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What to See Toronto

Discover the Americas at the Art Gallery of Ontario

THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO CRISS-CROSSES CONTINENTS IN A VISUAL EXPLORATION OF THE AMERICAS

Art Gallery of Ontario Picturing the Americas

Félix Emile Taunay’s Baia de Guanabrara Vista de Ilha das Cobras (photo: Instituto Ricardo Brennand)

JUNE 20 TO SEPTEMBER 20 It’s never been easier to travel the length (and breadth) of the Western hemisphere—from Alaska to Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and far beyond—but how closely do we really look at where we’re going? Just in time for July’s Pan Am Games, the Art Gallery of Ontario presents “Picturing the Americas,” an exhibition of landscapes that capture not only scenic vistas, but also the history, politics, culture and traditions associated with places like Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay, California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Canada’s far north and the Tierra del Fuego in southern Chile and Argentina. The display boasts approximately 80 exquisite works in all—more than enough to inspire some serious wanderlust. —Craig Moy

• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
• Map and reviews

New Works by Yoakim Bélanger at Thompson Landry Gallery

QUEBEC ARTIST YOAKIM BÉLANGER’S NEW PAINTINGS ON METAL, TO BE HUNG AT THOMPSON LANDRY GALLERY, COMBINE ABSTRACTION AND FIGURATION

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Yoakim Bélanger’s Red (photo: Thompson Landry Gallery)

JUNE 18 TO JULY 7 The word “convergence” springs to mind when contemplating the works of Yoakim Bélanger. The merging of colour and texture, of medium and subject, of figuration and abstraction are evident in his latest large-scale efforts to be shown at the Distillery District’s Thompson Landry Gallery. The Montreal-based artist uses found pieces of aluminum and oxidized steel for his canvases. His brushwork, sensitive to the scratches, chips and markings that have accumulated on the metal, brings forth images that highlight the expressive, evolving qualities of the human form. The works’ reflective surfaces mean that the viewer becomes part of the art, too, implicated in its creation—and interpretation—through the act of observing. —Craig Moy

• Thompson Landry Gallery, Distillery District, 416-364-4955; thompsonlandry.com
Map and reviews

Uncover Life in Ancient Pompeii at the Royal Ontario Museum

THE TREASURES OF THE ANCIENT ROMAN CITY OF POMPEII—DESTROYED BY A VOLCANIC ERUPTION—ARE UNEARTHED AT THE ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM

Royal Ontario Museum Pompeii

A pair of artifacts from the Royal Ontario Museum’s Pompeii exhibition (photos: courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum)

JUNE 13 TO JANUARY 3 One of history’s most notorious natural disasters, the AD 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius killed thousands of people and wiped the Roman city of Pompeii off the map. Though destroyed, the city was also preserved by the volcano’s molten lava and falling ash. Visitors to the Royal Ontario Museum can see what it was like to live in the shadow of Vesuvius, courtesy of a dramatic exhibition featuring 200 artifacts from the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Organized around the famed eyewitness account of the eruption by Pliny the Younger—as well as casts of Pompeians who died in the catastrophe—the highly anticipated show offers both a powerful reminder of nature’s volatility and a window to ancient Roman society.  —Craig Moy

• Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca
Map and reviews

Quick Pick: A Pair of Big-Name Shows at the Textile Museum

THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA MAY SEEM SMALL RELATIVE TO ITS INSTITUTIONAL COUNTERPARTS IN TORONTO, BUT THIS SUMMER THE CLOTH-CONCENTRATING SPACE BOASTS SOME BIG NAMES

Textile Museum of Canada

Artist-designed fabric designs, clothing and more are now on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

MAY 2 TO OCTOBER 4 In “Artist Textiles: From Picasso to Warhol,” colourful pieces by those two icons—plus Dali, Matisse, Chagall and many others—trace a visual history of fabric acting as a unique creative medium for all manner of artists.

JUNE 10 TO SEPTEMBER 7 More than 50 works by photographer Nickolas Muray focus on the vibrant persona—and indeed, often quite imaginative wardrobe—of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in June 2015

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 JUNE!

THings to do in Toronto National Ballet of Canada

The National Ballet of Canada presents The Sleeping Beauty this month (photo: Aleksandar Antonijevic)

JUNE 6 & 7 A homegrown musical success story, Field Trip brings great tunes to the grounds of historic Fort York. The 2015 edition is headlined by Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket, but also offers a slew of other features, including top food vendors, art installations and a comedy stage. It’s a family-friendly weekend, too: kids 12 and under are free. Visit fieldtriplife.com to purchase tickets.

JUNE 10 TO 20 A good fairy and an evil one, a beautiful princess, a slumber-inducing prick of the finger, and a kiss that wakes an entire kingdom set the stage for The Sleeping Beauty. Presented by the National Ballet of Canada, the Rudolph Nureyev–choreographed production boasts romantic pas de deux and a splendid sarabande, as well as dances by Puss in Boots and the White Pussycat, all set to a Tchaikovsky score. The graceful 19th-century fairy tale remains one of ballet’s most revered works. The Ballet’s website, naturally, has additional details.

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3DXL Looks at 3D Printing’s Future

3DXL, A NEW OFF-SITE EXHIBITION CREATED BY THE DESIGN EXCHANGE, EXAMINES THE OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF 3D PRINTING, AND HOW IT COULD MAKE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN MORE SUSTAINABLE AND ACCESSIBLE TO ALL

3DXL Design Exchange Toronto

MAY 14 TO AUGUST 16 When we talk about 3D printing, we tend to focus on its novelty—and occasionally its controversy: “Look over here! Someone’s printed a cartoony plastic doodad. And here’s a person who wants to print food! And over there, someone else has printed the components to a working rifle.” But that’s small-scale stuff. Arguably the most important use for the constantly evolving technology, however, is its ability to produce larger forms, from prosthetic limbs to furniture to entire buildings, all fully customizable and with little to no waste.

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25 Free Things to Do in Toronto with Kids

OUR ALL-SEASON GUIDE TO THE ABSOLUTE BEST LOW-COST AND FREE THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO WITH KIDS IN 2015.  BY CARA SMUSIAK

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Toronto is a fantastic city to explore with the whole family—especially as the weather starts to warm up. These 25 low-cost and free things to do in Toronto with kids offer many opportunities to get everyone outside, regardless of the season, though indoor activities abound, too, for days when the climate is uncooperative.

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At the Bata Shoe Museum, Heels Make the Man

IN A NEW EXHIBITION MARKING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATA SHOE MUSEUM, HEELS—PARTICULARLY THOSE WORN BY MEN—ARE A VERY BIG DEAL

Bata Shoe Museum heels

This “Justin” packer boot and Ferradini shoe—the latter once worn by Elton John—are among the artifacts on display in the Bata Shoe Museum heels-for-men exhibition (photos: Ron Wood)

STARTS MAY 8 The Bata Shoe Museum officially kicks off its 20th-anniversary year by doing what it does best: using footwear to provoke discussion about history, cultural norms and contemporary notions of identity. Its latest showcase, “Standing Tall,” looks at heeled shoes and boots, and how men have worn them over the last 400 years. Though today we may think of men wearing heels as a dramatic affectation—the purview of drag performers, for example—their march across time has been far more complex. Think of European aristocrats, whose heels literally conveyed their elevated status. Consider rock stars like Elton John and David Bowie, who wore flamboyant platform shoes on stage. Or take that symbol of hyper-masculinity, the cowboy, whose boot heels help him stay in the stirrups while on horseback. Their stories and many others are told through this unique exhibition’s heightened artifacts.  —Craig Moy

• Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799; batashoemuseum.com
Map and reviews

15 Toronto Instagram Accounts to Follow

THESE TORONTO INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS WILL HELP YOU SEE THE CITY (AND OTHER LOCALES, ON OCCASION) FROM ITS STREETS, PARKS, GALLERIES, RESTAURANTS, AND EVEN ITS ROOFTOPS

Toronto Instagram Accounts to Follow @smaku

Photo by @smaku

This month’s Contact festival has us in a photographic frenzy. But the best shooters aren’t always found in art galleries. Follow these Torontonians on Instagram to get some of the greatest views of the city.

@smaku  Designer and creative director Taku Kumabe shoots Toronto landscapes, many along the waterfront. He’s got a great eye for sunrises and sunsets, too.

@shawnmicallef  The noted urbanist walks Toronto (and other cities), capturing some of its lesser-known but still storied spaces. Periodic pics of his dog, the “Young Citizen,” too.

@agotoronto  The Art Gallery of Ontario’s official feed offers a behind the scenes perspective on its shows and events, while sharing third-party photos that use its exhibition-specific hashtags.

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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in May 2015

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 MAY!

Things to do in Toronto May 2015

Among the things to do in Toronto this month: Check out Second City’s new show; see Ben Heppner in the Titanic musical; sample sake at Kampai Toronto; or peek inside the halls of power during Doors Open

ALL MONTH LONG The Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival has long been defined by its annual theme, an umbrella under which its exhibitions—these days numbering more than 200, on display across Toronto—could assemble, provoking discussion about the medium and its impact on the way we see ourselves. This year, the event is notable for its lack of a theme. It’s anything goes, though Contact’s guiding principle remains in place: the world’s most innovative photo-based art, collected in a single city, and available to be seen by one and all. Drop into venues including MOCCA, the Contact Gallery and the Ryerson Image Centre to view some of Contact’s primary exhibitions, or check out the full list of shows at scotiabankcontactphoto.com.

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5 Must-See Toronto Art Districts

EXPLORE THESE TORONTO ART DISTRICTS TO DISCOVER EXCELLENT GALLERIES AND SOME OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY WORKS FROM CANADA AND ABROAD

Toronto art district olga korper gallery

Olga Korper Gallery, just south of the Junction Triangle Toronto art district (photo: Olga Korper Gallery)

Think Toronto’s renowned public museums offer some cool views? Numerous commercial galleries have equally striking artworks to ponder—and purchase, if you like what you see. There are dozens of great galleries downtown—from edgy indie outlets to venerable fine-art dealers. Make the most of your browsing time by heading to these five Toronto art districts, which boast a significant collection of exhibitors within close proximity to one another.

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Spotlight South Africa Turns on in Toronto

ORGANIZED BY THE CANADIAN STAGE, SPOTLIGHT SOUTH AFRICA ILLUMINATES THE COUNTRY WITH THREE WEEKS OF INNOVATIVE THEATRE, DANCE AND PERFORMANCE-ART WORKS

Spotlight South Africa Canadian Stage

Left: Ubu and the Truth Commission (photo: Luke Younge); right: Dominion (photo: John Hogg)

APRIL 8 TO 25 Though the end of apartheid and its transition to democracy (21 years ago this month) made South Africa a major success story of reconciliatory nation-building, today it represents far more than a simple feel-good story. This month the Canadian Stage explores the country’s rich history and complex cultural tapestry in Spotlight South Africa. Featuring six unique productions—including the multidisciplinary, puppetry-incorporating project Ubu and the Truth Commission, and Luyanda Sidiya tribal-inspired dance work, Dominion—the festival both illuminates and interrogates South Africa’s past, present and future. Berkeley Street Theatre, $39 to $99; call 416-368-3110 or visit canadianstage.com for a full schedule and to purchase tickets.  —Craig Moy