What’s New & Happening in Toronto, Ontario Canada – Fall 2018
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
Download a PDF version of this press release: What’s New & Happening in Toronto, Ontario Canada — Fall 2018 (Press Release PDF).
TORONTO, CANADA (September, 2018) – Feel the cool air rush into Canada’s Downtown as fall descends on Canada’s largest city. While the leaves begin to change colour, Toronto continues to evolve with new city changes, restaurants, exhibits and fall-focused experiences! Read through our latest “What’s New” for a list of notable updates and happenings around the city.
Openings & Renovations
This winter, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts will mark its Canadian debut with the arrival of The St. Regis Toronto 65-stories in the heart of downtown. The Adelaide Hotel is currently undergoing an extensive facelift that will unveil 124 luxury suites, a completely redesigned lobby, bar and lounge, two-level spa and a signature restaurant and bar located on the 31st floor offering views of downtown and Lake Ontario. Dating back to 1904, expect the hotel to extend its rich lineage with their iconic butler service, afternoon tea, and champagne sabering each evening in the hotel lobby.
Located in Toronto’s famous Kensington Market, Fairland Funhouse is the lovechild of Toronto’s most imaginative visual and music artists who have come together to transform an old grocery store from the 1950s into an interactive two-storey adventure world. Six suites in the underground art maze are designed in collaboration by a team of local well known artists and musicians partnered with visual creators. The pop-up will be open for business on September 14 and will run until the end of the year, at which point it will be replaced by Liquor Donuts in 2019.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) opens on September 22 with a mission to “exhibit, research, collect and nurture innovative contemporary art and cultural practices that engage with and address issues and themes relevant to our times.” MOCA has been given five million dollars from the Province of Ontario in its continued efforts to invest in strengthening communities. A 55,000 square foot space in the refurbished Tower Automotive building will be home to the newly relocated and reopened MOCA this fall.
The Museum of Illusions will be opening its first Canadian location in Toronto early this fall, and promises to be the largest permanent tourist attraction to open in Toronto since Ripley’s Aquarium in 2013. The museum is to be filled with holograms, optical illusions, installations and unusual rooms. Now under construction at 132 King Street East in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market district, Museum of Illusions will have 60-70 exhibits to start and attracts over one million visitors annually at its other locations.
The home of the Marlies is now known as the Coca-Cola Coliseum. The arena on CNE grounds has a capacity of 8,300 fans, and had been called Ricoh Coliseum for the last 15 years. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment announced its 10-year partnership with Coca-Cola on Wednesday for the Marlies home. The soft drink giant will donate a suite to non-profit community organizations for all Marlies home games and open the rink for several community skate events.
Ontario Place continues its expansion this fall with the continued rolling out of new park areas, restaurants and movie screening at the world’s first permanent IMAX® theatre will feature a variety of programming throughout Winter at Ontario Place. Also announced is the remounting of the Winter Lights Exhibition. Utilizing creativity, innovation, light and discovery, Ontario-based creators from all artistic streams will showcase their exhibits following the curatorial theme of “Disruptive Engagement”.
A Victorian mansion in the Church-Wellesley village will play host to Toronto’s newest and nerdiest sports bar, Storm Crow Manor. Its first installment, the Storm Crow Tavern, opened its doors in Vancouver in 2012 and was quickly hailed “the nerdiest bar in Canada.” The Toronto installment, however, promises to be “the biggest and most insane of the three locations, with secret doors, alternate-reality hunting salons, post-apocalyptic lounges and mad scientist cocktail bars.” Experience all the nerdy fun this fall at 580 Church Street (at Dundonald).
When Canada’s Wonderland opens its gates for the 2019 season, the park’s skyline will be forever transformed by Yukon Striker – the longest, fastest and tallest dive roller coaster in the world. Situated in the newly themed area Frontier Canada, Yukon Striker will be the country’s first dive coaster and the park’s 17th coaster, placing Canada’s Wonderland among the world’s top three amusement parks with the most roller coasters.
The CN Tower’s newly renovated main observation level, LookOut Level, offers an eye-opening, mind-blowing new perspective on the most spectacular views in Toronto with this dramatic $16M upgrade. An all new Glass Floor has been installed directly above the original, providing a dramatic, two-tier vertical view 346 metres (1,136 feet) towards the ground. New floor-to-ceiling glass “Window Walls” have been installed across three separate sections of the observation level, providing near seamless unobstructed panoramic views. Using the latest in engineering technology, the “Window Walls” enable children and people with mobility challenges to fully enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of Toronto.
Alobar, the bar cousin to Alo and Aloette, has opened at 57A-162 Cumberland (at Avenue) in Yorkville. Arriving just in time for the fall, Alobar puts its foot forward as a cocktail bar, but is also a full-fledged restaurant, offering choice seafood with the finest accoutrements, fish and chops off of the charcoal grill, and world-class wines, all served with genuine hospitality.
Featuring a range of fare, including vegan and vegetarian options, the Vista Eatery provides fine foods at a casual price. Now open, The Ontario Place exclusive restaurant offers a newly licensed patio overlooking the lake and features an eclectic menu by critically acclaimed chef Daniel Janetos.
Another unique venture of chef Daniel Janetos is that of Shaolin Ancient Dumpling. This pop-up experience is a collaboration with 34th generation Shaolin Monk, Shifu Yuan Jing. Beginning weekly from September 9, the ancient Shaolin and culinary experience; creating dumplings with a culinary master and learning Kung Fu with the Kung Fu master himself.
Soon to be joining Toronto’s west end, Mother Tongue is a modern Asian restaurant and cocktail bar that will focus on Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and Canadian cuisine. The restaurant will be opening this September in the Templar Hotel at 348 Adelaide Street West.
Dinner Time Stories, presented by HEXO, is a distinctive culinary experience taking place at Katana (333 Bay Street) from September 29 to November 25. The elegant six-course meal embarks on a journey through the footsteps of Marco Polo guided by Le Petit Chef, with an international menu curated and presented by Chef Bashir Munye and 10tation event catering. The culinary event is an exploration of incredible flavours, 3D digital mapping, visual artistry and immersive storytelling delivering an unforgettable trip around the world in just two hours.
Byblos represents a marriage of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with strong influences from both traditional and local ingredients. Opening its second location at Yonge and Eglinton later this year, Byblos uses time-honored classic cooking techniques and modern methods. The menu features Mediterranean cuisine with a true coastal and cultural mosaic, served family style in a convivial atmosphere.
Celebrity hotspot d|bar at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto introduces a new look, complete with revitalized decor and LED art display screens Just in time for TIFF, relaunching on September 4. In addition to great food, drinks, music and company, d|bar will have two curated art exhibits for a limited time; a larger-than-life photography display honours women in film and television, while a mirrored installation invites guests to capture their own story.
Cauldron Ice Cream, a California-based chain known for its rose-shaped, liquid nitrogen ice cream and original ‘Puffle Cones’ is expanding in a major way. Five stores are planned for the GTA alone, and the first is now open at 502 Queen Street West. The company prides itself on its homemade all natural ice cream made in small batches. With flavours rotating every month, Cauldron Ice Cream is sure have a tasty treat for everyone.
The Mad Radish, the brainchild of the famous founder of David’s Tea, David Segal, is a salad chain opening its first Toronto location at 2293 Yonge and Eglinton in October. Mad Radish is committed to making healthy food for busy people, all without breaking the bank.
Gyu-Kaku is about to bring its brand of DIY BBQ to yet another Toronto neighbourhood. The chain of Japanese barbecue restaurants already operates locations across the US and Canada including a Toronto outpost on Church at Adelaide. Now a new outpost is planned for North York near Sheppard and Victoria Park, slated to open this fall.
Brought to you by the team behind Barberian’s Steakhouse, Harry’s Steakhouse will be opening its doors this fall. Expect to be delighted with their celebrated cuisine of course including its renowned steak. Since the opening of their first restaurant in 1959, the Barberian family has been patriotically Canadian with every effort being made to retain the character of original historic buildings in which their restaurant occupies, all while showcasing authentic Canadian artwork.
Located in Brookfield Place, Chotto Matte will give you an experience you will want to repeat, with its mix of a contemporary urban environment, spectacle and great cuisine. The Nikkei cuisine is at the heart of the Chotto Matte experience which will open in late 2018. It embraces the very best of Nikkei (Japanese – Peruvian) cuisine, with bold eye-catching natural colours and mouth-watering taste sensations.
Toronto’s East End is getting a brewery of its own in the form of Avling Brewery. Avling aims to create exceptional and experimental beer, food, and experiences showcasing Canadian flavours and locally farmed ingredients. The brewery will be located at 1042 Queen Street East, and will be opening at an undisclosed date this fall.
Performing Arts – Notable Shows
Improv is always in season at The Second City, proven by another group of remarkable shows onstage this fall. Laugh at shows such as She the People, The Best is Yet to Come Undone and The Best of The Second City, all playing throughout the fall season. For an up-to-date and comprehensive list of upcoming shows, visit The Second City’s Toronto Shows page.
The Canadian Opera Company:
- Tatyana’s quiet existence is turned upside down with the arrival of the handsome and charismatic Onegin. Romantic fantasies burst into vivid reality, inspiring Tatyana’s famous letter, which Onegin arrogantly rejects. Years later, separated by time and circumstance, they are reunited for one final, explosive encounter. Watch the elegant simplicity beginning on September 3 at the Four Seasons Centre.
- Emperor Hadrian is devastated after his lover Antinous drowns in the Nile River. While matters of state encroach on his grief, and advisors clamour for war against a radical new threat to the Empire, Hadrian slips out of time to re-encounter the vision and reality of Antinous—and learn the truth about what happened on the Nile. This highly anticipated world premiere from composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor features the company debuts of opera legends Thomas Hampson and Karita Mattila, and is on stage at the Four Seasons Centre from October 13 to October 17.
- After a sold-out, standing-room only Toronto engagement before heading to Broadway, Come From Away continues its triumphant extended run until April 2019. It will stay its run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until February, when it will be transferred to the Elgin Theatre. Set in Newfoundland, where the weather is wild, but the locals never lack for warmth, this remarkable true story is filled with unusual characters, unexpected camaraderie and uncommon generosity.
- How they met, how they rose, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest – Ain’t Too Proud is the electrifying new musical about the life and times of The Temptations. Get your R&B fix at the Princess of Wales Theatre beginning on October 11.
- Back by popular demand for three weeks only, starting on October 16 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, experience the thrill of London’s most spectacular musical as Bat Out of Hell brings to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf. This electrifying musical is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning production that combines the magic of a musical, with the immense energy of rock ‘n’ roll.
- FRIENDS! The Musical Parody is the hilarious new musical that lovingly lampoons TV’s Friends, celebrating the wacky misadventures of everyone’s favorite group of 20-something pals as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life, and love in 1990s Manhattan. Opening on November 1 at the CAA Theatre, this delightfully naughty confection plucks the best moments from the show’s ten years and recreates the moments through an uncensored, fast-paced, music filled romp, winning over audiences along the way.
- Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s amazing tale, is now Toronto’s golden ticket. It’s the perfect recipe for a delectable treat: songs from the original film, including Pure Imagination, The Candy Man, and I’ve Got a Golden Ticket, alongside a toe-tapping and ear-tickling new score from the songwriters of Hairspray. Relive all of the magic starting on November 20 at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
- Based on the hit film, School of Rock is the hilarious new musical following Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. This high-octane smash features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever kids rock band playing their instruments live on stage. Rock the night away at the Ed Mirvish Theatre beginning on November 28.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is back in action beginning on September 20 with shows such as Tchaicovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Home Alone in Concert, Tcaicovsky’s The Nutcracker & More, Messiah, and the TSO Holiday Pops. For a full listing of the TSO’s fall programing, visit their events page.
The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of eclectic shows in its 3,191 seat theatre. Some notable shows include Casino Royale In Concert, acts from this year’s JFL42 and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert. To see a full events calendar visit the Sony Centre’s calendar page.
Exhibits & Attractions
Royal Ontario Museum:
- #MeToo & the Arts features an original display and a slate of programs on sexualized harassment and gender inequity in the arts. This public engagement seeks to encourage a larger conversation on how museums are engaging with art within the context of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Free to the public through to October 21, 2018, the display is located at the entrance to the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal in the Thorsell Spirit House. For a full list of detailed programming, visit the exhibit webpage.
- Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs showcases one of India’s most visionary and celebrated pioneers in colour photography. Raghubir Singh (1942–1999) was a prolific photographer whose creative style revealed the dramatic palette of India’s streets, places and peoples through a distinct lens. Tracing the full trajectory of his career from the late 1960s to his last unpublished projects of the late 1990s, this exhibition showcases the iconic depictions of Indian life and culture in vivid colour and runs through to October 21, 2018.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada:
- Every second Friday of the fall season, Ripley’s will continue to host its acclaimed “Friday Night Jazz”, complete with musical guests, and access to the aquarium. Be sure to try their very own Lagoon Lager, exclusive at the Friday Night Jazz series and other special events.
- Splash into Octo-berfest (19+) on September 27 at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Raise your stein and enjoy live music and entertainment by Matt Lebar Ensemble and craft beer from ten local breweries.
Aga Khan Museum:
- Discover the deep roots of contemporary fashion’s love affair with men’s jewellery and adornments in this display of exquisitely crafted jewelled artworks from Mughal India in Emperors & Jewels: Treasures of the Indian Courts From the Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait. Decorated with gems such as diamonds and carved from semi-precious stone like jade, the objects being exhibited throughout the fall are drawn from Kuwait’s al-Sabah Collection, one of the foremost collections of Islamic arts in the world.
Ontario Science Centre:
- Through the entire fall season, step into the world of a story that is still unfolding, in an observatory where a Queen’s University professor solved the mystery of neutrinos — an enigma that scientists had been trying to unravel for decades. New Eyes on the Universe takes a journey deep underground with a virtual tour of the subterranean research facility used to observe the interactions of subatomic particles. See the cloud chambers that reveal the background radiation we experience on the surface of the Earth.
- Quantum: The Exhibition allows visitors to delve into the realm of the subatomic, where particles, forces and fields reign supreme. Patrons will gain a deep understanding of quantum mechanics as they learn about superposition, entanglement and uncertainty. Throughout this fall, discover that things at the subatomic level behave very differently from those at the macroscopic level, defying our human-scale intuition.
- Explore the holiday magic of Casa Loma at night. Wander through the dazzling lighting display in the gardens and witness famed illusionist entertainer Professor Wick’s holiday themed magic show. Families are invited to visit Santa in his castle workshop, visit with wintery holiday mascots, sing along with live carolers, enjoy savory and sweet treats and hot cocoa.
Art Gallery of Ontario:
- Anthropocene dramatically illustrates how we, individually and collectively, are leaving a human signature on our world. World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and multiple awarding-winning filmmakers, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier have created a powerful series of new photographs including large scale murals augmented by film extensions, film installations and augmented reality (AR) installations. The exhibition is open from September 28 through to early January.
Events: Noteworthy, One Time Only & Major Milestones
Get the blues along with 50,000 others at Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle in beautiful Port Credit. Enjoy upbeat jazz and R&B acts throughout the festival with over 150 Canadian and international acts showcase their sounds. The annual Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle Blues & Jazz Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a three day outdoor music festival September 7th to 9th drawing a crowd of over 70,000 people.
Seminal Chinese independent record label and music festival promoter Modern Sky recently announced the expansion of its namesake Modern Sky Festival series to Toronto, on September 23, at RBC Echo Beach. The inaugural Toronto branch of the festival will bring together a diverse line-up of musicians from mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, and Canada to the shores of Lake Ontario, and has already announced the attendance of some of the top performers from around the globe.
On September 29 at 7 p.m., the 13th annual Nuit Blanche Toronto will fill the city’s streets with more than 75 contemporary art projects created by over 300 local, national and international artists. Three City of Toronto-produced curated exhibitions, one in Scarborough, one downtown and a third bridging the two neighbourhoods will be presented under the event-wide theme, “You Are Here.”
Nuit Blanche Toronto will be joined by the brand new International Dumpling Festival, a street-side public food court serving dumplings in multiple ethnic variations on James Street, right in the heart of downtown. The proprietors will also be present at times throughout the evening to engage with audiences and share stories about their dumplings, their businesses and themselves.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is back for its 43rd year, featuring 16 Gala Presentations and 34 Special Presentations, and this year, 13 features directed by women. The biggest and brightest public film festival on the planet takes over Toronto each September with world premieres, cutting-edge film, galas and industry schmoozes. The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.
Back for its fifth anniversary, the excitement and fun of the Toronto International Film Festival pours out from the theatres onto Festival Street and all the way up to the rooftop of TIFF Bell Lightbox. On opening weekend, September 6 to 9, King Street West between Peter Street and University Avenue will transform into the TIFF street party.
Now in its seventh year, JFL42 is a pass-based interactive comedy Festival in Toronto created by group Just For Laughs. Developed with a mandate to celebrate the most hilarious, innovative, riveting and relevant comedy experiences in the world with Toronto audiences, JFL42’s unique interactive pass-based ticketing and reservation system makes it the first comedy festival of its kind. This year promises to be the biggest ever, with even more live podcast recordings, comedy acts and headliners such as Joe Rogan, Seth Meyers, Wanda Sykes and Ken Jeong to name a few. Laugh the day away from September 20 to 28 at various venues throughout the city.
Immerse yourself in a world of unexpected pleasures and culinary delights as you experience the second annual One night in La Dolce Vita. Join celebrity culinary host Bobby Flay and journey through the Grand Rotunda as your senses are transported across the Mediterranean with the sights, sounds, and flavours of Italy. Experience the culinary delight exclusively at Square One Shopping Centre, on October 17.
The largest indoor agricultural and international equestrian competition in the world has been an autumn tradition in Toronto for over 90 years. It boasts more than one million square feet filled with hundreds of things to do, see and eat. From November 2 to 11 at the Exhibition Place, the country will come to the city bringing along over 300 vendors, regal horse shows, top culinary events and everything else in between. The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest of its kind and truly is part of Canadian tradition.
Sensory pleasures will reach new heights at the 2018 edition of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair with a newly announced program, The Country Music Culinary Festival. The event will showcase country musicians as well as veteran and up-and-coming Canadian chefs. In partnership with Canada’s largest country music festival, Boots and Hearts, the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair will kick off with the first stop on Tim Hicks “Get Loud” tour on November 1.
Happy Holidays: Toronto Celebrations
Enjoy the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas Market, right in the heart of Toronto. Inspired by the old world and influenced by the new, this month-long event celebrates the sounds, sights and scents of Christmas. Set in the Victorian-era, cobblestone-lined Distillery Historic District, the Toronto Christmas Market brings together local craftspeople, musicians and artisanal food-makers for a truly festive experience. Starting on November 15, sip on mulled wine and European Christmas cocktails while perusing the selection of hand-made ornaments, wood carvings and crafts. Then cozy up by the fire or take in carollers, brass bands and authentic European dancers.
This December, celebrate and take part in the holiday magic at Casa Loma with a wide range of activities and thrilling performances that are sure to be fun for the whole family. Enjoy new shows by famed illusionist entertainer Professor Wick and ice skating performers Glisse on Ice. Guests will be surrounded by holiday magic throughout the castle which will be resplendent with holiday décor, including a 40 foot tall tree in the Great Hall and 10 other signature trees by talented Canadian designers. Kids are invited to visit Santa in his castle workshop and participate in arts and crafts, visit with wintery holiday mascots and decorate tasty treats.
The Santa Claus Parade has been a highlight on the calendars of tiny Toronto revellers since 1913. Fantastic floats leave the corner of Christie and Bloor Street in the company of marching bands, dancers, prancers and costumed characters all cheered on by hundreds of excited Santa fans along the 5-kilometre route. Join all the excited kids and kids-at-heart to welcome the Big Guy to town on November 18.
See Bloor-Yorkville transformed into a magical holiday wonderland. In mid-November, the lights in the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood will be switched on in a dazzling display. Families and friends are invited to the Official Lighting Ceremony in the Village of Yorkville Park (Cumberland Street and Bellair Street) on November 18 to watch the area come to life with Holiday Magic.
Kick off the holiday season with the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree at the annual Cavalcade of Lights. This festive event, a Toronto tradition for nearly 50 years, features the illumination of Toronto’s official Christmas tree, performances by some of Canada’s top musical talent, a brilliant fireworks show and a DJ skating party – all in the heart of the city at Nathan Phillips Square on November 24.
Also in the heart of Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square, the Holiday Fair in the Square runs December 1st – 23rd. Combining the charm and elegance of a Christmas market with the excitement and allure of a thriving winter carnival, Fair in the Square is guaranteed to become a Toronto holiday tradition. Whether looking for a unique and perfect gift, taking the family for an afternoon of skating and festive fun, stopping by for some lunch and shopping, or enjoying a romantic evening drink at the ice bar, Holiday Fair in the Square has something for everyone.
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Toronto is a city bustling with activities and events all throughout the year. For a list of annual activities, please visit our Annual Festivals & Events page on our website; SeeTorontoNow.com.
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About Tourism Toronto
Tourism Toronto is the official destination marketing organization for the region, “Canada’s Downtown” – encompassing Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. With sales and marketing programs in key markets around the world, Tourism Toronto promotes the Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the City of Toronto, the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. For more information please visit SeeTorontoNow.com.