WHAT’S ON IN TORONTO – JUNE/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
– June 27 – Mavis Staples, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.torontojazz.com
– June 27 – September 3 – ‘Beautiful – the Carole King Musical’, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– Ongoing – Guys and Dolls, Stratford Festival Theatre, Stratford, http://www.stratfordfesival.ca
– Ongoing – Me And My Girl, Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, http://www.shawfest.com
– 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
– June 27 ongoing – Scandal and Rebellion, Confederation Part II, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– Ongoing – The Madness of George III, Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, http://www.shawfest.com
– July 1 & ongoing – Billy Bishop Goes To War, a Canadian classic, with Eric Peterson, Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, http://www.soulpepper.ca
– Ongoing – Everything Is Great Again, American politics, Second City, 51 Mercer Street, http://www.secondcity.com
– Ongoing – Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, excellent theatre, beautiful town, 80 miles southeast of Toronto, for schedule http://www.shawfest.com
– Ongoing – Stratford Festival, 90 miles west of Toronto, excellent theatre, beautiful city, for schedule http://www.stratfordfestival.ca

MUSEUMS & PUBLIC ART GALLERIES
– 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 15 – It’s All Happening So Fast, a counter-history of the modern Canadian environment, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, organized by the Cdn. Centre of Photography, http://artmuseum.utoronto.ca/
– Until July 30 – Georgia O’Keeffe, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, http://www.ago.net
– Until August 13 – Suzy Lake, Scotiabank Photography Award winner, Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould Street, free admission, http://www.ryerson.ca/ric
– Until August 28 – Chromatic Geography: Natural Dyes (Textiles), Craft Ontario Gallery, 990 Queen Street West, http://www.craftontario.com
– Until October 2017 – Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, http://www.batashoemuseum.ca
– 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
– Ongoing – The Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 216 Main Street in historic Unionville/Markham, http://www.varleygallery.ca
– Ongoing – Art Gallery of Mississauga, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, http://www.artgalleryofmississauga.com
– Ongoing – Group of Seven Guitar Project, 7 renowned guitar makers, inspired by 7 iconic artists, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10,365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, http://www.mcmichael.com
– Ongoing – Toronto Maple Leafs Centennial Exhibit, Hockey Hall of Fame, 30 Yonge Street, http://www.hhof.com
– The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, leading public gallery devoted to contemporary visual art, http://www.thepowerplant.org
– Ongoing – Black Creek Pioneer Village, the way life used to be, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-736-1733, http://www.blackcreek.ca

COMMERCIAL ART GALLERIES
– Until June 29 – Rita Letendre, ‘Vitality’, Rumi Galleries, 120 Kerr Street, Oakville, Ontario, http://www.rumigalleries.com
– Until June 30 – Thaddeus Holownia, photography, Corkin Gallery, 7 Tank House, Distillery District, http://www.corkingallery.com
– Until July 31 – Director’s Choice, group show, Christopher Cutts Gallery, 21 Morrow Avenue, http://www.cuttsgallery.com
– Until August 17 – That’s So Gay + 10×10 Photography Project group shows, Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West, http://www.gladstonehotel.com
– Until August 26 – Mark Jenkins and David Spriggs, Arsenal Gallery, 45 Ernest Avenue

GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer, etc.)
– Until June 30 – 2nd annual Pride Month in Toronto, http://www.pridetoronto.com/pride-month/
– 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
– Until June 30 – Bike Month, pedal power, several venues including TIFF Bell Lightbox, http://www.bikemonth.ca/toronto
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
– 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 – 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

How about this, folks? TORONTO’s TTC has been named the Outstanding Public Transportation System in North America by APTA – the American Public Transportation Association. The Toronto Transit Commission was last honoured this way in 1986.

Mayor JOHN TORY – “This award recognizes the transformation and modernization that the TTC has been undergoing over the last few years.” The mayor noted there was a $90-million investment in the TTC in 2015 and an additional $80 million in 2017 to continue rolling out PRESTO across the system, and the York-Spadina subway extension, among other improvements.

ANDY BYFORD, TTC’s chief executive, says the agency is “back where we belong as number one in North America.”

The Union Station to Pearson International Airport Express could be a little more expensive this fall, but it will still be a bargain for airport or city-bound travelers. The cost of a ride on the UP Express would go from $12.00 to $12.35, or from $9.00 to $9.25 if using PRESTO.

Once approved, this would be the first time Metrolinx has raised fares on the line – and compared to other similar services it’s a real deal.

The groundbreaking has taken place for a huge project at the foot of Bay Street in the Southcore Financial District. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is behind a public-private development that will include two office towers, a bus terminal and a one-acre park built over the railway tracks. The complex will be named CIBC Square.

VISITING TORONTO? WANT A TOUR? BOOK ‘TAPTO’, OUR CITY’S GUIDED TOUR PROGRAM – IT’S FREE!

tapto2Established several years ago by the City of TORONTO, TAPto has roughly 90 tour guides who know the city and its neighbourhoods well. TAPto tours last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, and by filling in a simple one-page booking sheet visitors can pinpoint their interests and availability. Once that’s done, a guide will be assigned.

To book a TORONTO Greeter – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

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“For those on a budget, this worldwide organization is a terrific way to become acquainted with a city. It’s simple: local tourism boards match visitors with residents who want to show them around – free. Among many others that are part of the Global Greeter Network – TORONTO, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Naples and Haifa.

“Keep in mind that the knowledge of volunteer guides varies. If you want an expert in, say, modern architecture, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.”

To see if your destination offers a Greeter program you can visit http://www.Globalgreeternetwork.info – New York Times Travel Section, March 20/2016

Toronto Skyline from Ward's Island, facing north

LOOKING BACK AT 2015 – IT WAS AN ALL ‘ROUND STELLAR YEAR FOR TORONTO

demolition1January/2015 – Mayor John Tory launches a war on gridlock – 962 cars/trucks towed, 5,806 ticketed; warming huts appear on TORONTO beaches; the last two of Peter Dickinson’s Regent Park apartment towers are demolished (PHOTO ABOVE)

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February/2015 – Massey Music Hall gets $135-million for a makeover; TORONTO’s ‘underground’ makes itself heard on a new radio station; Hamlet the Wombat celebrates 33rd birthday at Toronto Zoo; University of Toronto students have old-fashioned fun in the snow; (PHOTO ABOVE)

oscarflores1March/2015 – Daniel’s ‘City of Arts’ project is unveiled for the Eastern Waterfront; Casey House begins work on a 50,000 sq. ft. HIV/AIDS health care facility; TORONTO becomes Canada’s trading hub for Chinese currency – a big win; photographer Cameron McLellan takes E.T. on a downtown tour; Mayor John Tory visits Austin, Texas – plans to fire-up TORONTO’s music scene ASAP; work begins resurrecting Glen Road’s old Victorian houses; TORONTO joins the ‘$1-million for a house club’; U.K.‘s Norman Foster and Partners to build Canada’s tallest condo at Yonge and Bloor; anonymous donors give Ryerson University an invaluable Berenice Abbott archive; urban explorer and rooftopper Oscar Flores photographs TORONTO at night (PHOTO ABOVE)

alastair2April/2015 – GO Transit opens a new 62,000-square-foot York Street Concourse at Union Station; Premier Kathleen Wynne opens Pearson Airport to Union Station Express service; Pan Am Sports Centre in Scarborough is now Canada’s largest single investment in amateur sports; ‘Dennis’ and ‘Lea’, two 400-tonne tunnel borers surface on the Crosstown LRT project along Eglinton Avenue – hot chocolate served by Metrolinx; formidable “Fort Book” (The Robarts Library) to add a 1,200 seat 4-storey light glass reading room; Inn on the Park tower is demolished; Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre stands out on Yonge Street; adventurer Alastair Humphreys says 2015 is the year to explore your own city or neighbourhood (PHOTO ABOVE)

SAKURA2May/2015 – city will be left with the Pan Am Path and multiple legacy projects once the Pan Am Parapan Am Games end; Christie’s International Real Estate ranks TORONTO the ‘world’s hottest luxury housing market’; High Park welcomes spring with its annual sakura (cherry blossom) festival – over 2,000 trees (PHOTO ABOVE)

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June/2015 – to great acclaim Waterfront Toronto opens its rebuilt Queens Quay West with separated biking paths, parks and gardens; despite non-stop downpours Mayor John Tory and City Council march in the country’s largest Pride Parade; Toronto District School Board opens a museum to show off its vast archive; the new Ismaili Centre opens next to the Aga Khan Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art announces it’s tripling its size and moving into the 10-storey Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road; the Queen Street Viaduct lighting project is finished in time for the Pan Am Games; TORONTO’s retired streetcar #1074 is still working on San Francisco’s ‘F‘ line; an undulating piece of steel appears on Sumach Street at Eastern Avenue (PHOTO ABOVE)

opening3July/2015 – Derek Revington’s ‘Luminous Veil’ is inaugurated on the Prince Edward Viaduct; Bill Bishop Island Airport is joined to the mainland by a tunnel; TORONTO joins six major cities across the world with a new YouTube production space; TORONTO has a mile (1.6 km) of culture along Bloor Street West; street artists and muralists liven up Corktown’s Underpass Park; a chandelier refitted with uranium glass beads and ultra-violet bulbs stars in the AGO’s ‘Camera Atomica’ show; six of our most beautiful Victorian houses will be ‘wedded’ to a glass tower on Sultan Street; giant acorn sculpture a hit in Joel Weeks Park; the Pan Am Games open and the CN Tower knocks itself out (PHOTO ABOVE)

jillys1August/2015 – TORONTO fails to make The Independent’s list of ‘The World’s Grumpiest Cities” – #1 is Moscow; Metropolis Magazine ranks TORONTO the ‘most liveable city in the world’; it’s been an extraordinarily busy summer for TORONTO’s free Ambassador Tour Program; Sunday’s Antiques and Flea Market moves into a block-long tent to make way for a brand new North St. Lawrence Market; plans are announced to restore the former Loblaws head office warehouse building on Lakeshore West; the city’s laneways are beginning to get the attention they deserve; ‘Aura’ at College Park tops off with LED light icicles; a former strip club on Broadview at Queen East is gutted and turned into a boutique hotel, thanks to Streetcar Developments (PHOTO ABOVE)

tiff42September/2015 – A critical mass of high-design retailers puts down roots in King Street East Design District; Chicago reporter finds TORONTO’s Latin cuisine ‘delicioso’; the Fashion District takes off with a vast collection of heritage buildings and warehouses; Mayor John Tory decides the city will not to make a bid for the 2024 Olympics; the Bay Street Corridor is becoming an exciting new high-rise neighbourhood; 473,000 attend the Toronto International Film Festival to see hundreds of movies (PHOTO ABOVE)

PANDABIRTH4October/2015 – Justin Trudeau’s Liberals shellack Stephen Harper and his Conservatives with a 184 seat majority win; WestJet presents ‘Frozen’, its newest custom-painted aircraft at Pearson Airport; thanks to actor Steve Martin, Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris gets a show in Los Angeles; Charles Street East is now a happening place for apartment dwellers; a tuxedo squirrel is discovered in The Annex; TORONTO’s ‘Nightmare on Queen Street West’, aka Rob Ford, returns in book form with the release of ‘Rob Ford; Uncontrollable’; Vancouver developer (Concert) finances the rebuilding of Berczy Park on Wellington Street; two giant panda cubs are born at Toronto Zoo (PHOTO ABOVE)

youngplace2November/2015 – Giant panda cubs at Toronto Zoo are thriving; Regent Park is born again after a decade of razing and rebuilding; Opera Atelier and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra perform again at the Royal Opera House, Chateau de Versailles; a new hipster village pops up along Dundas Street West; approval ratings for Mayor John Tory reach an unprecedented 77%; cash-in-hand plans are announced for an animated park underneath the Gardiner Expressway; Greater TORONTO now has seven members in the newly elected federal cabinet; four white lion cubs born in September are healthy and active at Toronto Zoo; Artscape YoungPlace bucks the trend of kicking artists out of gentrifying neighbourhoods (PHOTO ABOVE)

mountainglacier1December/2015 – Grange Park will be undergoing an $11-million renovation this winter; the dowdy corner of Dundas and University Avenue gets a facelift with the arrival of #488; with the mild weather our black squirrels are fattening up; a young Red Tail Hawk visits City Hall; Syrian refugees arrive at TORONTO’s Pearson Airport; ‘The Six’ (aka TORONTO) gets its own Nike Air Max 1’s thanks to Drake; a Lawren Harris painting ‘Mountain and Glacier’ sells for a record $4.6-million in a Heffel auction (PHOTO ABOVE)

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IT’S BEEN A BUSY SUMMER FOR TORONTO’S FREE AMBASSADOR TOUR PROGRAM (TAPTO)

TAPTO2 Established several years ago by the City of TORONTO, TAPto has roughly 90 tour guides who know the city and its neighbourhoods well. TAPto tours last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, and by filling in a simple one-page booking sheet visitors can pinpoint their interests and availability. Once that’s done, a guide will be assigned.
To book a TORONTO Greeter – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Visitors I’ve shown around this summer came from Montreal x3, Verdun, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Charlotte NC, Waco, Texas; Los Angeles, Dumbarton, Scotland; Charleston SC, Frankfurt, Vienna, Detroit, New York City, Leominster & Boston, Massachusetts; and Philadelphia.

TAPTO1Jennifer Pour and Felicia Upshaw <PHOTO ABOVE> flew in from Philadelphia. “TORONTO is a very friendly town,” said Jennifer, “and it’s so easy to get around on public transportation.” Felicia found “the blend of architecture to be very intriguing.” She agreed the people were friendly, the streets and parks were clean, and both thought the $3 Red Rocket bus/subway connection from Pearson International to downtown T.O. was an incredible bargain – which it is.

TAPTO3The Global Greeter Network is an informal association of Greeter programs around the world. In Canada SHERBROOKE, Quebec and CALGARY, Alberta are also members.
Global Greeter Network and a listing of its member cities – http://www.globalgreeternetwork.info/

A DOZEN UNIQUE AND INEXPENSIVE THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN TORONTO

TEN1 1. – The 501 Queen Streetcar travels the longest streetcar route in North America, and one of the longest in the world. From Neville park in the east end to either the Long Branch Loop or the Humber Loop in the west, the line passes through 24.5 kilometres (or 15.4 miles) of the inner city and many different neighbourhoods. Named by National Geographic as one of the ‘great tram rides of a lifetime’.

2. – Toronto Transit Commission Day Passes are the best bargains in town. Single Day Passes are available 7 days a week and can be used on the subway, streetcars and buses. On weekends and statutory holidays the passes admit 1 adult and 5 youths 19 years and under, or 2 adults and 4 youths, or two adults. Get them at all subway stations for $11.50.

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3. – TIFF Bell Lightbox. This is a complex of 5 movie theatres (including the city’s cinematheque), two restaurants, 2 galleries, a research library and a shop, 350 King Street West. The films shown here are not regular multiplex fare.

4 & 5. – The Winter Garden and Elgin Theatres, 189 Yonge Street, are the last remaining Edwardian-era double-decker theatres in the world. Tours are conducted on Thursdays and Saturdays for a modest fee.

6. – Kensington Market is the old Jewish market quarter just off Spadina Avenue above Dundas Street West. This is where the multicultural/multilingual character of downtown TORONTO really shines. Augusta, Kensington, Nassau, and Oxford streets west of Spadina.

TEN47. – The TORONTO Islands, reachable by ferry from the foot of Bay Street. People live in rustic homes on Wards Island (cottage country in the heart of the city). Centre Island is a vast park with a Lake Ontario boardwalk and other attractions. Hanlan’s Point offers a clothing optional beach.

8. – Canada’s only purpose-built opera house at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen Street West. Backstage tours on weekends, $20 adults, $15 seniors/students, http://www.coc.ca/ExploreAndLearn/Adults/BuildingTours/FourSeasonsCentre.aspx

9. – St. George Campus of the University of TORONTO, bounded by Bloor Street West, College Street, St. George Street and Queens Park. This beautifully landscaped campus combines old and new architecture and seven colleges (Innis, New, St. Michael’s, Trinity, University, Victoria and Woodworth).

TEN210. – The Cabbagetown Heritage Conservation Area, roughly from Parliament Street to the Don River, Wellesley Street East to Gerrard Street East. Settled by Irish immigrants from the late 1940’s, it’s now the largest preserved Victorian-era neighbourhood in all of North America. The Riverdale Farm is here, as well as two of the oldest cemeteries in the city.

11. The Distillery District, Parliament Street south of King Street East over to Cherry Street. This is a collection of Victorian-era heritage industrial buildings on the site of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. It contains three theatres, numerous cafes, bars and shops, 47 buildings in all.

TEN512. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue in the Don Valley, a former quarry, provided the bricks for nearly a century to construct well known TORONTO landmarks including Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall, Massey Hall and the Ontario Legislature. It’s now been turned into a park with naturalized ponds and walking trails. The buildings themselves are focused on culture, the environment, and the history of brickmaking in our city. The original brick firing ovens have been left intact.

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