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group of seven

Weekend Roundup: November 2 to 4

The Royal is high on horses

Friday, November 2
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair rolls into town for its 90th year of show jumping, bull riding, giant vegetable displays and more—not to mention special performances by Olympic equestrians and a brand new cooking competition featuring top chefs from Toronto’s premier hotels. Put on your best farm gear and head down Exhibition Place for a taste of the agro-action.

She may once have said that “polite conversation is rarely either,” but writer and humourist Fran Lebowitz is nonetheless game to sit down for a chat with CBC radio’s Jian Ghomeshi tonight at Massey Hall. With astute observations—about everything from politics to smoking to fame—and not-so-thinly veiled sarcasm on the discursive menu, an entertaining evening is all but guaranteed.

Lively colours and social commentary come together in the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s lauded exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. Not only does the show feature stunning works of autobiographical record by Mexican masters (and husband and wife) Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it also boasts an interesting collection of photos taken of the couple during the 1920s and 30s.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection showcases its favourite sons, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Saturday, November 3
Enjoy an first-hand look at the country’s most famous collective of artists as the McMichael Canadian Art Collection today opens its latest, highly anticipated exhibition. Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven has already proved a major success on tour in Europe; now it’s come home with more than 120 of the finest works to ever depict the Canadian hinterland.

Are you starting to get into the holiday spirit? Today, there’s no better way to kick-start the season than by partaking in Winter Magic’s Ice, Wine & Dine event. This one-night-only celebration along Elm Street not only offers $5 bites from a number of restaurants and professional sommelier–led wine tastings, it also highlights festive fun with carolers, ice carvings and other family-friendly entertainment.

Canadian synth-pop duo Crystal Castles tonight bring their intense lo-fi sound—including tracks from their new album, set for release on November 12—to the Kool Haus. If the haunting mood of the album’s first single “Plague” and reviews of singer Alice Glass’s performances are any indication, the show promises to be a treat for electronic music fans.

Local artists assemble at the Gladstone Hotel

Sunday, November 4
Get to know some of Toronto’s best independent contemporary artists for free as the Speak Easy Fall Art Fair takes over the historic Gladstone Hotel. On to November 7, this exhibition gives art lovers a chance to view and purchase works from some of the city’s most promising creators.

Halloween may be over, but you can still join in the Day of the Dead at Harbourfront Centre. Though skeletons abound, this is hardly a spooky event. Instead it’s a Mexican cultural celebration that honours the with colourful shrines, and traditional food, music and storytelling.

Orson Welles’ classic radio broadcast of War of the Worlds gets a tasteful makeover courtesy of the renowned Art of Time Ensemble and Harbourfront Centre. The stage adaptation—complete with live music and sound effects, of course—sets an uncanny mood for Canadian performers Nicholas Campbell, Sean Cullen and Marc Bendavid. Last year’s production completely sold out; don’t miss your second (and final) chance to catch this magnificent show.

Hot Art: I Killed the Group of Seven

A painting by Lorena Ziraldo from "I Killed the Group of Seven."

An exhibition called “I Killed the Group of Seven” is sure to be an attention-getter. So it’s no wonder that this group show at Patrick John Mills Gallery drew 1,500 people last year, or why it’s back again in 2011. The exhibit pays homage to the Canadian artists’ legacy while simultaneously reversing and re-conceptualizing all that the group represents. It also encourages people to think about Canadian art, where it was 100 years ago, and what new artists are creating today. And one thing’s for sure: the show draws people who loved the iconic collective of artists, and people who hated them. At this year’s event, check out the variety of responses to the buzz-worthy theme. Of particular note is local artist Lorena Ziraldo, who has three pieces featured in the show. Ziraldo is known for pushing fundamental concepts, and for subtle but important touches, such as sophistication of brush work, original placement of pigments, and selection of colour. Says gallery owner Mills, “Her work is penetrating in a delicate manner.” Works in this show will be displayed until Oct. 29. For more on this thought-provoking exhibition, and to learn what went into creating some of the pieces, take in the artists’ talk on Oct. 6 at 6pm.

Hot Art: Natural Inspiration

Twisted Pine, by Jim Waddington

ON NOW Artists in Ontario have long been inspired by this province’s vast and diverse landscape—its untamed forests, tranquil lakes and rocky northern shores. Few depictions of the hinterland are better known than those by the Group of Seven. In the early 20th century, Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson and their compatriots were inspired by the Canadian Shield’s rugged beauty; their paintings have in turn influenced generations of artists. Among them are Jim and Sue Waddington, whose practice involves locating and photographing the group members’ sketching sites. Their images are juxtaposed with original Group of Seven works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, providing insight into the artists’ working methods and the region’s ancient yet ever-evolving landscape

Weekend Roundup, June 26 to 28

Spa treatments, golf courses and gourmet dining—Muskoka has all you could ask for in a relaxing summer vacation!

Friday, June 26
Greet summer with a shimmer at Taboo Resort by indulging in the royal treatment of a glistening gold body wrap.

Admire Muskoka’s natural charms amidst an award-winning 18-hole design by Nick Faldo at one of Ontario’s premier golf courses, The Rock.

Saturday, June 27
Brush up on your brush strokes at the Group of Seven Mural Festival in Huntsville and contribute to the colour covering the town.

Treat your taste buds to traditional English high tea accompanied by select sandwiches, scones and sweets at Gravenhurst’s Blue Willow Tea Shop.

Sunday, June 28
Awaken the artist in your youngster at the Kaleidoscope Children’s Festival, which includes theatre, games, music and fun for the whole family.

Wend your way through Georgian Bay on a guided kayak tour from White Squall Paddling Centre, and marvel at Muskoka’s majestic milieu.

Weekend Roundup, May 15 to 18

The Victoria Day long weekend marks Canada’s unofficial start of summer, and where better to celebrate than in the Muskoka region?

Friday, May 15
Take home a piece of Canadian country charm at the Muskoka Lifestyle Show in picturesque Port Carling.

Support local art at the Silver Bridge Gallery as it presents Metal Petals, featuring one-of-a-kind hand-sculpted garden art.

Enjoy French Cuisine and lakeside scenery in the charming Twigs dining room at the Inn at Christie’s Mill.

Saturday, May 16
Enjoy a tuneful day with the family at the annual spring concert presented by the Muskoka Children’s Choir and Inspiring Sounds Music Studio.

Relive the vivacious performances of Elton John circa 1970 at a tribute concert, the Goodbye Yellow Brick Roadshow, by Ronnie and the Jets.

Celebrate the season at Deerhurst Resort’s Eclipse restaurant with local gourmet flavours including Milford Bay smoked trout, spring lamb and fiddleheads.

Sunday, May 17
Revel in the spectacular vistas as you swing for the fairways at pristine Taboo Resort. Its challenging golf course is the home course of 2003 masters champion Mike Weir.

Sip cocktails and breath in the crisp cottage-country air aboard a Lady Muskoka Cruise.

Take a stroll through downtown Hunstville and marvel at the Group of Seven Outdoor Gallery, featuring replicated murals created by Canadian artists.

Monday, May 18
Venture back to the turn of the century at Muskoka Heritage Place, where costumed interpreters teach everything from pioneer baking to candle dipping.

Treat yourself like Queen Victoria and pursue handcrafted natural soap bars from Huntsville boutique Soapstones. Fragrances like Algonquin Morning and Muskoka Blueberry stimulate the senses.

Hot Date—Group of Seven Mural Festival

Group of Seven Mural Festival (Photo by Carol Gibson.)

Painting at the Group of Seven Mural Festival (Photo by Carol Gibson).

June 26 to July 5 Pick up a paintbrush and pay tribute to renowned Canadian landscape painters the Group of Seven at a Mural Festival in their honour. Join professional artists in replicating the art of founding member Franklin Carmichael and the notable Tom Thomson, whose works were inspired by the natural beauty of the Muskoka region. Seven murals in all are painted during the free event; when completed, they join a collective of more than 40 mural productions decorating downtown Huntsville. Call 705-789-1400 for details.