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Where Loves

Where Loves: Ontario Heritage Week and Toronto’s Historic Sites


Ontario Heritage Toronto Heritage Toronto History

Enjoy a free backstage tour of the historic Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre during Ontario Heritage Week (photo: Peter Lusztyk)

Here’s a bit of trivia: Did you know that since 1973 there have been several attempts to create a national “Heritage Day” holiday, to fall on the third Monday of every February? For some reason the government hasn’t felt like giving us all another day off, but that hardly means our history isn’t worth recognizing. In this province at least, the past is brought back to life during Ontario Heritage Week, which runs this year from February 18 to 24. Add in Black History Month celebrations and Family Day (which is a statutory holiday) into the mix, and the shortest month of the year quickly turns into one of the busiest.


Where Loves: Gypsy Found Objects and St. Clair West’s Renewal


Gypsy Found Objects and St. Clair West Renewal

Some of the dapper duds at Gypsy Found Objects on St. Clair West (photo: Gypsy Found Objects)

It’s no secret that the Torontonians have something of a love-hate relationship with our public transportation commission, the TTC. Millions of us ride the TTC’s busses, subways and streetcars every day. We’re glad that the system exists; for years we’ve also been desperate to see its expansion. Thus the installation of dedicated streetcar lanes along St. Clair Avenue West continues to stick out as an example of transit’s challenges in Toronto. Started in June 2005, cost overruns and delays meant that the project took five years to complete, snarling traffic and limiting parking along the Midtown artery. In hindsight it’s unsurprising that numerous businesses closed their doors during this period.


Where Loves: the AGO’s 1st Thursdays and Toronto’s Emerging Art Parties


AGO 1st Thursdays

Art gallery or party space? The AGO becomes both on the first Thursday of each month (photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario)

Picture an art gallery: paintings in gilded frames, a sculpture or two sitting on pedestals, a couple strolling slowly from piece to piece, footfalls echoing off the hardwood. How long has that stereotype endured? How long has it been utterly inaccurate?

Instead, you ought to imagine perusing masterpieces with your friends, cocktails in hand. You ought to see yourself dancing the night away while surrounded all manner of art and art lovers. At least, that’s the scene at the Art Gallery of Ontario. On the first Thursday of every month, the venerable institution transforms to host an evening soiree of the highest order, bringing together young Toronto trendsetters with food, drinks, live music, dancing and art-making experiences. Running since last October, the events have proven so popular that tickets regularly sell out well in advance. This month’s edition is already full, but admission for March goes on sale February 8. (more…)

3 Top Toronto Neighbourhood Restaurants


Actinolite’s dining room has no shortage of homey comfort

It has long been said that Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods, each one boasting its own unique personality. From the academic atmosphere of the Annex to the vibrant licentiousness of the Church-Wellesley Village to the relaxed, small-town temperament of the Junction, Toronto is made up of much more than its downtown.

The city’s dining landscape is just as disparate. There are, of course, the many high-end hot spots in the core—from Canoe to Nota Bene to Momofuku Daisho—and the edgier west-end restaurants—Grand Electric, for example—favoured by our trendiest denizens; slightly further afield, however, you can still find great food, beautifully decorated spaces, and inviting service in Toronto’s more residential pockets. These smaller neighbourhood restaurants offer a warm welcome on a cold winter’s night, and often provide excellent value for your dinner dollar.


Where Loves: Peruvian Art and Artifacts at the University of Toronto


Peruvian Art Toronto

Richard Mamani and Hugo Champi’s 2002 sculpture, Madre Spondylus, gleams alongside more than 100 other silver artworks and artifacts at the UTAC’s Silver of Peru exhibition

Can silver imbue objects with a soul, with a life all their own? The ancient peoples of Peru believed it could. It’s hard not to share that belief when faced with the dazzling artifacts collected in Luminescence: the Silver of Peru, on now until March 9 at the University of Toronto Art Centre.

Curated by Anthony Shelton, director of the UBC’s Museum of Anthropology, the exhibition spans 2,000 years of Peruvian art and culture through the likes of pre-Columbian crowns, jewels and tunics, plus paintings and sculptures from the 16th century to today. All told, it’s the largest collection of silver relics currently residing in Canada. Most of the assembled artifacts have never before left Peru.


10 Venues That Shaped Toronto’s Live Music Scene


Toronto live music scene, Massey Hall

Massey Hall is arguably Toronto’s most iconic live music venue

The dynamism of Toronto’s live music scene may not be measurable solely by the hoards of screaming girls at last weekend’s Justin Beiber concert, but if the crowds at his Rogers Centre show indicated anything, it’s that Toronto’s live music venues are definitely a draw for the world’s most popular artists, as well as music events from NXNE and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

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Perhaps our musical bona fides aren’t as robust as, say, New York City; nonetheless, Canada’s largest metropolis has a long history of shining the spotlight on the best of the best at venues large and small, from Massey Hall to the Horseshoe Tavern. The former, especially, has played host to some of Toronto’s most memorable concerts: Enrico Caruso made his Toronto debut at Massey Hall in 1908; young piano phenoms Oscar Peterson and Glenn Gould took the stage in 1946; and on May 15, 1953, it hosted one of the greatest live music summits ever recorded—a performance by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. For those of us too young to have witnessed this one-time-only team-up, the “Jazz at Massey Hall” show is immortalized as a live album that, six decades later, remains a must-have for modern music aficionados. (more…)

Where Loves: 30 Things for November and December 2012

1. Kinton Ramen

1  A steaming hot bowl of house-made noodles from Kinton Ramen.

2  Taking in seasonal sounds like Handel’s Messiah, as performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

3  Stepping back in time at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre, the world’s oldest operating double-decker theatre.

4  Shoppers huddled around the seasonal window displays at The Bay on Queen Street.

5  Fascinating displays of giant vegetables and butter sculptures at the Royal Agricultural Cultural Winter Fair.

6. Marianne Chenard maple syrup bottles at the One of a Kind Show

6  Handmade goods from artisans at the annual One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale.

7 Fiery Thai dishes at Salad King based on a 20-chili spiciness scale.

8  Cheering on the Toronto Raptors during home games at the Air Canada Centre.

9  Putting your best hand forward with a manicure from local favourite Tips Nail Bar.

10  A photo op at the trompe l’oeil mural on the backside of the Flatiron Building in Old Town (page 65).

11. Bannock (photo: Garrison McArthur Photographers)

11  Connecting with Canada’s culinary heritage through comfort food at Bannock.

12  The vast collection of graphic novels and comic books at The Beguiling.

13  Picking up warm-from-the-oven baguettes from Woodlot (page 54).

14  Examining the works of Mexico’s famous duo, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

15   Tender Baja fish tacos with fresh toppings from Mexican spot Grand Electric.

16. The Nutcracker (photo: Bruce Zinger)

16  Eyeing the glittery costumes worn in the National Ballet of Canada’s annual production of The Nutcracker.

17  Viewing the skyline on a stroll along the city’s western waterfront.

18  Exploring five decades of film and fashion in the exhibit Designing 007—Fifty Years of Bond Style at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

19  Taking in all the action at Real Sports Bar & Grill, which boasts North America’s biggest indoor HDTV screen.

20  A warming treat of garam masala donut dots and frozen hot chocolate from Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken.

19. Real Sports Bar & Grill

21  Learning about specialty cheeses from France, Italy and beyond at La Fromagerie.

22  A night of dancing at the posh Dolce Social Ballroom.

23  Rolls of beautiful wrapping paper from Papyrus.

24  Biting into a meaty sandwich at Porchetta and Co.

25  Stallions masterfully brought to life through the puppetry of War Horse (page 35).

25. War Horse

26  The prolific chain of Dark Horse Espresso Bar coffee houses, now with four locations, including the original and still-beloved spot in Leslieville.

27  Ascending the free-span glass staircase at the Four Seasons Centre before finding your seats for a Canadian Opera Company performance. You’ll feel like you’re floating on air.

28 Sampling the Christmas Beer, a seasonal specialty at microbrewery The 3 Brewers.

29  Earth-friendly food and toys for your pooch at The Bone House.

30  A touch of Parisian glamour at sophisticated French resto La Société.