WHAT’S ON IN TORONTO – APRIL & MAY/2017 (CLICK ON WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION & TICKETS)

<An up-to-date listing of what’s on in North America’s 4th largest city, and where to find it>

MUSIC, MUSICALS & DANCE
– April 25-29 – Medea, Opera Atelier, Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, http://www.operaatelier.com
– April 26-30 – The Chocolate Soldier by Oscar Straus, Toronto Operetta Theatre at Jane Mallet Theatre, 27 Front Street East, http://www.torontooperetta.com
– April 26 – June 25 – Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pierce, Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West, http://www.mirvish.com
– April 27 – Haus Musik, artists from the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Alaina Viaou from Loose TEA Theatre, SlowPitchSound, 8:30pm, Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West, http://www.hausmusikTO.com
– April 28, 29, 30 – The Silver Dollar’s Last Stand, closing of a venerable TORONTO music bar, various times and prices, http://www.ticketfly.com
– April 29 – Raoul and The Big Time ‘Down in the Delta’, the soul of the Mississippi Delta, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca
– April 30 – May 20 – Tosca, Canadian Opera Company, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, http://www.coc.ca
– May 4-7 – Mozart Mass in C Minor, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, season finale, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. West, http://www.tafelmusik.org
– May 5 & ongoing – For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow is Enuf, music, dance, poetry, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– Until May 13 – Louis Riel, Canadian Opera Company, sung in English, French, Michif and Cree, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. West, http://www.coc.ca
– Until May 14 – The Bodyguard, from London with UK cast, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– Until May 14 – Munschtime, for children, based on the stories of Robert Munsch, Young People’s Theatre, 165 Front St. East, http://www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca
– Until May 14 – Little Shop of Horrors, Lower Ossington Theatre, 100a Ossington Avenue, http://www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
– Ongoing – Spoon River, new musical, winner of a Dora Mavor Moore Award, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– Ongoing – Friday Night Jazz at the Aquarium, second Friday of every month, included with general admission, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Rd, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

COMEDY, THEATRE & SPOKEN WORD
– April 26 – May 28 – Midsummer (A Play With Songs), failed car salesman and a divorce lawyer hook up, Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Avenue, http://www.tarragontheatre.com
– Until May 7 – Spotlight Australia, storytelling, song, dance, circus, 6 weeks, 5 shows, http://www.canadianstage.com
– Until May 7 – Sound of the Beast, free speech comes with consequences, Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Avenue, http://www.passemuraille.ca
– Until May 8 – Illusions, story of friendship and crossed loves, Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue, http://www.crowstheatre.com
– May 9-27 – The Boy in the Moon, based on the book by Globe and Mail journalist Ian Brown, Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre, 345 Carlaw Avenue, http://www.crowstheatre.com
– Until May 14 – Banana Boys, five Asian-Canadian men deal with issues of race and identity, Studio Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, http://www.factorytheatre.ca

MUSEUMS, GALLERIES, ART
– Ongoing – Syria: A Living History, exhibition, symposium, lectures, performances, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, http://www.agakhanmuseum,org
– Ongoing – ‘Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story’, from the deep a giant emerges, Royal Ontario Museum, tickets at http://www.rom.ca
– Until April 28 – Evolution, Design Exchange, 234 Bay Street, free, http://www.dx.org
– Until April 29 – The Language of Gesture, Gallery Arcturus, 80 Gerrard Street East, http://www.arcturus.ca
– May 1 ongoing – Contact Photography Festival, focusing this year on Canada and Canadians, galleries all over town, http://www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
– Until May 1 – Tributes + Tributaries, Toronto artists’ work through the 70s and 80s, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, http://www.ago.net
– Until May 6 – Guillaume Simoneau, Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen Street West, http://www.bulgergallery.com
– Until May 21 – Anthony Caro, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, http://www.ago.net
– Until May 21 – Janet MacPherson, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Arts, 111 Queens Park, http://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca
– Until May 27 – Jon Rafman, video, Arsenal, 45 Ernest Avenue, http://www.canadianart.ca/galleries/arsenal-toronto/
– Until June 4 – Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, http://www.agakhanmuseum.org
– Until June 18 – Visual Arts Winter Exhibitions, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com
– Until June 25 – Kind Words Can Never Die: Victorian Needlework, Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Street, http://www.textilemuseum.ca
– Until June 28 – Road of Light and Hope, Todai-ji Temple, Nara, photographs by Miro Ito, Japan Foundation, 2 Bloor St. East, 3rd floor, Hudson Bay Centre, for times go to http://www.jftor.org
– Until July 30 – Georgia O’Keeffe, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, http://www.ago.net
– Until October 2017 – Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, http://www.batashoemuseum.ca
– Ongoing – Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Exhibit, Hockey Hall of Fame, 30 Yonge Street, http://www.hhof.com
– Ongoing – Black Creek Pioneer Village, the way life used to be, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-736-1733, http://www.blackcreek.ca

GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer, etc.
– Ongoing – Rainbow Railroad, a charity which helps individuals in countries where being LGBTQ is an invite to violence, imprisonment or death, http://www.rainbowrailroad.ca
– Ongoing – ProudFM 103.9, Toronto’s LGBTQ radio station, http://www.proudfm.com
– Ongoing – Legit, second Thursday of every month, legal counsel for same-sex couples immigrating to Canada, 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street, http://www.legit.ca
– Ongoing – Get Out! Running Group, every Sunday, people of all ages and experience levels, 10-11:30am, Fuel Plus 471 Church Street, free, http://www.getoutcanada.com
– Ongoing – Glad Day Bookshop & Cafe, since 1970, oldest LGBTQ bookshop in the Americas, 499 Church Street, licenced, coffee bar, warm welcome, http://www.gladdaybookshop.com
– Ongoing – Out and Out LGBTQ outdoors club, http://www.outandout.ca
– Ongoing – Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps of Toronto (ROTC), colour guard, band, drum corps, baton, dance, http://www.rotctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), 115 Simpson Avenue at Howard Street, http://www.mcctoronto.com
– Ongoing – Xtra magazine, gay community news in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, http://www.xtra.ca/toronto.aspx
– Ongoing – The Pink Pages, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, leather, queer directory for Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and Niagara/St. Catharines, http://thepinkpagesdirectory.com
– Ongoing – (CLGA) Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, second largest in the world, research centre, art gallery, 34 Isabella Street, http://www.clga.ca

THE MOVIES AND OTHER STUFF
– Ongoing – TAPto free walking tours by Toronto Greeters, book online at http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
– April 27 – May 7 – Canadian International Documentary Festival, for schedule and venues go to http://www.hotdocs.ca
– Until December 31 – To Canada With Love, Toronto’s cultural events celebrating the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, various venues, http://www.toronto.ca/canada150
– Ongoing – Free Arts in the Parks, concerts, films and arts of all kinds, for full events listings and details go to http://www.artsintheparksto.org
– Camera Bar Cinema, 1028 Queen Street West, Toronto’s smallest movie theatre, free feature films on Saturdays at 3:00pm, http://www.bulgergallery.com/camera.html
– Mount Pleasant Cinema, 675 Mount Pleasant Road, big screen, 2nd run features, some European films, etc., https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/mount-pleasant
– Carlton Cinemas, 9 screens, fully licensed, $5 Tuesdays, 20 Carlton Street, http://www.rainbowcinemas.ca
– Market Square Cinemas, 80 Front Street East, several screens, https://imaginecinemas.com/cinema/market-square/
– Regent Cinema, 551 Mount Pleasant Road, 2nd run features, big screen, https://www.cinemaclock.com/ont/toronto/theatres/regent
– TIFF Bell Lightbox, 5 cinemas, movies that don’t play in the multiplex, for times and schedule go to http://www.tiff.net/whats-on
– Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, specializing in documentaries and films seldom shown in the multiplex, 506 Bloor Street West, http://www.bloorcinema.com
– Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue, neighbourhood cinema, second-run, docmentary & foreign features, http://www.revuecinema.ca
– Royal Cinema, documentaries, festivals, foreign, second-run features, 608 College Street, http://www.theroyal.to
– Ontario Science Center Omnimax,770 Don Mills Road, https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/imax
– Scotiabank Toronto Imax, 259 Richmond Street West, http://www.imax.com/theatres/scotiabank-toronto-imax
– Ongoing – ride the ferry to Ward’s Island & have lunch at the Rectory Cafe (only open restaurant on the Islands), 101 Lakeshore Avenue, 416-203-2152, http://www.therectorycafe.com
– Ongoing – Medieval Times, dinner and jousting tournaments, Exhibition Place, foot of Dufferin Street, http://www.medievaltimes.com or 888-we-joust
– Ongoing – Edgewalk, CN Tower, walk around the edge of our tallest free-standing structure, http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca
– Ongoing – Sunday Antique Market, free, Jarvis Street south of King
– Ongoing – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, 288 Bremner Boulevard, at the bottom of the CN Tower, http://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada

TORONTO SAVVY is now on the UK-based website ‘Walked Thru’ – http://www.walkedthru.com

Fashionista IGGY JOHN enjoys the cherry blossoms in Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

Making America Great Again – without an estimated 4.3-million tourists (Tourism Economics). US hotels are seeing plenty of cancellations since President Trump put restrictions on certain overseas travellers. American airlines are noticing a significant drop in passengers from nearly every country according to Hopper, a travel-booking app.

More numbers – 40% decline in searches for US flights from China and Iraq since Inauguration Day; 15% drop in US hotel bookings from Mexico according to Marriott International; an estimated $7.4-billion loss in tourist revenue in 2017 (Tourism Economics).

SOUTH CORE IS NO LONGER ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS – IT’S TORONTO’S NEW BUSINESS HUB

TORONTO‘s Financial District has outgrown Bay Street. It’s spreading towards the waterfront, south of Union Station. South Core is expecting an influx of 20,000 new office employees and close to 10,000 new residents in the immediate future. Forecasters predict the area’s population will grow 80% to 130,000 by 2031.

This new neighbourhood is giving Bay Street North a run for its money when it comes to attracting large corporate tenants. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce recently announced that it’s moving 15,000 employees from King and Bay to new headquarters in South Core.

CIBC will join head offices for Telus, the Health Care of Ontario Pension Plan, CI Financial Corporation, and Sun Life Financial. The Royal Bank of Canada (the country’s biggest) is moving 4,000 employees to the neighbourhood; Cisco Systems Inc. has chosen South Core for its new Canadian headquarters and one of four global innovation hubs.

THE ELEGANT HARBOUR COMMMISSION BUILDING WAS ONCE PERCHED ON THE EDGE OF A PIER

Erected in 1917 between two waterfront warehouses, the Harbour Commission Building has survived radical changes on the shores of Lake Ontario. Infill has left the 6-storey structure on dry land, surrounded fore and aft by numerous skyscrapers, the Harbourfront Centre, three theatres, Queens Quay, the Power Plant contemporary art gallery, shops, a streetcar line and a cycling/walking trail.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Harbour Commission Building, lower right, on its pier; City of Toronto Archives>

THOSE CLEVER SAN FRANCISCANS ARE CONVERTING AUTO-BODY SHOPS INTO SPAS AND PUBS

It takes an imaginative soul to see potential in an axle-grease-laden body shop in SAN FRANCISCO’s grubby Tenderloin at 466 Eddy Street <PHOTO ABOVE>, and turn it into a 3,200-square-foot Japanese spa & restaurant. The husband-and-wife owners told SF Weekly that in the beginning “the building was an open canvas. It was four brick walls and a hole in the ground, which meant we could make our own decisions in designing the interior space.”

The rebuild took about three years – and involved earthquake proofing, complying with the city’s fire code, police department permits, setting up a restaurant and obtaining a massage license.

Could something like this happen in TORONTO’s overheated real estate market? We certainly have a good supply of empty auto-body shops. The one above is on Gerrard Street East at Sherbourne. And below – an eyesore on Jarvis Street at Richmond, now given over to surface parking. Both are in good or developing neighbourhoods within easy walking distance of the downtown core.

Two other San Francisco auto-body shop conversions. The Standard Deviant Brewery is on 14th Street, a neighbourhood devoted to old auto-body shops <PHOTO BELOW – jubilant Standard Deviant Brewery owners after securing their lease>.

And the Volvo Centrum Shop, at 16th and Sanchez, which sold for $4.6-million in 2016 is about to become a frontispiece for a luxury apartment building with glass walls. <PHOTO BELOW>

‘TORONTO THE GOOD’ WAS VERY, VERY GOOD, BUT HERE’S ANOTHER SIDE TO THAT FAIRY TALE

TORONTO was once known as a city of multiple churches and relentless conservatism. But like all cities it was oftentimes naughty, and you can experience some of that in the Police Museum and Discovery Centre, the Old Don Jail and, until April 30 ‘Vice and Virtue‘, a stellar exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library. All are free.

You’ll find the Toronto Police Museum and Discovery Centre on the ground floor of Police Headquarters, 40 College Street, open Monday to Friday from 8:30am – 4pm.  Elmer the Safety Elephant, the Boyd Gang, an old fashioned police station, traffic signals, handcuffs, finger printing, a motorcycle and police car, photographs, models – they’re all here.  Kids love it, and the exhibits are adult-friendly as well.

Self-guiding yourself through the Old Don Jail is something completely different. THE DON is a heritage building with a very shady past, our city’s Alcatraz, site of 70 executions and numerous escape attempts, home-from-home in the 1950’s for the notorious Boyd Gang, minuscule cells, segregation cells, punishment cells, the Polka Dot Gang’s temporary residence – and now it’s been given one of Canada’s finest restorations and is open to the public for self-guided walk about tours.

It’s a kinder, gentler place now, and you’re welcome to visit from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays, from 9am to 5pm. Groups of 15 or more must arrange their visit in advance. Call 416-461-8252 and ask for the Communications Department.

Streetcar #506 travels along Gerrard Street East to the Don. It’s near the corner of Broadview & Gerrard.

‘Vice & Virtue, Booze, Broads and Sunday Laws’ is on until Sunday, April 30 at the Toronto Reference Library, 769 Yonge Street. It’s open every day and it’s free.

From the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana the exhibit looks at moral reform in a city facing rapid growth and industrialization at the turn-of-the-century. ‘Vice & Virtue’ explores changing attitudes and the regulation of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, homosexuality, delinquency and prostitution in the late 19th and early 20th century. It’s a winner!