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What to Do Toronto

What’s On Stage: Toronto’s Fall Performance Season

EXPECT A SWEEPING SELECTION OF SHOWS—FROM LAVISH MUSICALS TO FAMILY DRAMAS TO OPERATIC MASTERPIECES AND MORE—DURING TORONTO’S FALL PERFORMANCE SEASON.

BROADWAY NORTH

A mix of Tony-winning musicals and Canadian premieres comprises the fall playbill for six of the city’s top theatrical producers

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Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella opens December 1 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (photo: Carol Rosegg)

With multiple productions on several stages, there’s no doubt that Canada’s largest theatre promoter, Mirvish Productions, is the king of King Street. Don’t miss a chance to see Kinky Boots before it closes on November 8. The inspiring tale follows mild-mannered Charlie and an outgoing drag queen named Lola as they work together to save Charlie’s family’s shoe factory, and boasts catchy songs by Cyndi Lauper and a standout performance by Alan Mingo Jr. as Lola. Motown the Musical is based on the life of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, the man who discovered artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes and the Jackson 5. As such, its soundtrack boasts more than 60 timeless classics, including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Mackintosh round out the Broadway-approved hits.

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Things to Do in Toronto: October 2015 Shows & Events

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN OCTOBER!

Things to do in Toronto Armide Chris Hadfield Paul McCartney

Opera Atelier’s Armide, plus appearances by Commander Chris Hadfield and Sir Paul McCartney, are just a few of the things to see and do this month in Toronto

*Also check out our guide to Toronto’s Fall Performance Season, which details more of our favourite theatrical, orchestral, operatic and balletic performances taking place in Toronto through to the end of the year.

OCTOBER 1 TO 4 Nesters seeking inspiration for their abodes can find it at the Toronto Fall Home Show. The biggest public event of its kind in the city presents tips and trends from television personalities like Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, as well as Cityline expert Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, decorator Michael Penney and renovator Michael Upshall. Find small-space ideas and solutions as well as eco-friendly products, and shop for new items from more than 300 retailers.

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Where to See the Best Fall Colours Near Toronto

THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE REALLY EARNS ITS NICKNAME AS VIBRANT FALL COLOURS EMERGE ACROSS THE REGION’S ABUNDANT PARKS AND CONSERVATION AREAS—ALL JUST A SHORT DRIVE FROM TORONTO

The fall colours can be seen in abundance on the Niagara escarpment (photo: Jeff S. PhotoArt)

The fall colours can be seen in abundance on the Niagara escarpment (photo: Jeff S. PhotoArt)

We may complain about the shorter days and the noticeable chill in the air, but one thing we can’t lament with autumn’s arrival is the beautiful change it brings to our parks and woodlands. While trees are, of course, reasonably abundant in Toronto, you really do owe it to yourself to take leave of the concrete jungle in order to view the most vibrant foliage. So pack a picnic (or just some sturdy hiking shoes) and head to these just-outside-of-town locations to be awed by the best fall colours near Toronto.

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The Toronto International Film Festival Marks 40 Years of Movies

A MAJOR ANNIVERSARY AFFORDS THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK BACK AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL’S BEGINNINGS

TIFF Toronto International Film Festival TIFF 2015

(photo: courtesy of TIFF)

Four decades is a long time in the life of any art form or industry—especially one as fickle as filmmaking. It’s rather exceptional when a single person or institution can not only enter but also remain in the cultural conversation across multiple generations. Yet it’s a feat that the Toronto International Film Festival has managed to pull off.

Marking its ruby anniversary this year, TIFF (which runs from September 10 to 20) continues to be one of the global movie business’s most significant annual events, an affair at which hundreds of the world’s most exciting motion pictures are introduced not only to industry insiders, but to everyday film fans seeking cinematic stories from new voices and auteurs alike.

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Things to Do in Toronto: Top Shows & Events for September 2015

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN SEPTEMBER!

Things to do in toronto empire

Empire opens this month in Toronto (photo: Danielle Covin)

SEPTEMBER 1 TO 27 Some shows defy categorization. Such is the case with Empire, a travelling production that comes with its own theatre, a mammoth, 700-seat tent with upholstered booths, beveled mirrors and a speakeasy style bar. Part circus, part cabaret and part burlesque—parents be forewarned, some exposed skin and scantily clad performers are featured—the provocative, daring, seductive and graceful performance includes the likes of a Japanese wheelmaster named the Half Naked Asian Dude Wearing Pigtails, a contortionist trapped in an aerial sphere and gymnasts who form pyramids with their bodies.

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Parapan Am Games: Panamania Brings in Janelle Monae, Tanya Tagaq and More!

THE TORONTO 2015 PARAPAN AM GAMES HAVE BROUGHT MORE THAN JUST SKILLED ATHLETES TO THE CITY. BIG-NAME MUSICIANS AND ARTISTS ARE IN TOWN FOR PANAMANIA FESTIVITIES, TOO!

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Tanya Tagaq (left) and Janelle Monáe are among the musicians slated to perform during Panamania at Nathan Phillips Square

AUGUST 7 TO 12  As more than 1,600 para-athletes demonstrate the amazing strength, resilience and grace of the human body through the 15 sports of the Parapan Am Games, a slate of performances and exhibitions adds a cultural component to the festivities. In conjunction with July’s Pan Am Games and this month’s Parapan Am competition, Panamania continues to feature daily free concerts plus nightly victory celebrations and fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.).

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Parapan Am Games: Meet Canada’s Paralympic Athletes

FOUR MEMBERS OF CANADA’S PARALYMPIC TEAM DISCUSS THEIR CHALLENGES, OFFER ADVICE TO YOUNG ATHLETES, AND TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DON THE MAPLE LEAF AT THIS MONTH’S PARAPAN AM GAMES.

Parapan Am Games Toronto 2015

Wheelchair basketball player Adam Lancia and swimmer Benoît Huot are among Canada’s representatives at the Parapan Am Games

ADAM LANCIA
Sport: Wheelchair Basketball
Hometown: Scarborough, Ontario
Born without feet, ankles, his ACL and tibia, Lancia made his Team Canada debut in 1997 and has since won gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens and 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and a silver medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

What does your training routine consist of? 
I spend three days a week on the court and in the weight room. Court time consists of a team practice in the morning for two hours and an hour-long individual skills session or a shooting workout in the afternoon.

What goes through your mind before each game?
I focus on two or three main points, whether they be related to my personal play, the play of the team or our opponents. That helps me stay focused and keeps me from trying to focus on too many things.

What are your thoughts or feelings going into the Parapan Am Games?
I’m excited for the games and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Americas think about my hometown.

What is your advice to young athletes?
The obvious ones go without saying: work hard, be respectful, etc. Most importantly, be sure to learn how to balance life and sport early in your career. There are few skills more valuable than time and goal management.

BENOÎT HUOT
Sport: Swimming
Hometown: Saint-Lambert, Quebec
Born with club feet, Huot has been swimming competitively since the age of 10, and has won nine gold, five silver and five bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and London in freestyle and butterfly races.

What has your disability taught you about yourself?
Everything is possible even though you could be different. Just because there is a disability that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things.

How did you get into swimming competitively?
My best friend was a swimmer, and I saw Mark Tewksbury winning gold at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
The ability to come back after a difficult performance in Beijing 2008 and make it to London 2012 with incredible positive strength and attitude.

What does it mean to you to represent Canada during the Parapan Am Games on Canadian soil?
It will be an honour to compete at home in front of friends, family and Canadians to increase the visibility and awareness of Para sport in the country.

Parapan Am Games Toronto 2015

Cyclist Jaye Milley and sitting volleyball player Jesse Ward

JESSE WARD
Sport: Sitting Volleyball
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
A double amputee who is competing in his first Parapan Am Games, Ward and his teammates are hopeful about their chances of qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

What does your training routine consist of?
I train five to six days a week. Every morning I train on-court with my coach for an hour, and then I follow on-court training with an hour and a half of strength training.

What goes through your mind before each game?
I prepare myself before each competition by focusing on the court. I think of the things that I’ve been training to be better at, and run through each one and how I will alter my play. But the thing I focus most on is having fun. When I go into a game thinking only of the results and how to manage my gameplay, I lose the joy of the game. I try and focus on playing my best, but mostly having fun with my teammates on the court, and enjoying each opportunity.

What does it mean to you to represent Canada during the Parapan Am Games on Canadian soil?
Representing Canada at home is one of the greatest opportunities that I’ve had in my lifetime, and I’m so proud and thankful to be able to do so. Representing my country means a lot to me, and the honour of playing in front of family and friends at home is an experience that I’ll be always grateful for.

What is your advice to young athletes?
Chase your dreams. The only person whose opinion and dreams that matter, are yours. If you don’t limit yourself, and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything. With enough passion and work, you can conquer any challenge.

JAYE MILLEY
Sport: Cyclist
Hometown: Calgary, AlbertA
Milley is a quadruple amputee who was born with underdeveloped hands and feet; he participated in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and the 2011 Parapan Am Games in Guadalajara.

At what age did you start cycling?
Age 13. I couldn’t even ride a two-wheel bike at the time—and not for a lack of trying. It wasn’t until I injured myself playing soccer and the doctors told me that I was unable to play soccer anymore that I turned to cycling because it was always a rule in my house that you had to have at least one extracurricular activity.

What does it mean to you to represent Canada during the Parapan Am Games on Canadian soil?
It’s such a hard thing to describe, having the honour of wearing the Canadian jersey, and hopefully having the chance to be on the podium and having everything come together. It’s every possible emotion you can think of. Every athlete has hundreds of people who help them get to that point, from family, friends, coaches, doctors and Canadians as a whole. It’s indescribable. It’s amazing. And it always gives me a boost.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment so far?
The one that tops the cake is attending the London Paralympic Games in 2012. I was checking my email in the Athletes Village a couple of days before my events. I got an email from my aunt that said she found an article from when I first learned to ride a two-wheel bicycle and I was going into my first national contest. I was asked what my goal was, and it was to go to the London Paralympic Games; it was absolutely unreal to read that article two days before my competition. Everything came together; all eight years of training. It put everything into perspective for me.

What is your advice to young athletes?
Build a passion for the sport and make a decision to take it all the way. And always remember that your mind is a very powerful thing and you can do anything you set your mind to. There’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it. There’s no such word as “can’t” in my vocabulary.

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in August 2015

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN AUGUST!

Things to do in Toronto August 2015

Among this month’s things to do in Toronto: An Evening in July is on stage at the SummerWorks Performance Festival; Drake brings back OVO Fest; and Buskerfest features Silver Elvis and many other street performers

AUGUST 1 & 2 Outspoken funnyman and film star Kevin Hart is slated to perform three stand-up sets over two nights at the Air Canada Centre.

AUGUST 2 & 3 Toronto-born hip-hop star Drake’s OVO Fest returns to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre for another year. J. Cole is the announced special guest, but if history is any indication, there will no doubt be many other surprise appearances.

AUGUST 4 The Molson Amphitheatre presents a double-bill of 1990s rock heroes: The Smashing Pumpkins (well, Billy Corgan plus three other non-original band members) riff on their latest record, while Marilyn Manson promotes the new tunes of his The Pale Emperor album.

AUGUST 6 TO 16 What began in 1991 as a means for five friends to help smaller theatre companies mount their works is now a bona fide success story as the SummerWorks Performance Festival marks its 25th anniversary. Although the festival’s initial productions were chosen via lottery, today it’s the largest juried event of its kind in Canada, presenting works in four disciplines: theatre, dance, music and live art, plus a series of special showcases. The silver anniversary lineup includes MacArthur Park Suite: A Disco Ballet, a fusion dance hybrid set to music by Donna Summer; an interactive performance art experiment titled Speed-Dating for the Senses (and the Sensitive), in which blind-folded participants explore what they find attractive through sound, smell, taste and touch; and An Evening in July, which invites audiences to be the guests at a re-creation of Helene de Rothschild’s 1972 Surrealist Ball, based on the Grey Gardens documentary.

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Summer Sizzles at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade

THE SCOTIABANK TORONTO CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL AND ISLAND SOUL FESTIVAL ADD SOME SPIRIT TO SUMMER IN THE CITY

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The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is always a lively affair (photo: Andrew Weir)

Dance in the Streets
The always colourful Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival—affectionately known as Caribana—is one of summer’s liveliest street parties. More than 15,000 people are expected to take part in the August 1 parade, which wends its westerly way along Lake Shore Boulevard from Exhibition Place. Donning extravagant, and yes, sometimes barely-there costumes, revelers march and dance to the sounds of steel drums and Calypso singers. This year, in the spirit of the Pan Am Games, a number of floats celebrate the cultural heritage of such nations as the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad.

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Pan Am Games: Neighbourhoods to Explore During Your Downtime

EVEN MULTI-SPORT FANATICS NEED AN OCCASIONAL BREAK FROM THE NEAR-CONSTANT COMPETITION DURING THE PAN AM GAMES’ 17 DAYS. A FEW HOURS SPENT EXPLORING THE HOST CITY’S MYRIAD NEIGHBOURHOODS IS JUST THE TICKET!

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La Cubana and Fonda Lola are among Toronto’s top Latin American restaurants (photos: Craig Moy)

Although they’re definitely the summer’s main event, the Pan American Games are hardly the only, well, game in town. Get the most out of your visit by setting aside some time—between checking out the basketball tournament, cheering on the triathletes and being wowed by wakeboarders’ stunts—to get to know Toronto’s compelling history, shopping hubs and cosmopolitan restaurant scene through these four downtown neighbourhoods.

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Pan Am Games: The Medals are Ready for the Podium

THE PAN AM GAMES MEDALS BOAST A DESIGN THAT’S BOTH UNIVERSAL AND UNIQUELY CANADIAN

Pan Am Games Medals Toronto

The Pan Am Games medals were designed by Métis artist Christi Belcourt

When top athletes from the Americas take their places on the podium, they’ll be recognized with specially designed medals that honour Canada’s unique heritage as well as the common characteristics that bind the participating Pan Am Games countries.

More than 4,200 competition medals and 15,600 participation medals will be presented throughout the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Designed by Christi Belcourt—a Métis artist well known for her exploration of nature—the prizes were produced by the Royal Canadian Mint using metals sourced from several Pan Am nations: copper from Chile, silver from the Dominican Republic and gold from Ontario, Canada.

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Pan Am Games: Tickets are Still Available

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PURCHASING PAN AM GAMES TICKETS. BUT HURRY! THEY’RE GOING FAST!

Pan Am Games Tickets Toronto

It’s easy to cheer on the athletes up close at a Pan Am Games event. Prices range from $20 to $140 depending on the event, with a $5 per-ticket service fee. Special discounted rates are offered for students age 16 and under and seniors 65 and over. Limited tickets remain for the opening ceremony—ranging from $60 to $350—while you can attend the closing ceremonies for between $90 and $200.

Seats at some events are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis; others have assigned seating. In some instances, your ticket includes transportation to the venue from a central hub such as a GO Transit station or stop. The CIBC Pan Am Park, Ryerson Athletic Centre, Ontario Place West Channel, Canadian Tennis Centre, Oshawa Sports Centre, CIBC Hamilton Pan Am Soccer Stadium, Abilities Centre, Cisco Milton Velodrome, Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course and Welland Pan Am Flat Water Centre are among the venues to which transportation is available. Check out the Pan Am Games website for specific access information.

Purchase tickets by visiting toronto2015.org/tickets or calling 1-855-726-2015.