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Spadina Museum

Weekend Roundup, December 9 to 11

Friday: Relive your Royal Conservatory days through Two Pianos Four Hands

Friday, December 9
Follow along with the melodies made by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, the actor-musicians behind the hit comedy Two Pianos Four Hands, a hilarious and poignant story about two lives transformed by piano teachers, lessons and competitions. The show’s recently extended run continues at the Panasonic Theatre.

Listen to a Latin take on holiday music at Koerner Hall in A Salsa Christmas, performed by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra under the direction of world-renowned pianist, arranger and producer Oscar Hernández.

Get a first look at The Power Plant’s two new exhibitions at their free opening reception. The gallery’s winter exhibits showcase reflections on poignant moments in cultural history by Canadian Stan Douglas and an international collective of young artists.

There’s two more days of merriment after the jump!

30 Things We Love About Toronto This October

3. Medieval Times

1. The wonder of liquid nitrogen ice cream from Colborne Lane prepared tableside.

2. Catching a live performance by the iconic Liza—with a z—Minnelli on October 28.

3. Jousting knights on horseback at Medieval Times.

4. Seeing the city on two wheels with the rental of Bixi Bikes; return them to many conveniently located docking stations in the downtown core.

5. Serpentine sculptures handmade by Native Canadian artists from Eskimo Art Gallery. (more…)

Weekend Roundup, June 24 to 26

Friday: Show Aretha Franklin some respect at David Pecaut Square

Friday, June 24
Start the weekend on a high note as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, opens the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a free show at David Pecaut Square. The festival continues until July 3, and promises performances by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Branford Marsalis, and even hip-hop outfit The Roots.

One of the largest GLBT celebrations in the world, Toronto’s Pride Week begins this weekend with events throughout the city. Tonight the Gladstone Hotel hosts a Gay-Straight Alliance Dance Party, with DJs including Cosmic Cat and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, spinning tunes. The festival culminates with the annual Pride parade on July 3.

Enjoy an evening of timeless classics and traditional swing-jazz numbers at a Roy Thomson Hall performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Directed by renowned trombonist Gary Tole with special guest Susie Arioli, the big band’s setlist includes all-time favourites like “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Saturday: Sway to the sweet sounds of folk crooner James Taylor

Saturday, June 25
The sweet sounds of acoustic folk music fill the open-air Rexall Centre at York University as James Taylor makes an appearance at the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival. Fans of the Grammy-winning troubadour can expect to hear his hits including “Fire and Rain”, “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Carolina in my Mind.”

Cheer on all the competitors at the 23rd Annual Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival. The two-day event at Centre Island offers multicultural food and entertainment, plus more than 180 teams paddling teams competing for glory.

Calling all cycling enthusiasts! Join the fun at Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Bike Fest in the Distillery Historic District, featuring clinics and seminars, demonstrations, a scavenger ride and even live local bands.

Sunday: Les Chiclettes and other francophone artists perform at Franco-Fete.

Sunday, June 26
Round out the weekend by celebrating Canada’s other official culture at Harbourfront Centre’s Franco-Fete. The city’s only francophone festival presents a bevy of family-friendly performances, culinary demonstrations and much more. Très bien!

The Toronto Zoo marks the occasion of the International Indian Film Academy Awards being held downtown with it’s own Bollywood party. The festivities include music and dancing for children, as well as storytelling, henna tattoos and more.

Welcome the start of summer with a 1920s-style garden party at Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens. Guests can marvel at the mansion’s decor—recently restored to its Jazz Age heyday—dance to jazz rhythms, enjoy period-appropriate refreshments, and even solve a murder mystery.

Weekend Roundup, May 6th to May 8th

Friday: Get acquainted with The Railway Children (photo by Simon Annand)

Friday, May 6
All aboard! Start off the weekend by catching newly opened play The Railway Children. This stage story follows of three children reduced to poverty who try to make the most of their new circumstances. Taking place at the Roundhouse Theatre—built near a historic train depot near Union Station—the set features an 85-ton vintage steam locomotive from England.

In the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, head to the Tequila and More: Spirits and Cocktails Show, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, to learn what tequila is all about. Starting at 4 p.m. and continuing through the evening, the event features live Latin jazz, tequila and mescal tastings, cocktail mixology competitions and more

Taking cues from two works based on the myth of Orpheus, Toronto Masque Theatre presents the Masques of Orpheus tonight at Enwave Theatre. In keeping with the troupe’s “arts in fusion” motto, the classic French La Descente d’Orphee aux Enfers by Charpentier will be performed alongside Orpheus and Eurydice by Canadians James Rolfe and Andre Alexis.

Saturday: See science in action

Saturday, May 7
There’s a whole lot of learning goin’ on today, as the nationwide Science Rendezvous takes place, and includes activities and events across the Greater Toronto Area. Ryerson University offers exciting demonstrations in chemistry; the University of Toronto has hands-on activities with top researchers; and the Ontario Science Centre features a special presentation: 50 years of Human Spaceflight—Past, Present and Future.

Raise your glass and kick off the week-long Salut Toronto Wine & Food Festival. Fun and educational, the festival features unique events (through to May 14th) with leading chefs, winemakers and food producers on hand. Today, the Global Pinot—Chasing the Heartbreak Grape event offers an afternoon wine tasting with certified wine experts from Reds Bistro & Wine Bar.

It’s now or never! Bullet for Adolf, written and directed by Woody Harrelson, takes the stage one last time at the University of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre.

Sunday: Take Mother's Day tea at Spadina Museum

Sunday, May 8
Celebrate this Mother’s Day with a handful of fun events taking place throughout the city. Among them, Black Creek Pioneer Village offers two options for Mother’s Day within its family-friendly historical heritage village: a buffet brunch or afternoon tea. Similarly, visitors to the recently restored Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens are invited to partake in an afternoon cream tea plus tour. At the Toronto Zoo, take mom to meet other mothers like Ngzoi the gorilla, Polly the baboon and Mya the cheetah.

Perfect for families, the classic tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is performed as an interactive musical at Solar Stage Children’s Theatre—today, and on weekends during May.

At various venues through to May 15th, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival screens 118 films from 21 countries that reflect aspects of Jewish identity and diversity. Three of this year’s top films highlight the “Three Lennys”: Lenny Bruce, Leonard Bernstein,and Leonard Cohen.

Hot Art: Relive Old Toronto at the Spadina Museum

An excellent showcase of heritage preservation in Toronto has become even better thanks to the recent restoration of Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens. A Midtown fixture since 1866, the home underwent an extensive revitalization to reflect its 1920s and ‘30s heyday, a period during which its longtime owners and residents, the Austin family, lived through economic, political, social and cultural changes that heralded the birth of the modern age. Artifacts, documents and themed tours speak to this transitional time. Just as intriguing is the restoration itself: 14 rooms and six common areas feature painstakingly reproduced (and, in some cases, preserved) furnishings, lighting, wallpaper and more—all fine examples of this city’s historical and cultural inheritance. Open Saturday and Sunday, 285 Spadina Rd., 416-392-6910.

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.