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What to See Toronto

This Year’s TIFF Offers Excitement On Screen and Off

Each September, Toronto goes entirely movie mad (not to mention star crazy) as TIFF calls “action” on the country’s biggest celebration of cinema. BY CRAIG MOY


I’ve always had a bit of a conflicted relationship with the Toronto International Film Festival.

Mainly: I’m not particularly fond of crowds, and TIFF definitely attracts an abundance of people, all clamouring to catch a glimpse of visiting celebrities and score tickets to the buzziest new movies. Then again, those movies are the upside for me, the other side of the coin. I love movies, and the festival has them in spades. This year’s lineup boasts more than 200 films, many of which are world or North American premieres, representing everything from awards-season prestige pictures to timely and compelling documentaries to debuts by emerging Canadian directors to insane though crowd-pleasing thrillers and action flicks.

[Check out some of our most-anticipated TIFF 2014 offerings in the gallery below.]


The AGO Collects Alex Colville’s Iconic Canadian Paintings


Alex Colville's To Prince Edward Island (© A.C. Fine Art Inc.)

Alex Colville’s To Prince Edward Island (© A.C. Fine Art Inc.)

AUGUST 23 TO JANUARY 4  After the output of the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr, the works of Alex Colville are arguably Canada’s most recognizable. But where The Group depicted the country’s wild expanses, the late Nova Scotia-based painter captured figures and objects in scenes that, despite their seeming ordinariness, are characterized by an atmosphere of latent unease. The Art Gallery of Ontario is currently displaying more than 100 of Colville’s distinctive pieces. Composed with a draughtsman’s deft eye for detail and proportion and a storyteller’s sense of tension, the archetypal images are accompanied by thematically associated works by the likes of Wes Anderson, Alice Munro, Stanley Kubrick and Sarah Polley—as well as contributions from writer Ann-Marie MacDonald, electronic music Tim Hecker, cartoonist David Collier and others, created specifically for the exhibition—that make plain Colville’s significant impact on contemporary culture.  —Craig Moy

Gallery photos by Craig Moy

• Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6648; ago.net
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Moses Znaimer Shares His Passion at the MZTV Museum of Television


If you’ve lived in Toronto at any point over the last 40 or so years, you’ve probably heard the name Moses Znaimer. After all, he transformed local television by creating Citytv, was a co-founder of MuchMusic, and even today is highly visible as the CEO of multifaceted entertainment company ZoomerMedia. Broadcasting is Znaimer’s lifeblood; it’s no surprise that over the years he’s channeled that interest into amassing the world’s largest private collection of vintage television sets. A mogul’s tribute to the medium that made him, the recently re-launched MZTV Museum boasts a panoply of rare—and rather striking—receivers and related artifacts, including a mechanical 1930 Baird Televisor, a translucent RCA TRK-12 Phantom Teleceiver and even the original Speaker’s Corner booth. In all, it’s a treasure trove not just for so-called couch potatoes, but history buffs and design junkies, too. —Craig Moy

• MZTV Museum of Television, 64 Jefferson Ave., 416-599-7339; mztv.com
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Harbourfront Centre Celebrates 40 Years of Visual Arts

Ying-Yueh Chuang's Flower Series (details) is on display at Harbourfront Centre

Ying-Yueh Chuang’s Flower Series (details) is on display at Harbourfront Centre

JUNE 21 TO SEPTEMBER 21  Among many things, Harbourfront Centre is well known for its support of Canadian artists: multiple simultaneous exhibitions, produced seasonally at its Bill Boyle Artport, showcase works by emerging and established practitioners in every conceivable medium. The venue has pulled out all the stops to mark its 40th anniversary, with seven diverse shows exploring the legacy of art and craft and the ways by which creativity acts as a bridge between cultures. Approaching the former theme are displays such as “Instigators,” which features artists whose association with Harbourfront Centre traces back to its early years, while “A Bridge Not Far: China” highlights work by Canadians who have participated in artists’ residencies in the Middle Kingdom.  —Craig Moy

• Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com
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You Are Here: Eat, Explore and Relax Along the Harbourfront

HTO Park

HTO Park

1  Inspired by J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, the Toronto Music Garden is a classical green space in both theme and execution: six meticulously tended “movements” are lush with trees, tall grasses and colourful perennials. The garden hosts chamber music performances on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer. 479 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000; harbourfrontcentre.com

2  Watch the boats (and planes) go by beneath a large yellow parasol at HTO Park. The sand-strewn site overlooking Toronto’s inner harbour lends a relaxed, beachy vibe to what was once a fairly nondescript stretch of lakeside real estate. 339 Queens Quay W.


Eco-Art Looks at Creative Sustainability at Todmorden Mills

Nicole Dextras's Mobile Garden Dress is among the unique art projects at the No. 9 Eco Art Fest

Nicole Dextras’s Mobile Garden Dress is among the unique art projects at the No. 9 Eco-Art Fest

JUNE 22 TO SEPTEMBER 21  The notion of disruptive innovation takes on historical, environmental and artistic dimensions this summer during the No. 9 Eco-Art-Fest. Presented at 19th-century heritage site Todmorden Mills by No. 9, an organization that uses art and design to raise awareness of ecological concerns, the inclusive event assembles a number of installations intended to get visitors thinking about nature and sustainability. Dean Baldwin’s Heliwell Bier Garten, for example, fosters engagement with one’s surroundings—it’s literally a beer garden and functioning potters’ workshop—while Nicole Dextras’ Urban Forages series of wearable sculptures provides alternative fashion for the “new urban nomad.”  —Craig Moy

• Todmorden Mills, 67 Pottery Rd., 416-396-2819; no9.ca/ecoartfest
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The Textile Museum Features Ying Gao’s Sci-Fi Fashion

Science-inspired threads by Ying Gao are on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

Science-inspired threads by Ying Gao are on display at the Textile Museum of Canada

MAY 7 TO SEPTEMBER 1  Sure, we’re all waiting for the jacket with built-in Wi-Fi, or the trousers that can charge smartphone batteries, but so-called wearable technology can be more than merely utilitarian. Ying Gao demonstrates as much at her Textile Museum of Canada exhibition, Fashioning the Intangible. Combining fashion with ideas about architecture, urban environments and multimedia art, the university professor and designer creates garments that incorporate novel materials and sensory systems to playfully highlight the effects of external stimuli on individuals. Featuring such artfully crafted items as diaphanous Science is Fiction garments and (No)where (Now)here dresses that move when gazed upon, the show lends materiality to the immaterial elements of our environment.  —Craig Moy

• Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Ave., 416-599-5321; textilemuseum.ca
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Take in Outdoor Theatre, Film and Music This Summer in Toronto

Shakespeare in High Park's summer 2013 performance of MacBeth (photo: David Hou)

Shakespeare in High Park’s summer 2013 performance of MacBeth (photo: David Hou)

Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and head to the west end for a summertime staple, Shakespeare in High Park. For more than 30 years, residents and visitors alike have flocked to the park’s scenic outdoor amphitheatre for evening performances of the Bard’s most cherished works. This season, the Canadian Stage presents two plays on alternating nights: the pastoral comedy As You Like It and the bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus. Tuesday to Sunday 8 p.m., pay-what-you-can admission ($20 suggested), or reserve a premium spot for $25; see canadianstage.com to buy tickets.


Discover the Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll This Summer in Toronto


JUNE 11 TO OCTOBER 26  When one thinks of science, images of beakers, test tubes and lab coats immediately come to mind. But what about the mp3 player in your pocket, the earphones around your neck, the car radio, or the streaming site on your computer? Science and technology have helped to make our lives more melodic in countless ways, many of which we may be unaware of. The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a new exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre, aims to educate audiences about how the latest tracks by Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake have been touched by technological innovation. From the way music is recorded to its effects on a listener, the interactive display explores the evolution of chart-topping hits from the 1950s to the present day.  —Linda Luong

• Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd., 416-696-1000; ontariosciencecentre.ca
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With Tapas, the Design Exchange Sets a Spanish Table


JUNE 12 TO AUGUST 10  Spain is known for many things—its imperial past, its coastal beaches, the Sagrada Familia, Picasso—but for many in food-obsessed Toronto, the country’s biggest export might just be its culinary customs, many of which revolve around the creation and consumption of small dishes known as tapas. At the Design Exchange, a mouth-watering exhibition, appropriately called “Tapas,” highlights the vital interplay between food and design in contemporary Spanish kitchens and dining rooms. Featuring more than 150 pieces, including dozens of innovative cooking and serving utensils, unique food products and even re-creations of dishes by superstar chef Ferran Adria, it’s a display that elevates the act of eating to the level of high art.  —Craig Moy

• Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., 416-216-2160; dx.org
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Penelope Stewart’s Buzz-Worthy Show at Koffler Gallery

Penelope Stewart's Vanitas covers an entire room in intricately carved beeswax

Penelope Stewart’s Vanitas covers an entire room in intricately carved beeswax

JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 31  The cyclical nature of life and art, from creation to degradation, finds intricate and unexpected expression in Vanitas, artist Penelope Stewart’s site-specific installation at the Koffler Gallery. Taking its name from the Latin word originally used to describe the transient nature of earthly goods—in art, it typically refers to still-life works—Stewart’s show sees her covering the gallery space in high-relief tiles, floral forms, vines and “household detritus,” all made from beeswax. Evocative of ancient ruins while also alluding to the modernist architecture of Le Corbusier, the immersive environment contemplates “the fragility of our utopian aspirations of transforming nature through culture.”  —Craig Moy

• Koffler Gallery, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw St., 647-925-0643; kofflerarts.org
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At the AGO, Photographer Scott McFarland Shows Land- and Cityscapes

Scott McFarland's Man on Ladder, Royal Street, New Orleans

Scott McFarland’s Man on Ladder, Royal Street, New Orleans

MAY 14 TO AUGUST 10  Take a good long look at the photos of Scott McFarland, and in doing so, consider the purpose of photography itself. Held over from May’s Contact Festival, the B.C.-born, Toronto-based image maker’s solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario features more than 40 of his recent works, shot in Toronto, New Orleans and other locales. At first glance the pieces appear to be typical, if highly detailed, land- and streetscapes. In fact, they’re meticulously crafted composites: closer inspection reveals subtle anomalies that shift the idea of a photograph capturing a singular scene or moment, forcing viewers to question the “authentic” makeup of a depicted place.  —Craig Moy

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