THE AGA KHAN’S GIFT TO TORONTO (AND CANADA) IS NOW OPEN @ 77 WYNFORD DRIVE

AGAKHAN1The first museum in North America devoted to Islamic Arts and culture has opened in an unlikely place – on a hillock beside the Don Valley Parkway in the middle of suburbia. The AGA KHAN, spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community, philanthropist and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, is the founder.  The $300-million, 7-hectare site includes the AGA KHAN MUSEUM, a community centre and spectacular gardens. It’s been 12 years in the making, and will no doubt become a major cultural destination at 77 Wynford Drive in Don Mills.

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The museum intends to collect contemporary Islamic Art. An inaugural exhibition, “The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan” opens on September 20 until January/2015. Musicians due to perform in the first year include WU MAN, the award-winning player of the ancient Chinese instrument the pipa.  Canada is home to around 100,000 Ismaili Muslims, and “the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe,” according to the AGA KHAN.

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PHOTOS ABOVE – planispheric astrolab, 14th century; an ivory horn; a Koran (photo – Peter J. Thompson, National Post), exterior photos by the Islamic Arts Magazine, http://www.islamicartsmagazine.com

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Renowned Japanese architect FUMIHIKO MAKI designed the complex, which will contain over one thousand artefacts and artworks spanning over one thousand years of history, as well as collections from the family of the Aga Khan.  Websitehttp://www.agakhanmuseum.org

THE EL MOCAMBO, TORONTO’S LEGENDARY NIGHT CLUB, IS CLOSING ON NOVEMBER 6

ELMOCAMBO2         Nothing lasts forever it seems, even one of Canada’s most famous music venues. The EL MOCAMBO is closing its doors in November and many will mourn its passing. The El-Mo made headlines when the Rolling Stones performed there in 1977 <PHOTO ABOVE – Toronto Star>; our Prime Minister’s wife – Margaret Trudeau – danced the night away; the Toronto Police Pipe Band performed on its stage, Elvis Costello and April Wine recorded live albums in the club; a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert was filmed there; Bo Diddley performed, etc. etc.

The club’s final show will be on November 6 as a fundraiser for Parkinson’s research.

THAT OLD CHESTNUT “TINY TALENT TIME” IS BEING RESURRECTED BY CHANNEL 11, CHCH

TTT2            “Tiny Talent Time” was a Channel 11 mainstay for an unbelievable 35 years (!). From 1957 to 1992 this was Canada’s most-watched kiddie talent show on HAMILTON’s ‘super station’, CHCH. Produced on a shoestring, first in black and white and then in colour, the half hour telecast was packed with tap dancers, pint-sized magicians and amateurish vocalisers.

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Affable TV weatherman BILL LAWRENCE, encouraged the youngsters to do their best in front of the cameras – and they did it with gusto.

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“Tiny Talent Time” is coming back – probably next summer – as CHCH celebrates it 60th year serving the TORONTO/Hamilton market. Casting begins in 2015.  <PHOTOS – CHCH-TV>

VOGUE SELECTS TORONTO’S WEST QUEEN WEST AS “2ND COOLEST NEIGHBOURHOOD IN THE WORLD”

Eat your heart our VANCOUVER and MONTREAL. TORONTO’s West Queen West has been voted “the 2nd hippest neighbourhood in the world”.  Heads are exploding nationwide!

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Vogue fashion writer NICK REMSEN: “In Vogue’s September 2014 issue, we highlight street style’s new paradigm—a seismic shift, essentially, away from the look-at-me and take-my-picture vibes of yesteryear. 2014’s choicest city-strutters are now dressed in, well, all things normal—though before you cry “normcore,” think ultra-chic basics by the likes of A.P.C. and Common Projects, along with intelligent, original daywear from the kids at Public School, Hood By Air, and Marques’Almeida.”

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WEST QUEEN WEST/ TORONTO / CANADA
“TORONTO is currently enjoying newfound prominence—and desirability—amongst globe-trotting tastemakers. QUEEN STREET WEST is a verifiable artery of indie patisseries, homegrown labels, and hidden-from-view galleries—hallmarks of hipness, if ever they existed. It’s also the home of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, well-established “art” hotels The Drake and the Gladstone, and the charming Bicyclette, a local clothing boutique and lifestyle brand whose owners love “glitter, DIY projects, treasure hunts and details.” Soho House Toronto is nearby, as is Graffiti Alley, a block where street art is both 100 percent legal and lauded.”
<PHOTO: Courtesy of Carolyn Huang / @carolynhuang1>

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THE VOGUE LIST – 15 hippest neighbourhoods in the world:
1.  SHIMOKITAZAWA – Tokyo
2.  WEST QUEEN WEST – Toronto
3.  SÖDERMALM – Stockholm
4.  TIONG BAHRU – Singapore
5.  CENTRO – Sao Paulo
6.  CANAL SAINT-MARTIN – Paris
7.  BUSHWICK – New York City
8.  BRERA – Milan
9.  WYNWOOD – Miami
10.  ZONA ROSA & LA CONDESA – Mexico City
11.  FITZROY – Melbourne
12.  SILVER LAKE – Los Angeles
13.  HACKNEY – London
14.  KREUZBERG – Berlin
15.  DASHANZI ART DISTRICT – Beijing

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TORONTO’S MAIN STREET GETS SOME ‘LOVE’ FROM A SMART NEW WEBSITE

YONGELOVE3       The DOWNTOWN YONGE BIA has come up with an idea that’s boosting our main street in an imaginative way. YONGELOVE – http://www.yongelove.ca – is asking Torontonians for their opinions and ideas; stories of the past, present and future – anything and everything about Yonge Street, the surrounding neighbourhood and its people. <PHOTO ABOVE – xtinergram/Twitter>

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YONGE LOVE is also running a contest for the best Instagram photographs of this rapidly improving downtown strip. Contest details are on the website.  <PHOTOS ABOVE . . . >
1) – Swinging – yashyanthi
2) – Full Moon – aaloralfan
3) – Little Mermaid – aboyd89
4) – Busker Fest – wiggey

KING ST. WEST BECOMES TORONTO’S VERSION OF CANNES’ BOULEVARD DE LA CROISETTE

TIFF1    For a few days during the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, King Street West from University Avenue to Peter Street was closed to traffic and became a film-goer’s promenade.  Festival visitors loved it; motorists and streetcar riders not so much.

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NIGHT PHOTOS – Tara Tucker/Twitter & http://www.hellomagazine.com

SUNNYSIDE BIKE PARK, DESIGNED BY VANCOUVER’S JAY HOOTS, BETWEEN HIGH PARK & LAKE SHORE

SUNNYSIDE7He’s been called the FRANK GEHRY of bike parks. JAY HOOTS is billed as the most experienced bike park designer in North America, with more than 40 parks under his belt. SUNNYSIDE is one of his latest, on a strip of land north of Lake Shore Boulevard West, between Colborne Lodge Drive and Ellis Avenue. The park entrance is on the east side of Ellis Avenue.

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JAY says TORONTO’s park ranks high with its log tracks, elevated ladder bridges, dirt berms and rollers, dirt jumps and rock trails. And it’s free.

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The park should reduce or eliminate informal parks being created in ecologically sensitive areas in the High Park neighbourhood. It’s a Parks, Forestry and Recreation project.