EXPLORE THESE TORONTO ART DISTRICTS TO DISCOVER EXCELLENT GALLERIES AND SOME OF THE BEST CONTEMPORARY WORKS FROM CANADA AND ABROAD
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.
ORGANIZED BY THE CANADIAN STAGE, SPOTLIGHT SOUTH AFRICA ILLUMINATES THE COUNTRY WITH THREE WEEKS OF INNOVATIVE THEATRE, DANCE AND PERFORMANCE-ART WORKS
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
ADMIRE THE PHYSICAL BEAUTY, STRENGTH AND SEAMLESS INTERACTION OF HORSES AND HUMANS AS CAVALIA’S ODYSSEO RETURNS TO TORONTO.
APRIL 8 TO MAY 17 You can lead a horse to water, or you can bring water to a horse. At least that’s what Cavalia’s Odysseo would have you believe. In the splashy finale of this spectacular show, 300,000 litres of water floods the stage, creating a man-made pond that’s promptly descended upon by galloping horses. It’s a show capper that aptly sums up both the graceful aesthetic and overall ambition of the performance, as well as the majestic creatures that are its stars.
THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO VISIT TORONTO MUSEUMS. EACH OF THEM REVEALS IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HUMANITY’S CULTURAL HISTORY, WHILE LOOKING TOWARD OUR SHARED FUTURE.
The Gallery of Chinese Temple Art, Gallery of the Age of Mammals, and Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures are among the Royal Ontario Museum’s many unique permanent exhibits (photos: Royal Ontario Museum)
It can be easy to take the Royal Ontario Museum for granted. If you’ve visited Toronto for any length of time, you’ve probably wandered through the museum’s halls and examined its vast holdings at least once. After all, the ROM has now stood for 101 years. No matter, though—if this is your first visit or, well, your one hundred and first, there’s always something to discover. Most patrons (especially those with children) make a beeline to the Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs on the second floor of the stark Michael Lee Chin Crystal, but we think you’ll find equal enjoyment examining the museum’s stunning assemblage of minerals and gems, and its vast holdings of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and South Asian art. Unique among Toronto museums, the ROM’s purview includes both natural and human history. Feel a bout of museum fatigue coming on? The fourth-floor contemporary gallery is usually a little quieter (though right now it’s hosting a big Douglas Coupland show), or just take a minute to stand in the ROM’s historic rotunda: its domed ceiling is composed of more than one million Venetian glass tiles, arranged in pictographs representing the world’s natural and cultural histories.
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 APRIL!
Clockwise from top-left: Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; the Eifman St. Petersburg Ballet; Dame Edna
APRIL 7 TO 19 Budding movie makers, critics and all-around enthusiasts are in the director’s chair at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival, featuring more than 100 screenings for children aged three to 13. The event, which includes 120-plus shorts and feature-length films from 37 nations, demonstrates the medium’s ability to both entertain and educate, and to act as a means of exploring different concepts and themes. Through to the end of the fest, attendees can also visit TIFF’s digiPlaySpace, an award-winning interactive exhibit that enables kids to unleash their imagination through play with robotics, mobile apps, video games, 3D printing and virtual-reality experiences. TIFF Bell Lightbox, adults $13, children $9, digiPlaySpace access $10, film and digiPlaySpace adults $20, children $15; see tiff.net for details.
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
QUEEN WEST PHOTOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION STEPHEN BULGER GALLERY CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
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
• Map and reviews
CHINESE CHILDREN’S HATS MAKE FOR A COLOURFUL KICKOFF TO THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA’S 40TH YEAR
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
• Map and reviews
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!
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.
THE ANNUAL SCHOOL BREAK MEANS THERE ARE MANY CHILD- AND FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO!
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.
DOUGLAS COUPLAND, ONE OF CANADA’S BEST-KNOWN CREATIVE ARTISTS, GETS A DOUBLE-BARRELLED RETROSPECTIVE IN 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
• Map and reviews
• Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen St. W., 416-395-0067; mocca.ca
• Map and reviews
THE BLOOR-YORKVILLE ICEFEST RETURNS FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF STUNNING FROZEN SCULPTURES.
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