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Ontario

Ottawa’s Top Toy Stores

By Chris Lackner

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?” It‘s one of Jack Nicholson’s signature Joker lines from 1989’s Batman. In Ottawa, we know the answer: our unique collection of locally owned toy stores, which is probably the envy of Santa’s elves.

Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s

Mrs. Tiggywinkles in Ottawa

Mrs. Tiggywinkles in Ottawa

Since opening their first store in 1977, this home-grown chain has showcased well-made, creative toys that spark the imagination. Classic products are found alongside new, innovative playthings — like a glitter, snowglobe-making kit. “We hear over and over again [that parents] are trying to get kids away from their screens,” says Eira MacDonell, general manager of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s, which has five stores in Ottawa. “They want more play value and interaction.” Puzzles, board games and even new versions of the Rubik’s Cube have seen a popular resurgence, she says. “We sell probably 12 different varieties of Rubik’s-type challenge.” These toys are not only for the young, but also for the young at heart. Locations include The Glebe, Bayshore Shopping Centre and Rideau Shopping Centre.

Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-230-8081, mrstiggywinkles.ca

My Toy Shop

Owner Claire Kerr houses trendy toy lines such as Shopkins and Minecraft, but the independent Manotick store is also a treasure trove of items shoppers won’t find anywhere else — from a Rocking Donkey to a Grow n’ Glow Terrarium. Their laudable goal is a combination of unique toys, award winners, latest fads and old favourites. It’s worth the 30-minute drive (from downtown) to this toy oasis. The charming, rural community of Manotick is also home to Watson’s Mill, Ottawa’s only working museum.

1136 Tighe St., Manotick, 613-491-8697, mytoyshop.ca

Tag Along Toys

Tag Along Toys in Ottawa

Tag Along Toys in Ottawa

Patti Taggart’s stores promise allegiance to brands “you know you can trust” — e.g. Lamaze, Alex and Schleich — and dynamic customer service, including gift-wrapping and online ordering. From baby toys to puzzles, and musical toys to outdoor playthings, gift hunters will find plenty of options to tag. You’ll discover things you never imagined, from a straw building kit (straw fort, anyone?) to the Macramé Terrarium: “We can’t keep it in stock. Children look after it, hang it in their bedroom or anywhere in the house. Just add water and watch it grow.” Grandparents get a 20 percent discount on the last Thursday of every month, while teachers receive 10 percent any time. 

Signature Centre, 499 Terry Fox Dr., Kanata, 613-270-8697; Blue Heron Mall, 1500 Bank Street, 613-738-8697, tagalongtoys.ca

Playvalue Toys

Ravensburger counts itself among this store’s popular brands of games and puzzles: “Puzzles are huge right now,” Jones explains. “It’s something that’s growing. It’s a nice family hobby because people can work together. Scientific research shows that puzzles are good for both sides of the brain — from kids to the elderly. Last year, Star Wars LEGO was out of this world popular. With the new movie Rogue One due in theatres Dec. 16, this Christmas will likely be no different. Janet Jones, manager and co-owner of Playvalue Toys, explains LEGO’s eternal appeal: “They have gone into so many different themes that capture different interests and the imagination.” May the Force be with you, shoppers.

130 David Manchester Road, 613-722-0175, playvaluetoys.com

MyToyShop_Where-Ottawa

Must-See Performances in November and December

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ARE FULL OF EXCITING PERFORMANCES FROM BALLET TO ACROBATICS TO MAGIC, AND MORE  

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The 7 Fingers Cuisine and Confessions merges acrobatics with the art of cooking. Photo by by Alexandre Galliez.

Mirvish Productions, Toronto’s largest theatre company, is closing out 2016 with a program of more esoteric—yet still ambitious—shows to complement its typical grander-scale fare. The 7 Fingers Cuisine and Confessions (November 1 to December 4), for instance, blends acrobatics and cooking in a theatrical feast for the senses, while Fight Night (November 4 to 20) concocts an immersive exploration of democracy—just in time for the fireworks of the U.S. presidential election. And there’s more spectacle to be found in The Illusionists (starts December 13), which features awe-inspiring tricks by seven of the world’s top magicians.

Aligator Pie, Soulpepper

Soulpepper’s Alligator Pie is fun for the whole family. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The spotlight also shines on sleight of hand courtesy of Soulpepper Theatre Company and magic maestro David Ben’s Hocus Pocus (starts December 10). Equally inventive—and family-friendly—are Rose (December 16, 17, and 22), a concert presentation based on The World Is Round, a children’s book by Gertrude Stein, and Alligator Pie (starts December 27), an award-winning adaptation of Dennis Lee’s poems. 

And for more adult-oriented fare, turn to the Canadian Stage and Daniel MacIvor. His solo show, Who Killed Spalding Gray? (November 30 to December 11), combines the Canadian playwright’s uniquely disarming scripting with some of the titular character’s famed monologues in an interrogation of truth and fiction.

ENCORE PERFORMANCES

A pair of repertory remounts round out the National Ballet of Canada’s year-end slate—alongside its annual production of The Nutcracker (December 10 to 31), naturally. Most recently performed in 2014, James Kudelka’s Cinderella (November 12 to 20) offers a thoroughly modern interpretation of the age-old fairy tale, and later, the expressive Onegin (November 23 to 27)—John Cranko’s adaptation of the Pushkin novel, Eugene Onegin—aims for emotional and psychological nuance even while its dancers push the boundaries of what the human body can do.

Sharing the Four Seasons Centre stage with the National Ballet means that the Canadian Opera Company has for the time being ceded the spotlight, but the COC presents a great reason to return in 2017: its ever-popular production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (January 19 to February 24).

HITTING THE RIGHT NOTES

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Itzhak Perlman enchants audiences with his performances of beloved movie scores.

The popular music of previous centuries—that is, classical music—is always in vogue with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. But the venerated ensemble keeps up with the times, too, by presenting contemporary scores. Among this winter’s biggest tickets are Itzhak Perlman’s “Cinema Serenade” (November 22)—in which the famed violinist performs themes from films, including Cinema Paradiso, Sabrina and Schindler’s List—and screenings of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring with live TSO accompaniment (December 1 to 3). Christmas classics also get an airing in variety show-style concerts hosted by Colin Mochrie (December 9 to 11) and Jann Arden (December 13 and 14).

Meanwhile, another hallowed musical institution hones in on jazz. The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall schedule features the likes of Joe Lovano’s quintet with Afro-Cuban piano legend Chucho Valdés (November 9), a cabaret-style pairing of vocalists Laila Biali and Pilar (December 1), and explorations of the trio format with threesomes led by pianist Stefano Bollani, bassist Roberto Occhipinti (both November 18), organist Joey DeFrancesco and saxophonist Christine Jensen (both December 10).

—Craig Moy

Levetto Comes to Chinatown

FIND PASTA, PIZZA, AND MORE AT THE CHINATOWN LOCATION OF LEVETTO

levetto-funghi

The truffle oil-drizzled funghi pizza from Levetto.

The Chinatown outpost of Levetto boasts the same oven-baked pizzas and handmade pastas that have made the franchise’s other locations popular. But one menu offering is unique to the menu here: the Peking duck pizza, which use ingredients like hoisin sauce and medium cheddar cheese for an Asian take on an Italian staple. Among the other highlights are the carbonara with a generous helping of smoked bacon, the rigatoni with tender braised beef, and the fungi pizza with truffle oil.  —Karen Stevens

Hazelton Lanes Rebrands as Yorkville Village

HEAD TO BLOOR-YORKVILLE TO CHECK OUT SOME OF THE EXCITING NEW SHOPS IN THE REVITALIZED MALL.

Yorkville Village Exterior

Yorkville Village is home to a variety of upscale shops as well as a Whole Foods.

At the beginning of this year, Hazelton Lanes rebranded itself as Yorkville Village, part of an on-going $100-million transformation by the property’s landlord First Capital Realty. Design firm Kasian is on board to make over the shopping hub into a “neighbourhood centre” that is anchored by Whole Foods. Some leading retailers have already taken up residence, including Montreal-based womenswear boutique Maska Mode, which imports ready-to-wear pieces from Italy; loose, fluid ladies apparel from Belgian label Sarah Pacini; and trendy menswear shop Philip has relocated to a more intimate space where it carries such coveted designers as Hugo Boss, Paul & Shark, Corneliani, and the philip private label.  —Linda Luong Luck

Reptiles invade the Canadian Museum of Nature

By Chris Lackner

Get your close-up with a chameleon and gaboon viper at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Reptiles is an interactive exhibit that is part zoo, and part natural history presentation. It includes live animals such as colourful lizards, exotic turtles and deadly snakes. They’ll be slithering and scaling their way through the museum until April 8, 2017.

To peel back the layers on Reptiles, we spoke to Chad Peeling, operations manager for Reptiland in Pennsylvania, which tours the show that has invaded Ottawa:

This snake-necked turtle is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature

This snake-necked turtle is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Q: What will surprise visitors?

A: People are often surprised at how truly beautiful reptiles are. They have suffered a stigma for so long that I think the intricate shapes, textures, colours, and adaptations of these animals are often overlooked.

This Red Spitting Cobra is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

This Red Spitting Cobra is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Q: Why is this exhibit important?

A: Reptiles, particularly snakes, are among the most feared and misunderstood creatures — but they are important members of the living communities on which we depend. In a human-dominated world, I think it’s important for us to stay connected with nature. This exhibition offers an up-close look at this important group of animals.

Q: What are your favourite aspects of  the exhibition, and what are your favourite reptiles?

A: I love the interactivity of this exhibit. It really offers the best of zoo and natural history museum presentations. It’s tough for me to pick one favourite animal, but I am in awe of the gaboon viper — it’s truly beautiful and deadly.

This Gila Monster is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

This Gila Monster is part of Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Q: The chameleon will be fascinating for many visitors. What’s one thing about chameleons that will surprise people?

A: Chameleons are specialist predators and their projectile tongue is one of the most bizarre adaptations for catching insects at a distance. It’s remarkable that these otherwise slow-moving lizards can nab a moth or katydid (AKA cricket). The turret-like eyes allow chameleons to look in two completely different directions at once, but when focused on the same prey they provide exceptional depth perception.

A chameleon shows his colours at Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

A chameleon shows his colours at Reptiles at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Q: What would happen to a chameleon if he was dropped off in a fall forest amidst the foliage of reds, oranges and yellows?

A: Although chameleons are able to change colour, most do so as an expression of mood rather than an attempt to blend in. If a panther chameleon was dropped off at the peak of fall foliage colours it might well turn red with stress, but it would also die quickly in the cool temperatures.

9 Fashion Trends to Fall For

DIRECT FROM THE RUNWAYS, GET THE SEASON’S MOST WEARABLE LOOKS
— Linda Luong Luck

Embrace Fall With Comfort Food

AS THE TEMPERATURE DROPS STAY WARM WITH THESE FALL FAVOURITES

Funghi 2

Get your fill of delicious carbs with the fungi pasta at Ardo. Photo by Adam Mazerall.

Say hello to fall with these hearty comfort foods.

  1. You won’t go hungry with the toothsome Arcadian Court chicken pot pie, which is served with mashed potatoes and scratch gravy at Bannock.
  2. Head to Harlem Underground for the savoury-sweet combination that is fried chicken and waffles, a beloved Southern dish.
  3. With handmade gnocchi, local mushrooms, heirloom carrots, and creamy stracchino cheese topped off with shaved black truffle, the funghi pasta at Ardo is a decadent answer to any carb craving.

Ottawa Spirits Guide: from Caspers to Cocktails

By Chris Lackner

Ottawa will leave you haunted — both by spirits that say boo, and the ones better served in a glass over ice. From ghostly restaurants and museums, to spirited cocktails and whisky-soaked welcomes, we showcase how the capital will leave you screaming for more tricks and treats.

Ottawa's Haunted Walks.

Ottawa’s Haunted Walks.

SPOOKS

“When most people think about Ottawa today, they think about a safe and beautiful capital city,” explains Jim Dean, creative director of Haunted Walks. “However, many are unaware that ByTown, the first name of the city, was once considered to be one of the most dangerous places in North America. The gang warfare between the rival English, French, Irish and Scottish groups, contributed to significant violence, murder and riots in the city streets. The construction process of the Rideau Canal, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also claimed the lives of close to 1,000 workers along its banks. With such a dark and deadly past, Ottawa certainly has all the elements to be one of Canada’s most haunted cities.” On that chilly note…

APPETIZERS & APPARITIONS

Beckta restaurant is one of the city's oldest haunted haunts.

Beckta restaurant is one of the city’s oldest haunted haunts.

Beckta: This restaurant serves up a famous ghost, heritage architecture, and a tantalizing menu — making it the perfect haunt for the living and the dead. The previous long-time tenant, Friday’s Roast Beef House, could have inserted the word Haunted into its official name. Dr. James Alexander Grant built the three-storey masterpiece in 1875, practiced his craft onsite, and was even rumoured to maintain a morgue in his basement. Today, the only surgery being done in the old Grant House is by talented sous chefs. Owner Stephen Beckta discusses his restaurant’s famous phantom:

Q: Is Beckta really haunted?

Most of the stories come from before Beckta moved in. They involved seeing a figure in the window or staff hearing coughing (Dr. Grant was both asthmatic and loved to smoke cigars). When we took occupancy, I left a glass of champagne on the mantle in an heirloom Grant family glass. It was partially gone (thenext morning) and we’ve been haunting free ever since, so (Dr. Grant) likes us in his space… One time we had a problem with lights flickering and we thought it might be  the ghost, but it turned out our dimmer switch was faulty.

Q: What signature drink would you serve Dr. Grant?

I’d offer him a smoky cocktail, like our Smoked Butter (brown butter bourbon, vermouth, black soochong, cinnamon, mole).

The Courtyard Restaurant

The Courtyard Restaurant

The Courtyard Restaurant: Located in the ByWard Market’s Clarendon Court, a cobblestoned hotspot for ghostly activity, the building is said to be haunted by Mrs. Evans, a woman that reportedly died during an 1872 fire when the site was an inn.

Cynthia Verboven, senior events coordinator:

Over the 36 years of The Courtyard’s history, few privileged staff have had the opportunity to encounter Mrs. Evans, our resident ghost. One employee, while burning the midnight oil, reported seeing a ghostly apparition standing next to the third window of the Loft Room on the second floor. Others have reported experiencing extreme chills and an overwhelming sensation to flee the building, or the sound of tinkling glasses when left alone in the dining room. Some have even seen saltshakers move swiftly on their own across the tables!

OTHERWORDLY TOURIST DESTINATIONS

The Chateau Laurier.

The Chateau Laurier.

Château Laurier: Railway executive Charles Melville died on the Titanic en route to the grand opening of the landmark hotel, located adjacent to Parliament. He never got to see the French-Gothic style building he commissioned in action, and his name has been linked to supernatural phenomenon — reported both by famous guests and staff — ever since. “It would make sense that he believed in this project so much, that he was so passionate for it, that he would want to see it through,” explains Creepy Capital author Mark Leslie.

Mackenzie King Estate

Mackenzie King Estate

William Lyon Mackenzie King: The specter of the former prime minister, and avowed spiritualist, haunts two famous buildings open to the public. He inherited Laurier House, and is said to have conducted séances onsite with everyone from his mother and dog to famous personalities like Leonardo da Vinci and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The ghost of Mackenzie King himself is associated with his Gatineau Park retreat, Mackenzie King Estate, where Leslie’s book describes sightings of a glowing, spectral figure. It plays host during Fall Rhapsody from October 1 until October 16, when its museum and cottages close for the season.

Juan Sanchez, site manager of Laurier House: 

Every summer at least one of our employees has some supernatural experience. The sound of someone sneezing when no one was around, doors opening when they were thought to be locked, objects being moved when no one has been in the house. This summer, we have been experiencing strange events with our alarm system. William Lyon Mackenzie King was a spiritualist and owned a crystal ball. Of course, this is very valuable, so it is hooked up to its own alarm system. For a few weeks in June, the alarm was being triggered in the middle of the night. On several occasions, the alarm company was called, the ball was inspected and nothing was detected. They would leave ensuring us that the matter had been fixed, the next day the same thing would happen. Perhaps the spirits were trying to get in touch with us!

SPIRITED RETREATS

Ottawa's old jail is now a haunted hostel.

Ottawa’s old jail is now a haunted hostel.

Old Ottawa Jail (now the Ottawa Jail Hostel): “The Jail is recognized as one of the most haunted buildings in North America and new reports continue to come in,” says Haunted Walk’s Jim Dean. “Several years ago some newlyweds joined us on a tour of the old jail and took photos of each other inside some of the cells. After taking a photo of the husband, they noticed the face of another man with an old-fashioned haircut in the photo. The image is so clear that if it weren’t shot on a digital camera you would think it would have to be the result of a double-exposure.” 

MUSEUMS

The Museum of Nature

The Museum of Nature

Bytown Museum:  The museum, located alongside the Rideau Canal’s arresting locks just below our political hub, is the oldest — and one of the most haunted — buildings in the city. Eerie experiences range from the sound of footsteps on an empty staircase to objects seemingly moving of their own accord. Leslie suspects “some of the ghosts at the museum came from the spirits of those that died building the canal.”

Canadian Museum of Nature: Normal by day, Leslie says the site’s supernatural nature reveals itself at night. Security guards have reported unexplained sounds and activity — from cold spots on the fourth floor to elevators moving and doors opening of their own accord. He says one female employee reported seeing the faint outline of a man form in a mirror before passing through her body, and even daytime visitors have allegedly had the uncanny feeling of being watched. But it’s likely just another Casper; Leslie suggests the ghost could be that of original architect David Ewart. But given the ancient artifacts and relics that have been housed onsite over the years, who knows what forces may have tagged along with an exhibit? The museum’s castle-influenced design is practically a ghost welcome mat.

Dan Smythe, head of the museum’s media relations: 

Perhaps the spirit of Sir Wilfrid Laurier graces the museum. When the Parliament buildings burned in February 1916, Parliament moved into the museum for four years. Under Laurier’s leadership the museum was built; when he died on February 17, 1919, his body lay in state in the museum’s auditorium. An estimated 50,000 people passed by to pay their respects.

SPIRITS (THE HARD STUFF):

North-of-7-Where-Ottawa-Spirit-Guide

North of 7 Distillery’s spirited products.

North of 7 Distillery: The first batch of four-grain, bourbon-style whisky from the capital’s first-and-only distillery won’t be available until early 2017 (it needs to be aged for at least three years). Co-owner Greg Lipin promises a flavour with hints of “butterscotch ripple or caramel.” For now, visitors can buy their top-selling gin, vodka, rum and White Dog, a “fancy moonshine” – basically fresh whiskey off the still. Split Tree Cocktail Co.’s local cocktail mix is also sold onsite. Lipin is clear on which spirit he recommends pouring before seeking out Ottawa’s ghouls and goblins: “Our White Dog moonshine. It will give you liquid courage beforehand, and calm your nerves afterwards.”

TRICKS AND TREATS: SHOPPING & ATTRACTIONS

Saunder's Farm

Saunders Farm

Saunders Farm: Haunting Season (daytime, family-friendly activities opening September 26) and Fright Fest (night-time activities for adults and children, open weekends starting September 24) return to this farm in nearby Munster, Ont. Get your spook on with labyrinths, a Haunted Hayride, the Ghost Town stage show, the Barn of Terror, Camp Slaughter and a new spooky attraction opening in October. After fending off the phantoms, enjoy some farm fresh food.

Pumpkinferno

Pumpkinferno

Upper Canada Village lights up with Pumpkinferno from September 30 to October 30. You’ll feel haunted by the outdoor, nighttime exhibit of 7,000 handcrafted pieces of pumpkin art just inside the gates of the historic attraction. Illuminate your Halloween season with displays of scenes from exotic places and historic ages, forest animals and sea-born creatures, storybook heroes, mythical characters, cultural icons and more.

Wicked Wanda's. Credit: Pole Star Photography

Wicked Wanda’s. Credit: Pole Star Photography

Wicked Wanda’sLocated in the iconic Imperial Theatre, which was one of Canada’s major music venues in the 1980s, Wicked Wanda’s houses hundreds of hand-selected adult leisure products. Along with the popular brands of pleasure makers, you’ll find unique and custom items by local artisans and entrepreneurs. Wanda’s is also home to the Sensorium Erotic Gallery, Ottawa’s only erotic art space, which includes works by local, national, and international artists. The gallery, curated by artist-in-residence David Cation, is open during store hours. Not too sure about the tools of satisfaction? Don’t be shy — the knowledgeable staff have a passion for pleasure. 327 Bank St., 613-820-6032, 

Wunderkammer is the German word for “cabinet of curiosities,” and this shop certainly lives up to its name with its whimsical, one-of-a-kind products. You’ll even meet a 100-year-old doll that stands in a glass jar and acts as store security. Vintage furniture, animal skulls, and walls covered in sassy, out-there artwork give the location character. Among the glass cases full of jewellery — including Frug, a line created by owners Tamara Steinborn and Nathan Dubo — you’ll also find stationery, handbags, art, and home décor. The owners say their most magical items are found in one of their house jewellery lines: Tamara Steinborn Jewellery. “We launched the line on Halloween 2015 and it plays on dark and mystical themes from mythology and Wiccan lore.” 234 Dalhousie St., 613-860-3510, Facebook @wunderkammerboutique

The Bloor Street Culture Corridor

THE STRETCH OF BLOOR STREET BORDERED BY BATHURST STREET AND BAY STREET HAS BEEN DUBBED THE “BLOOR STREET CULTURE CORRIDOR.” IT TAKES ABOUT 30 MINUTES TO WALK FROM ONE END TO ANOTHER, BUT THERE’S A WEALTH OF PROGRAMS EXHIBITS, RESOURCES, AND PERFORMANCES TO DISCOVER.

Cartier

Head to the Gardiner Museum for exhibitions like True Nordic and view works like this vase by Jean Cartier. (Collection of the Gardiner Museum, gift of Léopold L. Foulem.)

  1. The multi-purpose 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture, Arts, Media and Education is a space for everything from ‘zine fairs to live performances, such as the unscripted Like Mother, Like Daughter (October 24 to 30), which explores the stories of newcomers’ parent-child relationships. 918 Bathurst St., 416-538-0868.
  2.  Housed in a heritage building and former church dating back to 1888, the Randolph Centre for the Arts features a number of theatre and music performances year-round. Check the calendar at randolphcentreforthearts.com for upcoming shows and events. 736 Bathurst St., 416-924-2243.
  3.  Informative and captivating motion pictures await at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor St. W., 416-637-3123). The century-old movie house presents Canadian as well as international documentaries year-round, in addition to hosting independent film festivals, screening series, and other special film presentations. 
  4. For more than 30 years, the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir have skillfully performed music from the baroque and classical eras among others, often providing a unique take on time-honoured pieces. Catch one of their shows at the historic Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, like Christophe Coin’s October concertos by Haydn and Boccherini. Visit tafelmusik.org or call 1-866-882-9844 for a schedule.
  5. Footwear aficionados can explore four galleries at the Bata Shoe Museum, which contains more than a thousand shoes and related artifacts. The collection All About Shoes has an impressive assemblage of 20th-century footwear from various celebrities, like a pair of Elton John’s monogrammed boots, as well as sneakers, high heels and more from almost every culture in the world.
  6. Spend a day at the Royal Ontario Museum —one of the largest institutions in North America—perusing suits of armour, ancient Greek pottery and rare
    prehistoric creatures, among many other fascinating artifacts. Along with the permanent collection, which includes 6,000,000 items, check out a newly discovered dinosaur in the triceratops family, and the colourful exhibit by glass artist Dale Chihuly, on through to January 2017.
  7. Enjoy one of the world’s oldest art forms at the Gardiner Museum, which is dedicated to ceramics. Drop in for a clay class and the True Nordic exhibit on Scandinavian design.
  8. Tour the Japan Foundation’s public gallery, home to exhibits on graphic design, visual art, and handicrafts from the far East. The cultural centre also boasts a library of about 20,000 items along with free screenings and lectures.  —Karen Stevens

Enjoy Fresh Lobster at Ibs.

LOBSTER LOVERS WON’T WANT FOR REASONABLY-PRICED OPTIONS AT LBS.

LBS Launch-0252

Thanks to careful prep by the chef the lobster at lbs. comes out of the shell easily, eliminating the fuss of enjoying the crustacean.

Feast on fresh lobster at lbs(The name, which stands for “Lobster,” “Burger,” and “Salad” is pronounced “pounds”). The short menu has four feature items at only $22 each: the 1.25 lbs. lobster, lobster roll, a burger topped with aged cheddar and bacon, and a lobster salad. Sit back at the large bar and quench your thirst with refreshing cocktails and a rotating selection of non-alcoholic custom sodas. And if you still have room, order the popular lobster poutine made with rich gravy. For crustacean-lovers on the go, the take-out window at the back serves Sam James coffee, as well as lobster rolls and ice cream sandwiches.  —Karen Stevens

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in October 2016

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Kids can play, build, and discover at the interactive Lego Imagine Nation Tour.

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN OCTOBER!

OCTOBER 1  Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that transforms Toronto streets into a public gallery, returns for its 11th edition on October 1 featuring more than 80 projects. For 12 hours from sunset to sunrise, see the likes of sculptural works, dance, films, photography, interactive displays, and more at various locations including Nathan Phillips Square and along the Waterfront. Among the exhibits is Asalto Toronto by Daniel Canogar which is part of a broader display that examines metamorphosis and transformation, while Oblivion, including the piece Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi, explores the cosmic universe as both a state of being and a state of nothingness.

OCTOBER 1 AND 2  Head to Heritage Court at Exhibition Place for the Toronto Vintage Show, which is the largest event of its kind in the city. Find vintage apparel for both men and women, as well as handbags, footwear, jewellery, and accessories.

OCTOBER 3, 4, 6 AND 7  Hello, can you hear her? It’s Adele. And she’s here for four shows at the Air Canada Centre, performing hits for her chart–topping album 25.

OCTOBER 6 TO NOVEMBER 5  The Canadian Opera Company opens its 2016/17 season with two of the genre’s greatest works: a new production of Bellini’s Norma, which sees Sondra Radvanovsky and Elza van den Heever sharing the titular role of the Druid high priestess who breaks her vow of chastity for a Roman lover only to have him forsake her for another woman. Meanwhile, Handel’s Ariodante is a tragic love triangle fraught with jealousy and dishonesty between Prince Ariodante, his betrothed Ginevra, and the Duke of Polinesso, who wants to break them up.

OCTOBER 8 AND 9  Toronto’s very own Aubrey Drake Graham, better known as Drake, headlines two hometown shows at the Air Canada Centre as part of his Summer Sixteen tour, with special guests Future, Roy Woods, DVSN, and others.

OCTOBER 9  Eighties pop star Rick Astley, best known for the 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” tours in support of his latest album 50.

OCTOBER 14 TO 16  Fans of the classic building toy can’t miss the first-ever Lego Imagine Nation Tour, a hands-on experience for the family that is the largest event of its kind to ever come to Canada. With more than a dozen pavilions, there’s something to keep young minds—and hands—occupied, including a bridge building competition, a master builder lab, and a brick pit with a mountain of pieces in an assortment of sizes and colours. Life-sized models, such as an eight-foot-tall Marvel Super Heroes Avenger, as well as Star Wars and Minecraft model displays are also part of the exhibit.

OCTOBER 15 AND 16  Scottish stand-up comic Danny Bhoy has audiences in stitches as part of his Commonwealth Comedian tour.

TO OCTOBER 16  Don’t miss closing night on Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, Luzia. The company’s 38th production transports audiences to a vibrant land inspired by Mexico, rich in colour, lush landscapes and exotic creatures. The title of the show fuses the Spanish sounds for light (luz) and rain (lluvia), an apt name as both elements play a role in this spectacle, whether it’s cyr wheel or aerial artists spinning and swinging through a drizzle, or birds jumping through a series of hoops.

OCTOBER 20 TO 30  Wordsmiths from the Emerald Isle are the focus of this year’s International Festival of Authors, which brings contemporary writers, poets, and more from around the world for 11 days of readings, interviews, lectures, discussions, and book signings. This year’s lineup includes such CanLit luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Emma Donoghue, Yann Martel, and Maureen Hynes, as well as Takashi Hiraide, Lola Lafon, and Robert Kanigel. Running until December 22, a special exhibit on graphic novels complements the event, featuring the works of Chris Oliveros, Nick Drnaso, Jon McNaught, and Nina Bunjevac.

OCTOBER 20 TO 29  Henry Purcell’s first opera, Dido and Aeneas, brings the desolate life of the widowed Queen of Carthage to the stage. Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta and tenor Christopher Enns star as the ill-fated couple who embark on a racy affair that ends abruptly when the Trojan prince disappears. The Toronto Children’s Chorus provides musical backup for the show in a nod to the 17th-century performance at which students from the Josias Priest’s school in London also sang.

OCTOBER 22  Australian singer Sia, known for such radio-friendly songs as “Elastic Heart” and “The Greatest,” is on a North American tour with special guests Miguel and AlunaGeorge.

OCTOBER 24 Powerhouse singer Mariza brings traditional Portuguese music and new favourites to Roy Thompson Hall.

OCTOBER 24 & 25  Alt rock superstars Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth (with Edwin once again on lead vocals) team up for a cross-Canada tour, headlined by The Standstills .

OCTOBER 28  The beloved identical twin sister duo Tegan and Sara fill Massey Hall with their catchy pop anthems about love and relationships. 

TO OCTOBER 31 Head to Canada’s Wonderland for a scare at the Halloween Haunt. 20 haunted attractions including mazes, scare zones, and live shows, and the popular ZOMBIES 4D Interactive Dark Ride mean that you’ll have a terrifying time as you dodge the 700 monsters prowling the park. (Not recommended for children under 13.)

SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS IN OCTOBER Kids of all ages will enjoy Camp Spooky at Canada’s Wonderland. Every weekend in October Camp Spooky features daytime activities like mazes, trick-or-treating, a kids’ Halloween costume parade and much more (included with park admission)!

 

Culture Crawl: Nuit Blanche 2016

EXPERIENCE ART AND CULTURE ALL NIGHT LONG AT NUIT BLANCHE ON OCTOBER 1ST.

Daniel Canogar's project Asalto Toronto

Daniel Canogar’s project Asalto Toronto.

Nuit Blanche, the all-night contemporary art event that transforms Toronto streets into a public gallery, returns for its 11th edition on October 1 featuring more than 80 projects. For 12 hours from sunset to sunrise, see the likes of sculptural works, dance, films, photography, interactive displays, and more at various locations including Nathan Phillips Square and along the Waterfront. Among the exhibits is Asalto Toronto (pictured) by Daniel Canogar, which is part of a broader display that examines metamorphosis and transformation, while Oblivion, including Pneuma by Floria Sigismondi, explores the cosmic universe as both a state of being and a state of nothingness. —Linda Luong Luck