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Royal Ontario Museum

Hot Art: The ROM Reveals Maya Secrets

Stone relief of Kan Joy Chitam, ruler of the Palenque city-state from 529 to 565 CE (© Conaculta-INAH, Javier Hinojosa)

NOVEMBER 19 TO APRIL 9 From a sophisticated writing system to an outsized pantheon of gods, incredible architecture to ingenious agricultural methods, it would seem that the Maya had it all. Though centuries of conquest and colonization—and perhaps other, more mysterious forces—precipitated decline, the Royal Ontario Museum shows that the civilization remains a fascinating example of early Mesoamerica’s cultural, political and scientific richness. Focusing on the Classic Period of Mayan history, from 250 to 900 CE, the blockbuster exhibition Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World assembles almost 250 stunning artifacts that reveal the connections between a highly developed people and the world in which they thrived.

Weekend Roundup, October 7 to 9

Friday: See Faust with live music

Friday, October 7

F.W. Murnau’s classic 1926 silent film Faust screens this evening within the hallowed confines of Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church. Featuring live piano accompaniment by composer Robert Bruce, it’s an artistically immersive way to see and hear a revered piece of early filmmaking.

Find your way through a maze at the Ontario Science Centre‘s new exhibition, GPS Adventures. Using Global Positioning System technology, visitors can try out the popular activity of geocoaching to find hidden treasures and answer a riddle. (more…)

Hot Art: What Was Old is New in the ROM’s Gallery of Rome

A bust of Co-Emperor Lucius Verus from the Eaton Gallery of Rome

ON NOW Although the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal has been complete for some time, the Royal Ontario Museum continues to roll out new permanent exhibition spaces and artifacts in its historic Centre Block and Philosophers’ Walk wings. Thousands of years of history stretching across Europe, the Near East and North Africa are presented in four new galleries comprising the Eaton Gallery of Rome: the Bratty Exhibit of Etruria, the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Byzantium, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Gallery of Rome and the Near East, and the Galleries of Africa: Nubia. Within each, visitors can discover an array of rare archeological relics—along with modern educational components—that speak to the splendour and dynamism of the ancient empires.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This June

3. The Art Gallery of Ontario, complete with Henry Moore sculptures (photo by Roger Yip)

1. The soulful voice of Aretha Franklin, who opens the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a free concert on June 24.

2. Donning red and white to cheer on the Toronto FC.

3. Admiring the collection of Henry Moore sculptures housed at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

4. Sipping a cappuccino from White Squirrel Coffee Shop while seeking its namesake critters in adjacent Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

5. Practicing your swing at Polson Pier’s lakeside driving range.

10. Toronto's skyline

6. Receiving a boisterous greeting from servers and chefs upon entering Japanese izakaya Guu.

7. Examining industrial-landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky’s latest exhibit about the oil business at the Royal Ontario Museum.

8. Strolling the pedestrian-friendly outdoor retail complex Shops at Don Mills.

9. The fervor of the “scramble” at Yonge and Dundas, where you can cross the street in any direction.

10. Taking the ferry to the Toronto Islands and looking back at the impressive skyline.

13. The Rex

11. Perusing refined Scandinavian design at Mjölk.

12. Admiring the cavernous grandeur of Union Station (65 Front St. W.).

13. Winding down the week with the live jazz and laid-back vibe at The Rex.

14. Walking beneath architectural artist Philip Beesley’s Sargasso installation, featured in Brookfield Place during Luminato.

15. The sense of otherworldliness in Sarah Anne Johnson’s Arctic Wonderland photos, displayed at Stephen Bulger Gallery.

19. Buca

16. Queuing for the $5.99 lunch specials at Sushi on Bloor—it’s worth the wait.

17. TV’s Rachel and Finn—a.k.a. Lea Michelle and Cory Monteith—belting it out on stage for Glee Live! In Concert!

18. Working up the courage to step onto the CN Tower’s glass floor, then looking down at the street 342 metres below.

19. Crunching on crispy pigs’ ears within Buca’s reclaimed industrial space.

20. Centering yourself at a drop-in yoga class at the Evergreen Brick Works.

24. Stillwater Spa

21. Finishing off a meal at The Gabardine with a burnt marshmallow ice cream sandwich.

22. Ordering creative cocktails and shareable snacks at Origin.

23. Admiring the elaborately designed merchandise windows at posh Holt Renfrew.

24. Getting pampered with a deep blue Tahitian massage at Stillwater Spa.

25. Picking up a new pair of flip-flops or sandals at always on-trend  shoe store Get Outside.

26. The Drake General Store

26. Quirky items from the Drake General Store to bring back home to your family and friends.

27. Tucking into tacos el pastor and a bowl of guacamole at Mexican stalwart El Trompo.

28. Coveting the volume of tomes at The Cookbook Store.

29. Scouring the rows of kitchenware at Chinatown’s Tap Phong Trading Company (360 Spadina Ave., 416-977-6364).

30. A stroll through the ravines of the Don Valley—you might glimpse a white-tailed deer by the river.

Chef at Home: Ricardo Larrivée

If you like the affable, comforting persona of chef Ricardo Larrivée from his Food Network Canada show Ricardo and Friends, you can now bring him home with you. Sort of. The bilingual Quebec-based host—episodes of his popular series are filmed in the Chambliss home Larrivée shares with his wife and three daughters—has launched a line of cook- and bakeware available at Sears. The complete collection consists of pots, pans, utensils, and even storage containers. A frequent visitor to Toronto, Larrivée shares his thoughts on this city.

What are your favourite places to visit when in Toronto?

I love the antique stores in Yorkville. Also the Royal Ontario Museum, Pusateri’s, Stillwater Spa, and Kensington Market (at Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West) for its food, bars and ambience. (more…)

Hot Art: Picturing Bollywood Flicks

An advertisement for the 1972 film Garam-Masala

JUNE 11 TO OCTOBER 2 Bollywood glamour dresses up Toronto in more ways that one this month. Not only will the International Indian Film Academy Awards be handed out on June 25 at the Rogers Centre, but the Royal Ontario Museum also gets into the act with an intriguing display of Hindi cinema “showcards” from the 1950s to ‘80s. A chronological selection of more than 100 of these hand-painted photo collage–style advertisements for vintage movies like Garam-Masala, the exhibition is a glimpse into more than just Mumbai’s over-the-top film industry. It also shines the spotlight on the evolution of graphic design and marketing in modern South Asia.

Weekend Roundup, June 3rd to 5th

Friday: View Craig C. Cochrane's burlesque photos, including Tea with Mussolini.

Friday, June 3
For one sassy and sultry week (from June 2 to 7), Yorkville’s Liss Gallery presents Canadian photographer, Craig C. Cochrane’s Toronto Burlesque Photography exhibit. The collection features male and female burlesque performers shot on stage as well as in studio.

Meet one of Hollywood’s original stars at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which presents the exhibition Mary Pickford & the Invention of the Movie Star in its Canadian Film Gallery. The display chronicles the life and career of the Canadian-born silent film actor, once dubbed “America’s Sweetheart.” Once your interest is piqued, catch a program of four of Pickford’s greatest films.

Marvel at them before they’re gone! There’s just one week left to ogle the late Princess Diana’s famous collection of dresses at the Design Exchange. This exclusive showcase marks the last time the gowns will be shown together publicly, as they’re slated for auction at the end of the month.

Saturday: Plácido Domingo sings beneath the stars

Saturday, June 4
Masterful tenor Placido Domingo is sure to enthrall the audience at Toronto’s new BlackCreek Summer Music Festival, which kicks off tonight at York University’s open-air Rexall Centre. This beloved “King of Opera” will be joined on stage by soprano superstar Sondra Radvanovsky.

Celebrate rhythm at the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, taking place today and tomorrow at Queen’s Park. Drummers representing Africa, North America, South America, Europe, India, Japan, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, South Korea and the Middle East are set to beat their hearts out at this family-friendly event.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival continues this weekend, screening more of its 275 films from 36 countries (including 77 Canadian flicks). Among today’s offerings: a set of short films from New Zealand in a program called “New Zealand’s Got Talent” at the Royal Ontario Museum, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: Be entertained at the Toronto Festival of Clowns (photo by Kathleen Finlay)

Sunday, June 5
The city is also overrun with clowns this weekend, courtesy of the Toronto Festival of Clowns. The event includes full-length shows featuring clowns, physical performers, mimes, buskers and more. Today at 6:30 p.m., catch The Last Man on Earth, a play in the style of a silent that tells of the Devil and his minion as they try to corrupt the last man on the planet.

It’s like a farmer’s market but with beer! Spend a relaxing afternoon at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, which hosts a Brewery Market throughout the summer. Enjoy a slice of pizza from the barn’s outdoor oven while sipping a brew from this week’s featured brewer, Toronto’s Denison’s Brewing Company, best known for its German-style beers. Partial proceeds from the event support The Stop Community Food Centre’s initiatives.

The annual Waterfront Blues festival, one of the only genuine blues-music events in Toronto, wraps up today at Woodbine Park in the city’s balmy east end. Admission is free to watch a dozen performers, including The Gary Kendall Band, Larry McCray and Curtis Salgado.

Contact Curated: Downtown

This year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival features exhibitions at more than 200 venues across the city. Make the most of your festival experience by concentrating your gallery-hopping within specific Toronto neighbourhoods, such as the Downtown core.

At the Design Exchange: Guy Tillim's Apartment building, Avenue Bagamoyo, Beira, Mozambique (courtesy of Kuckei + Kuckei, Berlin and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg)

Design Exchange
Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba (April 20 to June 14)

Another of Contact’s highly anticipated primary exhibitions, Tillim’s Avenue Patrice Lumumba series examines the effects of colonialism on modern history and architecture in African nations like Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

University of Toronto Art Centre
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics (May 3 to June 25)

Over the past 40 years, artist Suzy Lake has captured and expressed the female identity within the political, social and media context. She was also one of the forerunners of body-based photography. Lake’s exhibit at the University of Toronto Art Centre touches themes like beauty, femininity and identity.

Art Gallery of Ontario
Abel Boulineau: “Where I was born…”: A Photograph, A Clue, and the Discovery of Abel Boulineau (March 5 to August 21)

This series of gelatin silver photo prints in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s collection was only recently discovered to be part of Boulineau’s portfolio. A painter by trade, the French artist’s photographs reveal the stillness of everyday rural from 1897 to 1916.

At the ROM: Edward Burtynsky's SOCAR Oil Fields #9, Baku, Azerbaijan (courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery)

Royal Ontario Museum
Edward Burtynsky: Oil (April 9 to July 3)

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Institute for Contemporary Culture presents internationally renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s collection of 53 large-format photographs, which explore the ugly reality of the oil industry and oil dependence in contemporary society.

First Canadian Place
Dr. Roberta Bondar: Within the Landscape—Art Respecting Life (April 4 to May 20)

Using artistic elements like line, texture and colour, this exhibition offers a look at diversity of patterns in nature viewed at a distance—for example, a herd of buffalo moving across a plain, shot from above by the first Canadian woman ever to travel to outer space.

Nicholas Metivier Gallery
Edward Burtynsky: Monegros (May 5 to 28)

Depicting the complex and diverse landscape of Monegros, Spain, this collection of large-format Burtynsky photographs explores the effects of industrial farming in the region.

Toronto Imageworks Gallery
Dianne Davis: Impervious (May 5 to June 4)

Davis’s works utilize tableaus and subjects that tell the story of a specific place and time to examine notions of fragility, transience and the brevity of life.

At Bau-Xi Photo: Brett Gundlock's yntitled image from his Home series

Bau-Xi Photo
Rafal Gerszak, Brett Gundlock, Jonathan Taggart, Aaron Vincent Elkaim and Ian Willms: Boreal Collective (April 30 to May 13)

The Boreal Collective features the work of young photojournalists who document social, psychological and physical inequities through Canadian-based narratives.

Leo Kamen Gallery
Roberto Pellegrinuzzi: Constellations (April 30 to May 28)

What you see isn’t what you get with Pellegrinuzzi. In this exhibition, each layered, translucent photo offers an atypical way of viewing a landscape.

TIFF Bell Lightbox
Creative & Technical Team, Pearl Chen, Meagan Durlak, Matthew Fabb, Priam Givord, Brandon Hocura and Ana Serrano: Becoming What We Behold: A CFC Media Lab Project (May 7 to 29)

This interactive installation features a geometric web of tablet computers showcasing user-generated content. Viewers become artists as they upload images and share photos in the literal web of interconnectivity that’s meant to mimic social media.

Gallery 44
Surendra Lawoti: Don River (April 30 to June 4)

Chris Boyne: Stillwater (April 30 to June 4)
Susan Kordalewski: Space vs. Place (April 30 to June 4)

The three exhibitions at Gallery 44 study landscape and place in various contexts. The first, by Lawoti, focuses on locals and displaced residents living in and around the Don River Valley in the midst of urban Toronto. On the other hand, Boyne’s works depict unseemingly colourful landscapes with dark histories told through audio narratives. Lastly, Kordalewski’s photos play with one’s sense of perception by placing 2D representations within 3D spaces.

At Birch Libralato: Lee Goreas's The Happy Hooker (courtesy of Birch Libralato)

Birch Libralato
Lee Goreas: New Works 2011 (April 30 to June 4)
James Nizam: Memorandoms (April 30 to June 4)

Lee Goreas uses golf balls to create a series of large portraits that demonstrate the “character” of ordinary objects—form, colour, surface and age reveal each ball’s unique history. In Memorandoms, photographer James Nizam takes viewers inside the oldest public housing development in Vancouver, just before it was demolished. Using leftover objects like doors, drawers and shelves, he re-creates a sense of place with a fleeting identity.

KWT Contemporary
Caitlin Cronenberg, David Frankovich: RED / Plus de Deux (May 5 to 28)

Using images selected from the New York Times’ Canadian Photography Archive, Cronenberg’s series at KWT Contemporary reimagines and reinvents the photos as a commentary on how Americans have viewed Canadian culture in the past.

Textile Museum of Canada
Peter Wilkins: Loop (April 29 to June 12)

Concerned with “pattern languages” in urban settings, Wilkins’ exhibition transforms man-made objects and structures into abstract geometric patterns through repetition and reflection.


View Contact Photography Festival 2011: Downtown in a larger map

*All images courtesy of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival unless otherwise noted.

Hot Art: Make Contact with Photography

Edward Burtynsky's Oil Refineries #3

May 1 TO 31 The world’s largest image event, the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival, takes over Toronto with installations in public spaces like Brookfield Place and The Power Plant, as well as commercial galleries. Celebrating Marshall McLuhan’s monumental theory of “figure and ground,” this year’s showcase explores how all parts of an image—both the subject and the background—work together. Thousands of participating shutterbugs, including Fred Herzog and Alex McLeod, are on this year’s roster. Don’t miss Edward Burtynsky’s powerful series, Oil, including Oil Refineries #3, 1999, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.

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.

MUSEUM SHOWPIECES
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.

What’s Happening in Toronto for March Break

MARCH 14 TO 18 is March Break in Toronto! Still trying to plan your week of family fun? Check out our run down of special events and activities at Toronto’s top attractions. (Regular admission prices and hours apply, unless otherwise noted.)

The kids will be in awe of all there is to do during March Break in Toronto (photo by limaoscarjuliet)

Throughout the week at the Art Gallery of Ontario, families can enjoy performances inspired by the Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts exhibit as well as a dozens of free March Break activities that are included with the price of regular admission. March 14 to 18, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission for kids under 5.

Dive into March Break at the Royal Ontario Museum as the museum explores our blue planet with its latest showcase, Water: The Exhibition. Experience the interactive 10-foot-tall multimedia display, create water-themed crafts, learn about ancient marine life from museum curators, and even see live animals. Visit after 4:30 p.m. for $10 off admission. March 12 to 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stay warm at the Toronto Zoo by venturing into its tropical pavilions—including the newly refurbished African Rainforest Pavilion, complete with new chameleons and ring-tailed lemurs. Families can register for the zoo’s twice-a-day Playtime Forest education program, with 1.5 hours of activities and crafts for $4 per family member. March 12 to 20, 10:30 a.m. to noon or 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The Hockey Hall of Fame gets March Break started off right: on Monday, from 10 a.m. to noon, kids can meet and pose for photos with Toronto team mascots like Carlton the Bear of the Maple Leafs. Throughout the week, children can challenge themselves with hands-on interactive activities like goaltending, shooting, play-by-play broadcasting, and more. March 12 to 20.

For a medieval-style March Break, head to Casa Loma—the estate turns into an enchanted castle for a Princesses and Pirates extravaganza. A musical performance by Cinderella and the Little Mermaid, followed by a meet-and-greet, take place four times daily. Get dressed up in costumes for a photos, meet Prince Charming in the great hall, or enjoy a pancake breakfast or cupcake party. March 14 to 19.

If you’re looking to save, check out the events for families, children and teens at the Toronto Public Library. Guests like musicians and scientists liven up the day, as do such activities as movies, crafts, and storytelling for kids, plus skateboarding, hip hop, DJ-ing and games nights for teens. March 12 to 19.

Enjoy a truly Canadian experience at the Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival, where families can partake in an hour-long maple syrup walk, and enjoy face painting, wood carving demonstrations, entertainers, sap sampling, horse-drawn wagon rides, pony rides, and a petting zoo, all day long at Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area. March 14 to 18.

At Black Creek Pioneer Village, families get a hands-on look at olden-days revelry. Start with a pancake lunch, then take a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, sing along with the village’s Mumblypeg band, learn how to make maple syrup, take a Victorian dance lesson, and warm-up in the Pioneer Play Area. March 12 to 20.

Have a magical time at the Wizard World Indoor Family Fun Park, starting  for March Break at the Better living Center at Exhibition Place. The fun park includes 150,000 square feet of indoor fun: food and drinks, professional stage shows, 20 carnival rides, free loot bags for kids under 12, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, and much more. March 13 to 20.

Don’t forget Spring Fling, Canada’s largest indoor carnival, at the Rogers Centre. Enjoy the midway with rides, family entertainment, and exotic animals throughout the week. All-day ride tickets are $20. March 11 to 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Weekend Roundup, March 4th to 6th

Friday: Witness the grace of Russia's Mariinsky Ballet

Friday, March 4
Marvel at Russia’s legendary Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov Ballet) as its skilled dancers float across Sony Centre stage in Swan Lake, arguably the world’s most popular ballet. Accompanied by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, this production of a beloved classic is sure to please the whole family.

Two hundred independent and emerging artists have gathered in Toronto this weekend for The Artist Project. Chat with the artists about their processes and inspirations as they display their paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations and more.

Listen in on La Voix Humaine, a fantastic one-woman play written by renowned poet, author and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. On stage at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, this drama details a mysterious phone call placed to a woman by a lover who abandoned her.

Saturday: Lucinda Williams takes the stage with Levon Helm

Saturday, March 5
Steep yourself in Americana tonight as Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm brings his Ramble on the Road tour to Massey Hall. The former singer and drummer for The Band is joined by renowned roots artist Lucinda Williams, who is scheduled to perform a full set of her own, too.

Scour a treasure trove of the past at the Absolutely Vintage Show and Sale at Maple Cottage. Top vintage shops including Gadabout and Eclectisaurus have combined their collections of clothing, jewelery and antiques in a smorgasbord of unique fashion and accessories.

Tonight represents theatre goers’ final opportunity to catch the Canadian Stage Company’s Saint Carmen of the Main. This Greek tragedy with a Canadian twist tells the story of a young performer who leaves Nashville and returns to her roots in Montreal, where she sings of the hustlers and whores who attend her nightclub shows and sees those on the fringes of society become the heroes of her songs.

Sunday: Slip through the fog curtain to learn about water at the Royal Ontario Museum's latest exhibition

Sunday, March 6
Drink in every last drop of tantalizing information as the Royal Ontario Museum presents Water: The Exhibition. Through this comprehensive show, visitors can learn about water’s importance as an essential resource thanks to hands-on activities, live animal displays and much more.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a little bit early at the Tiff Bell Lightbox, which today presents the Toronto Irish Film Festival. Its day-long slate of films from the Emerald Isle—and Canada, too—honours the Irish and their cultural contributions to the visual media. 

Considered by many to be one of the world’s finest classical ensembles, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra offers an applause-worthy program of Schubert, Wagner and Bartók tonight at Roy Thomson hall. Master conductor Semyon Bychkov leads the orchestra to mastery in grand Viennese style.