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What to See Toronto

25 Great Things to Do in Toronto with Kids

BY CARA SMUSIAK

Things to do in Toronto with Kids

Friendly, safe, and packed with fun attractions, Toronto is terrific city to travel to with the whole family. Don’t believe us? These 25 great things to do in Toronto with kids ensure everyone’s time in town will be filled with excitement and discovery.

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Discover the Lost Dhow at the Aga Khan Museum

Dragon-headed ewer (photo: Aga Khan Museum)

Dragon-headed ewer (photo: Aga Khan Museum)

DECEMBER 13 TO APRIL 26  We often think of globalization as an explicitly modern concept—the world and its diverse peoples connected by airplanes and computers—but its origins can be traced back more than a millennium, when ancient empires in the Middle East and Asia forged important trade routes across both land and sea.

A fascinating new exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum focuses on ocean-going commerce and its resultant cultural connections. The Lost Dhow: a Discovery from the Maritime Silk Route assembles artifacts from a 9th-century Arab trading vessel that were salvaged from the bottom of the Indian Ocean in 1998.

On display for the first time in North America, the ship’s contents speak to the transcontinental exchange of goods, but also of culture and language, long before Europeans entered the region in 500 years later. The majority of its recovered wares are mass-produced bowls and containers of Chinese origin, but which boasts Middle Eastern design influences; some pieces, however, are one-of-a-kind luxuries, and possibly signal evidence of diplomatic ties between the Tang and Abbasid empires. Other exhibited artifacts may well have belonged to members of the boat’s (apparently multi-ethnic) crew, and include the likes of a bone gaming die, carved fishing hooks and more.  —Craig Moy

Photos by Craig Moy except where noted

• Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677; agakhanmuseum.org
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15 Great Reasons to Visit Toronto in 2015

BY CRAIG MOY

Perhaps you’ve heard: Toronto is one the most dynamic cities in the world. An endlessly fascinating place to live; an equally amazing destination to visit. Whether you’re an international jetsetter or on a cross-Canada excursion, travelling within Ontario or just looking to be a tourist in your own hometown, there are literally thousands of compelling reasons to visit Toronto. And for 2015, here are 15 more.

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10 Spirited Holiday Performances

BY LINDA LUONG

Donny & Marie. Photo by Jeremy Deputat.

Donny & Marie Osmond (photo: Jeremy Deputat)

One of the hallmarks of this festive time of year is the bounty of holiday performances appearing on stages across the city. There are returning staples like Handel’s Messiah as well as new specials—like a pair of siblings from Utah singing Christmas songs.

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Snowfall: Brookfield Place’s Designer Holiday Decor

Brookfield-Place-Snowfall-Header-Image

ON NOW  Forget tinsel-draped trees, garlanded bannisters, Santa’s Workshop dioramas and all the other traditional trappings of holiday decorating. This winter, Financial District hub Brookfield Place unveils a new art installation that offers a sophisticated interpretation of one of the more inescapable symbols of the season. Conceived of and created over the past five years by Toronto art-and-design duo Brad Hindson and Mitchell F. Chan (together known as Studio F Minus), Snowfall is now prominently displayed within Brookfield Place’s Allen Lambert Galleria and its adjacent lobbies. The commission’s 60 stylized snowflakes notably mirror Brookfield Place’s architecture and design: each piece geometrically evokes the distinctive Y-frames that buttress architect Santiago Calatrava’s soaring Galleria archway; collectively they reflect off of the building’s gleaming glass and polished-stone surfaces, evoking a full gust of snowy weather. Central to the display—and surely its most photogenic element—is a monumental sculpture titled Frost, a 20-foot-tall touch-sensitive snowflake: its illuminated surface responds to touch in the manner of a cold window being wiped clean of condensation.

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The ROM Showcases Izzy Camilleri’s Adaptive Designs

IZ Adaptive seated wedding dress (photo: Chris Chapman)

IZ Adaptive seated wedding dress (photo: Chris Chapman)

JUNE 21 TO JANUARY 25  After journalist Barbara Turnbull, who is quadriplegic, commissioned celebrated Canadian designer Izzy Camilleri to make her a shearling cape, the challenge inspired Camilleri to launch IZ Adaptive, an innovative line of stylish, functional and affordable clothing for people who use wheelchairs. Five years later, IZ Adaptive is the focus of Fashion Follows Form: Designs for Sitting, an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum that highlights the importance of making fashion accessible to all. This groundbreaking show juxtaposes Camilleri’s leather jacket, trench coat, wedding dress and tuxedo with 18th-and 19th-century fashions from the ROM’s collection that represent the types of historical designs Camilleri looked back to in order to create her innovative, contemporary designs. —Cara Smusiak

• Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca
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The Power Plant Presents Julia Dault’s Boldest Artworks

Detail view of Julia Dault's Untitled 22, 11:30 AM–4:30 PM, July 14, 2012 (photo: Benjamin Westoby)

Detail view of Julia Dault’s Untitled 22, 11:30 AM–4:30 PM, July 14, 2012 (photo: Benjamin Westoby)

SEPTEMBER 20 TO JANUARY 4  Bold colour, mass-produced materials and expressive forms combine in the paintings and sculptures of New York-based artist Julia Dault, whose first major solo museum exhibition, Color Me Badd, is on display at The Power Plant. Incorporating vinyl, patterned silk, unmixed paint and other mass-produced materials applied with tools like squeegees and rubber combs, the Toronto-born Dault’s textured paintings are marked by erasure techniques, offering viewers a glimpse into her methods. Process is equally integral to her sculptures, formed on site as she single-handedly manipulates long sheets of Plexiglas and Formica into curving forms that are fastened to a wall. Her body of work is grounded in abstract and minimalist aesthetics, and underscores the role of the artist in its creation.  —Cara Smusiak

• The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949; thepowerplant.org
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O Christmas Tree! Take in the Season’s Trimmed Evergreens

Toronto Cavalcade of Lights Official Tree.

Toronto’s official Christmas tree is lit up during last year’s Cavalcade of Lights.

Holiday Kick Off

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s still worth checking out the city’s official tree. Standing at a stately 19.2 metres high, the Ontario-grown white spruce that holds court at Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall (100 Queen St. W.) is decked out with more than 3,810 metres of LED lights and 700 decorations. Catch your first glimpse of the evergreen in all its glory at Cavalcade of Lights on November 29 starting at 7 p.m., or from dusk to 11 p.m. through to mid-January; see toronto.ca/cavalcade for more information.

Twinkle, Twinkle

Amidst the hustle and bustle of seeking the perfect gift for the special folks in your life, take a moment of respite and soak in the dazzling display at the centre court of Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Swarovski will adorn a towering Christmas tree, which will be unveiled on November 12, with more than 20,000 glittering crystal ornaments. Pick up an annual edition snowflake ($85) or ball ornament ($115) from the retailer for a special someone or your own home.

All Spruced Up

If one Christmas tree isn’t enough, how about a dozen? From November 11 to December 14, the Gardiner Museum presents its annual 12 Trees of Christmas, in which local designers decorate themed trees that are later delivered to community charities. This year’s participants include such returning favourites as Hilary Farr, who presented a cosmic robot and aliens tree last year, and Cobi Ladner, who decked her pink boughs with gumdrops and lollipops last season. Shawn Gibson and Michael Pellagrina of Teatro Verde and TV hosts Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman also take part. —Linda Luong

Contemporary Pakistani Art at the New Aga Khan Museum

Still from Nurjahan Akhlaq's film Death in the Garden of Paradise. Image courtesy of the Aga Khan Museum.

Still from Nurjahan Akhlaq’s film Death in the Garden of Paradise. Image courtesy of the Aga Khan Museum.

TO JANUARY 18 The Fumihiko Maki–designed Aga Khan Museum—the first in North American dedicated to Islamic art and culture—is the new home of the Aga Khan’s expansive collection of art and artifacts. In the temporary exhibitions gallery, the theme of the garden, which figures prominently in Islamic culture, is explored through works by six artists in “The Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art of Pakistan.” Tradition and modernity converge in these works that include Persian carpets embellished with hand-embroidered maps by British expat David Chalmers Alesworth, more than 50 paintings by Aisha Khalid, and films by Bani Abidi and Nurjahan Akhlaq. Notably, three pieces are on view in public spaces: Khalid’s two-sided tapestry (created with more than one million gold-plated steel pins) hangs in the atrium, while Atif Khan’s replica of an ink stamp sits outside the museum’s entrance, and Imran Quereshi’s floral paintings on paving stones are installed in the garden. —Cara Smusiak

Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677; agakhanmuseum.org

TIFF Takes Film Fans on Stanley Kubrick’s Odyssey

Although in life Stanley Kubrick was something a recluse, shying away from interviews for his movies, posthumously the oeuvre of one of cinema’s most innovative directors has been laid bare for all to discover, dissect and admire.  BY LINDA LUONG

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining

Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining

OCTOBER 31 TO JANUARY 25  One of the film industry’s pioneering individuals is the sole focus of a new exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. On a global tour since 2004 when it first opened at the Deutsches Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany, “Stanley Kubrick” is a multifaceted exploration of the influential director’s career. Despite such critical hits as Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and his last film, Eyes Wide Shut, and being admired by his 21st-century peers (including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen), Kubrick never received the industry’s highest accolade, an Academy Award, for his directorial work. (He did, however, win an Oscar for special visual effects for 2001.)

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Master Plans: Michelangelo’s Drawings at the AGO

Michelangelo's Plan for the “Pichola Libreria” of the Laurentian Library, 1525-1526, Casa Buonarroti. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Michelangelo’s Plan for the “Pichola Libreria” of the Laurentian Library, 1525-1526, Casa Buonarroti. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

TO JANUARY 11  Visitors flood into the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel daily to gaze in awe at the magnificent ceiling painted by Michelangelo. How did the celebrated painter, sculptor, architect and engineer bring his masterpieces to life? “Michelangelo: Quest for Genius” at the Art Gallery of Ontario offers insight into the Renaissance artist’s creative process through 28 drawings, once part of his personal collection and now on loan from Casa Buonarroti in Florence. Comprised of preliminary architectural and figural sketches and highly finished presentation drawings, these images collectively examine the concept of “genius at work,” revealing Michelangelo’s ideas, ambitions and even his frustrations. Some of his grander, unfinished plans are brought to life at the AGO with computer animation. The master’s important influence on Auguste Rodin is also explored, with 10 of the French sculptor’s works on display, including his ill-received final commission, Balzac. —Cara Smusiak

Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648
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What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events this November

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

The Bakelite Masterpiece, Geordie Johnson and Irene Poole, Photo by Cilla von Tiedemann

Geordie Johnson and Irene Poole in The Bakelite Masterpiece. Photo by Cilla von Tiedemann

ALL MONTH LONG Set in Holland following World War II, in The Bakelite Masterpiece an artist accused of selling art to the Nazis must prove his innocence by painting a work by Johannes Vermeer in front of a prosecutor and an art historian. Taragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $48-$53; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

STARTS NOVEMBER 4 Mirvish Productions brings The Shaw Festival’s production of Arcadia to the Royal Alexandra Theatre. This Tom Stoppard masterpiece juxtaposes the lives of residents of a country estate in the early 19th century and the present day, with themes spanning algorithms, chaos theory, botany and literature. Tickets are $25-$99; visit mirvish.com to purchase and for more information.

NOVEMBER 7 Aboriginal producer/DJ crew A Tribe Called Red mixes traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic music at The Danforth Music Hall. Tickets are $33.75-$44; visit thedanforth.com for more details and to purchase.

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