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What to See Toronto

25 Holiday Things to Do in Toronto for $25 or Less

THESE TORONTO HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES, EVENTS AND PERFORMANCES WILL HELP YOU TO CELEBRATE THE SEASON WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

Holiday-Things-to-Do-Toronto-Christmas-Market1

The Distillery District’s Toronto Christmas Market is a great way to see one of the city’s top attractions while doing some holiday shopping, too

‘Tis the time of year for gift giving and get-togethers—which is great! But it can also be quite expensive. Fortunately, this city still offers ample entertainment for the budget-conscious among us. There’s no excuse not to revel in the spirit of the season, thanks to these 25 holiday things to do in Toronto for $25 or less.

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The Aga Khan Museum Opens its Doors to Abbas Kiarostami

THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM’S FIRST SOLO SHOW COMES COURTESY OF IRANIAN FILMMAKER AND ARTIST ABBAS KIAROSTAMI

Aga Khan Museum Abbas Kiarostami Doors Without Keys Toronto

photo: Craig Moy

NOVEMBER 21 TO MARCH 27 To Westerners, Abbas Kiarostami is perhaps best known as the Iranian director of festival-circuit films—the layered, deeply contemplative character studies that win awards at Cannes, Venice and elsewhere. Yet his creative practice is as multifaceted as it is prolific. On the cinematic side, he’s also an editor, screenwriter and producer; off screen he’s a respected poet as well as a widely exhibited photographer. It’s Kiarostami the image-maker who’s responsible for “Doors Without Keys,” the first solo-artist show presented by the Aga Khan Museum. The world-premiere installation turns the exhibition space into a maze of closed doors—shot over two decades in France, Morocca, Italy and Iran and printed at life size—that are aesthetically beautiful, but which also contain the mysteries of the unseen. “What lies behind these doors? What have they witnessed, and why are they locked?” the curatorial literature asks. Are they barriers, or do they offer hope of entry? The answers, of course, are for each of us to imagine.

Just as Kiarostami’s doors encourage us to fashion new narratives and find unexpected meanings, so too do his films challenge us to arrive at our own conclusions. Many of these unique cinematic works will also be shown as part of the Aga Khan Museum’s Kiarostami programming—some on a loop, in an exclusive space adjacent to the exhibition, and others as singular screenings in the museum’s auditorium. Among the offerings? The complex Close-Up, Palme d’Or–winning Taste of Cherry, and Where is the Friend’s Home?, the 1987 film that prompted Kiarostami to begin his two-decade photographic study of doors.  —Craig Moy

• Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677; agakhanmuseum.org
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Find Affordable Fine-Art Photos at Lumas Gallery in Yorkville

INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY LUMAS BRINGS AFFORDABLE ART PRINTS TO TORONTO

Lumas Gallery Toronto Photography Prints

A small sampling of the many fine-art photographic prints available through Lumas Gallery in Toronto

The idea that art should be accessible to everyone is espoused by pretty much, well, everyone. But it’s a belief that’s not always borne out in practice. Lumas, however, walks the proverbial walk: the Berlin-based chain of concept galleries, now boasting its first Toronto location, specializes in hand-signed original photographs by a roster of more than 160 emerging and established international artists. The hook? By producing limited editions of 75 to 150 prints, each Lumas-represented work can be sold at a fraction of the cost of a more exclusive five- or 10-print run. Thus, aspiring art owners can discover pieces by emerging image-makers for as low as $150, and at a slightly higher price point, exceptional shots by top-tier photographers like Edward Steichen, Erich Lessing and Cecil Beaton.  —Craig Moy

• Lumas Gallery, 159 Yorkville Ave., 416-928-9200; ca.lumas.com
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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in November 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 NOVEMBER! 

Things-to-do-in-Toronto-November-2015-Royal-Agricultural-Winter-Fair

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair returns to Toronto on November 6

NOVEMBER 3 & 5 Can’t feel your face? Perhaps you’re enjoying The Weeknd‘s woozy R&B tunes a little too much? The Toronto-born musician kicks off the month at the Air Canada Centre.

NOVEMBER 3 TO 22 The “in-between” lives and experiences of young Asian-Canadian men are unflinchingly depicted in Banana Boys, an acclaimed stage drama directed by Nina Lee Aquino and written by Leon Aureus (based on the novel by Terry Woo). First performed more than a decade ago, the play is being remounted at Factory Theatre as part of its “Naked Season,” which sees its productions stripped down to their most fundamental and striking elements.

NOVEMBER 6 We all know that human relationships can be proverbial minefields. Fortunately, the mines that inevitably go off can unearth gold—of the comedic variety. This year’s Just For Laughs Comedy Tour stop at Massey Hall features three stand-up comics, plus humorous host Gerry Dee, who’ll dig up some jokey gems about family, love, and the quirky ways in which we interact with each other.

NOVEMBER 6 Love Dusty Springfield? You’d do well not to pass on Natalie Prass. The Virginia-based singer-songwriter carries the banner for northern soul on her eponymous debut album, which she brings to the Horseshoe Tavern tonight.

NOVEMBER 6 TO 15 Rural charm comes to the city courtesy of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. For 10 days, the family-friendly event showcases the richness of farm life, with everything from livestock displays and sheep herding demonstrations to an array of contests featuring giant vegetables, butter tarts, butter sculptures and more. The Royal Horse Show sees skilled riders competing in high-stakes dressage and horse jumping events, including the Longines FEI World Cup Grand Prix, the Weston Canadian Open and the Royal Six Horse Hitch Championship.

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At the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Even More Andy Warhol

CONCURRENT WITH AN ONGOING GALLERY SHOW IN YORKVILLE, ANDY WARHOL: STARS OF THE SILVER SCREEN, ADDS A CINEMATIC SPIN TO THE ARTIST’S OUTPUT AT THE TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX

Andy Warhol TIFF Bell Lightbox Marilyn Monroe

Gene Korman’s photograph of Marilyn Monroe became a source for Andy Warhol’s famous 1950s screen prints of the blonde bombshell (photo © the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum)

OCTOBER 30 TO JANUARY 24  In 2015 it’s very easy to indulge our fascination with celebrities. The beautiful people themselves dole out details via social media, while magazines, TV shows and bloggers feed our appetite for even juicier gossip. But long before the likes of Perez Hilton and Lainey Lui, there was Andy Warhol. Arguably the ultimate fan, the pop-art pioneer was known for documenting his interest in public figures like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando through his paintings, prints, films and more. Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen, a new exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox pays homage to the man who became as famous as the stars he depicted. Organized by the Andy Warhol Museum, the collection contains Warhol’s early artworks, films, videos, photographs, prints and Hollywood memorabilia, including his childhood scrapbook of screen sirens like Greta Garbo and Kim Novak.  —Linda Luong

• TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433; tiff.net/warhol
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The Art Gallery of Ontario Sheds Light on J.M.W. Turner’s Final Years

THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO HONES IN ON THE FINAL DECADE AND A HALF OF BRITISH PAINTER J.M.W. TURNER’S PROLIFIC AND INFLUENTIAL CAREER

JMW Turner Art Gallery of Ontario Tate Britain

J.M.W. Turner’s Snow Storm—Steam Boat Off a Harbour’s Mouth is among the works to be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario (photo: Tate Photography)

OCTOBER 31 TO JANUARY 30  Before contemporary-kitsch painter Thomas Kinkade styled himself the Painter of Light, there existed a true master of illumination: J.M.W. Turner. The Romantic-era icon, a giant of the British art world, was known for his intensely atmospheric depictions of stormy seas, battlefields, Roman and Venetian landscapes, and more. Though Turner was active for the entire first half of the 19th century, it’s the final 15 years of his career that are the focus of a significant exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Organized by Tate Britain, “Painting Set Free” boasts more than 50 evocative late-period oil and watercolour paintings, which, though controversial in their day, proved to be influential precursors to the works of Claude Monet and other Impressionist artists.  —Craig Moy

 

• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
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There’s More to See at the Feature Art Fair

MORE INTIMATE THAN ART TORONTO, THE FEATURE ART FAIR DISPLAYS LEADING-EDGE WORKS FROM AN EXCLUSIVE SELECTION OF CANADIAN GALLERIES

Feature Contemporary Art Fair Toronto

Meryl McMaster’s Under the Infinite Sky and Harley Valentine’s Cave Inverted are among the works expected to be displayed at the Feature Contemporary Art Fair (photos: Katzman Contemporary; Wil Aballe Art Projects)

OCTOBER 22 TO 25  Admirers of modern visuals can also set their gaze on a more intimate, but no less intriguing showcase: the Feature Art Fair. Occupying two floors of Old Town’s historic Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, Feature brings together 29 vanguard galleries from across Canada; the Toronto contingent includes Inuit-oriented gallery Feheley Fine Arts, conceptual Clint Roenisch Gallery and photography-focused Stephen Bulger Gallery. Adding an element of the unexpected will be a site-specific bar created and helmed by Toronto-based artist Dean Baldwin, whose “convivial installations” have, in recent years, become staples of the Canadian gallery scene.  —Craig Moy

• Feature Contemporary Art Fair, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, 227 Front St. E.; featureartfair.com

Art Toronto Unites Connoisseurs and Global Gallerists

CONTEMPORARY EXPO ART TORONTO BRINGS TOGETHER A SIGNIFICANT SELECTION OF BIG-NAME GALLERIES AND ARTISTS

Art Toronto Fair 2015

photo: Arash Moallemi

OCTOBER 23 TO 26 Feast your eyes on the year’s most impressive assemblage of contemporary paintings, photographs, mixed-media works and more at Art Toronto. Canada’s international expo for contemporary art has returned with 80-plus respected galleries—including local leaders like Birch Contemporary and Nicholas Metivier Gallery—presenting both their heat-seeking talents and established luminaries to an eager audience. Topped up, as usual, by a number of expert lectures and specially commissioned installations, the 16th annual event also boasts a few new features: a segment of solo galleries has been established to highlight sought-after artists such as Japanese printmaker and sculptor Nobuaki Onishi and globetrotting Magnum photographer Larry Towell, while the returning “Focus” showcase has curator Abaseh Mirvali presenting works from South America. The fair’s floorplan has also been completely redesigned by New York architects FIRM a.d.—to maximize Art Toronto’s function not only as an art market and gallery, but also as a social gathering space.  —Craig Moy

• Art Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 1-800-663-4173; arttoronto.ca
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Haunted Toronto: Six Ghostly Sites in Hogtown

THE LEAD UP TO HALLOWEEN INEVITABLY BRINGS OUT BONE-CHILLING, SPINE-TINGLING, GOOSEBUMP-INCITING STORIES OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, SPOOKY SIGHTINGS AND HAUNTED TORONTO DESTINATIONS. FEELING THE URGE TO INDULGE YOUR INNER GHOSTBUSTER? HEAD TO OEN OF THESE SIX SCARY SPOTS IN THE CITY—IF YOU DARE.

Haunted Toronto Ghost Tours

Old City Hall is said to be haunted by the ghosts of two convicted criminals (photo: Eric Parker)

Depending on who you talk to, both Robert Turpin and Arthur Lucas are said to haunt one of two different locations in Toronto: Old City Hall and the Don Jail. Turpin and Lucas were the last two individuals in “Muddy York” to be sentenced to death for their crimes. As one story goes, the penalty of death by hanging was delivered in a courtroom at Old City Hall where the men now roam, sometimes tugging at judges’ robes. Alternatively, the men haunt the gallows of the Old Don Jail—where many inmates were treated poorly while the prison was in operation from 1964 to 1977, and in whose open courtyard hangings were carried out.

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Kent Monkman Puts Bulls in a China Gallery at the Gardiner Museum

KENT MONKMAN’S GARDINER MUSEUM INSTALLATION CONSIDERS COLONIALISM’S INDUSTRIAL AND ARTISTIC PRACTICES WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF HISTORY’S INEXORABLY CYCLIC NATURE

Kent Monkman Gardiner Museum Miss Chief Buffalo

Kent Monkman’s installation, The Rise and Fall of Civilization, at the Gardiner Museum (photo: Craig Moy)

OCTOBER 15 TO JANUARY 10 The collection of ceramics at the Gardiner Museum includes more than 300 examples of 19th-century bone china. It’s possible that some of those pieces were made with bone ash from bisons—the skeletal remains of the prairie-dwelling animals, killed en masse for their pelts, were ground down and used as an ingredient in porcelain. Of course, the hunt also played a role in the devastation of Indigenous cultures across the continent; this knowledge underpins Kent Monkman’s new installation, The Rise and Fall of Civilization. A nine-foot-high, diorama-like “buffalo jump” incorporating a pair of taxidermy bison, a sculptural Miss Chief (the Canadian First Nations artist’s alter ego), smashed ceramics and more, the site-specific work serves as a rebuke of colonialism’s industrial practices. More subtly, it also forces us to consider a colonialist undercurrent in 19th- and early 20th-century art: sculptural bulls, inspired by Picasso’s famed cubist deconstruction, nod to Monkman’s assertion that while modernism represented for Western artists a freedom from established customs and norms, its appropriation of aboriginal imagery (then and now dubbed “primitivist” art) symbolized the flattening of native cultures.  —Craig Moy

• Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080; gardinermuseum.on.ca
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Isabel Rocamora’s Action Movies at the Koffler Gallery

BRITISH-SPANISH VIDEO ARTIST ISABEL ROCAMORA DECODES THE LANGUAGE OF GESTURES AT THE KOFFLER GALLERY

Isabel Rocamora Koffler Gallery

A still from Isabel Rocamora’s Body of War, now on display at the Koffler Gallery (photo: Galeria Senda)

SEPTEMBER 19 TO NOVEMBER 29 Identities, both at the level of individuals and of cultures, are informed by myriad elements. For Isabel Rocamora, some of the more salient of these markers are physical gestures. The British-Spanish filmmaker is known for producing large-scale video installations that focus on the body’s “performative language”—a number of which are now screening at the Koffler Gallery. Precisely choreographed yet free-flowing, movement in these recent works signifies and deconstructs everything from the intimacy of combat (seen in Body of War, which depicts in slow motion soldiers performing krav maga exercises on the beaches of Normandy) to the universality of religious conviction, as with Faith, a triptych juxtaposing the prayer practices of Orthodox Jewish, Orthodox Christian and Sunni Muslim men.  —Craig Moy

• Koffler Gallery, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw St., 647-925-0643; kofflerarts.org
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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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