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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

2014 Rogers Cup

Some of the biggest names in tennis are in the mix as the Rogers Cup, Canada’s premier tournament of the year, heads towards what will certainly be a thrilling final match on Sunday, August 10!

As usual, the Rogers Cup will be taking place at the Rexall Centre, a tennis facility located on the campus of Toronto’s York University.  There have already been plenty of fantastic matches and huge upsets thus far!  Canadian favourite Milos Raonic won a thrilling match against Wimbledon Doubles Champion Jack Sock earlier this week, while Number 1 seed Novak Djokovic was knocked off by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a shocking upset!  As of Friday, August 8, heavyweights such as Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and David Ferrer remain in competition for the title.  Who will be crowned champion of the 2014 Rogers Cup?  Go see for yourself this weekend!

To get to York University’s Rexall Centre, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off tour to stop # 8.  From there, you can take the TTC’s Line 1 subway line from Spadina Station to Downsview Station.  There are Rogers Cup shuttle buses from there for the evening matches.

Published by Dave, on August 8th, 2014 at 1:49 pm. Filled under: Events,Family Fun,Sports,Stop #8No Comments

Toronto Caribbean Carnival 2014

Despite the cooler than normal summer, there’s no need to start contemplating a Caribbean escape from Toronto.  That’s because this weekend, the Caribbean is coming to Toronto with the supremely popular Toronto Caribbean Carnival!

This weekend, Exhibition Place and Lake Shore Boulevard will be filled with costumed dancers, fantastic island sounds, great food, and thousands of revellers for the marquee event of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, the Grand Parade!  The parade is scheduled to begin at Exhibition Place at 9:00 AM on Saturday, August 2 and then wend its way along Lake Shore Boulevard into the west end of the city.  This is no blink and you miss it parade, it will be an all day celebration lasting well into the evening hours!  For those wanting to get as close to the action as possible, special ticketed VIP tents will be set up along the parade route, with improved seating and marketplace areas.  Numerous Toronto nightclubs and restaurants will also be hosting events and special nights in conjunction with the Toronto Caribbean Carnival.  The Grand Parade is on for one day only!  Don’t miss it!

To get to the Toronto Caribbean Carnival’s Grand Parade, take CitySightseeing Toronto’s city tour to stop # 17.  From there, take the TTC’s 509 bus to Exhibition Place.

Published by Dave, on August 1st, 2014 at 5:59 pm. Filled under: Events,Family Fun,Festivals,Music,Stop #17No Comments

Beaches International Jazz Festival 2014

Beaches International Jazz Festival stage.  Source - Captmondo (Wikipedia)

Beaches International Jazz Festival stage. Source – Captmondo (Wikipedia)

Those looking for great music, sandy beaches, tasty food, and a massive street party should head eastward this weekend for The Beaches International Jazz Festival.  The immensely popular annual festival will take place in Toronto’s lovely Beaches neighbourhood, and continues from now until Sunday, July 27.

Arguably the best part of the Beaches International Jazz Festival is the Streetfest, where the neighbourhood’s main drag, Queen Street East, is closed to vehicular traffic between Woodbine Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue, with stages set up along the entire route for live performances.  This year, the Streetfest will be running daily from Thursday, July 24 to Sunday, July 27.  One big change this year is the clustering of performance stages in Woodbine Park, which will allow festival attendees easier access to all of the amazing musical acts!  Some of these acts include Messenjah, the legendary Canadian reggae band who have recently regrouped after a 15-year hiatus, and Jay Douglas, often labelled as the best R & B singer in Toronto!  To keep all of the music lovers well-fed, a plethora of food trucks will be stationed in Woodbine Park with plenty of food options from a diverse array of cuisines!

The Beaches International Jazz Festival can be reached by taking CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour to stop # 21.  From there, walk one block to the north to Queen Street East and take the 501 streetcar eastbound the rest of the way.

Published by Dave, on July 25th, 2014 at 3:16 pm. Filled under: Events,Music,Neighbourhoods,Stop #21No Comments

Honda Indy 2014

James Hinchcliffe.  Source - Chuck Carroll (Wikipedia).

James Hinchcliffe. Source – Chuck Carroll (Wikipedia).

With all of the summer road construction projects going on in Toronto right now, seeing cars speeding down city streets is a rare occurrence.  A notable exception will be this weekend (July 17-20), when the Honda Indy lands at Toronto’s Exhibition Place!

Race fans are thrilled that there are not one, but two separate races scheduled for the 28th edition of the Honda Indy!  Taking place on the Saturday AND the Sunday of this coming weekend, both races will be of equal length, and both will count for full championship points!  Many of IndyCar’s top drivers, such as Brazil’s Helio Castroneves, Australia’s Will Power, and Canada’s very own James Hinchcliffe will be participating.  There will also be several other races for the IndyLights series (the racing series one step below IndyCar), and the F1600 series.  Even for those who aren’t race fans, there will be plenty to do at the Honda Indy site.  Tastefest will feature many popular food and beverage companies offering free samples of new products.  Muskoka Brewery and Amsterdam Brewery will be participating in Craft Beerfest, which means Ontario craft beer will be available across the event site.

Get out of the traffic and speed on down to the Honda Indy!  Exhibition Place can be accessed via CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour by getting off at stop # 17 and taking the TTC’s bus 509 the rest of the way.

Published by Dave, on July 18th, 2014 at 1:16 pm. Filled under: Events,Family Fun,Food,Sports,Stop #17No Comments

Summerlicious 2014

Summerlicious is back!  One of Toronto’s best culinary events, Summerlicious features hundreds of top notch restaurants offering a rare opportunity to indulge in their best dishes with affordable fixed price menus.

Some of the participating Summerlicious restaurants this year are among Toronto’s finest.  Ganzi Osteria is a recently opened Italian restaurant located in a beautiful old mansion at 504 Jarvis Street.  The Rosewater Room is an elegant establishment serving Continental cuisine that is located in an historic building at 19 Toronto Street.  Houston Avenue Bar and Grill at 33 Yonge Street serves fare catering more to the meat and potatoes crowd, but with plenty of tacos, rolls and buns on offer as well.  Finally, for Asian cuisine enthusiasts, Matagali, a Thai/Indian restaurant at 69 Elm Street, offers a cozy setting with plenty of authentic dishes, with a 3-course meal for only $25!  These are just some of the fantastic restaurants that are participating in the 2014 edition of Summerlicious.  A full list can be found here: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=04deaf2c85006410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD.

All of the restaurants listed here are close to the route of CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off bus tour.  Summerlicious ends on July 20.

Published by Dave, on July 12th, 2014 at 4:43 pm. Filled under: Festivals,Food,Stop #1,Stop #21No Comments

North by Northeast 2014

Do you like free concerts?  Who doesn’t!?  This week Toronto music venues will be overtaken by the always-popular North by Northeast music festival, which will also feature plenty of free outdoor shows in Toronto’s premier public gathering space, Yonge-Dundas Square!

Some of the biggest names in music will be performing for free in Yonge-Dundas Square between Thursday, June 19 and Sunday, June 22.  On Thursday night, Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells will rock the stage with their unique brand of noise pop.  On Friday night, guitar virtuoso St. Vincent will be shredding starting at 9:10 PM, supported by experimental rockers Swans.  Legendary rockers Spoon will be the headlining band on Saturday evening, with Canadian lo-fi master Mac DeMarco opening.  Finally, Sunday night will feature plenty of great hip hop, with Run the Jewels and Juicy J taking the marquee billing.  There will also be plenty of other bands playing at venues throughout the city for a price.  A wristband that allows access to all events starts at $149.00.  North by Northeast will also feature some film and comedy events in addition to the musical performances.

Yonge-Dundas Square is located directly beside stop # 1 on CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour.  Most of the music venues for North by Northeast are also located on or close to stops along the city tour.

Published by Dave, on June 19th, 2014 at 2:12 pm. Filled under: Art,Festivals,Film and Theatre,Music,Stop #1No Comments

Mirvish Productions Spring 2014

The Ed Mirvish Theatre.  Source - Tony Hisgett (Wikipedia).

The Ed Mirvish Theatre. Source – Tony Hisgett (Wikipedia).

Toronto’s theatre scene is heating up as much as the weather outside with the arrival of several hot new shows!  Mirvish Productions, Toronto’s premier theatrical production company, has brought several acclaimed new shows to Toronto which have to be seen to be believed!

 

The biggest hit of the season thus far is The Lion King, which returns to the Princess of Wales Theatre until June 15.  Created by acclaimed director Julie Taymor, the production features all of the most popular songs from the film, as well as some spectacular choreography and special effects.  1980s film buffs will want to check out the theatrical production of Flashdance, which again features all of the most famous songs from the movie, as well as 16 brand new tunes!  It runs from now until June 8 at the Ed Mirvish TheatreDead Metaphor is a hilarious political black comedy that runs until June 8 at the Panasonic Theatre and stars some familiar faces, like Noah Reid of Franklin fame and Eric Peterson from Corner Gas.

 

It’s a great time to check out some live theatre in Toronto!  All of the theatres mentioned above are accessible via CitySightseeing Toronto’s hop on hop off city tour.

Published by Dave, on June 5th, 2014 at 3:18 pm. Filled under: Family Fun,Film and Theatre,Music,Stop #1,Stop #13,Stop #5,TheatreNo Comments

Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty

Henry Moore sculptures at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  Source - Montrealais (Wikipedia)

Henry Moore sculptures at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Source – Montrealais (Wikipedia)

Modern art enthusiasts will no doubt be flocking to the Art Gallery of Ontario over the next few months as the work of two infamous British artists, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore, will be showcased in the spectacular new Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty exhibit.

Despite working during the same time period, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore were never known to be collaborators or even friends.  However, their respective works complement each other in numerous ways, particularly in regards to their use of the distortion of the human body.  Much of their art was inspired by the immense pain and suffering caused by warfare throughout the course of the 20th Century, especially in regards to Moore, who lived through the horrors of the London Blitz in the early 1940s.  Themes of Christianity are also present in the oeuvre of both Bacon and Moore, with Bacon in particular utilizing the Crucifixion and portraits of popes in his work.  Finally, yet another prominent feature in the artwork of both is the fusion of humans and animals, which Moore used to full effect in his painting Man Kneeling in Grass, where his subjects strongly resemble animals with their positioning and appearance.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the artwork of two of the 20th Century’s most famous artists in one place!  Don’t miss out!

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

 

Published by Dave, on May 16th, 2014 at 2:34 pm. Filled under: Art,Events,History,Museums,Stop #11No Comments