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What to See Toronto

Leave a Love Lock in Toronto’s Historic Distillery District

Sweethearts can leave a love lock at the Love Installation in the Distillery District.

Sweethearts can leave a love lock at the Love Installation in the Distillery District.

In Paris, couples can secure their eternal devotion with a love lock on the Pont des Arts bridge. In Dublin it’s the Ha’penny Bridge, in Florence it’s the Ponte Vecchio and in Korea it’s the N Seoul Tower. Where can mad-for-you couples leave their mark in Toronto? A special Love Installation at the Distillery District is catching the hearts of lovebirds, encouraging those newly in love, recently engaged, just married or celebrating decades of couplehood to affix their affection. Conceived by one of the pedestrian-friendly district’s developers, Mathew Rosenblatt, the 30-foot-long by eight-foot-high fixture is made of steel and reclaimed lumber. A sign encourages visitors to initial their lock, attach it, kiss (each other, of course) and then throw away the key. Social media-friendly patrons can also share their token with the hashtag #DistilleryLove. (And since it’s a freestanding piece, the weight of all those locks won’t pose any structural concerns, unlike with the bridge in Paris.) —Linda Luong

Weekend Roundup: October 24 to 26


Art Toronto draws galleries, curators and collectors from around the globe.

Art Toronto draws galleries, curators and collectors from around the globe.

Friday, October 24

Get a good look at local and global contemporary art trends at Art Toronto, an art fair that draws curators and collectors from across the city and around the world. You’ll find paintings, sculptures and installations from emerging and established artists, as well as the “Next” showcase featuring new galleries that offer works priced at $10,000 or less. October 24 to 27, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Visit arttoronto.ca for more information.

Irish songstress Sinead O’Connor brings her distinctive sound to Massey Hall as she promotes her 10th album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss. 8 p.m. Tickets are $49.50 to $79.50; visit masseyhall.com for more information and to purchase.

Bargain hunters and fashionistas will want to check out Catwalk 2 Closet, the largest designer sample and end-of-season sale held in Toronto. Score men’s and ladies’ outerwear, apparel, footwear and accessories from 100 brands with discounts ranging from 50 to 80 per cent off. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Direct Energy Centre, Heritage Court, 100 Princes’ Blvd. Visit catwalk2closet.com for more information.

Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. Photo by Mike Kocza.

Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. Photo by Mike Kocza.

Saturday, October 25

Calling all boys and ghouls! Channel your inner undead spirit this Saturday at the annual Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade, which winds through the downtown core. Even if you’re not feeling the urge to don a scary costume, the people watching is always a riot. The parade starts at 3 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.); visit torontozombiewalk.ca for more details.

The chance to see a medley of musicians and proceeds going to a good cause sounds good to us. Feist, Billy Talent, Barenaked Ladies, Sarah Harmer, Hayden, Jason Collett, Lou Canon and more will take the stage at Massey Hall for the first annual Dream Serenade Benefit Concert in support of programs for children with special needs. This year, the concert will support The Beverley Street School and a family relief fund for caregivers. All ages. Tickets are $50 to $200; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

The 35th annual International Festival of Authors is in town October 23 to November 2, and Saturday boasts a lineup packed with readings. Acclaimed Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses his latest book with Canadian author Sheila Heti on Saturday evening. Earlier in the afternoon, a number of authors read from their latest works, including David Bezmozgis, Elyse Friedman, C.C. Humphreys, Shelly Oria, John Boyne, Matthew Thomas, Tim Winton, Ted Baris, Robert Glancy and more. Tickets for each event are $18; visit ifoa.org for further details and to purchase.

Dum Dum Girls.

The Dum Dum Girls play Lee’s Palace Sunday.

Sunday, October 26

The Dum Dum Girls bring their increasingly polished post-punk sound to Lee’s Palace, with Ex Cops and BB Guns opening. Doors 8 p.m. Tickets are $21.50; visit collectiveconcerts.com for more information and to purchase.

Craft beer fans who haven’t purchased tickets for Cask Days (now sold out) can still sample some of the offerings on Sunday at the Evergreen Brick Works. “Last Call for the Cask” will feature any leftover beers from noon to 6 p.m. or while supplies last. Admission is $5 plus $5 for a festival glass for sampling; visit caskdays.com for more information.

Score vintage fashions at the Wychwood Vintage Clothing Show, where 30-plus vendors from Ontario and Quebec will be selling a range of goods, from clothing, jewellery and accessories to old textiles, linens, fabrics and quilts. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ArtScape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. Admission is $8 at the door; children 12 and under are free.

Explore Local and Global Art Trends at Art Toronto

Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

OCTOBER 24 TO 27 Get a good look at local and global trends in contemporary art at Art Toronto, the country’s premier gathering of curators and collectors from across the city and around the world. Whether your interest lies in paintings, sculptures or even installations, the popular expo has all the latest works from emerging and established artists represented by the likes of Toronto’s Diaz Contemporary, Vancouver’s Gallery Jones, New York’s Mike Weiss Gallery and Tel Aviv’s Zemack Contemporary Art. And if you’re really looking for the leading edge of modern art, visit the show’s “Next” showcase, which features galleries that have been in business for eight years or fewer offering innovative works priced at less than $10,000.
—Craig Moy

• Art Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.; arttoronto.ca

Celebrate Craft Beer in a Very Big Way at Cask Days

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Cask Days. Photo by Connie Tsang.

OCTOBER 24 TO 26 What began in 2005 as an intimate gathering of like-minded beer consumers on the back patio of Bar Volo (587 Yonge St., 416-928-0008) has now become one of North America’s largest celebrations of craft beer. Cask Days brings unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated brews to the masses, allowing breweries the chance to show off their hops. This year’s event has about 300 different cask-conditioned ales by 100-plus breweries from across Canada, the United States and the U.K., including Niagara Oast House, Nelson Brewery, Grizzly Paw, Microbrasserie Le Castor and Grand River Brewing. A special focus on California includes 30-plus breweries from the state. Not into ale? A number of ciders are available, too, as well as gluten-free beer options. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m., $35 and up; see caskdays.com to buy tickets. —Linda Luong

Opera Atelier Weaves a Bewitching Tale in Alcina

Meghan Lindsay and the artists of Atelier Ballet in Alcina. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Meghan Lindsay and the artists of Atelier Ballet in Alcina. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

OCTOBER 23 TO NOVEMBER 1 Sorceress sisters weave romantic entanglements in Alcina, the latest offering from Opera Atelier. In the company’s new, period-appropriate production of Handel’s 18th-century masterwork, the handsome Ruggiero finds himself on an island in search of the seductress Alcina; his true love, Bradamante, follows, disguised as a knight, and immediately draws the gaze of Alcina’s sister Morgana. But on this island of illusion, it’s true love that proves to be most magical. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., evenings at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinee at 3 p.m., $38 to $181; call 1-855-622-2787 to charge or visit operaatelier.com for details. —Linda Luong

Encore! Encore! Theatre, Opera, Ballet and Music Abound in Toronto


The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Book of Mormon. Photo by Joan Marcus.


The Entertainment District, home to five major performing arts venues, is where much of the singing, dancing and music-making takes place. The area’s two pillar theatres, the Royal Alexandra (260 King St. W.) and Princess of Wales (300 King St. W.), are owned by Mirvish Productions, which regularly stages audience-friendly shows. The grandiose, beaux-arts-style Royal Alex boasts an autumn playbill that includes historical drama Our Country’s Good (continuing to October 26), about the penal colony originally established in Australia, as well as Tom Stoppard’s witty Arcadia (November 4 to December 14) and The Heart of Robin Hood (December 22 to March 1). By contrast, the 2,000-seat Princess of Wales was built in the early 1990s to host mega-musical Miss Saigon. Since then it’s been home to extravaganzas like The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. The religious satire The Book of Mormon (continuing to November 2) returns after its sold-out 2013 run.

A block east lies Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe St.), home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and host to Toronto International Film Festival galas. One of the city’s most distinctive landmarks, the concert hall is easily recognized by its curvilinear glass exterior. Within, its primary tenant—under the guidance of music director Peter Oundjian—presents innovative programming such as the contemporary-classical New Creations Festival and an annual celebration of Mozart, and has accompanied such guests as Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. This month sees David Zinman conduct Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 (October 2 and 4) and Prokofiev’s ballet score for Shakepeare’s Romeo & Juliet (October 22 and 23)—a powerful work. Later in the year, the harmonious efforts of the TSO and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in a rendition of Handel’s Messiah (December 16 to 21) is a holiday tradition not to be missed, and in 2015 Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang celebrates Chinese New Year (February 21).

Not so far away is the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W.). The country’s first purpose-built opera house opened in 2006 and is home to both the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. Inspired by traditional European theatres, the five-tiered horseshoe-shaped auditorium boasts impeccable sight lines, an expansive orchestra pit plus an impressive lobby—featuring a “floating” glass staircase—that adds considerable glamour to the streetscape. Themes of love and romance dominate the COC’s 2014-15 season: Verdi’s comic Falstaff (October 3 to November 1) kicks things off, while Don Giovanni (January 24 to February 21) seduces patrons in the new year. When opera’s not on stage, dance takes the spotlight. Helmed by former prima ballerina Karen Kain, the National Ballet of Canada boasts a dynamic repertoire by 20th- and 21st-century masters ranging from Balanchine to Nureyev. James Kudelka’s rendition of family favourite The Nutcracker (December 13 to January 3)—complete with stunning sets and costumes—is a holiday classic; the whimsical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (March 14 to 29) is a bold new work; and beloved classic The Sleeping Beauty (June 10 to 20) caps off the season.

For a night of laughs, improv comedy reigns at The Second City, which counts the likes of Gilda Radner, John Candy, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara amongst its Toronto alumni. Performed in a cabaret-style theatre, the company’s Fall Mainstage Revue has audiences laughing with its sketches, humourous songs and zany cast.

Soulpepper Theatre Company's production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann.

Soulpepper Theatre Company’s production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann.


A hub for homegrown talent, Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.) was conceived in 1970 to reflect Canadian experiences, and continues to dedicate itself to producing works by this country’s playwrights. This fall, the curtains rise on The Art of Building a Bunker (October 16 to November 2; page 28), a satire about workplace sensitivity training written by Adam Lazarus and Guillermo Verdecchia. Later, Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman and Joseph Jomo Pierre’s Twisted (February 5 to 22) updates Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, and Ronnie Burkett and his 40 eclectic marionettes return with The Daisy Theatre (March 18 to April 5).

The Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Ln.) anchors one end of the sprawling Distillery District. Primarily home to the artist-founded Soulpepper Theatre Company, the former industrial building features four stages as well as studio spaces. Each season, Soulpepper fulfills its mandate to present classical works within the context of our national culture, as exemplified by Spoon River (October 29 to November 15; page 29), a musical in which members of a rural town recount their lives through their own epitaphs. The following month sees the triumphant return of Kim’s Convenience (November 27 to December 28), Ins Choi’s debut play about Korean immigrants and their Canadian-born children in Toronto’s Regent Park, which just wrapped up a national tour. Simultaneously, Dickens’ quintessential holiday tale, A Christmas Carol (November 27 to December 27) is mounted.

True to its name, Canadian Stage presents modern works—sometimes written by Canucks and often national or Toronto premieres—at both the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St.) and Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E.). Helen Lawrence (October 12 to November 1), fuses computer-generated simulation, live action film and visual art in a post‑World War II drama set in Vancouver. After a successful run last season, the sexually charged Venus in Fur (December 18 to 28) is back by popular demand, while beloved Quebec theatre artist—and CanStage fave—Robert Lepage returns with his heart-wrenching Needles and Opium (May 1 to 10).

Another local incubator, the playwright-in-residence program at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Ave.) has produced works by the likes of Morris Panych, Daniel MacIvor, Judith Thompson and Hannah Moscovitch. This season’s lineup includes The Bakelite Masterpiece (October 21 to November 30), in which an art forger is forced to recreate a painting by Dutch master Vermeer, as well as Panych’s Sextet (November 5 to December 14), which delves into secrets and desires of six stranded musicians. The new year brings both hope and fear for the hospital-bound characters of Waiting Room (January 6 to February 15).

Koerner Hall auditorium at The Royal Conservatory. Photo by Tom Arban.

Koerner Hall auditorium at The Royal Conservatory. Photo by Tom Arban.


Toronto’s top concert halls juxtapose old and new. Since breaking ground in 1893, the venerable Massey Hall (178 Victoria St.) has hosted performers spanning generations and genres: George Gershwin, Maria Callas, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Ronnie Hawkins, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Justin Bieber. This month sees contemporary artists grab the mic, including David Gray (October 7), Jason Mraz (October 8 and 9) and Chrissie Hynde (October 30). Then Gordon Lightfoot enjoys a four-night residency (November 26 to 29) before seasonal staples like Sing-Along Messiah (December 21) and New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza (December 31) fill the room.

Koerner Hall (273 Bloor St. W.) is a much more recent vintage. Completed in 2009, the musical jewel of The Royal Conservatory is a visual and sonic stunner: a ribbon of curved oak beams creates the illusion of a canopied ceiling while helping to enhance the venue’s superb acoustics. The 1,135-seat auditorium hosts an array of jazz, pop and world musicians including Rafal Blechacz (October 19), Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway (October 25), Ana Moura (November 5), Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré (November 21), Handel’s Messiah performed by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Choir (December 17 to 20), and Anne Sofie von Otter and Angela Hewitt (January 9).


Cirque du Soleil's Kurios--Cabinet of Curiosities. Photo by Martin Girard.

Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities. Photo by Martin Girard.

Big Top Spectacle The circus is in town! Montreal’s famed Cirque du Soleil has once again pitched its signature blue and yellow tents down at the Port Lands (51 Commissioner St.). In Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities (continuing to October 26), a kaleidoscope of characters—and the talented acrobats, jugglers, cyclists, cortortionists and other artists who portray them—transport audiences to the 19th century to meet an inventor who’s able to defy time, space and gravity. (One spectacular scene occurs at an upside down dinner party, while another features an invisible circus.) With imaginative costumes by Phillippe Guillotel and detailed sets and props by Stéphane Roy, Kurios is one of the company’s most imaginative and visually striking shows.

Jersey Boys. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Jersey Boys. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

More Blockbusters Also part of the Mirvish empire is the Ed Mirvish Theatre (244 Victoria St.), a former vaudeville and motion picture house across from the Toronto Eaton Centre. Carefully restored to reflect its Roaring ’20s origins, the venue’s grand staircase and ornate vaulted ceilings set a resplendent scene as patrons arrive for stagings of Wicked (continues to November 2), Jersey Boys (December 17 to January 4) and the endearing musical Once (February 10 to April 12).

Medieval Times, Toronto

Medieval Times

Loyal Subjects For dinner and a show, the live spectacle that is Medieval Times can’t be missed. Join King Don Carlos’s court and watch as knights battle to win the hand of his daughter, Princess Catalina—all while partaking in a four-course (and utensil-free) feast.

Weekend Roundup: October 17 to 19


Flying Steps.

Flying Steps.

Friday, October 17

Your inner B-boy or B-girl will be itching to bust a move after seeing Red Bull Flying Bach. Champion breakdancers Flying Steps are joined by Swedish dancer Anna Holmström for a high-energy performance set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Massey Hall, Thursday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $25 - $70; call 416-872-4255 for tickets; see flying-steps.de for more information.

Savour scrumptious fare at the Delicious Food Show, where you’ll find TV chefs like Mario Batali, Tyler Florence and Chuck Hughes alongside chefs from some of Toronto’s hottest restaurants, such as DaiLo’s Nick Liu and Yours Truly’s Lachlan Culjak. A smorgasbord of workshops, cooking demos and food pairings will give you  the inside scoop on the latest food trends plus advice on everything from grilling to cake-baking. Direct Energy Centre, Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., general admission $22; visit deliciousfoodshow.com for details.

Though Mick Fleetwood is perhaps best-known for being the legendary drummer and founding member of Fleetwood Mac, he’s also made a name for himself as a photographer. See his latest images in an exhibition of hand-painted original photographs, opening at Liss Gallery with a reception on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Liss Gallery, 140 Yorkville Ave., 416-787-9872.

Cleopatra, c. 1532-1533, by Michelangelo. Courtesy of Casa Buonarotti.

Cleopatra, c. 1532-1533, by Michelangelo. Courtesy of Casa Buonarotti.

Saturday, October 18

One of the most-anticipated exhibitions of the month opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Saturday. “Michelangelo: Quest for Genius” brings together 28 drawings, once part of the artist’s personal collection and now on loan from Casa Buonarroti in Florence. You’ll see preliminary architectural and figural sketches as well as highly finished presentation drawings, and some of his unfinished plans will be brought to life with computer animation. Michelangelo’s influence on Auguste Rodin is also explored. Tickets are $16.50 – $25 (includes general admission to the AGO); visit ago.net to for more information and to purchase.

Did the Mick Fleetwood photography exhibition get you dreaming of a Fleetwood Mac reunion? You’re in luck: Christine McVie rejoins her bandmates on the Fleetwood Mac North American tour, which makes a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets are $49.50 – $199.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

For an out-of-this-world art experience, check out “Moon Room” at Narwhal gallery. This group exhibition features works by 21 Canadian artists, exploring the mysteries of the moon in drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures and installations. Opening reception 4  to 8 p.m. Narwhal, 2104 Dundas St. W., 647-346-5317; visit narwhalcontemporary.com for more information.

Julie Madly Deeply. Photo courtesy of Seabright Productions.

Sarah-Louise Young in Julie Madly Deeply. Photo courtesy of Seabright Productions.

Sunday, October 19

Sunday is your last chance to see Julie Madly Deeply, cabaret star Sarah-Louise Young’s homage to the life and career of Dame Julie Andrews. The charming and cheeky musical blends songs from The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, My Fair Lady, Victor/Victoria and other works with stories and anecdotes from the legendary Andrews’ life. Sunday 7 p.m., Panasonic Theatre; tickets are $25 – $79; visit mirvish.com for more information and to purchase.

Hailing from Glasgow, We Were Promised Jetpacks brings their post-punk-meets-indie-pop sound to The Phoenix Concert Theatre, with guests The Twilight Sad. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.50; visit collectiveconcerts.com for more information and to purchase.

Explore the flavours and history of Kensington Market with Urban Capers’s last Kensington Culinary Adventure of the year. Designed for teams of two to six, this three-and-a-half-hour scavenger hunt adventure kicks off at 11 a.m. and will take you to food markets, haunted locales and vintage shops. Tickets are $24.99, and must be purchased in advance. The cost of purchasing food on the adventure is extra. Visit urbancapers.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

Feast on This: The Delicious Food Show is Back

Chefs Chefs Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Mario Batali

Chefs Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Mario Batali will be at the Delicious Food Show.

OCTOBER 17 TO 19 If you’ve ever longed to taste the recipes being made by TV chefs, the Delicious Food Show is your meal ticket. Whether you hunger for the inside scoop on trendy cuisine, advice on grilling the perfect steak, or simply a sinful chocolate cake recipe, celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Mario Batali have you covered. Join them, plus local chefs like DaiLo’s Nick Liu and Yours Truly’s Lachlan Culjak for a feast of workshops, cooking demos and food pairings. Direct Energy Centre, Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., general admission $22; visit deliciousfoodshow.com for details.

Shining Stars To Be Honoured at Canada’s Walk of Fame Celebration

Actor Jason Priestley.

Actor Jason Priestley hosts Canada’s Walk of Fame celebrations.

OCTOBER 18 The latest inductees to Canada’s Walk of Fame are feted with a red carpet celebration worthy of their achievements. This year’s honourees include Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, actress Rachel McAdams, actor Ryan Reynolds, former UN high commissioner for human rights Louise Arbour, guitarist Jeff Healey and R&B musician The Weekend. Actor Jason Priestley hosts the ceremony at the Sony Centre, which will be televised later this year. Each recipient will unveil their new cement tribute, which is immortalized along King Street West (between John and Simcoe streets) and Simcoe Street (between King Street West and Wellington Street West). Visit canadaswalkoffame.com for a map of previous honourees such as soccer superstar Christine Sinclair, rock band Blue Rodeo, ballerina Karen Kain, actor Eugene Levy, basketball star Steve Nash, author Farley Mowat and game show host Alex Trebek. —Linda Luong

You Are Here: Eat, Shop and Visit Institutions at the University of Toronto


The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

The Royal Ontario Museum.

The campus of Canada’s largest post-secondary institution comprises a significant portion of downtown Toronto. Naturally, many storied public institutions pepper its ground.

1  On the university’s outskirts, longstanding Splendido serves two nightly tasting menus ($90 and $150) by chef and owner Victor Barry. The price and concept ensure it’s far from a student hangout, though it’s certainly worth the splurge to celebrate convocation. 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788; splendido.ca.

2  Tucked away in University College, the U of T Art Centre boasts a diverse collection of everything from Byzantine icons to Group of Seven paintings. Currently it’s showing rare photos by beat poet Allen Ginsberg. 15 Kings College Cir., 416-978-1838; utac.utoronto.ca.

3  Campus and community come together at U of T’s Hart House, a neo-Gothic building that’s home to a well-regarded restaurant (the Gallery Grill), a top-quality contemporary art centre (the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery), and regular theatrical performances. 7 Hart House Cir., 416-978-2452; harthouse.ca.

4  Drawing on its peerless collection, the Bata Shoe Museum uses footwear to explore sociocultural, economic, technological and, of course, fashion trends throughout history. 327 Bloor St. W., 416-979-7799; batashoemuseum.ca.

Hart House’s Gallery Grill offers fine fare.

5  Fully aware of its neighbourhood, Brooks Brothers “flatiron” shop emphasizes the brand’s Ivy League roots, catering to collegiate customers with polos, sweaters, letterman jackets and more. 262 Bloor St. W., 416-925-5878; brooksbrothers.com.

6  The Royal Conservatory is not only ground zero for classical music education and performance in Canada, its 133-year-old home—including the late-Victorian Ihnatowycz Hall and modern Koerner Hall auditorium—is one of Toronto’s most elegant examples of architectural restoration. 273 Bloor St. W., 416-408-0208; rcmusic.ca.

7  A classy throwback vibe pervades at Museum Tavern, where both youthful and more mature imbibers nurse barrel-aged cocktails or partake in tasting flights of Scotch, bourbon and rye. 208 Bloor St. W., 416-920-0110; museumtavern.ca.

Koerner Hall auditorium at The Royal Conservatory. Photo by Tom Arban.

8  The only North American location of Strellson proffers the Swiss brand’s contemporary Euro-chic sportswear and accessories for men—from snazzy suits to superior sweaters. 170 Bloor St. W., 416-927-7070; strellson.com.

9  The Royal Ontario Museum built its renowned collection and expertise through collaboration with U of T—indeed, the university directly managed the ROM until 1968. The museum’s academic ethos carries on: it’s the largest field-research institution in Canada. 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca.

10  Equally respected but far more specialized is the Gardiner Museum, which houses a top-shelf collection of functional and decorative ceramics, including Ancient American pieces dating back more than 2,000 years. 111 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8080; gardinermuseum.on.ca.

11  At the south end of Queen’s Park sits the stately, Richardsonian Romanesque Ontario Legislative Building, the province’s seat of government. Public tours, providing a peek into the workings of parliament, are held Monday through Friday. 111 Wellesley St. W., 416-325-0061 for tour info; ontla.on.ca.

12  Adorned with chandeliers and Grecian columns, Crown Princess Fine Dining offers a regal take on Chinese cuisine, including a dim sum that’s somewhat more refined than the typical Chinatown options. 1033 Bay St., 416-923-8784; crown-princess.ca.

GET THERE! U of T’s downtown campus and its surrounding environs are accessible from all angles: take the subway to Queen’s Park, Museum, Spadina, St. George or Bay stations, or travel across the neighbourhood’s south end on the 506 Carlton streetcar.

Thompson Landry Gallery Hangs Louis Boudreault’s Stars Behind Bars

Louis Boudreault's Al Capone and Steve McQueen

Louis Boudreault’s Al Capone and Steve McQueen

SEPTEMBER 19 TO OCTOBER 12  Whereas celebrities gathered this month on TIFF’s red carpets, Thompson Landry Gallery puts notable figures in a different light. In his Wanted exhibition, Montreal artist Louis Boudreault presents mixed media portraits of 19th- and 20th-century luminaries. Naturally, figures such as Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash were very desirable to their fans and followers; the catch is that they were also sought-after by the law. Boudreault’s subjects all spent time in prison; his works are in fact artistic mug shots, and like real mug shots, the portraits play to a craving to see our boldface “betters” taken down a peg. Yet the artist reveals the fault of that yearning, too: included among his subjects are political prisoners like Nelson Mandela and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose images reflect not the shame of incarceration, but the nobility of a just cause.  —Craig Moy

• Thompson Landry Gallery, 6 Trinity St., 416-364-4955; thompsonlandry.com
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MOCCA’S TBD is an Existential Exhibition

Bill Burns’s Hou Hanru Hear Us (photo: courtesy of MOCCA)

Bill Burns’s Hou Hanru Hear Us (photo: courtesy of MOCCA)

SEPTEMBER 6 TO OCTOBER 26  The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art finds itself at a crossroads. For nearly 10 years it has been a hub of the Queen West Art and Design District, presenting challenging visuals in a useful though relatively small space. But like many things in Toronto, MOCCA’s home will soon be razed to make way for condos. The museum’s search for a new facility provides an opportunity to reflect on its principles and purpose; its latest exhibition, titled TBD, asks the question “What is a contemporary art gallery?” The manifold “to be determined” answers are provided by 70 jury-selected proposals submitted by architects—considering the interrelations between art, audience and gallery—as well as works and “community engagement activities” by artists known for their incisive examinations of the culture industry.  —Craig Moy

• MOCCA, 952 Queen St. W., 416-395-0067; mocca.ca
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