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

– December 16 – Handel’s Messiah, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, http://www.tafelmusik.org
– December 16 – To All A Good Night 3, the different holiday concert, 15 piece big band, readings, Jackie Richardson, Liam Russell, Harbourfront Centre Theatre, http://www.artoftimeensemble.com
– December 16 – Toronto Children’s Chorus, featuring opera stars Krisztina Szabo & Lesia Mackowycz, 2pm, Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, http://www.roythomsonhall.com
– December 17 – Sharron & George’s Superfun Christmas Sing-Along, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, 7pm, http://www.buddiesinbadtimes.com
– December 17 – Sing-Along Messiah, Tafelmusik’s Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, http://www.tafelmusik.org
– December 18 – Cocktails & Candy Canes Cabaret, jazzy tunes by musical theatre artists, Jazz Bistro, 251 Victoria Street, http://www.jazzbistro.ca
– December 21 – The Barra MacNeils, An East Coast Christmas, Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, 8pm, http://www.masseyhall.com
– December 21 – City of Toronto Christmas Concert, Toronto Beaches Chlldren’s Chorus, Toronto Mass Choir, Pan Fantasy Steelband and Tower Brass, noon-1pm, New City Hall, 100 Queen St. West, free, http://www.toronto.ca/christmasconcert
December 21 – Kensington Market Winter Solstice, Red Pepper Spectacle Art’s annual parade, lantern sales 4pm, meet at Oxford & Augusta at 6:30pm, free, http://www.fb.com/redpepperspectaclearts
– Until December 24 – Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– Until December 30 – The Nutcracker, National Ballet of Canada, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. West, http://www.national.ballet.ca
Until December 31 – A Christmas Carol, the family musical with a Scrooge loose, Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge Street, http://www.rosspetty.com
– December 31 – Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits, New Year’s Eve, 7:00pm, Roy Thomson Hall, http://www.roythomson.com
– January 1/2018 – Salute to Vienna, New Year’s Day Concert, 2:30pm, Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, 2:30pm, http://www.roythomson.com
– Until December 31 – Beauty and the Beast, Young People’s Theatre, http://www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca
– Until January 6 – Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas – The Musical, Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, http://www.electricmoontheatre.com
– Until January 7 – Million Dollar Quartet, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge Street, http://www.mirvish.com
Until January 7 – The Illusionists, Live From Broadway, Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. West, http://www.mirvish.com
– Until January 21 – Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Lorax’, Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King Street West, http://www.mirvish.com
– 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

– Ongoing – ‘Party Today, Panic Tomorrow’, Second City, 51 Mercer Street, http://www.secondcity.com
– Until December 17 – Mr. Shi and His Lover, French diplomat falls in love with an opera singer, Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Av., http://www.tarragontheatre.com
– Until December 17 – Heisenberg by Simon Stephens, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, http://www.canadianstage.com
– December 31 – New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza, Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, 7:30pm, http://www.masseyhall.com
– Until December 31 – Soulpepper’s Family Festival, A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, A Very Soulpepper Christmas, The Story, several venues, for full details go to http://www.soulpepper.ca/family
– Ongoing – Everything Is Great Again, American politics, Second City, 51 Mercer Street, http://www.secondcity.com

– Ongoing – Vikings: The Exhibition, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, http://www.rom.on.ca
– Until December 31 – Eatons Goes To War: Family, Memory and Meaning, MacKenzie House, 82 Bond Street, https://www.facebook.com/mackenziehouse/
– Until January 1 – HERE: Locating Contemporary Canadian Artists, Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Drive, Don Mills, https://www.agakhanmuseum.org
– Until January 7 – 12 Tres: Let There Be Light, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, 111 Queen’s Park, http://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca
Until January 7 – Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters, monster movie maker at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. West, http://www.ago.net
– Until January 21 – Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles, Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Street, http://www.textilemuseum.ca
– Until March 18 – Christian Dior, Paris haute couture after WWII years, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, http://www.rom.on.ca
– Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, multiple exhibits, Canada’s 2nd largest after the National Gallery, see what’s on at http://www.ago.net
– The Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 216 Main Street in historic Unionville/Markham, http://www.varleygallery.ca
– Art Gallery of Mississauga, 300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, http://www.artgalleryofmississauga.com
– 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
– Spadina House Museum, historic house and gardens, 285 Spadina Road, (416) 392-6910
– MZTV Museum of Television, 64 Jefferson Avenue, Liberty Village, phone for free reservation at (416) 599-7339
– Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road, http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca
– CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Museum, archival materials relating to the history of Canadian broadcasting, 250 Front St. West, http://www.cbc.ca/museum/index.html
– Fort York National Historic Site, 250 Fort York Boulevard, http://www.fortyork.ca
– Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum & Archives, 1 Austin Terrace, https//qormuseum.org
– 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.)
– Rainbow Railroad, a charity which helps individuals in countries where being LGBTQ is an invite to violence, imprisonment or death, http://www.rainbowrailroad.ca
– ProudFM 103.9, Toronto’s LGBTQ radio station, http://www.proudfm.com
– 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
– 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
– Glad Day Bookshop & Cafe, since 1970, oldest LGBTQ bookshop in the Americas, 499 Church Street, licenced, coffee bar, warm welcome, http://www.gladdaybookshop.com
– Out and Out LGBTQ outdoors club, http://www.outandout.ca
– Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps of Toronto (ROTC), colour guard, band, drum corps, baton, dance, http://www.rotctoronto.com
– Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), 115 Simpson Avenue at Howard Street, http://www.mcctoronto.com
– Xtra magazine, gay community news in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, http://www.xtra.ca/toronto.aspx
– The Pink Pages, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, leather, queer directory for Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and Niagara/St. Catharines, http://thepinkpagesdirectory.com
– (CLGA) Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, second largest in the world, research centre, art gallery, 34 Isabella Street, http://www.clga.ca

Ongoing – TAPto free walking tours by Toronto Greeters, book online at http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=e14d3a2f287c1410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
– Until March 18 – Winter at Ontario Place, light installations, synthetic skating rink, film screenings at Cinesphere, bonfires, etc., Ontario Place, 955 Lakeshore Boulevard West, free, http://www.ontarioplace.com/winter
– Until December 22 – Black Star: Celebrating 100 Years of Black Excellence on Screen, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West, http://www.tiff.net/blackstar
– December 23 – January 3 – Magnificent 70MM classic films, Vertigo, The Thing, 2001 A Space Odyssey, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. West, http://www.tiff.net
– Until December 23 – The Toronto Christmas Market, ferris wheel, carousel, live music, carollers, vendors, beer gardens, Santa booth, Distillery District, http://www.torontochristmasmarket.com
– Until December 24 – The Christmas Story, annual nativity pageant, pro musicians, volunteer cast, Church of the Holy Trinity, 19 Trinity Square, http://www.thechristmasstory.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
– Until January 7 – Casa Loma Canadian Winterland Nights, lighted gardens, a magic show, carols and treats, 5-9pm, Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace, http://www.casaloma.ca
– Until January 7 – Christmas In The Valley, traditions of the 1890’s and 1940’s, tours of wildflower preserve, Todmorden Mills, Don Valley, 67 Pottery Road, https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/history-art-culture/museums/todmorden-mills/
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, https://imaginecinemas.com
– 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
– Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, specializing in documentaries and films seldom shown in the multiplex, 506 Bloor Street West, https://www.cinemaclock.com/theatres/hot-docs-ted-rogers-cinema
– 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
– 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
– Edgewalk, CN Tower, walk around the edge of our tallest free-standing structure, http://www.edgewalkcntower.ca
– Sunday Antique Market, free, Jarvis Street south of King
– 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

<The SWAMP – “it’s devolved into toxic sludge.”, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, the Globe and Mail, December 15/2017>

<The National Ballet of Canada’s NUTCRACKER is on at the Four Seasons Centre until December 30. “Remains as fresh as the day it premiered in 1995.” — The Globe and Mail <Jurgita Dronina and Naoya Ebe in The Nutcracker. Photo – Bruce Zinger.>

“TORONTONIANS don’t steal? I’ve got news for you.”

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has been under-estimating fare evasion rates by as much as half. The system may be costing us millions annually, far more than we were led to believe in recent years.

According to an internal 2017 TTC document obtained by Torstar News Service, the system-wide evasion rate is 4.4% and the cheats have been allegedly bilking the agency by up to $49-million yearly. TTC officials believe the figures are much lower.

“Streetcars have picked up the pace. Motorists on nearby streets are experiencing little or no delays. According to early numbers, the high-profile KING STREET transit project is moving.” – Metro News

Visits to TORONTO from Mexico were up 90% in 2017; from the United States up 7% and other International numbers were up 18%.

After years of digging, six new subway stations are opening on Sunday morning. The 8.6 kilometre extension to Line 1 will connect TORONTO to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre near Jane Street and Highway 7. The 905 suburbs, Pioneer Village and York University will now have a rapid transit link with downtown T.O.

The new stations – Downsview Park, Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407 and Vaughan.

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has recorded the tallest skyscrapers completed in 2017. CHINA is first with 76 structures in the 200-metre plus category; the UNITED STATES is next with 10; then SOUTH KOREA with 7; and CANADA follows with 5 (4 of those in TORONTO).

TORONTO’s tallest new building finished in 2017 is One Bloor East by Great Gulf. You can see it from almost anywhere.



<ABOVE – a lone skater on the Square’s ice rink as the sun comes up. PHOTO – Bryan Blenkin>

<BELOW this year’s Official Christmas/Holiday card features Nathan Phillips Square>

<ABOVE – Finnish architect Viljo Revell, shows his design for New City Hall to Professor Takamasa Yoshizaka in 1960; PHOTO – Gilbert A. Milne>

<ABOVE – Opening Night for New City Hall in 1965. Unfortunately Mr. Revell, the architect, had passed away the previous year.>

In 2007 an international design competition was launched to bring the square into the 21st century. The rebuild was accomplished by a consortium of mostly TORONTO firms. Architects and designers from Perkins + Will and PLANT Architect Inc. over-hauled everything, installing new fountains, a permanent stage, moving the Peace Garden with its full-growth trees, and planting a green roof around the third level of City Hall itself.

<ABOVE –  the Square, site of the city’s Christmas Tree, fireworks on Canada Day and at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  The TORONTO sign was inaugurated for the PanAm/ParaPanAm Games and has now become a popular photo-taking site – rivaling the CN Tower.>


<YAYOI KUSAMA with Pumpkin/2010>

The show doesn’t open until March 3, 2018 (it closes on May 27), but already thousands of tickets have been sold (zero to 18,000 in the first few hours). Only around 120,000 slots are available.

‘Infinity Mirrors’, has been touring the United States, from the HIRSHORN MUSEUM in Washington, D.C., to the SEATTLE ART MUSEUM to the BROAD MUSEUM in Los Angeles.  And soon it will be in TORONTO.

<Life (Repetitive Vision), 1998. Installation @ Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, 2017 © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Cathy Carver>

The TORONTO Star says “It all amounts to a perfect storm: Unprecedented demand running headlong into the scarcest of time.”

<Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013.  © Yayoi Kusama>

With an oeuvre of painting and sculpture best described as candy-coloured fantasia, 88-year-old Yahoi Kusama’s work has helped make her into an Instagram superstar.


He seldom – if ever – fails to hit the proverbial nail on the head. The Globe and Mail’s editorial cartoonist BRIAN GABLE was born in Saskatoon, studied fine art at the University of Saskatchewan, then education at the University of Toronto. After teaching for a while, he freelanced as a cartoonist in Brockville and Regina, then became the editorial cartoonist for the Globe – Canada’s national and most prestigious newspaper – in 1987.

<CAPTION – Canada’s jet fighter purchase – “We’re weighing all options.”>

<Ye Royal Public Relations>

Mr. Gable won National Newspaper Awards in 1986, 1995, 2001 and 2005.

This year he was named a Member of the Order of Canada for his “outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” Thanks Brian Gable for putting a smile on Canadian faces from coast-to-coast-to-coast.


<CAPTION – “White House vows not to participate in 2017 fad – the upside down Christmas tree.”>


Teeple Architects’ award-winning 60 Richmond Street East provides innovative, affordable housing just east of TORONTO’s Financial District.  An infill project, the building uses reclaimed materials and energy-saving strategies to keep maintenance costs down.  It also features a resident-owned and operated restaurant and training kitchen on the ground floor.

Vegetables, fruit and herbs grown on the sixth floor terrace help supply the restaurant with food.  The cut-in facade adds spark to a rather bland neighbourhood.


In a growing, dirty and dangerous city, children created their own playgrounds. Photographers found them in laneways, backyards, behind houses, on construction sites, sitting on stoops and staircases and playing chicken with streetcars.

For immigrant children in The Ward (officially known as St. John’s Ward), TORONTO’s downtown slum, the street was where they played, watched and wandered. Here they were masters of their own destiny.

The Playground Movement in Canada began in the early 1900’s. TORONTO’s Cherry Street Playground opened in 1909, St. Andrew’s and Elizabeth Street playgrounds in 1913. A department of social work was established in 1914 at the University of Toronto. The Ward became the site of early health and hygiene planning and slum clearance.  PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archives – Website – http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=7cb4ba2ae8b1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

<PHOTO ABOVE – a modern playground in newly renovated GRANGE PARK, behind the Art Gallery of Ontario.>


Three towers will form a portion of Pinnacle One Yonge, a project that includes five new buildings & the renovation of an existing block. The property being designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, will cover two city blocks.

The northern part of the site, currently a car park, will host the three residential towers, a hotel, community centre, affordable housing and retail. There’ll be an underground connection to Union Station.

To the south, two new office buildings reaching 35 and 22 storeys will join the current Toronto Star building completed in 1971, which will be refurbished & reclad.