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What to See Toronto

Lucy DeCoutere Debuts Her New Role: Photographer

Lucy DeCoutere

Untitled photographs by Lucy DeCoutere

MARCH 27 TO MAY 1  Lucy DeCoutere grew up in Edmonton, did some teaching in South Korea, went to grad school in Montreal, was a television actress in Nova Scotia (she played Lucy on Trailer Park Boys), went to school again in Australia, and is now a Royal Canadian Air Force officer based at CFB Gagetown just outside Fredericton, New Brunswick. She’s well-travelled, but her latest endeavour indicates a yearning for the comforts of home. That project is Brick House, DeCoutere’s first exhibition of photography. Presented by photo collective Oculus Arts, the show compiles images—shot and edited using Instagram—whose subjects are evocative of place; aesthetically, though, they also manage to suggest ephemerality, acting as “postcards of a life in motion.”

• QSQ Giclee Boutique, 845 College St., 647-347-6253; qsqinc.com

Stephen Bulger Gallery Marks 20 Years of Images

QUEEN WEST PHOTOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION STEPHEN BULGER GALLERY CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY

Stephen Bulger Gallery

Photo courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

MARCH 23 TO APRIL 25 A cultured city, Toronto is home to many prominent patrons of the arts. Philanthropists, yes, but more importantly, people who work to expose creators to the public at large. Stephen Bulger is one such Torontonian. Since 1995, his eponymous Stephen Bulger Gallery has enabled eager art lovers to view the efforts of highly respected photographers working in the documentary tradition—André Kertész, Larry Towell, Sarah Anne Johnson, Robert Burley and many more. This month the West Queen West art space celebrates its 20th anniversary with a must-see retrospective: one image from each of the approximately 70 artists who’ve had a solo exhibition at the gallery over the past two decades.  —Craig Moy

• Stephen Bulger Gallery, 1026 Queen St. W., 416-504-0575; bulgergallery.com
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The Textile Museum Doffs its Chinese Children’s Hats

CHINESE CHILDREN’S HATS MAKE FOR A COLOURFUL KICKOFF TO THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA’S 40TH YEAR

Textile Museum of Canada Chinese children's hats

The Textile Museum features Intricately embroidered hats and other children’s garments from China

FEBRUARY 11 TO MAY 24  What’s your spirit animal? If you were a child in early 20th-century China, you probably had many of them—dragons, tigers, rabbits and more, stitched into hats and other garments to help ensure good fortune and ward off bad. More than 80 of these elaborate pieces are featured in a Textile Museum of Canada exhibition that honours the love and protection bestowed on children by their crafty mothers and grandmothers. Titled Good Beginnings, the show also serves a second purpose: its artifacts comprise one of the original collections bequeathed to the museum, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  —Craig Moy

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in March 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 MARCH!

Things to do in toronto march 2015

Japan’s Kodo Drummers beat out a rhythm this month at the Sony Centre

MARCH 8 TO 10 Over the course of 10 frigid days, four experienced climbers navigated a new frontier: a 2,000-foot spire called Bertha’s Tower in Antarctica’s Wohlthat Mountains range. Explorer Mike Libecki and photographer Cory Richards were among the adventurous quartet. Now back from the pole, Libecki and Richards talk about their uncharted summit in the latest installment of the National Geographic Live series, Untamed Antarctica. Roy Thomson Hall, Sunday 2 p.m., Monday and Tuesday 8 p.m., $19.50 to $79.50; call 416-872-4255 or visit roythomsonhall.com to charge.

MARCH 12 Japan’s famed percussion troupe, the Kodo Drummers, returns with an all new experience. It’s latest show, Mystery, brings together 15 artists in a pounding performance that ranges from pulsating rhythmic beats to more measured taps—particularly fitting as “kodo” in Japanese can mean both “heartbeat” and “children of the drum.” Japanese folk art and rituals are explored in this tale about sacred creatures and gods from another world. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 8 p.m., $55 to $95; call 1-855-872-7669 or see kodo.or.jp for details.

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March Break Family Fun in Toronto

THE ANNUAL SCHOOL BREAK MEANS THERE ARE MANY CHILD- AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO!

Things to do in Toronto March Break 2015

March Break brings many families to Toronto. More specifically, it brings parents who are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained. Whether your charges are tiny tots, school-age kids or tweens and teens, there are myriad ways to keep everyone happy this month.

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Douglas Coupland’s Double Dip

DOUGLAS COUPLAND, ONE OF CANADA’S BEST-KNOWN CREATIVE ARTISTS, GETS A DOUBLE-BARRELLED RETROSPECTIVE IN TORONTO.

Douglas Coupland Toronto

More than 100 works by Douglas Coupland are now on display at MOCCA and the ROM

JANUARY 31 TO APRIL 26 He’s not quite ubiquitous, but this spring Douglas Coupland has managed to take over a pair of Toronto’s most notable institutions, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art and the Royal Ontario Museum. The dual exhibition, Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everything, represents the Vancouver-based artist, designer, author and cultural guru’s first major survey in more than a decade, and offers an updated perspective on the subjects he’s explored since his first novel, Generation X. Through more than 100 varied works (approximately two-thirds of which are at the ROM), Coupland tackles questions of identity, language, and technology in 21st-century Canada.  —Craig Moy

Editor’s Note: MOCCA’s portion of the Douglas Coupland exhibition closes April 19.

• Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca
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• Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen St. W., 416-395-0067; mocca.ca
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IceFest Brings Frosty Fun to Yorkville

THE BLOOR-YORKVILLE ICEFEST RETURNS FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF STUNNING FROZEN SCULPTURES.

Bloor-Yorkville IceFest Toronto

FEBRUARY 21 & 22  Bloor-Yorkville transforms into a frozen paradise—and all without the magical powers of Elsa, Princess of Arendelle. The annual IceFest returns for another year, as 12 master ice carvers (along with their assorted picks, chisels and chainsaws) chip away at 20,000 pounds of ice to create glacial works of art. Given that the theme for the 2015 incarnation is archaeology and prehistoric times, expect to see the likes of dinosaurs, sabre-toothed tigers, pyramids and Egyptian gods. Visitors can cast their vote for their favourite ice sculpture, as well as sample maple syrup taffy. Village of Yorkville Park (at Cumberland and Bellair streets), noon to 5 p.m., free; see bloor-yorkville.com for more details.  —Linda Luong

The Artist Project Hosts Its Annual Viewing Party

ANNUAL FAIR THE ARTIST PROJECT SHOWCASES THE WORK OF INDEPENDENT CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AT EXHIBITION PLACE

The Artist Project Toronto

FEBRUARY 19 TO 22  A response to the (debatable) stuffiness and exclusivity of traditional art fairs, The Artist Project assembles more than 250 independent artists from Canada and elsewhere in a colourful showcase of contemporary works. The juried expo is especially suited to art lovers with wide-ranging tastes: this year’s offerings range from digital paintings by Matthew Catalano to experimental cityscape photos by Chris Albert to collage-based pieces by Robyn Thomas. Additional attractions include the requisite art talks, a display featuring the Canadian finalists for the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards, and a number of striking, large-scale installation works, including a 100-foot-long piece by Bruno Billio.  —Craig Moy

• The Artist Project, Exhibition Place’s Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Blvd., 416-960-4516; theartistproject.com

The Soulpepper Concert Series Puts Singers on Stage

MUSIC STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT FOR THE SOULPEPPER CONCERT SERIES

Soulpepper Concert Series Toronto

P.E.I. singer-songwriter Mike Ross kicks of the 2015 Soulpepper Concert Series

Though best known as an artist-founded stage ensemble, Soulpepper Theatre Company also produces a popular concert series, which returns for a second season of acoustic performances and stories. A Moveable Musical Maritime Feast (February 15, 20 and 22) kicks things off with a classic East Coast kitchen party hosted by P.E.I.’s Mike Ross. The Nina Project (February 16) sees three Canadian songbirds—Jackie Richardson, Shakura S’Aida and Kellylee Evans—pay tribute to legendary crooner Nina Simone. And American Pie—A Songbook Investigation (February 27) reflects on the standards that defined a generation, with tunes by such artists as Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, various times, $15 and up; call 416-866-8666 or visit soulpepper.ca to reserve. —Linda Luong

Blithe Spirit Appears at the Princess of Wales Theatre

NOËL COWARD’S COMEDIC PLAY, BLITHE SPIRIT, BRINGS ANGELA LANSBURY TO THE TORONTO STAGE.

Blithe Spirit Angela Lansbury Toronto

Angela Lansbury stars in Blithe Spirit (photo: Robert J. Saferstein)

FEBRUARY 11 TO MARCH 15  What happens when an eccentric medium, a successful novelist and his two wives—one of whom is dead—come together under one roof? Comedic chaos, of course. The latest revival of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit has Angela Lansbury reprising her Tony winning role as Madame Arcati, a bumbling clairvoyant invited by author Charles Condomine to hold a seance as research for his next book. Unwittingly, Madame Arcati summons the ghost of ill-tempered Elvira, Condomine’s first wife, who haunts him and accidently kills his current spouse. The psychic is then called upon to exorcise the spirits of both women, though her success is far from assured. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $39 to $130; see mirvish.com to book.  —Linda Luong

The AGO Shows Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Prescient Paintings

THE ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO PRESENTS A WIDE-RANGING THEMATIC RETROSPECTIVE OF WORKS BY JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

Jean-Michel Basquiat Obnoxious Liberals Art Gallery of Ontario

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Obnoxious Liberals (© the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat; licensed by Artestar, New York)

FEBRUARY 7 TO MAY 10  It’s relatively rare when art that’s intrinsically linked to a time and place continues to resonate in myraid communities, decades after its creation. Such are the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat: the artist earned acclaim in his (brief) lifetime by capturing the gritty urbanism of 1980s New York—a city then beset by significant racial and economic tensions—in pieces that drew on abstract expressionist and conceptual traditions as freely as they did street art, jazz music, sports and comic culture. Today, Basquiat’s paintings and drawings are as relevant as ever. They’re accessible, too, thanks to the Art Gallery of Ontario, which is staging the first major thematic retrospective of the artist’s work in Canada. Aptly titled “Now’s the Time,” the exhibition features close to 85 large-scale pieces that even now challenge our perceptions about both visual art and society at large.  —Craig Moy

• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
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Icy Art at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

THE MCMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION PRESENTS A NEW EXHIBITION WITH AN ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE

Jean de Pomereu's Fissure 2 (Antarctica) is among the works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection's Vanishing Ice exhibition

Jean de Pomereu’s Fissure 2 (Antarctica) is among the works included in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s Vanishing Ice exhibition

JANUARY 31 TO APRIL 26  It’s tradition for Canadians—and Torontonians in particular—to begin complaining about the cold, snow and biting winds during winter’s deepest, darkest months. We tend to forget, though, that the arrival of freezing weather is vital to the wellbeing of the environment. It’s also played an important role in art. With the exhibition Vanishing Ice, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection examines the visual legacy of the planet’s alpine and polar landscapes—glaciers, ice fields, icebergs and more—even as they are increasingly threatened by climate change. Stretching across 200 years, 70 striking works by artists from Canada to New Zealand, Finland to Peru interpret the beauty of the tundra, reminding us of the cultural, ecological and historical significance of our coldest frontiers.  —Craig Moy

• McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 10365 Islington Ave., Kleinburg, 905-893-1121; mcmichael.com
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