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Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time

Famed American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat died far too young, but his incredible artistic legacy only continues to grow.  Visitors to the Art Gallery of Ontario can see his highly-regarded work in a fantastic new exhibition entitled Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time.

Jean-Michel Basquiat emerged from the New York City art scene in the early 1980s, with much of his work exploring contentious issues such as racism, identity, and social tension.  He produced numerous paintings, and even some rap singles, throughout the course of his short career until his untimely death from a heroin overdose in 1987.  Now’s the Time marks the first time Basquiat’s work will be featured in a major exhibit in Canada, and will feature over 85 large-scale paintings that are drawn from both museums and private collections from across the world.  Some of the paintings featured include well-known works such as Obnoxious Liberals, A Panel of Experts, and In Print, among others.  There will also be a showing of the film Downtown 81, a film starring Basquiat as he wanders the streets of 1981 New York City on Wednesday, April 8.

The Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s the Time exhibit runs until May 10, 2015.  To get to the Art Gallery of Ontario, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off tour to stop # 11.

Published by Dave, on March 14th, 2015 at 5:49 pm. Filled under: Art,Film and Theatre,History,Museums,Music,Stop #11,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is Anywhere and Anything is Everything

The work of Douglas Coupland, one of Canada’s foremost contemporary artists, is currently being featured at the Royal Ontario Museum in a special exhibit entitled Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is Anywhere and Anything is Everything.

Douglas Coupland is most certainly a man of many talents, gaining notoriety over the years as a prodigious writer, artist, and thinker.  He is perhaps most famous for coining seminal phrases such as McJob and Generation X in his first novel, Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture in 1991.  Since that time, he has dabbled in countless different mediums, from sculptures, to television shows, to clothing design.  Everywhere is Anywhere… will focus exclusively upon Coupland’s work since the year 2000, the first major exhibit to do this.  Some of the major themes explored in this exhibit include the 21st-century condition, Canadian cultural identity, and the omnipresence of technology in modern life.  If patrons still haven’t got their Coupland fill by the time they leave the Royal Ontario Museum, they can head down the street to the Holt Renfrew Men store at 100 Bloor Street West, where Coupland’s interactive Gumhead sculpture is being displayed.  This work, a large sculpture head covered in pieces of gum, invites viewers to participate in his artistic process by adding their own chewed-up gum to the piece.

The Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is Anywhere and Anything is Everything exhibit is on at the Royal Ontario Museum from now until April 26, 2015.  To get to the Royal Ontario Museum, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour to stop # 10.

Published by Dave, on February 20th, 2015 at 4:41 pm. Filled under: Art,History,Museums,Stop #10,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

2015 Toronto International Boat Show

The Toronto International Boat Show has always marketed itself as a taste of summer in the middle of winter, and this year is no exception!  The 2015 edition of the show is on right now at the Direct Energy Centre, and will end on Sunday, January 18.

The Toronto International Boat Show will have plenty of fun and informative features for boaters and prospective-boaters alike.  Numerous educational seminars will focus upon topics such as fishing, boat purchasing advice, careers in boating, and thrilling water sports.  For those looking to get into boating, a New Boater Welcome Centre has been set up, with all of the information one would need to begin a lifetime of aquatic bliss.  Finally, as always, perhaps the most exciting feature of the Boat Show will be the gigantic indoor lake, touted as the world’s largest with over one million gallons of water.  Visiting the lake will provide patrons with the opportunity to watch professional wakeboarding shows, and to traverse the lake themselves on a paddleboat, kayak, or canoe.  Take a respite from winter and head on down to the Toronto International Boat Show!

To get to the Direct Energy Centre, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour to stop # 17.  You can then take a taxi or take the Toronto Transit Commission’s  509 route the rest of the way.

Published by Dave, on January 16th, 2015 at 11:17 am. Filled under: Conventions,Events,Family Fun,Stop #17,Transportation,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

Michelangelo: Quest for Genius

To see the works of Michelangelo, one usually has to travel to Italian cities such as Florence or Rome.  Until this weekend, though, it will be possible to view some of the infamous artist’s most incredible works right here in Toronto at the Art Gallery of Ontario!

The Michelangelo: Quest for Genius exhibit offers patrons a once in a lifetime opportunity to get inside the head of one of the most famous artists in history.  Through a collection of Michelangelo’s preliminary sketches and drawings, the exhibit displays the ideas and thoughts behind his creative process.  Some of the featured works date from in and around the time Michelangelo completed his infamous ceiling at the Sistine Chapel.  The sketches of Michelangelo are not the only things displayed in this exhibit; computer animations highlighting what Michelangelo’s drawings ultimately turned into will also be present.    The exhibit also features the works of later artists who were influenced by Michelangelo’s genius, such as French sculptor Auguste Rodin.  The exhibit only lasts for a few more days.  Go see it before it’s too late!

To get to the Art Gallery of Ontario, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off bus tour to stop # 11.

Published by Dave, on January 9th, 2015 at 11:20 am. Filled under: Art,Family Fun,History,Museums,Stop #11,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

Distillery District Christmas Market 2014

One of the absolute best Toronto Christmas traditions is on now at the Distillery District.  The immensely popular Distillery District Christmas Market has plenty of stores, events, and activities appropriate for the whole family.

There are numerous noteworthy highlights for this year’s Distillery District Christmas Market.  Each day there will be a Santa’s Elves Sing-Along for kids and daily caroling for everyone.  This weekend in particular there will be everything from Romanian folklore dancing, to children’s storytelling, to a market-closing concert by Canadian opera sensation Measha Brueggergosman.  There will also be warming lounges with plenty of hot and savoury drinks, and a beer garden for those looking to really warm up!  Finally, as always, there will be numerous vendors selling delicious treats, meticulously-constructed crafts, and great stocking stuffers, among other things.

The Distillery District Christmas Market is only on for another few days!  Go and check it out before it’s too late!  The Distillery District Christmas Market can be accessed via CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour at stop # 22.

Published by Dave, on December 20th, 2014 at 5:05 pm. Filled under: Art,Events,Family Fun,Festivals,Holidays,Stop #22,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

2014 Cavalcade of Lights

On Saturday, November 29, the Cavalcade of Lights in Nathan Phillips Square, a long-standing Toronto holiday tradition will come to life for another year.  Featuring lights, music, and great food, it is a great way to kick off the holiday season!

This year’s Cavalcade of Lights has several prominent musical performers, including fantastic Canadian artists such as Kardinal Offishall, Kellylee Evans, Maestro Fresh Wes, and Shad.  The Collective Elite Dancers will also be dancing up a storm with performers who have been featured on television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance Canada.  A huge fireworks display will go off at around 8:20.  The infamous Nathan Phillips Square skating rink will be open throughout the festivities, with DJ Grouch spinning some tunes starting at 9:30 PM.  And, of course, what everyone has all been waiting for, the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, will start things off at 7:15!

The Cavalcade of Lights is one of Toronto’s most exciting annual events.  It only happens one night each year so don’t miss out!

Published by Dave, on November 29th, 2014 at 5:17 pm. Filled under: Art,Events,Family Fun,Festivals,Holidays,Stop #1,Winter ActivitiesNo Comments

2014 Zombie Walk

For one Saturday in late October, Torontonians can get a brief glimpse of what it may look like to live through a zombie apocalypse.  On Saturday, October 25, the 12th annual Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade will take over downtown streets!

This year there will be pre-parade festivities in Nathan Phillips Square which will include the intriguingly named Zombie Strike Midway, where participants can play carnival-style games with an undead-bent.  There will also be a charitable angle to the 2014 Zombie Walk; those who have yet to abandon their live bank accounts can take up the opportunity to donate to the World Wildlife Fund, who will be putting any contributions towards a Help the Bats initiative.  Once the parade starts, the route will move northward along University Avenue, then turn east on College Street, proceed southbound on Yonge Street, and then end back at Nathan Phillips Square.  After the parade, more festivities are planned in Nathan Phillips Square with a best costume contest, and a performance by The Creepshow!

So, if you see any undead-looking individuals walking the streets tomorrow, don’t be alarmed!  The Zombie Walk can be accessed by taking CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off tour to stop # 1.

Published by Dave, on October 25th, 2014 at 2:56 pm. Filled under: Events,Holidays,Stop #1No Comments

Nuit Blanche 2014

Every October, the streets of Toronto come alive for Nuit Blanche, the immensely popular all-night arts extravaganza.  Thousands of people will descend on the city to see hundreds of innovative and often interactive artistic exhibits for one night only!

Some of the more intriguing exhibits this year include The Night Circus, where artist Denise Markonish will curate a street filled with artists and magicians performing phenomenal feats along Bremner Blvd.  Another highlight will undoubtedly be Before Day Break, an exhibit stationed along Fort York Blvd which will feature artists’ differing perspectives on the extreme complexity of human life in regards to relationships, religion, and cultural behaviour.  Finally, as always, the most prominent exhibit will be displayed in Nathan Phillips Square, this year featuring a project entitled Performance Anxiety, which will examine the often-terrifying nature of public performance through interactive pieces with the artists themselves!

These are just some of the many highlights of Nuit Blanche.  Attendees may also find that it may be more fun to simply wander the city and find all of the countless less-publicized hidden gems!  The city tour will still be running before the commencement of Nuit Blanche, so you can take a ride on the bus during the day and then check out Nuit Blanche all night!

Published by Dave, on October 4th, 2014 at 1:05 pm. Filled under: Art,Events,Family Fun,Festivals,Film and Theatre,MusicNo Comments

2014 Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the second biggest film festival in the world, is now in full swing!  With hundreds of films to choose from and countless opportunities to go celebrity spotting, there is hardly a better time to be in Toronto!

Some of the most prominent films being shown at this year’s edition of TIFF include festival opener The Judge, a courtroom drama starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall.  Films generating early Oscar buzz include Foxcatcher, starring Channing Tatum and Steve Carell, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, and Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon.  As always, plenty of Canadian films will be screened, including Mommy, the well-received latest from Xavier Dolan, and Toronto native David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars.  Finally, horror fans will want to check out the always-popular Midnight Madness film series, which will feature plenty of cinematic thrills and chills!  TIFF is only on for a few more days so don’t miss out on all the wonderful films on offer!

Many of the participating TIFF venues are located along CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour route.

Published by Dave, on September 12th, 2014 at 11:02 am. Filled under: Art,Events,Festivals,Film and TheatreNo Comments

2014 Canadian National Exhibition

Canadian National Exhibition midway.  Source - Kotsy (Wikipedia)

Canadian National Exhibition midway. Source – Kotsy (Wikipedia)

The arrival of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is always a bittersweet time for Torontonians.  While it always means that September is fast-approaching and that summer will be coming to a close soon, it also means that there will be an extravaganza of rides, food, fun and games, and music available for two weeks only!

As always, the CNE offers something for everyone!  The midway will feature plenty of rides, from slow and relaxing ones for kids to heart-pounding thrill rides that only the most fearless will conquer.  Musical acts such as April Wine and Tom Cochrane will be playing at the legendary CNE Bandshell on August 27 and 30, respectively.  The ear-splitting CNE Air Show, featuring some of the world’s best stunt pilots and numerous rarely-seen historical aircraft, will occur on Labour Day Weekend (August 30-September 1).  Gamblers will want to head straight to the CNE Casino, which will have lots of table games that are not normally available in Toronto (as there is no casino in the city!)  Finally, perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the CNE is the incredible selection of foods, many of which have stratospheric calorie counts!  Some food highlights this year include chocolate-covered fried chicken, butter coffee, and s’more baos.  Hurry to the CNE before it’s too late!  It ends on September 1!

To get to the CNE, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour to stop # 17.  From there, take the TTC’s 509 bus to Exhibition Place.s

Published by Dave, on August 21st, 2014 at 3:25 pm. Filled under: Events,Family Fun,Festivals,Games,Holidays,Music,Shopping,Stop #17No Comments