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Archive for the ‘Toronto Events’ Category

Toronto: July: Festivals Galore

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Summer in the city means plenty of exciting festivals and events showcasing everything from athletes and jazz music to gelato, movies and dance. Here’s a look at what July has to offer:

Summerlicious

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This July-long yum-fest featuring Toronto restaurants allows you to sample diverse and innovative cuisine at a fraction of the regular cost thanks to prix-fixe menus. See here for more info about participating restaurants.

Toronto Fringe Festival

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Running until July 12, this event is a potpourri of odd, inspiring and poignant performances that can centre on everything from Shakespeare to Oreo cookies. This year’s line-up boasts over 60 comedy shows, 14 dance and physical theatre shows, 30 dramas, 13 musicals, 20 national and 12 international companies hailing from around the globe. For details, click here .

Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

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Cheer on your fave aspiring Olympian as the best athletes from 41 countries and territories compete. Tickets start at just $20. Get your tickets here.

Beaches International Jazz Festival

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From July 10 to 26, groove to a kaleidoscope of cool musicians in this 27th annual event featuring four stages of international talent. See website for more info.

Toronto Summer Music Festival

Marking its tenth year, this international classical music festival and academy brings world-renowned performing artists to Toronto for an unparalleled combination of concerts, guest lectures and master classes. See website for more information.

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival

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Three weeks of Caribbean music, cuisine, visual and performing arts and revelry are up for grabs this month at this international event, the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. For more information, click here.

Open Roof Festival

This not for profit, outdoor music and film festival highlights independent filmmakers and artists from Canada and around the world. Profits go to Canada’s independent film production and music communities. For details, click here.

Play the Parks

From June to September the Yonge BIA is offering a free concert series and wellness program. Various downtown parks such as Trinity Park and College Park Courtyard offer an array of musical performers during various times. Click here for more.

Christie Pits Film Festival

Sundays at sunset is the date and time to take in this year’s theme of films about great villains. Enjoy classics such as Nosferatu, The Birds and There Will Be Blood. There’s nothing like an al fresco film to celebrate summer. For more information, see website.

Sunday Serenades

Running every Sunday until August 16, is big band, jazz and swing acts at Mel Lastman Square from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. For details, click here.

BrazilFest

To experience the rhythms, sights, sounds and delicious aromas of Brazil be sure to check out this 12th annual event on July 19 at Earlscourt Park. Go to website for more.

Pan American Food Festival

if you enjoy the culture and flavours of the Americas – North, South, Central and the Caribbean – this one’s for you. The free event takes place from July 30 to August 3 at Daniels Spectrum in Regent Park. See Pan American Food Festival for info.

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June 2015: The Month of Festivals in Toronto

Friday, June 19th, 2015

When you look at the list of community events, festivals, parades and general merriment descending upon Toronto this June, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit tired already. With so much to do and so little time, we’d better get started:

Luminato:

When?: June 19 to 28

This annual 10-day celebration of the arts features talks, dance, art, music, song, film, food and theatre. Look for talks by Nelly Furtado, cabaret acts and so much more. Click here for details.

luminato

Ontario Craft Beer Week

When?: June 12 to 21

Marks this province-wide craft beer celebration. OCB Week is designed to expose consumers to the craft beer experience through tasting events, brewery tours, meet the brew master events, cooking demonstrations and more. For more information, click here.

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Pride Parade

When?: June 19 to 28

This is when the Toronto Pride Festival takes place. Capping off the nine-day celebration is the world’s largest pride parade on Sunday June 28. Click here for more details.

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Toronto Ribfest

When?: June 27 to July 1

Rotary Etobicoke invites you to kick off your summer at its 16th annual Toronto Ribfest. With two stages of entertainment, a free KidzZone and Toronto’s largest mobile midway it’s no wonder the festival makes the Top 100 list for Ontario festivals and events. Click here for details.

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Live in Bellwoods: Great Heart Festival

When?: June 18 to 21

Trinity Bellwoods is hosting its annual Great Heart Festival for the sixth year. Featuring a lengthy list of unplugged performances, be there or be square. Click here for more details.

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Toronto Jazz Festival

When?: June 18 to 29 

Here are a few performances that don’t require tickets. June 19 features three separate performances open to the public: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Dumpstaphunk, and Morris Day & The Time. Check out the full calendar here.

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Symphony in the Gardens at Casa Loma

When?: Every Tuesday evening beginning June 9 to August 25.

Starring the Toronto Concert Orchestra, this weekly event features the works of Edith Piaf, Mozart, movie scores and so much more. For more info click here.

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Summer Music in the Park

When?: Fridays, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Saturdays and statutory holidays, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm, from June 5 to September 12 (weather permitting) at the Village of Yorkville Park – Check out the line-up here.

Scotiabank CHIN Picnic

When?: June 19 to 21

Join the more than 250,000 picnickers who head down to College Street for this, the largest free multicultural festival going. Click here for more details.

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Junction Summer Festival

When?: June 20

Put on by the Junction’s BIA, this summer solstice festival marries commerce with art installations, pageantry with live music and street food with buskers. For more information, click here.

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Indigenous Arts Festival

When?: June 18 to 20

At historic Fort York celebrate traditional and contemporary music, dance, theatre, storytelling, spoken word, visual arts, crafts, and food created by indigenous artists. Click here for details.

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Taste of Little Italy 

When?: June 19 to 21

Check out College Street between Bathurst and Shaw for this 16th annual event that features Italian music, food and so much more. Visit here for more details.

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Battle of Black Creek

When?: June 20 & 21

Over one hundred soldiers set up camp for this colourful Revolutionary War re-enactment with a full scale battle. Kids will love the rubber band shooting gallery and the excitement of the encampments and demonstrations.  Click here for more details.

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Traditional Outdoor Pow Wow

When?: June 21

Na-Ma-Res (Native Men’s Residence) holds its annual Pow-Wow to recognize National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, the Summer Solstice. The event is free, open to the public and features traditional dancing, drumming, feasts, giveaways, and children’s activities. For more information, click here.

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Eco-Art-Fest

When?: June 18

This festival runs for three months over the summer and features multiple installations that express the creativity of the artist while drawing attention to important issues affecting the environment. This show will also feature a number of performance art pieces that narrate the history of Todmorden Mills and the surrounding area. Click here for more details.

 

Dancing in the Streets of Toronto

Friday, June 12th, 2015

It’s real dance performed by residents in open spaces to audiences that number as many as 400. In its fourth year, Porch View Dances returns to Seaton Village this summer offering spectators a rare and delightful celebration of the neighbourhood and engaging “real people in real time in real spaces.”

--DR_Porchview_2012_0137

Freeman Real Estate is proud to be a gold sponsor of Porch View Dances, the brainchild of Karen and Allen Kaeja, owners and operators of Kaeja d’Dance, a 25-year-old contemporary dance company that performs, tours and teaches.

“Events like Porch View Dances are unique and uplifting,” says Elden Freeman, president of Freeman Real Estate. “Not only does it serve to edify the residents of our neighbourhood but it inspires and promotes community engagement.”

-A Wink O'Kerrs 1crop

Kaeja d’Dance has always been interested in community engagement and promoting people’s interest in the world of dance and it capability to tell a story. The concept for Porch View came about during a meeting in which the dance studio director wondered what it would be like if the neighbour she could see out her window in Seaton Village danced down the street to tell a story.

“The first Porch View Dance simply blew up,” says Shana Hillman, general manager at Kaeja d’Dance. “We thought there might be 30 or 40 people and we got 400 people each night. We also got a lot of press and it’s become so big and crazy.”

--A Wink o'Kerrs - Diana Renelli

The event pairs professional choreographers with families and they create a dance and the audience is led through the neighbourhood with a guide, who shares anecdotes and tales about the area. Performances always conclude in Vermont Square Park, where the audience is led in an inclusive Flock Landing finale that looks like tai chi set to music.

The event has garnered so much attention that organizers now need to apply for a parade permit since spectators are coming from all over the city to see it, says Hillman.

Porch View Dances this year will involve three families. Performances run from August 19 to 23.

“The feedback we’re hearing from our families is that with everyone being so busy it’s a pleasure to have dedicated time with other family members to create something,” says Hillman. “A family last year was having a difficult time with their 13-year-old daughter and after being involved in Porch View Dances she’s taken on more of a leadership role and has a newfound sense of confidence.”

Porch View Dances has won a number of awards and recently received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, allowing the dance company to spend the next three years taking Porch View Dances to three other communities around the province. Organizers are heading to Ottawa’s Westboro neighbourhood this month to mount a Porch View Dances as part of the Canada Dance Festival June 11-13.

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“This has been a game-changer for us,” says Hillman. “Exposing the public to ‘dance by accident’, inspired us to increase our footprints in communities where the creation is shared with the participants and the audience is essential to the experience.”

Kaeja d’Dance hopes to help blur the line between art and the public by going beyond exposing new audiences to dance by involving all ages and abilities as performers to make for a more dynamic and vibrant city, while building people’s curiosity and trust in an experiential and meaningful way, to be engaged with the arts.

Click here to see some homes for sale in this area!

Toronto Party on Dundas West

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Get your party hats on this Saturday as Dundas West rolls out the red carpet for a celebration of arts, community and all that is local.

Whether young or old, into sports or fashion, fitness or music, the Dundas West Fest is a fun family friendly event that takes place on June 6 and spans about 12 city blocks from Landsdowne to Ossington. Sponsored by the Dundas West BIA and the Little Portugal BIA, expect to find good eats and treats, lively music, and a whole host of vendors selling arts and crafts and loads more.

The festival will include more than 40 patios, six areas for buskers, three main stages and shopping to your heart’s content with over 200 different vendors. Foodies will delight as the festival features options for every taste and budget.

To make organization a little simpler, the festival is divvied up into zones, from 1 to 4. Naturally, with an event such as this entertainment of all kinds abounds.

Look for a free African drumming workshop in Zone 1 starting at 10 am at the West Stage. There is plenty of kiddy fun here with full-fledged all-kid bands to acapella groups, singer-songwriters and even some theatre and dance. But by late afternoon the West Stage bursts into adulthood with performances by the legendary local rocker and MP Andrew Cash, traditional Angolan dancers, the Cohen Hammond Trio and the Helder Pereira Band.

Hear readings by Portuguese-Canadian writers featuring the likes of Aida Jordao, Irene Marques, Antonio Marques, Emanuel Melo and Humberto da Silva.

Watch great local art and photography at the Through the Looking Glass exhibit at Rose Will Studio and Gallery.

In Zone 2, from Brock to Dufferin, join in the afternoon laugh party featuring great neighbourhood comedians Helder Brum, Rhiannon Archer, Mike Rita, Brian Ward and host Nick Flanagan.

Feel like getting a workout in? Zone 3 has just the thing. A free outdoor yoga class at 10 am at Studio Blue, 1457 Dundas St West.

Between Dufferin and Dovercourt is where you’ll find some of Toronto’s most popular busker acts. Check out the event’s Busker Zones at Coolmine, Lisgar and at Federal Streets, including Madame Bella Muerte, Lucy Loop, Mighty Mike and more.

In Zone 4, which runs between Dovercourt and Ossington, hear live music all day at the Lakeview Avenue Stage in the Beer Store parking lot. Beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the Tavares Quintet, followed by Good Enough Live Karaoke, synth rock from LIPS,  rockabilly maestros the Royal Crowns, Neon Wave,  then Good Enough Live Karaoke again, Mexican Slang,  Blonde Elvis and finishing with DIY favourites Choir! Choir! Choir! at 8:30 p.m.

If the past is your thing, you’re sure to enjoy the Portuguese Canadian History Project exhibit, The Portuguese in Canada: 1953 – 2013. IC Savings also features community favourites Clay & Paper Theatre and renowned local artist Viktor Mitic.

Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. the West House will feature a seniors’ dance group, a life-sized scrabble game, musical performances by the West House Music School and more.

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A Curiosity Seeker’s Dream Event

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Ever walked by a building, structure or church and wondered why it was built or what it looks like on the inside?

There is a festival designed solely just for that. The 16th annual Doors Open Toronto festival offers people free and rare access to more than 155 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.

The two-day event takes place this year on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday May 24. This year’s theme of Sports, Recreation and Leisure pays tribute to this summer’s Pan-Am Games and features private and public recreational sites ranging from aquatic centres to athletics stadiums.

Doors will be open at buildings from the lake to the 407 and as far west as Islington to the eastern reaches of Military Trail. In and around the Freeman Real Estate office at 988 Bathurst, there are several notable buildings worth visiting:

Artscape Wychwood Barns 

This 100-year-old former streetcar repair facility is today a hub for arts, culture, food security, urban agriculture, environmental and other community activities and initiatives. Opened in 2008, this multi-faceted complex has become the social heart of the neighbourhood.

City of Toronto Archives 

Opened in 1992, the City of Toronto Archives was designed with a sky lit Research Hall where researchers can access the City’s documentary heritage. Doors Open guests will be given behind-the-scenes treatment as they view artworks based on archival images that have been created by students from the TDSB especially for the Pan-Am Games.

Denegri Bessai Studio 

This modest two-storey commercial and residential brick building situated on Bathurst Street, south of Dupont, will take visitors through the studio’s office space. View live prototyping and 3D printing demonstrations in addition to engaging in discussions with office staff.

First Church of Christ, Scientist – Toronto 

 This neo-classic building was commissioned to accommodate the growing Toronto congregation and has served its members since its completion in 1916. The interior spatial style mimics ancient Greece. The auditorium is arranged to seat just under 1,000 people in traditional pews and also holds an outstanding organ.

High Level Pumping Station 

High Level is located at the site of the long-buried Castle Frank Brook. This stream is the original source of raw water for the former Yorkville Waterworks. While Torontonians now rely on Lake Ontario for their tap water, the station’s core function of pumping water to higher elevations in Toronto remains unchanged for more than a century. High Level is the oldest pumping station in Toronto’s water supply system. The building has expanded over time to feature several additions that reflect different architectural styles such as Second Empire, Edwardian Classical and Style Moderne.

Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens

Built in 1866, the Spadina Museum was built by Toronto financier James Austin. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the remarkable restoration of this site with the support of stationed site staff that will be on-hand to offer background information on the site and answer questions.

Doors Open is presented by Great Gulf and produced by the City of Toronto in partnership with the broader community.

For more information about the event visit http://bit.ly/1dZbpeI.

 

Family Fun this March Break

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

One of the things people most love about Toronto is the ridiculous amount of fun the city has for all ages. From activities, events and museums to galleries, theatre and sports, the city offers up a wide range of family friendly things to do.  With the March Break fast approaching we thought we’d look at a few can’t-miss activities.

Wizard World Fun Park, March 15 – 22, at the Better Living Centre. This outdoor fun park includes over 20 mechanical and inflatable rides, a little tots area for children under five, arts and crafts, a large exotic petting zoo, daily shows, pony rides and more. See http://www.wizardworld.ca/ for more information.

March Break at Ontario’s Legislative Building, March 16 – 20. This free event is for families with children aged 6 – 10. Explore the historic building through a scavenger hunt, dress-up in the traditional black robes worn by Parliament and enjoy some craft time. Pre-registration is required. See http://educationportal.ontla.on.ca/en/visit-us/programs/march-break-program.

Toronto ComicCon, March 20 – 22, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Celebrating all things pop culture, ComicCon is your place if you love comic books, anime, science fiction, gaming and horror. Meet your favourite celebrities, artist and writers. Enjoy panels and workshops. And, showcase your costumes and cosplay. Get more info at http://www.comicontoronto.com/2012/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/KIDS-PROGRAMMING.pdf

Pinocchio, March 3 – 21, at Young People’s Theatre. This children’s classic comes to life in a wildly inventive new production. Recommended for kids six and up. See http://www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca/shows-tickets/pinocchio/ for more details.

Disney presents Frozen, March 18 – 22, at Rogers Centre. Join Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven, hosts Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and many more of your favourite Disney characters. See more at: http://www.toronto-theatre.com/theaters/rogers-centre/disney-on-ice-frozen.php#sthash.vJtNAiak.dpuf

Sing-a-Long-a Grease Friday, March 20, at the Living Arts Centre. Have you ever been to a musical and had the uncontrollable urge to burst into song? Well, now is your chance to don those pink jackets, grease up those quiffs and let your inhibitions go for an evening where you are the stars. For more info seehttp://www.singalonga.net/worldwide/canada/grease/

AGO: Art Gallery of Ontario, March 14 – 22. Enjoy nine fun-filled days of creative exploration. Enjoy beat box and drumming performances, see the amazing SOAR Rope Skipping and Brampton imagesUNYJZQ3HAcro Ropers and learn how to ‘double dutch.’ Create your own graffiti name “tags” for our tag wall, watch kid-friendly films in Jackman Hall, take a guided tour, visit the brand new Kids Gallery exhibition Pets & Me, and enjoy Drop-In creative playtime for young children. Visit http://www.ago.net/march-break-2015-drop-in-family-fun.

The Toronto Zoo, March 14 – 22. Find out how the Toronto Zoo uses Enrichmimages1ent to engage animals including polar bears, otters and meerkats. Join in on the daily featured animal enrichment activity in the Education Auditorium and make an enrichment item for one of the animals. The Zoo will also host a craft area, special Keeper Talks, Enrichment demonstrations, animal encounters and more. See http://www.torontozoo.com/events/

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, March 16 – 20.  Immerse your family in a world of 16,000 aquatic animals and discover your own underwater adventure. The Aquarium features North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel with more than 5.7 million litres of water and over 100 interactive imagesopportunities. untitled1Get up close and personal with three touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks, and rays as well as daily dive shows every 2 hours. Doors open at 8am. Arrive before 9am and receive free coffee and a snack. Visit https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/marchbreak/

Kings Court at Casa Loma March 14 – 22. Discover your inner hero! Challenging gallant games, solving princely puzzles, experiencing interactive medieval theatre, making creative crafts and more. Complete the Hero’s Quest and receive your regal reward from the King’s Court. Go to http://www.libertygroup.com/casaloma/casafeature1.html for more info.

Aga Khan Museum March 14 – 22. Pick up your Family Exploration Kit at the front desk and launch your own expedition of the galleries. Go on a creature hunt, complete a pattern, or write your own adventure story (designed for children 5-12). And, don’t miss Sunday Family Days. Drop into the classrooms to participate in art games, solve puzzles, or make a fantastic animal mask. For more info see https://www.facebook.com/agakhanmuseumtoronto.

So Much Family Fun this Weekend

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

As a nation, we’re still growing accustomed to that mid-February national holiday known as Family Day. It sort of sneaks up on us and suddenly here we are waist-deep in snow and freezing temperatures wondering what to do with an extra day off.

From the Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Centre to the AGO and the many great tobogganing hills in and around the city, you need not look far for exciting and interesting things to do in a city the size of Toronto. So without further delay, here are some suggestions of fun activities and events for you and your family to enjoy this weekend.

Stay Indoors

Had enough of the white stuff? If you have teen film buffs in your household suggest The Next Wave, a TIFF festival for young movie fans. The best in film from around the globe, this festival includes special guests, interactive workshops and a film challenge for young filmmakers.

If live theatre is more your thing, there is plenty to choose from. Try introducing your little ones to the delights of Snow Angel, a play for young audiences presented on the YPT Mainstage from February 10 to 19 with a special Family Day performance on February 16. Or perhaps The Heart of Robin Hood, an inventive retelling of this classic story, may be more to your liking.images96S0IGMC

If your family enjoys engines and sleek automobiles, you will want to head on down to the Canadian International AutoShow this weekend. Ooh and aah as you admire must-see vehicles on display at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. images

 Casa Loma is hosting a family-day-weekend event that honours the Pan Am Games. Team Canada athletes will be on hand to meet and greet in addition to spearheading fun activities such as gymnastics demonstrations and boxing workshops. Join in the cultural activities that include mask making, cultural dance workshops, face painting and appearances by the official Pan Am mascot Pachi.

Kids are free at the Hockey Hall of Fame this Family Day. Play simulation games, check out theatres, the greatest collection of hockey aimagesTVNBMNJCrtifacts anywhere in the world, and as the crowning glory, hands-on access to the Stanley Cup. New this year is a game in which you can face-off against life-size, animated versions of today’s top players in this revitalized model rink.

 

History Beckons

For those who enjoy examining our past, there are a number of activities in and around the city. History buffs will thrill to participate in baking workshops in the historic kitchen at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Or sample some baking from Fort York’s historic kitchen. Children are also encouraged to try an 1812 drill class, Officers’ Sword Drill and old-fashioned games. Mackenzie House celebrates Black History Month. Learn about the Black Victorians and their publishers and newspaper journalists. Or you can experience the life of the Austin family at the Spadina Museum, where you learn what life was like in the 1920s and 1930s through music, toys and games.

Outdoorsy Family Events

Whether you’re there for a brisk free skate or nature play in the children’s garden, a clay-making workshop or to design your own bird feeder, the Evergreen Brick Works is an awesome spot that inspires sustainability and love of community for the whole family.

East enders will celebrate their eighth annual Family Day in the Beach on February 15 from noon to 4 pm. Snow and ice might rule this weekend but that makes this event all the more fun and helps to accommodate a life-size snow globe, exciting lumberjack shows, figure skating performers, live ice carving demonstrations, music and so much more. The event is free.

Another awesome free event is the HabourKIDS Skating Festival at Harbourfront. From free skating to building snow structures to cozying up with little ones during story time, this two-day festival is a must for all.

If a drive doesn’t bother you, you may want to check out the Vanishing Ice Festival at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, about 45 kilometres north of Toronto. The Vanishing Ice Festival offers a series of school and community events focused on the importance of winter and ice to the environment. Participate in snowshoe hikes led by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, see live animal presentations and view the Melting Ice Sculpture.

The Danforth turns up the volume with the Winterfolk XIII Blues and Roots Festival, a combination of paid and free concerts for all ages. More than 150 artists will be performing at four venues and five stages over three days of the long Family Day weekend.

For those hearty folks who love braving the cold don’t forget the abundance of places where you can tube sled, ice skate, snowshoe, ski and snowmobile to your heart’s content.

Happy Family Day!

 

Koreatown offers Culture & Commerce

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Kimchi is just one of the many flavours of Koreatown, a vibrant commercial strip located in the family-friendly neighbourhood of Seaton Village.

Koreatown – also known as Little Korea or K-town – untitled1is located on Bloor, just west of the Annex, between Bathurst and Christie Streets. untitled2Characterized by a combination of good Korean restaurants, high-end fashion stores, acupuncture clinics and aesthetic boutiques, Koreatown is a magnet for the city’s Korean immigrants, students and explorers who wish to discover the sights and sounds of Korean culture.

Established in 2004, Koreatown offers visitors a vast arra y of flavours, from pork bone soup and bibimbaps to walnut cake and Korean BBQ. The city’s foodie elite have been making Koreatok1wn their favourite go-to dining destination as Korean food has earned a top spot on trending culinary lists for a number of years now.

The Korean Grill House, Arisu, Sunrise H ouse and Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu are all great options. Don’t forget to sample bulgogi, a marinated beef dish, or bibimbap, an assortment of rice, veggies, raw beef, fried egg and spices. Getting used to kimchi can be something of a test because its strong smell puts people off. But many say once you get over the initial aversion you can become addicted to the stuff. Kimchi is cabbage that has been fermented in salt then spiced up with a strong chili powder mixture so it tastes kind of salty, garlicky, spicy and sweet all at the same time.

If K-town’s kimchi doesn’t grab you, maybe the karaoke will. Nestled away in the basements of many retail shops, Koreatown is known for its lively assortment of karaoke bars, some of which operate into the wee hours. But if your vocal strains aren’t on par with Adele or Sam Smith you can still sing to your heart’s content minus the embarrassment of doing so in front of an audience. That’s right. You can hire your own private karaoke room. BMB Karaoke and Music Studio on Bloor West is one of the largest karaoke bars in the city. Get a private room and sing your heart out. They’ll also serve you noodles if you ask.images9XDGLC9O

Of course, Koreatown is a relatively new Toronto neighbourhood with roots that trace back about 50 years thanks, in part, to more liberal immigration policies the Canadian government helped pave the way for an influx of Korean immigrants to Toronto. According to the 2011 Canada Census, Toronto has the country’s largest concentration of Koreans, numbering nearly 65,000.

The past hundred years have not been kind to Korea, which was annexed by Japan in 1910 and later divided by civil war in the 1950s. Today the country is split by the communist north and a republic democracy in the south, which is where nearly all Korean immigrants come from.

Christie Pits Park is home to the DANO Spring Festival, an annual Koreatown signature event thimages04FB32YWat features martial arts demonstrations, exotic dancing and music and attracts as many as 200,000 visitors. The 22nd DANO festival will take place on the first weekend of June.

Interested in moving to the Koreatown area? Check out some of the current homes and condos for sale near Koreatown!

 

Experience the World on Bloor West

Friday, January 30th, 2015

imagesJS7TEDRTIf you want to experience life in far off places without boarding a plane the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema is the place for you.

The space at 506 Bloor West has housed a theatre for more than a century and todayacts as a beacon for the city’s documentary films, providing audiences with an up close and often personal window to the world around us. From punk music to Chinese food to Royal Ballet performances and stories about aging beauties, the Bloor Cinema, as it was most recently known, has something for everyone.imagesSQYBRH8U

Opened in 1913 the theatre, which is located in the heart of the Annex, was originally named the Madison Picture Palace. As one of Toronto’s first picture palaces, the theatre would soon be joined by Allen’s Bloor Theatre (later Lee’s Palace) and the Alhambra Theatre, which both opened in 1919 near Bloor and Bathurst.

In 1940 the theatre was rebuilt and all that was left of the original building were two side walls. The following year the theatre opened as the Midtown and would become a popular movie house throughout the ‘40s and ‘50s, known for matinees and horror flicks.imagesJQSEHD5B

With the advent of television, the number of movie goers began dwindling by the mid 1960s. The theatre would change hands several times over the years, from Famous Players’ naming it the Capri in 1967 to it being rechristened a few years later as the Eden, which ran mainly adult films.untitled1

In 1979, the theatre was renamed the Bloor Theatre. It offered first-run movies to appeal to the tastes of the families who were increasingly calling the Annex home. By 1980, Carm Bordonaro and his partners would take over the theatre, which eventually led to the Bordonaro family purchasing the building in 2010 to ensure the theatre’s survival.

The fate of the cinema was paramount for the Bordonaros, who turned away a number of property developers for the much-coveted land before finding a simpatico buyer in Toronto-based Blue Ice Group, a film financing and production company, and its partner, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Following renovations in 2012 that upgraded the cinema’s projection and sound capabilities, seating, restrooms and lobby facilities, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema reopened in March 2012. Today, the cinema is home to first-run Canadian and international documentaries in addition to special documentary presentations such as the Doc Soup screening series. It also hosts many of the city’s independent film festivals and offers audiences some repertory and specialized fiction film programming.untitled

 

Tis the Season for Hot Chocolate

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Nothing warms the heart and soul come winter’s cold quite like a creamy, steamy cup of hot chocolate.

Hot chocolate or cocoa, if you prefer, usually consists of shaved or melted chocolate or cocoa powder mixed with heated milk or water and sugar. Some like to sprinkle their chocolate with cinnamon. Others prefer a dollop of whipped cream on top, a handful of marshmallows or a drop of vanilla for added flavour. For a peppermint taste, add two mint candies. If you like your chocolate spiced up a bit add a pinch of cayenne pepper or ground chili pepper.

As you hustle and bustle throughout the city at this hectic time of year, don’t forget to take time out for yourself by sitting down to a comforting warm beverage of chocolate. While just about any restaurant can offer hot chocolate, some really know how to do it up right. Here’s a look:untitled

ChocoSol, at 1131 St. Clair West, is a social enterprise that focuses on making the food of the gods – otherwise known as cocoa – right here in Toronto. The chocolate is made without dairy, gluten, soy and nuts, and are also vegan. ChocoSol specializes in both eating chocolate and drinking chocolate (xocolatl).

untitled1At 361 Roncesvalles, The Chocolateria makes its in-store hot chocolate using German cocoa and Callebaut chocolate, a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon for a frothy warm dark chocolate bevy. On weekends the store offers a milk chocolate flavoured hot drink and another variation such as peppermint hot chocolate. Yum.

imagesJQSX8J53Nestled within Yorkville, MoRoCo Chocolat is a chocolate lover’s nirvana located at 99 Yorkville Ave. Its sipping chocolates come in three flavours: 66 % dark chocolate, milk chocolate with chai, or blond chocolate with espresso beans. They’re presented in little pots with shot glasses from which to sip and enjoy.

imagesKY4GAPC9The Junction’s Delight Chocolate at 3040 Dundas West offers customers a sip of heaven with its mouth-watering choice of hot chocolate. Regular is on tap alongside a hot chocolate that is spiced with ginger, cayenne, cinnamon and coriander, then there is a peanut-butter flavoured drink and finally bittersweet orange.

Nadege Patisserie at 780 Queen West offers two different hot chocolates in house: its signature 70 % hot chocolate and a Peruvian chocolate known as Illanka. Either choice comes with a house-made Guimauve (French for marshmallow). Hot chocolate flavours in the store’s gift-box untitled2sampler include bourbon vanilla, spice (including cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg) and dark chocolate. Made-from-scratch marshmallows include raspberry, strawberry, cotton candy, gin and tonic and rose and litchi fruit, among others.

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