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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in June 2016

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 JUNE!

Le Petit Prince is a new work commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada. (credit: Barbara Cole)

JUNE 1 TO JULY 3  Pride Toronto commemorates two monumental firsts this year: a 30-day celebration of diversity with the kick off of Pride Month beginning on June 1, and for the first time in Canadian history, when a sitting prime minister, Justin Trudeau, marches in the Pride Parade on July 3 joined by Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne and Toronto mayor John Tory. All month long, some of the city’s leading cultural organizations, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Harbourfront Centre, host a variety of events in conjunction with Pride Month.

JUNE 3  National Doughnut Day means that a visit to Jelly Modern Doughnuts is a must for gourmet goodies in such flavours as maple bacon and s’mores.

JUNE 4 AND 5  Head to Historic Fort York and Garrison Common for Field Trip, a two-day, family-friendly event, featuring live concerts, art displays, comedy acts, a marketplace and lots of food. Among the scheduled performers are The National, Basia Bulat, Jazz Cartier, Robyn, Kalle Mattson and Brave Shores among others.

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Hops of Fun: 7 Stops for a Refreshing Pint of Craft Beer

CRAFT BREWING CONTINUES TO BE A BIG BUSINESS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, WITH A GROWING GROUP OF INDEPENDENT BEER MAKERS PRODUCING NEW EXCITING ALES, LAGERS AND STOUTS, AND EVER MORE CUSTOMERS DEMANDING THE SMALL-BATCH BEVERAGES AT THEIR LOCAL WATERING HOLES.

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Photo Credit: Amsterdam BrewHouse

In Toronto, both supply and demand have noticeably increased over the past half-decade. Though corporate beers remain predominant, most respectable establishments now serve at least a couple of options for more discerning drinkers, and connoisseurs can look to any of the bars and brewpubs recommended below for some truly memorable beer-based experiences.

1 Indie Ale House is a straightforward name for a joint that specializes in decidedly non-standard bevvies. Look for rare releases like its “Fates and Furies” series—barrel-aged beers brewed using ancient techniques.

2 Though relatively new, Bloordale’s Burdock has already established itself as a microbrewery and resto-bar to watch. Eight taps pour its “approachably experimental” offerings while the kitchen serves gourmet comfort fare.

3 Still a foodie favourite, Bar Isabel is also very well known for its craft beer list, which, among other things, has many bottles from top-tier Quebec brewers Trou du Diable and Dieu du Ciel.

4 Toronto hipsters’ beers of choice come from Bellwoods Brewery, which offers exceptional drinks—the Farmhouse saison and Witchshark IPA are both classics—in its brewpub and bottle shop.

5 Amsterdam Brewhouse is a massive Harbourfront hub—with three lakeside patios—for enjoying beers by Toronto’s oldest independent brewery. Try a flight of four beers, or see what’s new in the tanks.

6 Family-owned Bar Volo is one of the city’s more venerable spots for craft brews. Can’t decide from among the 100-plus taps and bottles? Its house line of cask-conditioned ales are always intriguing. (Volo is closing it’s Yonge Street location in September; a new location is yet to be announced.)

7 Just outside the Financial District, Beerbistro entices area hot shots with brasserie-style fare and a massive selection of everything from local lagers to trappist ales.

Niagara is for Everyone: A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME FUN IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT AND KEEPING YOUR KIDS ENTERTAINED WHILE TRAVELING AS A FAMILY.

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No visit to the region is complete without seeing the falls. The sight is awe-inspiring from afar, but it’s even better to feel the thundering spray aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which carries poncho-donning passengers to the base of the Horseshoe Falls and past the American and Bridal Veil falls. Or experience the action from the observation decks of Journey Behind the Falls, which traverses 45 metres down through bedrock to the foot of the falls where 2,800 cubic metres of water crashes to the ground every second.

Feel like diving right into the water instead of just watching it? Waves Indoor Waterpark is an expansive playground with kiddie pools and slides that are as tall as three storeys.

Butterfly Conservatory NPC_6067Immerse with nature at the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory or Bird Kingdom. The former is home to more than 2,000 tropical winged creatures, while the latter is the largest indoor free-flying aviary in the world. Experience animals of the amazon at the Rainforest Café, a family-friendly restaurant adorned in a canopy of trees and animatronic elephants and gorillas serving up pint-sized portions of hot dogs, burgers and pasta.

 

hershey-milkshakeHershey’s Chocolate World is a perfect spot for an afternoon pick-me-up. All manner of cocoa confections can be found here from chocolate-dipped strawberries and pretzels to cookies and milkshakes. Of course, there’s a lot of goodies to take home, too, including Kisses, Reese and Jolly Rancher products.

— Linda Luong Luck

 

 

 

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

Romance at the Falls

Niagara is for Everyone: Romance at the Falls

EACH YEAR, MORE THAN 12 MILLION PEOPLE VISIT THE NIAGRA REGION FOR THEIR VACATION OR GETAWAY. HERE ARE SOME ROMANTIC IDEAS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT TO THE HONEYMOON CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

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Soar over the region’s lush landscape with a tour from Niagara Helicopters, which lands at one of several wineries including Hillebrand Estates and Peller Estates for lunch and a tour.

Stay on land but retain the romance with a horse-drawn carriage ride in and around Niagara-on-the-Lake. Sentineal Carriages offers 30-, 45-minute and hour-long narrated tours through Old Town.

Stop and smell the roses—all 2,400 of them!—at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Spread across 40 hectares, the grounds are lushly maintained with the likes of rhododendrons, azaleas and vegetable and herb plantings. NPC_3716

 

Get pampered and unwind with a couples massage. Both The Spa at White Oaks and Spa on the Twenty offer side-by-side massages, but the latter can also teach couples the proper techniques to knead out each other’s knots. For a truly indulgent experience, book the Time for Two service at Five Lakes Spa Aveda, which includes a massage, facial and pedicure for two.

Have a romantic dinner amongst the stars at the Revolving Dining Room at Skylon Tower, which is perched 236 metres above ground offering a spectacular view of the falls, which is particularly pretty at nighttime when it’s illuminated.

 

RELATED NIAGRA IS FOR EVERYONE STORIES:

A Kid-Friendly Itinerary

Simons Says to Visit Square One

SIMONS  COMES TO ONTARIO WITH A NEW LOCATION AT SQUARE ONE SHOPPING CENTRE MISSISSAUGA

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Originally founded in 1840 as a dry goods store in Quebec City, the family-owned Simons has expanded to include 12 locations across Canada. It’s new venture in Mississauga at Square One Shopping Centre is a two-storey 110,000 square-foot space housing the company’s trendy but moderately-priced apparel and housewares from its own private label as well as a mix of international designers like Cédric Charlier and Vivienne Westwood alongside rising Canadian talent. Toronto-based design firm Figure3, who worked alongside Simons’s longtime partner Lemay Michaud, have created distinctive departments for its different collections, such as graffiti art and porta potty fitting rooms for Djba, which is geared towards young men, while suspended wire clouds denotes its iFive activewear.

—Linda Luong Luck

Chabrol: A Tiny French Bisto in the Heart of Yorkville

SMALL BUT MIGHTY CHABROL SERVES UP EXCELLENT SOUTHERN FRENCH CUISINE

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The buttery, unforgettable tarte aux pommes.

Chef Doug Penfold knows Spanish food. For years he’s served some of the city’s best tapas at midtown institution Cava. Turns out he’s equally passionate about French fare, as evidenced by his cooking at Chabrol, a tiny bistro Penfold launched with Cava co-owner Niall McCotter. Set back from the bustle of Yorkville Avenue, it’s an elegant hideaway for unfussy indulgence. Order and aperitif and some oysters, then spoil yourself with the rich wild mushroom and artichoke ragout—plus the chef’s acclaimed tarte aux pommes for dessert.—Craig Moy

 

•90 Yorkville Ave., 416-428-6641; chabrolrestaurant.com
Map and reviews

Global Eats

EXOTIC YET AUTHENTIC FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD CAN BE FOUND RIGHT HERE IN TORONTO. HERE, YOUR PASSPORT TO PALATE-PLEASING DISHES FROM SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND BEYOND.

Fried chicken at Omaw

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Omaw riffs on Southern American cooking like no other restaurant in the city. Inspired by Carolina cooking, chef Matt Blondin slings plates of aged wagyu with beef fat vinaigrette, baguettes topped with pickled mussels and creamed corn, and recently he’s been winning crowds with heaping plates of his signature buttermilk fried chicken.

88 Ossington Ave., Toronto. 416-477-5450; omaw.ca

 

Pastries at Lucullus Bakers & Roasters

Lucullus’ third outpost brings 26 years of European pastries and Chinese breads in a posh boutique setting in Markham. The selection varies daily but you can expect an assortment of stuffed croissants along with steamed baskets of dumplings, and of course the iconic bo lo bao (pineapple buns).

31 Elm St., 416-792-1886; 7750 Kennedy Rd., 905-513-1188; lucullusbakery.com

 

Octopus at Bar Isabel

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Photo by Nicole Kim.

Chef Grant van Gameren was cooking up whole octopus at his Spanish restaurant Bar Isabel long before cephalapod reached mainstream fame. It’s a dish he can’t remove from the menu, grilled tentacles swimming in a tomato sauce with chunks of chorizo and Israeli couscous. Once you’re done mopping up the bowl, finish with some basque cake.

797 College St., 416-532-2222; barisabel.com

 

Rabbit Stifado at Mamakas Taverna

Classic Greek cooking with a facelift is what Chris Kalisperas does best at Ossington hotspot Mamakas. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the rabbit stifado. Kalisperas braises whole legs of rabbit in red wine, mirepoix, bay leaf, cinnamon and peppercorns for a few hours. It’s finished off in a pan with roast cippollini onions and parsley and served with a purée of local sunchokes.

80 Ossington Ave., 416-519-5996; mamakas.ca

 

Thali at Indian Street Food Company

A visit to Hemant Bhagwani’s midtown restaurant is a must if you want a true representation of street food prevalent in India’s many railways stations and roadside stalls. The rotating daily thali is a sublime experience, a mound of rice and freshly baked naan is served with a half a dozen dips and curries that take you on a flavour-packed trip of salty, tangy and spicy.

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Thalis at Indian Street Food Company include a variety of flavourful curries and dips .

1701 Bayview Ave., 416-322-3270; indianstreetfoodco.com

 

BBQ-Glazed beef tongue at Diwan

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The gorgeous dining room of Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum.

At the Aga Khan Museum, where chef Mark McEwan has recently taken over the food and beverage services, tuck into a vibrant Middle Eastern-themed menu while enjoying sprawling views of the Aga Khan Park. The top sandwich on the menu sees cooked beef slathered in a barbecue reduction and served with an East African salsa and pepper aioli on sourdough.

Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4670; agakhanmuseum.org

 

Curry udon with shrimp tempura at Menami

This new Sanuki udon house is putting out some of the best Japanese noodle bowls in the city. Kagawa-style artisanal “big fat noodles” is what MeNami specializes in, hand cut with a soft, al dente bite, tossed in a variety of broths (there are 15 versions in total). The signature bowl is the curry udon, noodles drowning in a rich clear broth, topped with vegetable and shrimp tempura.

MeNami Japanese Udon House and Sake Bar, 5469 Yonge St., 416-229-6191; menami.ca

 

Torta Cubana at Torteria San Cosme

Ever since restaurateur Arturo Anhalt laid eyes on a former cafe space in Kensington Market, the owner of Milagro restaurant wanted to open a traditional Mexican torteria. Nearly everything on the menu is sourced from the market, tucked generously into soft breads called pan teleras. The crowd favourite is the Cubana: thick slices of smoked ham and chunks of adobo pork are bathed in gouda and coated to the rim with a chipotle sauce.

181 Baldwin St., 416-599-2855; sancosme.ca

 

Quail and Foie Gras at Scaramouche

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Sacramouche specializes in upscale French dining.

Upscale French dining doesn’t get any better. Keith Froggett’s longstanding Scaramouche restaurant has set the standard for refined food and service in this city. They continue to entice diners night after night with dishes like the quail and foie gras. It’s a decadent dance of sweet and savoury notes with stuffed quail, double smoked bacon, and sauternes raisins drenched in foie gras jus.

1 Benvenuto Pl., 416-961-8011; scaramoucherestaurant.com

 

Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken at Maha’s

A family-run Egyptian restaurant near Little India is redefining what it’s like to brunch in the city. Imported drawings and fixtures dress the tiny dining room with a menu that is all about flavour and getting your hands messy. The quintessential Maha dish is a messy tower of slow marinated chicken dripping in mayo and garlic sauce, covered with onions, tomatoes and parsley.

226 Greenwood Ave., 416-462-2703; mahasbrunch.com

Suresh Doss is a Toronto-based food and drink writer. You can follow him on Twitter @spotlightcity or Instagram @suresh.

 

Explore Photography at the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival


THE SCOTIABANK PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL INCLUDES VENUES ALL OVER THE CITY, WITH PHOTOGRAPHS IN GALLERIES, MUSEUMS AND URBAN SPACES.

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At the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Sarah Anne Johnson’s Chillin’ at the Void is part of a series depicting outdoor music festivals as metaphors for Dionysian counterculture and the communal rejection of modern-day social norms.

 

MAY 1 TO 31 Toronto’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival draws attention to the creation and consumption of photo-based images and the challenging questions they pose—about the nature of memory, the formation of identity and much more. This year’s 20th-anniversary event promises to be as diverse and provocative as ever, with hundreds of exhibitions that, among other things, depict the industrial-scale accumulation of a newspaper photo archive (at the Globe and Mail headquarters), explore the scientific applications of photography (Edgar Leciejewski’s “scanographs” of birds at the North York Civic Centre) and use the banal to underscore the absurdity of superstardom (prints from the UofTDrizzy Instagram account, which photoshops Drake into mundane collegiate scenarios, will be installed throughout the city).

In all, the festival is both a snapshot of the state of contemporary photographic practice and a large-scale mediation on the act of truly seeing the world around us—for what it is (and isn’t), what it was and what it could be.

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Edgar Leciejewski’s ornithological scanographs—on display at the North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge St.)—upend our expectations of scientific objectivity, favouring aesthetic concerns over strict representation.

 

Diane Arbus_A Young Man and his Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park

Diane Arbus’s A Young Man and His Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park is one of 300-plus images in “Outsiders: American Photography and Film, 1950s–1980s,” a monumental Art Gallery of Ontario group show that captures the changing face of the U.S. during a period of social and political upheaval.

 

Exceptional Hospitality in the GTA Recognized with the 2016 Spirit Awards

On April 22, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) presented the fifth annual Spirit Awards, a ceremony that recognizes the tireless efforts of front line staff at hotels across Toronto and the GTA. Nominees in 18 different categories, including housekeeping room attendant, valet driver, laundry and steward of the year, are chosen by their peers. More than 500 attendees attended the luncheon celebrations, which were hosted by Kevin Frankish of City TV’s Breakfast Television. Here, GTHA president and CEO Terry Mundell shares more about the history of the Spirit Awards, its evolution and what it means to the organization’s 32,000-strong membership to be assisting visitors during their stay in Toronto.

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The 18 winners of the 2016 Spirit Awards.

Where: How did the Spirit Awards come about?

Terry Mundell: The Spirit Awards was developed from a discussion that originated with our association Board of Directors. The intent of the event was to recognize and show our appreciation to those front of the line ambassadors that provide an exceptional visitor experience, which leaves a lasting impression on the over 14 million overnight visitors to the Greater Toronto Area.

Where: How are the winners determined?

TM: The judging panel is made up of five individuals who include event sponsors, industry partners and representatives from the Spirit Awards committee. The judges review the nominations prior to the event and grade them based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, a can-do attitude, delivering that exceptional customer experience, and passion for their team and property that drives return visitors.

Where: What are the most common qualities of nominees?

TM: Passion. For these exceptional ambassadors in the hotel community, it’s all about the passion they have for the visitors they greet, their team members and their property.

Where: Why do you think the recognition means so much?

TM: These front of the line exceptional ambassadors are being recognized among hundreds of other nominees at the event to celebrate the best of the best our industry has to offer; just to be nominated gives them so much pride. 

Where: What is your favourite aspect of the Spirit Awards each year?

TM: After the winner is announced, they proceed to have their photo taken with myself and the award sponsor. Seeing this ambassador moments after they’ve accepted their award is incredible: the excitement, the pride and pure joy they express is an experience in itself.

Where: What do you look forward to the most at this event?

TM: Talking to the nominees, getting a chance to say hi and thanking them for everything they do for our industry.

Visit gtha.com for a complete list of winners and for more information about the GTHA.

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in May 2016

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 MAY!

Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland is Canada’s tallest and biggest roller coaster

MAY 1  The country’s largest theme park, Canada’s Wonderland kicks off opening day with even more excitement to its lineup of rides with two new soaring interactive experiences: Skyhawk and Flying Eagles. The former is the first of its kind in North America, letting thrill seekers control their own cockpit by navigating 360 degree turns and inversions from 135 feet in the air, while the latter lets pint-sized pilots—along with a co-pilot—steer their own plane. Of course, the park’s 16 roller coasters, water park, two kids play areas, and midway games are among the other draws that make it the most visited seasonal amusement park in North America.

MAY 1 TO 3  Esteemed paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim speaks about the discovery of fossils belonging to the largest predatory dinosaur ever discovered as part of the National Geographic Live series.

MAY 2 AND 3  Canadian musician Lights, known for such songs as “February Air” and “Drive My Soul,” performs an acoustic show at The Danforth Music Hall with special guests DCF.

MAY 4 AND 5  The Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Brahms Symphony 4 alongside a new work by John Adams with a violin solo.

MAY 6  A roster of Canadian and world champion figure skaters take part in Stars on Ice, including Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Javier Fernández, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Joannie Rochette among others.

MAY 7  Catch Canadian singer and songwriter Royal Wood at The Danforth Music Hall.

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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in April 2016

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!

digiPlaySpace at the TIFF Bell Lightbox features 25 interactive installations for kids (photo: courtesy of TIFF)

APRIL 1  There’s no better way to celebrate April Fools’ Day then with the funny folks at Yuk Yuk’s, who are hosting An Evening of Comedy at Massey Hall hosted by Gilbert Gottfried. Nikki Payne headlines the evening, alongside other comics such as Zabrina Chevannes, Jeff Elliott, Darren Frost, Mayce Galoni, Matt O’Brien and Richard Ryder.

APRIL 2  Iranianborn singer Moein, best known for his love ballads, brings his unique voice to the Sony Centre stage.

APRIL 3  The world’s most famous basketball team, the Harlem Globetrotters, tips off its 90th anniversary with a world tour that includes a stop in Toronto. See the likes of Cheese Chisholm, Bull Bullard, Big Easy Lofton and Ant Atkinson display their dribbling showmanship in a family-friendly show.

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Nine of Toronto’s Best Views (and Photo Opportunities)

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The view of downtown Toronto from Humber Bay Park West (photo: Craig Moy)

At street level, it’s easy to get a sense of Toronto’s busyness—its many packed restaurants, its workers hustling to and from their offices, its ever-present car traffic. What’s not always evident, though, is the megacity’s sheer scope. These prime vantage points and rooftop roosts show just how far the Big Smoke stretches.

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