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Toronto Raptors

DeMar DeRozan Continues to Grow with the Toronto Raptors

Despite some rough patches, DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors are making strides this year.


DeMar DeRozan Toronto Raptors Basketball NBA

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (photo: Toronto Raptors)

One of the more intimate pleasures afforded to fans of professional sports is that we get to see our favourite players grow up right in front of us. Forget “rooting for the home team,” look past the highlight reels. If you follow pro sports what you’re really doing is following athletes as they go to work, as they try each day to do a better job than the day before, as they develop their skills, as they mature.

Toronto Raptors supporters know what it’s like. Over the franchise’s 17 years in the NBA, it seems as though we’ve always had at least one talented kid to urge on to greatness. First there was plucky point guard Damon Stoudamire, then Vince Carter, and after him Chris Bosh. This season, we have witnessed the emergence of DeMar DeRozan.


Weekend Roundup: January 18 to 20

These weekend events and performances are guaranteed to make your time in Toronto even more memorable!

Toronto Weekend Events

Discover the secrets of James Bond at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (photo: Photofest)

007′s Final Days
There is an art to mixing a martini: shaken, not stirred. There’s also an art to making the man: Bond, James Bond. This weekend marks your last chance to see Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style, a major TIFF Bell Lightbox exhibition of the costumes, props, gadgets and more that have helped fashion the movie world’s most famous secret agent.

Spanish Steps
Dancers from the award-winning company Noche Flamenca use movement to navigate the tension between love and loss, vulnerability and strength, and heart and soul. Featuring Soledad Barrio, the troupe demonstrates that there a few art forms as powerful as flamenco dance this Friday at the Royal Conservatory‘s Koerner Hall.


Upcoming Games Against the Lakers and Heat Mark the Toronto Raptors’ Schedule

Raptors point Guard Kyle Lowry is working hard to keep his team competitive (photo: Toronto Raptors)

ON NOW  Two months of competition are behind us in this latest NBA season, and although the Toronto Raptors upcoming schedule is hardly a walk in the park, the team will look to benefit from a prolonged homestand as it continues trying to claw its way toward respectability. The hard-nosed leadership of point guard Kyle Lowry has rubbed off on the likes of DeMar DeRozan—finally emerging as a consistent offensive threat—while rookies Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas are getting better with every game. Don’t miss some of the squad’s most hotly anticipated contests of 2013 when they take on the star-laden Los Angeles Lakers (January 20) and Miami Heat (February 3). Air Canada Centre, $12.50 and up; call 416-366-3865 or visit raptors.com for a full schedule and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Weekend Roundup: November 23 to 25

Terminus opens the “Off-Mirvish” series

Friday, November 23
Fresh to the Royal Alexandra Theatre this week, Terminus is the inaugural production for the Off-Mirvish stage season, which highlights original and daring theatrical works. Described as a spoken-word Irish rap-opera, the show chronicles the wildly imaginative but twisted tale of one supernatural night in Dublin. In an enticing twist, the audience is actually seated on the stage while the performance transpires against the backdrop of balconies and chandeliers in the historic Royal Alex.

It’s a big night for music as legendary British rock band The Who rolls into town to play their classic 1973 double album Quadrophenia in its entirety. Original band members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are sure to give audiences a concert to remember as they take over the Air Canada Centre.

What’s that? You want more tunes? The head to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which tonight hosts the Molson Canadian House Concert series. Part of the 100th Grey Cup Festival, the event features Canadian hit makers Matthew Good, Sam Roberts Band and Treble Charger.

Ceramic maple syrup bottles by Marianne Chenard are just one of many products at the One of a Kind Show

Saturday, November 24
Get a head start on all your holiday shopping at the One of a Kind Christmas Show, a huge expo of quality handmade-in-North America goods by more than 800 artists, designers and craftspeople. With cool jewellery, cutting-edge clothing, fine art, ceramics and much more, it’s easy to find something for everyone on your list.

Get in the festive spirit at Toronto’s waterfront neighbourhood opens its annual Winterfest celebrations. Among the opportunities for family fun: visit Santa’s workshop in Queen’s Quay Terminal, where your kids can create holiday ornaments, greeting cards and even decorate an elf hat.

Homegrown indie-rock sensation Metric returns to Toronto tonight after a long haul of concerts abroad. Promoting its 5th studio album, Synthetica, which has been described as “sonically futuristic yet organic,” the band led by vocalist Emily Haines brings a hip and eclectic sound to the Air Canada Centre. Fellow Canadians Stars take the stage to open the show.

Can the Toronto Argos relive their 1990s glory days and bring home a Grey Cup championship?

Sunday, November 25
Celebrating its incredible 100th anniversary, the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup championship game has extra significance for Toronto—our hometown Argonauts will be there, fighting for the endzone against the Calgary Stampeders. The game itself is sold out, you can still get in on the action at the Nissan Family Zone at Yonge-Dundas Square and the Adrenaline Zone at Nathan Phillips Square. There’s also a huge tailgate party and ribfest taking place outside the Rogers Centre, to get you ready for the big game.

After three tough games on the road, the Toronto Raptors return to the Air Canada Centre. Their job, however, doesn’t get any easier; today they’re matched up against basketball powerhouse the San Antonio Spurs. Can DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry continue their effective play? Will Andrea Bargnani finally produce a full effort on both ends of the floor? Learn the answers to these and other Raps-related queries this afternoon!

A classic fairy tale gets the song, dance and comedy treatment from Toronto’s best-known theatrical satirist, Ross Petty, in Snow White the Deliciously Dopey Family Musical. Canadian Idol winner Melissa O’Neil is the “fairest maiden of them all” in this zany pantomime filled with humourous pop-culture references.

Weekend Roundup: November 9 to 11

The Little Years offers period drama at Tarragon Theatre

Friday, November 9
Starting this weekend, audiences can hearken back to The Little Years courtesy of Tarragon Theatre and award-winning Toronto-based playwright John Mighton. The critically acclaimed drama story follows a young woman in the 1950s as she struggles with the transition from life as a precocious teen to the harsher reality of adulthood.

Celebrating the art of voice and story, the Festival of Oral Literatures showcases a wide variety of talented poets, theatre artists, storytellers, spoken-word artists and even beatbox performers this weekend at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Tonight, the pay-what-you-can “House Made of Stories” program features Jan Blake, Susan Coyne, Ron Evans and more.

Check out all the hilarity as the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour comes chuckling into Toronto to tackle the theme of relationships—everything from marriage to dating to family, plus all the humorous complications in between. An all-star cast of comics includes Debra DiGiovanni,Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer, host John Heffron and more. Don’t miss all the hysterical insights tonight at Massey Hall.

Alice dances down the rabbit hole again (photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Saturday, November 10
Tumble down the rabbit hole once again as the National Ballet of Canada brings its hugely successful Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland back to the Four Seasons Centre. Opening tonight, the production combines classical dance with imaginative design to transport the entire family to a magical new world.

The Toronto Raptors one-win and four-loss record to start the current NBA season belies the team’s promise. Will point guard Kyle Lowry be back in the lineup after suffering an ankle sprain earlier in the week? Can Andrea Bargnani rediscover his shooting stroke? Can the team put together four full quarters of effort and pull off its second victory? Find out tonight as the dinos take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.

Often compared to other Canadian greats like Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright, Toronto-based singer-songwriter, arranger and producer Royal Wood tonight swings by the historic Winter Garden Theatre. A soulful crooner known for heart-wrenching ballads, Wood changes his tune slightly on his new album, which offers more up-tempo tunes.

Mats Sundin takes part in the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction weekend festivities

Sunday, November 11
The NHL season may be on hold, but there’s no reason you can’t get your fix. This weekend, the Hockey Hall of Fame gets set to welcome Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin as its newest members. Today’s Induction Weekend celebrations include a Q&A session with the honourees, followed by the Legends Classic game, featuring top players from years gone by.

With over 75 speakers and 200 exhibitors, the Whole Life Expo is the largest event of its kind in Canada. Shop for the latest in health and beauty products, explore alternative and natural approaches to medicine and care, and get great advice on living an eco-friendly life!

Today marks your final opportunity to check out the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Fun for the whole family, the 90th annual event combines a farm and livestock show with an equestrian competition, plus delicious food, giant vegetable displays, dog shows and more.



Where Loves: The 2012-13 Toronto Raptors


Kyle Lowry’s hard-nosed style has endeared him to Toronto hoops fans (photo: Toronto Raptors)

The NHL lockout has for the moment sidelined Toronto sports fans’ primary passion. Fortunately there’s more than one game in town. Last week the Toronto Raptors began a new season with a promising one-two scoring punch and a beefed up defense that could help return Canada’s only NBA team to respectability.

It’s hard to predict how the rest of the year will play out after just five games. but Raptors fans have reason for optimism. Despite a disappointing 20-point loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Toronto’s 1-4 record belies its competitiveness. Were it not for a few poor quarters, the squad could easily be sitting above the .500 mark; once the Raptors find their bearings within a new system and with new players, they’ll have a strong chance to contend for a coveted Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Head coach Dwane Casey spent much of last year instilling a defence-first attitude; this year the team hopes to show further improvement by turning its stopping power into fast-break points. Thus far that game plan has been inconsistently executed, but if the players can maintain their defensive pressure and nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, it seems clear that they’ll be embraced by Toronto sports fans and hopefully rack up some victories. Flashes of potential have certainly been displayed by the high-scoring backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. New addition Lowry opened the season with three consecutive 20-plus point games (before incurring an ankle sprain against the Thunder), while DeRozan’s improved defence and rebounding, combined with offensive aggression, continues to pay off.

DeMar DeRozan has been a consistent performer so far (photo: Toronto Raptors)

Meanwhile, after a successful pre-season, much-hyped rookie Jonas Valanciunas is still learning how to match his skills against more sizable NBA centers. Worrisome, too, is veteran power forward Andrea Bargnani. Back on the court after an injury-plagued 2011/12, he has yet to find his shooting stroke, and his effort on the glass is still rather suspect. However, increased depth at the point guard, wing and forward positions should help the team’s chances and ensure that injuries will be less problematic than in previous years.

The Raptors are in tough for the coming month, with 12 of the team’s next 17 games on the road. When they do manage to make it back to the Air Canada Centre, you can catch them against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 12, the Utah Jazz on November 12 and the Orlando Magic on November 18.

Where in Toronto: Ghosts of Seasons Past

Jose Bautista leads the Jays into a hopeful new season (photo courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays)

Ever since Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista graced the cover of Where Toronto’s April issue, it seems as though I’ve been seeing the team everywhere. No—I wish I’d been running into the likes of Adam Lind and Ricky Romero around town; I mean that I’ve started noticing Jays hats, sweatshirts, merchandise in the windows of every sporting-goods store, and, of course, even an entire section dedicated to the Jays in Sears at the Eaton Centre. It might be that I’m just beginning to take notice of our hometown team, or maybe it’s just Toronto getting into the spring swing of things. (more…)

Hot Date: Will the Raptors Finish Strong?

TO APRIL 26 Fans of the Toronto Raptors didn’t expect their team to make this year’s NBA playoffs—it’s been a rebuilding season, after all. But the hard-working squad can still make things tough on the competition as the regular season winds down. Among the best dates to cheer on Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and company: April 11 against the athletic Philadelphia 76ers, April 13 versus the hated Boston Celtics, and April 16, when the Atlanta Hawks fly into town. Air Canada Centre; call 1-885-985-5000 or visit here for more information and tickets.

Where in Toronto: Springin’ Forward

Spend a sunny spring day exploring the Evergreen Brick Works (photo by Craig Moy)

This week, seemingly just as I had become comfortable using it, I left the sheltered PATH system in favour of my original ground-level route between Union Station and Where‘s offices on Queen Street. I traded my Ugg boots for flats, switched my winter coat for a light spring jacket and strutted up Yonge Street. With the sun in my face and the snow gone (or rather, averted), it seemed as though hibernation season had ended. Thermometers have already donned double-digit temperatures, after all—the sort of warmth we don’t typically feel until April; It’s only mid-March, but the timing is perfect to get a head start on spring.

What’s the first thing to do under these conditions?
Get out. Out of the house, the office, wherever. Just
get outside. We don’t get much time to spend outdoors, comfortably at least, so it’s best to take advantage of the few months we do get. And Toronto has a plethora of ways that city dwellers can enjoy
the pleasant weather. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: January 6-8

Friday: Demar DeRozan looks to lead the Raptors to a third straight victory

Friday, January 6
The NBA lockout finally concluded on Christmas day, the shortened basketball season is starting to pick up and our hometown Raptors are on a two-game winning streak. Cheer them on tonight as they take on the New Jersey Nets (including former “Mr. Kardishian” Kris Humphries) at the Air Canada Centre.

The Next Stage Theatre Festival is back for another year at Factory Theatre. The festival’s first weekend features top independent stage shows including The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go! and Living with Henry.

Drama meets punk rock as Broadway smash American Idiot continues its short-term run at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Featuring tunes such as “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from Green Day’s Grammy-winning album, this contemporary musical is not to be missed.


Weekend Roundup, December 17th to 19th

It’s the final weekend before Christmas and there is a lot more to do in the city than just shop. If you’re looking for a break from holiday cheer or hoping to dive into it a week early Toronto’s got you covered.

Friday: Rock on with Alexisonfire

Friday, December 17th
The classic tale of Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas premieres tonight at the Sony Centre. This holiday favourite is given the Broadway treatment with fantastic sets, terrific costumes and all-new songs.

St. Catharines natives Alexisonfire return to their roots with an all-ages show tonight at Sound Academy. Expect to rock out to tunes from their recent album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals, as well as many of their past hits.

Television personality Gerry Dee brings his comedic stylings to the Panasonic Theatre stage with his Gerry Dee and Friends Holiday Show. Canadian comedians Darrin Rose and Frank Spadone also drop in for so stand-up hilarity.

Saturday: See the intriguing movements of Studies in Motion (photo by Tim Matheson)

Saturday, December 18th
Climb aboard the Mariposa Cruises’ Northern Spirit ship for its family-oriented Santa Cruise. This afternoon tour of the Toronto harbour offers children the chance to meet Santa and his elves while taking in Toronto’s iconic skyline.

Tonight presents your last chance to see Studies in Motion at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Bluma Appel Theatre. The well-reviewed play examines the life of the brilliant yet troubled artist Eadweard Muybridge.

The Toronto Children’s Chorus performs tonight at Roy Thomson Hall. Ruth Watson Henderson’s The Last Straw will be sung by the ensemble’s 300-plus children. Its 150-voice Alumni Choir is also be featured as part of this joyous concert.

Sunday: Cheer on Andrea Bargnani and the Raptors

Sunday, December 19th
The Los Angeles Lakers may be one of the most imposing squads in the National Basketball Association, but somehow our Toronto Raptors always manage to put up a good fight. Head to the Air Canada Centre this afternoon to see if Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson and the rest of the Raptors can come out on top.

Catch a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious farce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, at the Canon Theatre. This baudy musical is sure to have you rolling in the aisles.

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Handel’s Messiah. Today you can hear it twice: the Toronto Symphony Orchestra offers “Toronto’s Biggest Messiah” at Roy Thomson Hall—featuring more than 60 instruments—while the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir encourage audience participation in its Sing-Along Messiah, a long-time Toronto tradition.

Hot Dining: Catch the Action at Real Sports Bar & Grill

No tickets for the evening’s Leafs or Raptors game? Don’t fret! You can watch Toronto’s pro teams compete in comfort at Real Sports Bar & Grill. Directly adjacent to the Air Canada Centre, this massive meeting place boasts 199 televisions, including North America’s largest indoor high-definition screen, in addition to a surprisingly swanky atmosphere. Food and drink options also befit the aspirations of what is a decidedly untraditional sports bar—the varied menu features upscale comfort fare cooked from scratch and complemented by 36 domestic and imported beers on tap.