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Ontario Science Centre

Weekend Roundup, March 25th to 27th

Friday: Thrill to the fleet footwork of Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance (photo by Ken Howard)

Friday, March 25
Michael Flatley, who has been aweing audiences for over a decade as the Lord of the Dance returns to the Sony Centre for a mythic tale of Irish folklore that has dazzled over 100 million people worldwide. Don’t miss this classic story of good versus evil expressed through fast-footed dance.

Emerging director Philip McKee of artistic troupe Idée Fixe presents a passionate adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Harbourfront Centre. As the king comes closer to death, he demands his daughters prove their love to him in order to secure their inheritance. When the most faithful fails to offer concrete evidence of her devotion, Lear banishes her from his home and heart.

Celebrating 40 years of Canadian music, Junofest features over 100 bands in 20 venues over two nights across the city. Catch tunes from such bands as Billy Talent, Die Mannequin and Bedouin Soundclash playing at such concert locations as the Opera House and Phoenix Concert Theatre.

Saturday: Check out the best bikes at the National Motorcycle Show

Saturday, March 26
Turn off your technology and experience Earth Hour at the Ontario Science Centre with a free live stage show from TVOkids entitled Don’t Sit Still. Or, as the lights go out, observe the stars in Toronto’s sky and a special viewing of Saturn through a telescope with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Rev up your engines and head down to the Better Living Centre for the 30th anniversary of the National Motorcycle Show. View vintage bikes, including the new row of champions, and find everything you need to get geared up for the season.

Celebrate with tequila at Embrujo Flamenco, an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant which this weekend features a special pre-fixe tasting dinner menu with tequila tasters. Sample fare like flambéed shrimp cooked in Cuervo Blanco tequila and a chocolate mousse with Jimador Reposado tequila and orange marmalade. Post-supper fun includes flamenco dancing and a live music show.

Sunday: Applaud your favourite Canadian musicians at the Junos

Sunday, March 27
The Juno Awards mark their 40th anniversary here in Toronto, home of the very first awards show honouring Canadian musicians. Rap superstar Drake hosts a line-up of stellar performances featuring Sarah McLachlan, Broken Social Scene and Hedley, nominated respectively for Best Artist, Group and Album of the Year.

Hurry to the Art Gallery of Ontario for the last week to see the majesty of the Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts. See amazing artworks, royal costumes, jewellery and a life size model elephant enrobed in textiles, trappings and a silver howdah. Don’t miss the afternoon performance by South Asian dance company inDance.

Marvel at the National Ballet of Canada’s premiere performance of Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Themes & Variations, Apollo & Russian Seasons. This showcase features three short one-act ballets set to Tchaikovsky’s Orchestral Suite No.3., created by George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky with a score by Leonid Desyatnikov.

Fun on Family Day

Ontario’s Family Day holiday falls this year on Monday, February 21, and offers an excellent opportunity to experience Toronto with your loved ones. Some of the city’s top attractions are even offering special family-oriented deals and programs!

Tim Burton is featured at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (photo by Derek Frey)

MOVIES! Family fun is free for the whole long weekend at the Tiff Bell Lightbox. Take the kids to see some fantastic films and explore the world of Tim Burton at the venue’s huge exhibition dedicated to the famous filmmaker. You can also see stand-up/cabaret artist Shawn Hitchins for a hilarious singalong featuring hits from the latest and greatest movies.

VISTAS! View the city from new heights at the CN Tower, which offers discounted Family Day admission. Be sure to stand on the iconic needle’s glass floor hovering 1,122 feet above street level, or go even higher to the Sky Pod and gaze kilometres into the distance. The attraction also offers a “Himalamazon” motion-theatre ride and the thrilling 3D movie Ultimate Wave Tahiti.

AFRICA! Among the thousands of diverse artifacts on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, your family is certain to be captivated by its display of contemporary pieces by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui. For Family Day, the special exhibition is supplemented by musical performances, films, drumming workshops and even a scavenger hunt through the museum’s comprehensive African rooms.

FEET! Kids can be honourary detectives at the Bata Shoe Museum during its weekend of family fun. Hunt for unique shoes throughout the space to earn a Shoe Detective certificate, try on some of the museum’s craziest shoes, and paint a mini clog to take home.

Harbourfront Centre's Natrel Rink (photo by Jennifer Hart)

SKATING! Make tracks to Toronto’s waterfront for a whole day of wholesome activities, as Harbourfront Centre hosts a family skating party with live music plus special guests including superhero characters, dancers, sock monkeys and Canadian Olympic athletes Jayna Heffors and Greg Westlake. Craft workshops help kids make their own mementos to remember the day by.

FINE ART! Discover some of the world’s most wondrous visuals at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ask for a family activity bag at the ticketing desk to make your journey through the gallery even more enjoyable. There’s even a kid-focused exhibition, Animal Tales, which offers children the opportunity to share stories and create their own creature drawings.

ANIMALS! Walk into the wild at the Toronto Zoo and discover some fun facts about animal packs and how they work as families—just like us! The zoo’s indoor pavilions feature exhibits on family trees and conservation, too.

HISTORY! Step into Casa Loma and partake in an old-fashioned scavenger hunt with Dora the Explorer. Kids can meet Dora in the library, and see other costumed characters while searching for treasure inside Toronto’s famous castle. For a more regal experience, youngsters can see what it was like to be a knight in the middle ages, courtesy of the Barrie Swordplay Association.

See how tornadoes form at the Ontario Science Centre (photo by Carsten Peter/National Geographic)

HOCKEY! Head to the Hockey Hall of Fame and receive free admission for up to four children with the purchase of one regularly priced adult. Kids will also receive a free muffin voucher from Marché—the better to keep their energy levels up! The museum features interactive activities in the NHLPA Be A Player Zone, as well as numerous artifacts, including hockey’s ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.

SCIENCE! Heat up inside the Ontario Science Centre with the institution’s newest exhibition, Nature Unleashed, which demonstrates how earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and tornadoes occur from the inside out. Kids of all ages can also marvel at the world’s largest mammals in the Whales/Tohora exhibit, or sit back and enjoy one of three mind-blowing Imax films.

MARILYN! The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg opens two special exhibitions in honour of the American film legend Marilyn Monroe. Guided tours, film screenings, music and other special programming is scheduled to help shine the spotlight on the shows and their superstar subject.

Weekend Roundup, February 11th to 13th

Friday: "The Trocks" offer a deftly comedic take on dance (photo by Eduardo Rodriguez)

Friday, February 11
Catch the second of three Toronto shows by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo tonight at the Winter Garden Theatre. An acclaimed troupe of professional male dancers, “The Trocks” incorporate and exaggerate the foibles, accidents, and underlying incongruities of serious dance in both classical and original works.

If you’ve ever wondered what causes extreme weather, then the Ontario Science Centre’s newest exhibit, Nature Unleashed, is for you! As of today, visitors at the Science Centre can discover what it’s like to be inside a tornado, cause an underwater earthquake, and even create a virtual volcanic eruption!

From “Crazy on You” to “Barracuda,” Heart performed some of the 1970’s most memorable rock songs. Tonight, at Massey Hall, take a trip back in time as the B.C. band led by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson play these smash hits and more.

Saturday: See the Winnipeg Ballet before the doors of its Moulin Rouge close

Saturday, February 12
Don’t miss your final chance to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s acclaimed rendition of Moulin Rouge. This tale of love and adventure at the notorious Parisian cabaret blends high-kicking choreography and a fabulous French soundtrack for one final performance at the Sony Centre.

Another last (curtain) call: The critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined ends its run at Berkeley Street Theatre this evening. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this moving play pays homage to the courage of women struggling against discrimination and hardship.

Reacquaint yourself with two giants of classical music as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to Beethoven and Tchaikovsky at Roy Thomson Hall. American pianist Garrick Ohlsson is sure to dazzle with his featured performance of Ludwig van’s Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major.

Sunday: Thrill to the passionate steps of Tango Buenos Aires (photo by Prayitno)

Sunday, February 13
Allow yourself to be transported to a world of romance with Tango Buenos Aires. The Argentinian company brings sizzling dance moves and exciting music by a tango orchestra to Roy Thomson Hall tonight.

Celebrate Black History Month at Harbourfront Centre—the Kuumba Festival wraps up today. This weekend’s theme is “Carnival on Mas” and celebrates the art, history, and energy of Caribbean culture.

Follow the complex narrative of a family torn apart by violence in tonight’s performance of Divisadero, the stage adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel of the same name, at Theatre Passe Muraille.

Hot Date: The Science of Disasters

An F-4 Category Tornado (photo © Carsten Peter/National Geographic Image Collection)

OPENS FEBRUARY 11 It would seem that natural disasters and their effect on the world have dramatically increased in recent times. Many blame climate change, but some uncertainty still exists when it comes to predicting and explaining these incidents. The Ontario Science Centre sets out to demystify phenomena like hurricanes and volcanic eruptions in its latest exhibit, Nature Unleashed. Developed by Chicago’s Field Museum, the display provides an interactive, educational look into extreme weather and other elemental forces and how we adapt to them. Be enveloped by the roar of a tornado, monitor earthquakes in real time, and discover how science helps us better understand such demonstrations of nature’s power. Adults $20, children $13; call 416-696-1000 or click here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, January 7 to 9

Friday: Witness the Duel of Ages at the Next Stage Theatre Festival

The weekend immediately following the revelry of New Year’s is a quiet one for many people. But if you’re still itching to get out, Toronto’s got you covered.

Friday, January 7th
Start your weekend with some drama courtesy of the annual Next Stage Theatre Festival. Tonight’s programming includes a history of personal combat in Duel of Ages and the intriguing whodunit Fairytale Ending.

Treat the family to a visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario. Among its numerous current exhibitions is a collection of four shows united under the title Animal Tales: Beasts, Toys and Fables. These displays feature bright and dynamic images celebrating the magic of visual storytelling, and particularly emphasize the fables of Aesop and the illustrations of Walter Trier.

The Second City has extended performances of its latest hit, Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes. Act fast to get tickets—you don’t want to miss out on discovering just how awesomely wicked this show really is.

Saturday: Take a spin on the Natrel Rink

Saturday, January 8th
It’s not to early to think about summer—and, particularly, how you’ll spend time on the water. So make your way to the Direct Energy Centre, which hosts the Toronto International Boat Show. Among the expo’s highlights are the world’s largest indoor lake, which features wakeboarding and boat-handling demonstrations.

Step back in time a couple of decades at the Horseshoe Tavern, which celebrates Canadian music of the 1980s as part of the Juno Decades 40th Anniversary Concert Series. Featured artists include Maestro Fresh Wes and Platinum Blonde.

Take a spin around Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink tonight while DJ Medicineman drops a hot mix of global grooves and electro hits. The pulsing music is sure to take the edge off of winter’s chill.

Sunday: See the Ontario Science Centre's mythic beasties for a final time

Sunday, January 9th
Just west of the city, Mississauga’s International Centre hosts the North American International Motorcycle Supershow, featuring more than 500 exhibitors and 1,000 motorcycles. These bikes will excite as you ride on over for seminars, a showbike competition and more.

Whether on foot, by car, or on the back of a beast, be certain to travel to the Ontario Science Centre. Its Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids exhibition, which explore the mystical world of the mythical creatures, concludes today.

Welcome the Toronto Raptors as they return from the road. Today the National Basketball Association squad—featuring rising stars like Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan—take on the Sacramento Kings.

Weekend Roundup, October 8 to 10

Toronto’s fun doesn’t stop just because the temperature drops outdoors! There are plenty of new exhibits, shows and performances which will guarantee a good time for everyone this weekend!

Friday: Be wowed by iD (photo by Valérie Remise/Theatre T & Cie)

Friday, October 8th
Catch the entertaining, adults-only puppet show, Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy at the Factory Theatre! When puppeteer Billy Twinkle gets fired from his job on a cruise ship, he must perform his life story as a puppet show to rediscover his love for the craft. It’s a must-see performance that has been garnering rave reviews!

Cirque Éloize has created another masterpiece! Now showing at the Sony Centre For the Performing Arts, iD is filled with jaw-dropping acts  that combine theatre, dance, music, and circus arts. With lots of energy and risky stunts, this innovative show brings plenty of visual effects to make for an unforgettable evening.

Trick or treat! Although Halloween is a few weeks away, visitors to Canada’s Wonderland should prepare to scream as this famous amusement park is once again transformed into the largest haunted attraction in the country. The annual Halloween Haunt offers tons of spooky attractions like haunted mazes and the Psycho Circus. Plus, experience all your favourite rides in complete darkness!

Saturday: Hear classics performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, October 9th
Enjoy a night of legendary music as the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs George Gershwin’s legendary Rhapsody in Blue. This all-American concert will also feature Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Leonard Bernstein’s overture to Candide. Head to Roy Thomson Hall for this powerful performance!

Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida has returned to the Canadian Opera Company stage! This tragic opera tells the forbidden love story between an Ethiopian slave girl and an Egyptian king in a time of war. It’s a stirring show, on now at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts.

The Fryderyk Chopin and Romantic Piano exhibit opens today at the Royal Ontario Museum. Showcasing numerous instruments, costumes and original scores from the Romantic Era, the show celebrates the bicentennial of this amazing composer’s birth.

Sunday: See mythical beasts at the Ontario Science Centre

Sunday, October 10th
Are you fan of all things fantasy? Head to the Ontario Science Centre to see their newest exhibit Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids. On display is an unbelievable range of sculptures, fossils, creatures and characters that have played a large role in popular myths and fables. You (literally) can’t miss the 40-metre long Chinese dragon that stretches along this exhibit!

The Arts at the Heart market takes over the busy Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend as hundreds of vendors display their handmade wares for sale. Find unique and colourful apparel, fashionable jewelery, belts, accessories and so much more.

It’s your last chance to check out Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel! This unique production brings together incredible circus acts, colourful costumes, vibrant dance routines, and a hilarious story. The final performance is tonight at the Canon Theatre.

Hot Date: A Fantasy World at the Ontario Science Centre

The legendary "Roc" is among the Ontario Science Centre's mythic beasts

OPENS OCTOBER 9 For centuries, strange creatures of all shapes and sizes have been conjured in fables and books, art, music and even film. Our enduring fascination with legendary beasts has meant that they’ve become ingrained in the popular imagination—with standardized habits and traits, they’re almost real to us. A new Ontario Science Centre exhibition entitled Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns and Mermaids traces the historical and cultural origins of folkloric fauna, as well as their subsequent evolution. Intriguing items such as paintings, sculptures, fossils and “life-size” models including a menacing roc and a 40-metre-long Chinese dragon are sureto illuminate this fantasical animal kingdom. Admission $11 to $18; call 416-696-1000 or click here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, May 14 to 16

Cheer up, the sun is coming out! This weekend is particularly promising with a packed lineup of shopping, sports and general merriment.

Friday: Shop for designer frocks and view the latest runway looks at The Clothing Show

Friday, May 14
Get started on summer shopping by perusing the apparel (both contemporary and vintage), jewellery and handbags and other accessories at The Clothing Show . With 300-plus vendor booths featuring designer names and discounts, it’s possible to leave with a whole new wardrobe.

The final launch of the Atlantis space shuttle is scheduled for this afternoon. Watch the historic blast off at 2:20 p.m. from the Hot Zone at the Ontario Science Centre.

Be inspired by a story of culture and discovery told through dance. DanceWorks presents Isolated Incidents, a solo piece performed and choreographed by Nova Bhattacharya at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre.

Saturday: Rock out with John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme as Them Crooked Vultures storm the Air Canada Centre stage (photo by Julio Enriquez)

Saturday, May 15
If you visit the Royal Ontario Museum, you can feast your eyes on sparkling jewels and rare artifacts encased in glass. Look beyond those cases and you’ll glimpse something else entirely, as B-boys and contemporary dancers perform at the ROM in celebration of Asian Heritage Month. Don’t miss this rare treat as dancers, inspired by the museum’s artifacts, weave in and around the exhibits.

Equip yourself with a soft, feather-free pillow and a sleepover-kid mindset because a giant pillow fight is coming to Yonge-Eglinton Square. What better way to relieve stress and let go on the weekend than with a fun, friendly swing of a pillow?

Seize a special opportunity to see Them Crooked Vultures—the rock supergroup composed of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) plays the Air Canada Centre tonight.

Sunday: See slap-soled shoes and more at the Bata Shoe Museum

Sunday, May 16
Follow up your Clothing Show session with a trip to the Bata Shoe Museum. The downtown institution’s current exhibition, On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels, pays tribute to the two most outrageous shoes to touch Western soil: the platform chopine and its descendant, the high heel.

Support the city’s baseball team as the Toronto Blue Jays take to the Rogers Centre field against the Texas Rangers. Tickets start at just $14!

After the game, enjoy a hearty Texan meal at Lone Star Texas Grill. Dig into mesquite-grilled steak and ribs or fill up on fajitas, but don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Hot Date: Hocus Pocus

The coveted Triwizard Cup, as shown in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

OPENS APRIL 9 Not even Lord Voldemort could keep muggles away from Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Wizardry and witchcraft cast a spell during the show’s only Canadian stop at the Ontario Science Centre, where visitors can toss a quaffle on the Quidditch pitch, wander through Hagrid’s hut, help tend to the Mandrakes in the greenhouse, and even come face-to-face with Buckbeak the Hippogriff or a giant Acromantula spider. Delve into the magical world of Hogwarts in a setting inspired by the films, which are based on the seven books by J.K. Rowling. In all, more than 200 costumes and props are showcased, including items displayed in the Gryffindor common room, the Great Hall and, of course, Harry Potter’s signature glasses and wand. Harry Potter admission is $20 to $27.50 and includes general entry to the Ontario Science Centre; visit here or call 416-696-1000 for more information and to purchase tickets.  —Meaghan Lamb

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.

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October Hot Date: Body Worlds

Heart, opened longitudinally<br>©Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com

Heart, opened longitudinally © Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.com

ON NOW The Ontario Science Centre brings back whole-body plastinates for its new exhibition, Body Worlds & the Story of the Heart. See up close the networks of muscles, tendons and blood vessels preserved in real bodies. Organs, translucent body slices, and other specimens also take visitors through the locomotive, nervous, reproductive, digestive and cardiovascular systems of the body, making anatomy interesting rather than icky. 770 Don Mills Rd., separate admission required: adults $28.50, seniors and students $24.50, kids $18.50; call 416-696-1000 to purchase tickets.

Weekend Roundup, October 9th to 12th

Happy Thanksgiving! But there’s much more to the long weekend than turkey.

Friday, October 9th
Examine real, whole bodies preserved in polymer in the Body Worlds & the Story of the Heart exhibit, which opens today at the Ontario Science Centre.

Savour the sizzling flavours of Chile at the King Edward hotel restaurant Victoria’s with a special prixe fixe menu to celebrate Chilean Gourmet Week.

Be dazzled as dancers twirl paper fans, musicians beat drums and other performing artists do their thing in a lavish, multicoloured spectacle of Chinese culture in the opening Shen Yung Performing Arts show.

Saturday, October 10th
Catch the antics of some quirky friends and relatives for the last time when they visit a couple reluctant to play host in Alumnae Theatre’s last performance of A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee (also the playwright of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).

Grab a partner and jitterbug on over to Swing Toronto‘s Saturday Night Swing dance party.

Consider the fashion and function of wool floor coverings that were popular in the city from the 1850s to 1920s in the exhibit Wall-to-Wall: A History of Carpeting in Toronto at Spadina Museum.

Sunday, October 11th
As part of Sound Travels: Festival of Sound Art, pedal one of the Synthecycletron’s stationary bicycles located at the Toronto Islands to produce synthesizer melodies.

Be transfixed by some of the best images in photojournalism worldwide showcased at the World Press Photo exhibit at Brookfield Place.

Take the kids to HarbourKIDS: Respect at Harbourfront Centre so they can appreciate the ecosystem by engaging in activties like helping build a model of the Great Lakes and its inhabitants out of LEGO.

Monday, October 12th
Help prepare harvest foods and nibble on 19th-century-inspired treats to celebrate Thanksgiving at Gibson House.

Or, let someone else do the cooking at Peartree, where you can nosh on a full turkey dinner from the roasted butternut squash soup to the pumpkin pie.

If you want Thanksgiving take-out, pick up a reheatable three-course meal complete with Ontario-grown poultry and accompanying trimmings via the Royal York Hotel’s Turkey to Go service.