WHAT’S ON IN TORONTO – MAY/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
– May 27 – June 3 – 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
– May 27 – June 4 – Onegin, rock adaptation of the Pushkin poem, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, 416-368-3110
– May 27,28 – Emerging Voices, Toronto Dance Theatre’s up-and-coming choreographers, Winchester St. Theatre, 80 Winchester St., http://www.tdt.org/emerging-voices
– May 27,28 – Sing! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, The Distillery District and other venues, http://www.singtoronto.com
– May 27,28 – Twenty-first Century Music Festival, 9 concerts, 5 days, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca
– May 27 – June 25 – Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pierce, Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 2 – New Canadian Global Music Orchestra, Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, 8pm, http://www.performance.rcmusic.ca
– June 6-11 – The Sound of Music, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 7-25 – Show Stopper: The Improvished Musical, each show created on-the-spot by the Showstoppers, Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge Street, http://www.mirvish.com
– June 27 – August 20 – ‘Beautiful – the Carole King Musical’, Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, http://www.mirvish.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
– May 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
– May 27,28 – I Did It My Way In Yiddish (In English), songs and stories about meeting Leonard Cohen & other tales, Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, http://www.fillerup.ca
– May 27,28 – Paprika Festival, new plays, dance performances, experimental art, Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East, http://www.paprikafestival.com
– May 27,28 – Dom Juan by Moliere, Theatre Francais de Toronto, some shows with English surtitles, Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, http://www.theatrefrancais.com
– May 27,28 – Midsummer (A Play With Songs), failed car salesman and a divorce lawyer hook up, Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Avenue, http://www.tarragontheatre.com

MUSEUMS & PUBLIC ART GALLERIES
– 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 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 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 October 2017 – Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels, Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, http://www.batashoemuseum.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 – 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
– May 27 ongoing – Contact Photography Festival, focusing this year on Canada and Canadians, galleries all over town, http://www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com
– May 27 – Jon Rafman, video, Arsenal, 45 Ernest Avenue, http://www.canadianart.ca/galleries/arsenal-toronto/
– May 27 – Ears, Eyes, Voice: Black Canadian Photojournalists, BAND Gallery, 19 Brock Street, http://band-rand.com/site/
– May 27 – Robert Mapplethorpe, Olga Korper Gallery, 17 Morrow Avenue, http://www.olgakorpergallery.com
– Until June 10 – Luis Jacob, photography, Toronto Photographers Workshop, 170 St. Helen’s, http://www.gallerytpw/ca/contact
– Until June 17 – Charles Gagnon, photography, Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen Street West, http://www.bulgergallery.com
– Until June 30 – Thaddeus Holownia, photography, Corkin Gallery, 7 Tank House, Distillery District, http://www.corkingallery.com

GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer, etc.)
– May 27 – June 4 – 27th annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival, for tickets and venues http://insideout.ca/torontofestival/films/schedule-of-films
– 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
– May 27, 28 – Doors Open, explore Toronto’s bldgs., http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen
– June 15-18 – Taste of Toronto, for foodies who feast, Garrison Common Fort York, http://www.tasteoftoronto.com
– 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

After 25 years in retirement, TORONTO’s maroon-and-cream coloured streetcars are back on Queen’s Quay West. Rides on the Presidents’ Conference Committee cars are free from now until Labour Day – but only on Sundays.

The cars are noisier than the present-day models, but they served the city well for over six decades. Most were sold off, and at least one still travels Market Street in San Francisco every day picking up passengers.

Many seniors have chosen to ‘age in place’ in downtown TORONTO condos, overcoming their challenges by creating communities. “I’ve always dreaded being somewhere where I’m not part of the bigger world … It doesn’t matter how good the food is, or how great the gardens are in a [retirement] home — you’re on planet zed. You’re not part of the larger universe,” Julie Beddoes told CBC News.

“My nightmare is being cut off from the world and from stimulus,” added Penelope Tyndale, who is taking four classes at the University of Toronto and often attends concerts downtown. Both women are in their 80’s and have called the same condo building home for 17 years.

In less than 20 years, one in four people living in TORONTO will be over the age of 65, says CBC News.  To meet Julie and Penelope go to
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/with-a-wave-of-seniors-coming-why-many-are-choosing-to-age-in-place-in-toronto-condos-1.4129912

Despite provincial measures to cool the market, detached housing prices continue to rise in Greater TORONTO. The Building Industry and Land Development Association says the average price of new detached, semi-detached and townhouses rose 40% from 2016 in April.

The average asking price across the GTA for new low-rise single family homes was $1,810,232 last month, an increase from $1,783,417 in March. – Financial Post

JORDAN BRAND has opened a new store in downtown TORONTO joining Chicago, Hong Kong, Paris and Dubai. Why did the company choose TORONTO? It’s a tourist destination, has a diverse population, boasts a popular NBA basketball franchise, and it’s home to TORONTO-born rapper Drake – a Jordan Brand ambassador.

The store offers TORONTO-themed apparel, customized shoes and clothing, a kids section, a training facility for athletes and even a mini barbershop. 306 Yonge Street.

Explore some of TORONTO’s finest buildings – May 27 & 28, free.  For info go to http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen

DESPITE THE STRIKE AT TORONTO ZOO, MOTHER NATURE HAS DELIVERED 10 EXOTIC CATS

  The Toronto Zoo is proud to announce the healthy births of snow leopard cubs, clouded leopard cubs and cheetah cubs.

The snow leopard cubs arrived on May 18, born to mother Ena and dad Kota. Ena came to TORONTO from Japan’s Tama Zoo.

For the first time in the Zoo’s history, two clouded leopard cubs were born on Saturday afternoon, May 13 to mom “Pavarti” and dad “Mingma.” Both parents came originally from the Nashville Zoo.

On April 30 five cheetah cubs came into the world. Laini and Patonga are the parents. The arrival of these cubs brings the number of cheetahs born at the Toronto Zoo to 53.

CABBAGETOWN’S RIVERDALE FARM ANNOUNCES THE ARRIVAL OF SEVERAL NEW BORNS

It’s springtime at Riverdale Farm, located among acres of parkland and ravine at Sumach & Winchester Streets in Cabbagetown. Run by the City of TORONTO, the animals here are well-looked-after and the farm and park are partially financed by local residents. For details on their ‘buy-a’brick‘ program go to http://www.frpw.org

To reach Riverdale Farm take the #506 eastbound streetcar to Sumach Street and walk north.

TORONTONIANS LOVE THEIR NEW BERCZY PARK REDESIGNED BY MONTREAL’S CLAUDE CORMIER

<PHOTO – Berczy Park as it was in November/2016>

Brilliant Canadian landscape architect CLAUDE CORMIER now has a second TORONTO iconic park to his name. The creator of Sugar Beach on the eastern waterfront has redesigned Berczy Park, between Front and Wellington Streets behind the Flatiron Building.

The $7.2-million remake – thanks to Vancouver’s Concert Developments – is very spacious, with lots of grass and benches, and rows of trees.

The “dog” fountain is the centre piece. It’s surrounded by 27 cast-iron dogs and one cat, with a coveted bone on top. Dog walkers and kids love it. This park is a hit already and it’s only just opened.

Berczy Park is one of three downtown parks being renovated.  The Grange and Barbara Ann Scott parks are the other two.

TORONTO SHORT STORIES – MAY 15-22/2017

<BASS ISLAND property in Muskoka, listed at $10,800,000>

TORONTO’s real estate frenzy has spread to cottage country as city dwellers cash out and head north. The value of waterfront property in Muskoka, Haliburton and Orillia surged 51.4% year over year in April. The median price of $485,000 was up 30.4% from April/2016. Last week in Haliburton/Muskoka on three big lakes, there were 51 properties listed with an average price of $3-million.

“Privacy is still the key factor when it comes to price. Up here, the definition of privacy is when you can stand on your front deck naked and nobody can see you. You need 200 feet of waterfront to do that.” – Hugh Nichols, Re/Max North Country agent

Google has its eye on TORONTO’s under-developed waterfront and believes digital city-building might ‘fix’ it.

The premise – building from the ground up with new technologies brings with it potential environmental sustainability, health benefits, and even affordable housing. Google’s vision entails high-speed internet access and free wifi across the hub, self-driving cars, ride-sharing, and sensors throughout. As Canada’s largest urban area with a booming multicultural centre and a 12-acre industrial waterfront along Lake Ontario, TORONTO is in the running.

To create a city of the future from the ground up necessitates demolishing the city of the past – which puts both Montreal and Vancouver at some disadvantage.

High-speed rail – Ontario Premier KATHLEEN WYNNE says the province will set up an agency to plan, finance and build a high-speed rail corridor between TORONTO, Guelph, Kitchener, London and Windsor.

“The best time to have done this was 40 years ago, the second best time is today. Today is what we’ve got, so today is what we are working with,” said Ms. Wynne. “We are moving ahead, we are going to make this happen.”

TORONTO’s Little Portugal and Trinity-Bellwoods Park area have just been ranked #1 for music production in Canada. In a news release The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says “”This diverse and culturally-rich neighbourhood in TORONTO’s south-western quadrant is a hub of creative musical talent, live music venues, and businesses using music to their advantage.”

<PHOTO – Canterbury Music Company, 322 Dufferin Street>

TORONTO scores a 68% home ownership rate in the ‘developed’ world. We’re behind only OSLO (69%) and CALGARY (74%). A report from the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that half of TORONTO-area residents are overhoused, with 2.2-million empty bedrooms.

The city is about 350,000 bedrooms short of housing the 20% of residents who are shelter-poor.

A newborn lamb, one of three, at TORONTO’s inner-city Riverdale Farm. The Farm is located on Sumach Street, north of Carlton. You can reach it easily on the #506 eastbound streetcar. Get off at Sumach and walk north to Riverdale Park.

TORONTO again proves its key importance by landing the federal government’s infrastructure bank. The city’s Financial District will give members easy access to investors whose cash the feds need to make their bank work.

$35-billion in federal funds will be used to entice private investment in public transit, highways and electrical grids that generate revenues through user fees or tolls. Approximately $15-billion of that will be cash, with the remaining $20-billion in repayable loans or equity stakes that shouldn’t affect the government’s bottom line.

Bon anniversaire, Montréal!  Canada’s second largest city 350 miles east of TORONTO, celebrated its 375th birthday on May 17, 2017.  The Quebec metropolis is a town that seldom sleeps and the lights are always on.

They want a TORONTO subway connection and, in return, they’re prepared to favour a Downtown Relief Line (DRL). The mayors of Markham, Richmond Hill and York Region have announced they’d support JOHN TORY’s push for the DRL – if he’d support their wish for a TTC subway hookup.

Mayor Tory had threatened to stop all planning for regional subway connections which would directly affect the above municipalities.

Actor KAL PENN, who plays the press secretary on ABC’s “Designated Survivor” – shooting in TORONTO – gave the New York Times his impression of Big T.O. “It is an incredibly diverse city. They take in refugees that the United States doesn’t accept. I came back and saw not just new buildings, but entire neighbourhoods that were industrial and have been transformed into living spaces.

“There’s a neighbourhood called PARKDALE which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food there, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great holes-in-the-wall. Little Portugal is another neighbourhood with really nice shops and restaurants.”

Londoner ROSE POWER sent her best wishes to TORONTO this week in a letter published by Metro News.  “I would recommend anyone wanting to enjoy great food, sights and friendly people in a safe city, really ought to give TORONTO a try!  They won’t be disappointed.  I also think TORONTO should be held up as an awesome model of multiculturalism working at its finest.”

OFF THE BEATEN PATH – A MIX OF GENTRIFICATION & INDUSTRY ON TORONTO’S DOWNTOWN EAST SIDE

One of things I love about TORONTO is its weird mix of neighbourhoods. Walk two blocks south of trendy Riverside and Leslieville and you’re in a land of warehouses, gentrified Victorians, electric wires, cables, a couple of movie studios, billboards and light industry. Much of it is even photogenic.

A BLUE WHALE’S HEART IS SURE TO BE THIS YEAR’S MAIN ATTRACTION @ ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

<PHOTO – Samantha Phillips>

The BLUE WHALE, world’s largest animal, has a heart that’s 4 feet wide, 3 & a half feet tall, and 3 feet thick. It pumps 150 litres of blood (40 gallons) per beat and weighs in at 400 pounds. This particular heart was taken from a whale that washed ashore in Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>

David Hains in Metro News writes “4 months were needed to prepare the heart in nearly sixteen 200-litre barrels of formaldehyde. Technicians then dehydrated the heart using 22,000 litres of acetone, a process that took nearly 5 months. Then came dissection, reshaping and colouring.

“The ROM team shipped the heart to Gubener Plastinate in Germany to preserve and plastinate it, and then a team of six prepared it for shipping back to TORONTO.” The heart and the whale’s skeletal remains are on display until September 4 at the Royal Ontario Museum in TORONTO.

<PHOTO – Lance McMillan>