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Gardiner Museum

Weekend Roundup, November 18 to 20

Friday: The National Ballet of Canada interprets Romeo and Juliet (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Friday, November 18
See one of the greatest dance dramas in a brand new light when the National Ballet of Canada presents Romeo and Juliet. Choreographer Alexi Ratmansky gives the classic tale with a modern edge for a fresh show at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

One of Canada’s best-known musical voices, Steven Page, interprets the tunes of Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and others in Songbook 6. The always innovative Art of Time Ensemble accompanies the singer at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre.

Find unique Aboriginal arts, crafts and fashions at the Thunderbird Centre’s presentation, Very Beautiful Things. The exhibition and sale at the Gladstone Hotel will be a trove for discerning gift buyers and Aboriginal art collectors.

The rest of the weekend is just a click away!

Staff Picks: 10 Superb Specialist Museums

Specialty museums often operate on a smaller scale than their more comprehensive counterparts, but make up for their size with history and dedication to their subjects. Both informative and entertaining, these Toronto museums welcome visitors for a unique cultural experience.

The Gardiner Museum specializes in historical and contemporary ceramic art (photo by Tom Arban)

Bata Shoe Museum
This one-of-a-kind institution showcases over 4,500 years of footwear history. It features a celebrity collection and changing exhibitions that explore the function and style of shoes, and what they tell us about historical and contemporary culture. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799.

Casa Loma and Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens
Overlooking the city from midtown is financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt’s famed turn-of-the-century residence, which boasts dozens of finely decorated rooms and a general air of European splendour. Next door sits Spadina Museum—formerly home to three generations of the prominent Austin family, it’s been restored to demonstrate Toronto life in the 1920s. 1 Austin Terrace, 416-923-1171; 285 Spadina Rd., 416-392-6910.

CBC Museum
The history of the Canadian Broadcasting Company unfolds with the help of over 4,000 artifacts. This well-respected radio and television network has been integral in presenting Canadian news, entertainment and sports coverage for 75 years. 250 Front St. W., 416-205-5574.

Design Exchange
Internationally recognized for its dedication to promoting the value of design. The museum hosts curated exhibitions throughout the year, and offers frequent lectures and workshops as a part of its community outreach efforts. 234 Bay St., 416-363-6121.

Gardiner Museum
In its KPMB-designed building on the edge of Yorkville, this museum is dedicated to displaying and conserving one of the world’s oldest artistic media—ceramics, in all its varied functional and artistic forms. Grab a quick lunch at the airy Gardiner Café, featuring a menu created by chef Jamie Kennedy, or sign up for one of the museum’s many events and workshops. 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080.

Hockey Hall of Fame
Home of the Stanley Cup and located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Hockey Hall of Fame celebrates Canada’s sport year-round. The museum is suitable for all ages and features interactive exhibits and the world’s largest collection of hockey memorabilia. 30 Yonge St., 416-360-7765.

Mackenzie House
The historic home of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor, is a city-run museum and fine example of Georgian architecture. Historical exhibitions are offered, and there’s also a re-created 1850s print shop and a modern gallery. 82 Bond St., 416-392-6915.

Museum of Inuit Art
Located in the Queen’s Quay Terminal, this lakeside museum is devoted to presenting the history of the Inuit people through their distinctive art forms. Its collection spans hundreds of artifacts and artworks, and includes a number of showcase sculptures by major Inuit artists of the modern era. An adjoining gallery shop offers authentic stone carvings, prints and more for purchase. 207 Queens Quay W., 416-640-1571.

Redpath Sugar Museum
Canada’s oldest sugar refining company opened its museum to the public in 1979.
A self-guided tour is also included, and reservations are recommended for your visit. 95 Queens Quay E., 416-366-3561.

Textile Museum of Canada
This museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 12,000 historical and contemporary objects from around the world. The garments and fabrics displayed in themed exhibitions tell the stories of different cultures, while contemporary showcases place textile art in a modern context. A hands-on gallery teaches visitors about the ways in which textiles influence our lives. 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321.

Hot Art: The Vibrant Clay of Betty Woodman

Detail of Ceramic Pictures of Korean Paintings by Betty Woodman (image courtesy of the Gardiner Museum)

MARCH 3 TO JUNE 5 The commingling of painting, sculpture and ceramic art finds expressive purchase in Places, Spaces and Things, the latest exhibition at the Gardiner Museum. A survey of recent works by prolific American artist Betty Woodman, the display highlights its subject’s extravagant use of colour and eccentric shapes in 50 porcelain vessels that hearken to Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. A number of her grandiose canvas and ceramic installations make clear Woodman’s painterly panache even more explicitly.

Yours to Discover: Day Four

Winter’s on its way out; it’s time to get a head start on exploring. Guide yourself with our specialized itineraries, or contact one of Toronto’s many tour operators to delve deeper into this multifaceted metropolis. And don’t forget to check out previous Yours to Discover posts, here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three.

Must-see art and artifacts at the city’s preeminent institutions.

Enhance your experience at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Gardiner Museum by joining docent-led collection tours, free with admission. The AGO’s hour-long highlights tour runs daily at 1 p.m., while the Gardiner offers a tour at 2 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Bata Shoe Museum and the ROM provide guides for groups of 10 and 20 or more visitors, respectively; call in advance to arrange.

Hot Art: Gardiner’s Medium Mash-Up

Brendan Tang's Manga Ormolu 4.0-b

OCTOBER 7 TO JANUARY 31 The Gardiner Museum continues to pursue its mission of demonstrating that plates and teacups are no longer the ceramic arts’ sole concern. Its current exhibition, Breaking Boundaries, does just that by presenting a variety of sculptural pieces that adapt an age-old art form to contemporary circumstances and perceptions. Featuring works by four young Canadian ceramicists—Shary Boyle, Marc Courtemanche, Carmela Laganse, and Brendan Tang, whose hybrid vessels combine conventional porcelain with Japanese comic-book imagery—the display pushes the limits of the medium itself, as well as the viewer’s imagination.

Hot Art: Tokyo Gift

The Gardiner Museum displays numerous Japanese ceramics, such as this Ko-Imari flask

ON NOW One of the best things about the Gardiner Museum, apart from the sheer breadth and beauty of its collection of functional and decorative ceramics, is the way it so effectively connects these works with the artistic and cultural conventions of a given time and place. Private Pleasures: Japanese Porcelain of the Edo Period is yet another example of this mandate’s fulfillment. The display of over 100 objects from 17th- to 19th- century Japan provides a glimpse into the lives of feudal elites, artists and even geishas through pieces like a Ko-Imari flask, plus related paintings and textiles from the era. Another nifty bit of synergy: the show was realized thanks to the donation of the Macdonald Collection of porcelains, itself the product of a private, pleasurable pastime.

Hot Dining: Bite at the Museum

Enjoy brunch and more at Frank (photo by Edward Pond)

Combine the arts with artfully prepared cuisine—from fresh sandwiches to soft-shell crab tempura—at these major cultural institutions.

>> At the apex of the Royal Ontario Museum’s geometric Michael Lee-Chin Crystal sits C5, a sleek restaurant and lounge featuring a thoroughly modern spread. It’s best savoured following a day of contemplating the ROM’s many historical treasures.

>> The much-applauded 2008 renovation of the Art Gallery of Ontario created more space not only for paintings, but also locally inspired cuisine—including a popular brunch—at Frank, a chic but casual dining space named for architect Frank Gehry

>> Star chef Jamie Kennedy devised the menu of healthy soups, salads and artisan sandwiches at the Gardiner Café, making its namesake museum a noon-hour hub for a well-heeled but time- and calorie-conscious clientele.

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)


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.


10 Do-It-Yourself Classes

Head back to school with these one-day workshops and take home a new skill. By Jessica Napier

The Creators

Eight Canadian jewellers turned their passions into a profession, and now you can wear the fruits of their artistic labours. Click any of the images below to learn more about Toronto designers including Richard Booth, Linda Penwarden and Anne Sportun.

February Editor’s Picks: Art

Anna Kirzner's Free Space is at the Gardiner Museum.

OPENS FEBRUARY 4 The vibrant ceramic art scene of contemporary Israel draws inquiring eyes to the Gardiner Museum. Its latest exhibition, From the Melting Pot into the Fire, presents almost 40 pieces that examine the myriad issues faced by the Jewish state and its citizens, from the reconciliation of religious traditions indicated in Martha Rieger’s My Melting Pot vessels to the concept of borders—physical and psychological, territorial and personal—evident in Anna Kirzner’s Free Space. Taking cues from pottery’s historical (read: communal, functional) origins while seeking modern, artistic self-expression, each piece offers a unique perspective on matters that shape both individual and collective identity.

Origami in the style of Masahiro Chatani.

TO FEBRUARY 25 Even if you’re all thumbs—or, perhaps, because of this deficiency—it’s easy to appreciate the skill needed to conjure intricate cranes, frogs, flowers and boats out of single pieces of paper. This month the Japan Foundation offers an even more impressive showcase of three-dimensional objects in its Origamic Architecture exhibition, which renders historical and contemporary buildings from around the world in folded and cut paper. Combining a traditional art form with modern design, the survey pays tribute to late Japanese artist Masahiro Chatani—all featured models are originally of his design—but adds a Toronto twist, with many of the pop-up-style pieces freshly crafted by local folders.

A Fair Way to Celebrate Canada's Centennial by Sam Falk.

TO FEBRUARY 27 Toronto’s premier space for fine photography broadens its focus across time and space—more than 140 years and 9,984,670 square kilometres, to be precise—with O Canada, an exhibition of approximately 75 vintage prints depicting landmarks, personalities and events from this country’s past, such as Montreal’s Expo ’67, shown in Sam Falk’s A Fair Way to Celebrate Canada’s Centennial. Collected and presented by Stephen Bulger Gallery, these images reflect the history not only of a nation, but in their analogue formatting and evident wear, that of the photographic medium itself.

Weekend Roundup, December 4th to December 6th

December is finally here! ‘Tis the season to eat, drink, shop, skate and be merry at festive holiday performances.

Friday: Spend an evening at the Distillery Historic District

Friday: Spend some time at the Distillery Historic District

Friday December 4th
Pick out gifts for little loved-ones at the Distillery Historic District’s Children’s Trunk Show shopping event, then spend the evening walking the area’s cobblestone laneways and admiring its seasonal light display.

Get into the festive spirit at the Friday After Five event hosted by the Gardiner Museum. This special holiday happy hour features Christmas cocktails and a tourtiere poutine created by celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy.

Partake in a 72-year-old seasonal tradition at the Church of the Holy Trinity—its Christmas Story performance brings the nativity to soul-stirring life.

Saturday: Tea at the Royal York

Saturday: Tea at the Royal York

Saturday, December 5th
Take time for afternoon tea at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and nibble on finger sandwiches, mincemeat tarts and other holiday treats. Visitors can also take home decadent goodies from the on-site Festive Bakery.

Meet new friends while learning how to pry open shellfish at the singles oyster shucking, tasting & wine pairing night at Leslieville gastro-pub Prohibition.

Sing along with Weezer and other alternative-rock superstars—the Air Canada Centre hosts radio station 102.1 The Edge’s Jingle Bell Rock concert.

Sunday: Eva Avila portrays Maid Marian in Robin Hood

Sunday: Eva Avila portrays Maid Marian in Robin Hood

Sunday, December 6th
Enjoy a festive afternoon at Roy Thompson Hall as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Dickens’s holiday classic, A Christmas Carol.

Strap on your blades for Harbourfront Centre’s HarbourKIDS: SK8 festival at Canada’s largest artificially cooled outdoor ice rink.

Follow Robin Hood as his merry men as they engage in eco-conscious hijinks in the Ross Petty production of Robin Hood: The Environ-Mental Family Musical.