going to have a great time!

Friday: Chortle knowingly as Jon Stewart points out what's wrong with the world.

Friday, June 18
Celebrate the proud heritage of Armenia, as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra—accompanying the beautiful voice of Isabel Bayrakdarian—fills Roy Thomson Hall with the strains of Ravel’s Shéhérazade and other related classical works.

Amidst the sprawling cityscape, The Power Plant offers an opportunity to philosophically reconnect with nature thanks to its mixed-media exhibition, Adaptation: Between Species. Enjoy a lakeside barbecue and music at tonight’s opening event.

Revel in the spry wit and piercing political barbs of Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who takes to the stage at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort. After the show, check out the nearby nightlife and get a breathtaking look at the falls.

Saturday: See art on 401 Richmond's green roof and more (photo by veggiefrog)

Saturday, June 19
Familiarize yourself with the artists whose studios and galleries pack the 401 Richmond building, Toronto’s most creative address. This afternoon, partake in a free tour of the space and chat with the gallery owners and exhibiting artists during Brickolage Tour Series.

Sip 70-plus exquisite local vintages poured by the winemakers themselves at the annual Ontario Wine Fair at Café Taste. More than 20 wineries are participating in this event, which also offers the opportunity to nosh on 30 Ontario artisan cheeses.

“Whataya want from me?” asks glam American Idol singer-songwriter Adam Lambert in his similarly titled hit single. Make sure he hears your response at his Molson Canadian Amphitheatre show tonight. Expect to be treated to a number of cuts from Lambert’s upcoming debut album, For Your Entertainment.

Sunday: Get A.R. Rahman in your sights

Sunday, June 20
Treat dad to one of many options for a Father’s Day lunch. Amuse boasts an alfresco three-course meal served family-style at their Shared Table event; or call Casa Loma to reserve a table at its Father’s Day Royal Brunch Buffet. If you’re set on Italian, savour a Taste of Little Italy—the College Street party features numerous participating restaurants. And for a diverse range of nibbles—affordably priced at only $5 each—head to Queen’s Park to try 1,000 Tastes of Toronto.

Make it a Father’s Day dad will always remember with a war re-enactment, hearty ribs and fun for the whole family. Black Creek Pioneer Village presents the Battle of Black Creek—a lively re-creation of an 18th century skirmish for control of Upper Canada. Top of the invigorating spectacle with barbecued ribs or a tour of the Black Creek Historic Brewery.

Experience the musical talents of Oscar- and Grammy-winner A.R. Rahman. Known for his Slumdog Millionaire score, the Indian composer teams up with creative director Amy Tinkham (creator of concerts for Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys) in Jai Ho: The Journey Home Concert at the Air Canada Centre, employing international musicians and dancers.

Weekend roundup, May 28 to 30

It’s getting hot, hot, hot! Cool down this weekend with Bajan cuisine along the waterfront before checking out what Toronto has in store for you.

Friday: Pick up yarn, fabric and more at the Textile Museum (photo by Mr. T in DC)

Friday, May 28
Warm weather knocks at your door in true island fashion with Barbados on the Water. Head over to the Harbourfront Centre today and tomorrow for Bajan cuisine, fashion, theatre and live music by Barbadian artists.

Slide on up to Hemingways to celebrate the Yorkville institution’s 30th anniversary. Steak frites are on the menu tonight, or arrive at 2:30 p.m. in order to fill up on corn on the cob, barbecue fare, bar snacks and beer. The festivities culminate with an evening of live entertainment and prizes.

Get your bargaining skills ready because the Textile Museum of Canada’s More Than Just a Yardage Sale is an opportunity too good to pass up. Today and tomorrow, dig up goodies like patterns, yarns, quilt fabrics and other useful craft materials while doing your part to support the museum.

Grab a cold pint at C’est What?. Tonight’s special: sample from a selection of more than 14 cask beers and 30 draughts as part of the brew pub’s annual Spring Festival of Craft Breweries.

Saturday: Browse Old City Hall and many other buildings as part of Doors Open.

Saturday, May 29
Admire architecture and satisfy your curiosity as Doors Open Toronto enables visitors to explore 150 historic and cultural buildings, including Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto’s Old City Hall, Black Creek Pioneer Village, and the Casa Loma stables and plotting shed.

Striving to eat well? Those with a taste for fresh, local home cookin’ are invited to stop by a farmer’s market and bring their fixin’s to Beach United Church, where Amuse chef Pat Riley offers a lesson on the fine side of cooking. Leftovers will go toward a Sunday lunch for lower-income Torontonians.

Unravel a mystery at Indigo’s Yorkdale location with Peter Lerangis and Gordon Korman, bestselling authors of the popular 39 Clues books. They let you in on some secrets and follow up the afternoon with a book signing.

Experience the unique combination of steel pan and voice in And Still We Sing…Steel Singin’, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale’s final performance in its 2010 Glenn Gould Studio series.

Sunday: See miniature diorama-like models at AWOL Gallery.

Sunday, May 30
Engage in cosplay events and game shows—or while away some hours perusing the manga library—on the final day of weekend-long festival Anime North.

Beware of side stitches at the World Cup of Comedy, a humorous tribute to the “beautiful game” and its upcoming World Cup tournament. Comedians Ahmed Ahmed, Angelo Tsarouchas, Frank Spadone and special guest Trevor Boris (“Video on Trial”) gather at the Panasonic Theatre for humorous banter, including topics such as—you guessed it—soccer.

In line with this weekend’s architectural goings on, visitors can explore the relationship between people and buildings at AWOL Gallery, where Rose Bianchini and Jason van Horne’s exhibition, titled Neighbourhood Watch, employs creative miniatures to demonstrate how space plays a powerful role in the formation of identity.

Settle into a seat at historic Massey Hall and let comedic actor Eddie Izzard entertain you with his sharp wit and inimitable sense of the absurd.

March Break Manual

School’s Out, springs a tease and the babes need boredom-busting adventures. Where Toronto offers a dozen ideas to keep the kids—and your entire family—happy during March Break.
By Naya Valdellon

The gang from High School Musical head back to class in a stage production (photo by Joseph Hammond)

TIPS FOR TWO HOURS

Ice Breakers
MARCH 3 TO 7 See your favourite Disney characters come to life with Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate!. The magical, action-packed skating party features a Halloween haunt with the Disney villains, a royal ball with princesses like Cinderella and Belle, and a winter wonderland with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Monstrous Fun
OPENS MARCH 8 Youngsters—and the young at heart—can both enjoy The Monster Under the Bed, presented by Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. Penned by Kevin Dyer and directed by Nina Lee Aquino, the comedy dramatizes the fears and fantasies of a young boy named Ben who swaps lives with the scary creature hiding beneath his mattress.

Teenage Drama
MARCH 17 TO 21 Real high school, with its intrigues and cliques, is no song-and-dance number. But the Disney phenomenon High School Musical 2 makes us remember how fun it could be. A new 70-minute stage version has Troy, Gabriella, Chad and the rest of the gang landing summer jobs and singing original songs from the movie, including “You Are the Music in Me.”

Middle Ages for All Ages
ON NOW Get whisked away to the 11th century as the royal guests of King Philippe and Princess Leonore at Medieval Times. Walk through a majestic castle, feast on a four-course banquet with your bare hands and cheer for your knight in shining armor at an authentic jousting tournament.

(more…)

Holiday Happenings: Heritage Traditions

Festive family fun abounds this month at the city’s heritage sites and historic museums. Step back in time and experience old-fashioned Toronto traditions that will delight both young and old. Events occur during daily museum hours except where noted.

Casa Loma

Casa Loma

Casa Loma
Experience holiday magic as classic storybook tales are brought to life at this enchanting hilltop castle. The attraction also offers a variety of registration-only special events: on December 13 and 20 families can feast on scrumptious pancakes at a breakfast with Santa Claus; or help your little elf decorate a miniature gingerbread house on December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20. And on December 22 and 30, get physical with a holiday-themed family archery lesson and learn the history and techniques behind this ancient sport.

1 Austin Terrace. Admission and special event prices vary; call 416-923-1171 for more information and to register.


Mackenzie House

Eschew the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping for the charm of a traditional Christmas in the 1859 row-house of Toronto’s first mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie. Sample mulled cider and warm biscuits in an authentic 19th-century kitchen while little ones write letters to Santa Claus the old-fashioned way—using a pen and ink pot, plus stationery made with a circa-1845 printing press. And on December 13 and 20, gather in Mackenzie House’s cozy family room for an afternoon storytelling session featuring Christmas tales from the Victorian era.

82 Bond St. Adults $5.71, children $3.33; call 416-392-6915 for details.


Todmorden Mills Museum

Discover the simple pleasures of a Regency-era Christmas at Todmorden Mills—the site’s early 19th-century homes are adorned for the season with a lovely array of evergreen garlands and festive decorations. You can even create your own tree ornaments using a traditional felting technique. Register for the Cast Iron Chef cooking series on December 5 and prepare tasty holiday treats on an open hearth. On December 12, creative visitors can use wires, pliers and natural materials to make custom holiday decor at the wreath-making workshop.

67 Pottery Rd. Adults $5.24, children $2, workshop prices vary; call 416-396-2819 for details and to reserve.

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Black Creek Pioneer Village
Step back in time to a Victorian country Christmas and enjoy festive performances, hands-on activities and festive treats at this living history museum. On December 5, 12, and 19 the historic village is bathed in the flickering glow of candlelight and oil lamps for Christmas by Lamplight, an annual celebration with costumed carollers, games and storytellers. Then return December 6, 13, and 20 for a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings served in the Village’s historic brewery restaurant.

1000 Murray Ross Pkwy. Admission prices vary; to purchase tickets for Christmas by Lamplight, call 416-736-1733, ext. 5331. For Sunday Christmas Dinner reservations, call 416-667-6295.


Colborne Lodge

Celebrate the holidays in winter-wonderland surroundings in a restored 1837 regency villa. Tour the picturesque home of High Park’s founders, John and Jemima Howard, while nibbling on delectable holiday snacks and toast the season with mulled cider warmed by an authentic wood stove. Sign up to make a festive seasonal wreath to take home on December 5, 6 and 10; on December 12, 13, 16, 17 and 19, craft custom adornments for your dinner table at the two-hour Christmas centrepiece workshop.

Colborne Lodge Drive. Adults $5.71, children $3.33, workshop prices vary; call 416-392-6916 for details.


Gibson House

Holiday traditions of yore come to life at this north Toronto family farmhouse built in 1851. The Georgian-style exterior is resplendent with seasonal finery; costumed staff lead capture the spirit with tours of this historic rural landmark. On December 19 and 20 the museum hosts Mincemeat, Pomanders and Paperchains—a weekend event with festive crafting for kids in the Discovery Gallery and traditional holiday fare from the open-hearth kitchen.

5172 Yonge St. Adults $5.48, children $2.62; call 416-395-7432 for more information.


Montgomery’s Inn

Enjoy plentiful seasonal entertainment throughout the month at this early-1800s Etobicoke landmark. Ring in the holidays on December 4 by singing 19th-century carols while sipping period-relevant drinks in the tavern at this historic inn. On December 4 and 5 the Humber River Shakespeare Company performs an original production of Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol. Also on December 5, master baker Monika Paradis presents a delightfully decadent Gingerbread House workshop. And on December 12, cozy up by the fire and enjoy readings of The Ghost of Christmas Present and many more seasonal stories.

4709 Dundas St. W. Admission prices vary; call 416-394-8113 for registration information.

Weekend Roundup, September 25th to 27th

Many music ensembles are now launching their seasons, so take in some fresh concerts this weekend.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday: Step out to the AGO and ROM to see Edward Steichen's photograph of Princess Nathalie Paley and much more.

Friday, September 25th
Listen as Jean-Philippe Tremblay leads the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in a rendition of the sweet then rousing sounds of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, as part of the grand opening concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s new Koerner Hall performance venue.

Wipe away tears of laughter at the Toronto Improv Festival’s midnight show as audience-driven Road Trip and the MAYBE trio engage in ad hoc antics.

Admire some of the 20th century’s most ingenious and revolutionary celebrity and fashion photographs in two related exhibitions: Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum and Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Both highly anticipated shows open today.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melodies.

Saturday: Sit in awe of Madama Butterfly's beautiful melody.

Saturday, September 26th
Lend your ears to the award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, who helps kick off the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s new season with an homage to the music of Johannes Brahms.

Roll out your mat and stretch into your favourite asana for morning yoga on the manicured grounds of Casa Loma. The session includes a concert by kirtan yoga band Guara Shakt post-sun salutation.

Be moved by the tragic love story between a geisha and a U.S. naval officer in the Canadian Opera Company’s opening performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday: Hear Margaret Atwood at the International Festival of Authors.

Sunday, September 27th
Sing along to “Octopus’s Garden” as Canadian artists belt out classic Beatles tunes in the Art of Time Ensemble’s special presentation of the Fab Four’s final album, Abbey Road.

At the nationwide book and magazine festival The Word on the Street, hear acclaimed author Margaret Atwood talk about her latest literary masterpiece, The Year of the Flood.

Rifle through the sample-sale racks to find the perfect one-of-a-kind party frock at The Clothing Show, Canada’s largest weekend-long independent designer and vintage shopping event.

Weekend Roundup, June 5 to 7

Luminato isn’t the only game in town; this weekend there’s lots to see and do (and eat)!

Martha Rosler's <i>Invasion 2008</i>, part of the Still Revolution exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Friday: See Martha Rosler's Invasion 2008, part of the Still Revolution exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Friday, June 5
Survey Still Revolution: Suspended in Time. At the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, this photography exhibition explores the evolution of that medium and its role in shaping the way we see the world.

Spend a hysterical evening at the Second City as its latest timely revue, 0% Down, 100% Screwed, skewers the economy.

Tuck into acclaimed Canadian cuisine at Canoe with a starter of maple-cured B.C. salmon and Yukon caribou as an entree. An array of Canadian cheeses offers the perfect ending to your meal.

Carl Robinson gives Toronto FC a kick (photo by Paul Giamou).

Saturday: Carl Robinson gives Toronto FC a kick (photo by Paul Giamou).

Saturday, June 6
Discover Casa Loma, the city’s majestic castle with with secret passages, ominous turrets and a beautiful garden that evokes Old World elegance and charm.

Climb the Frank Gehry-designed spiral staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario and find intimate, sunlit respite within its top-floor espresso bar.

Cheer and chant with the fervent fans of Toronto FC as the hometown team takes on the Los Angeles Galaxy at BMO field.

Take a tour of the Amsterdam Brewery and see how the company combines Canadian barley with Danish yeast for a unique and refreshing cold one.

<i>Jersey Boys</i> swings it '60s style (photo by Joan Marcus).

Sunday: Jersey Boys swings it '60s style (photo by Joan Marcus).

Sunday, June 7
Get up close and personal with the Stanley Cup and many other treasures at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Travel back to the 1960’s with the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys, which recounts the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ rise to fame.

Enjoy comedic cabarets courtesy of the Toronto Festival of Clowns at the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement.