What’s New & Happening in Toronto, Ontario Canada – Spring 2018
Wednesday, April 18th, 2018
Download a PDF version of this press release: What’s New & Happening in Toronto, Ontario Canada – Spring 2018 (Press Release PDF).
TORONTO, CANADA (April 17, 2018) – Re-connect with Toronto, Canada’s Downtown, as the ever-changing city gears up to add new hotel and restaurant openings, and experiences to its spring line-up. Read through our latest “What’s New” for a full list of updates and happenings around Toronto.
Kimpton Saint George is now accepting reservations for July 1, 2018. The hotel’s enviable Toronto location bridges the best of bordering neighbourhoods, blending The Annex’s vibrant, bohemian hipness with the historic feel of today’s chic, upscale Yorkville. Kimpton Saint George’s design is an immersion into true Toronto — a sweet spot of culture and congeniality that captures the spirit of this dynamic and diverse neighbourhood, with The University of Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum, and Yorkville’s renowned high-end shops and restaurants.
Originally The Anndore Hotel & Apartments, The Anndore House was home to many of Toronto’s most eccentric personalities and famous faces. Today, the boutique hotel is a fusion of its quirky past and modern style. It has a creative soul and shares their passion for art and culture with kindred spirits. Opening this spring, The Anndore House is steps away from Toronto’s main artery of Yonge Street and near the vibrant culture of Bloor Street, Yorkville and downtown.
Opening in April 2018 in the heart of Downtown Markham, the all-new Toronto Marriott Markham reflects Marriott’s latest design concepts and stands tall with sophisticated rooms and luxurious amenities. From the moment you step inside the Great room, enjoy an exclusive experience with a full-service bar, bourbon program, and variety of menu items. Retreat to modern accommodations with keyless entry, Netflix, high-speed Wi-Fi, and bedside adapter ports that complement their location in Canada’s technology hub.
The Senator – one of Toronto’s oldest restaurants – has expanded for the first time in 90 years in 2018, creating The Senator Winebar. The Winebar is located on top of the historic Senator Restaurant, around the corner from Yonge-Dundas Square. The new bistro serves a seasonal menu of contemporary French dishes and a unique collection of old-fashioned and refined modern libations consistent with the French theme.
Cactus Club Café is opening its second location this spring! The new restaurant – named Cactus Sherway Gardens – will reside at CF Sherway Gardens and will be the chain’s largest location in Canada. It boasts an epic rooftop patio, tons of seating, and first-rate design.
The Drake expands this May with the opening of Drake Mini Bar, an exciting new destination for food, drink, art and culture at 150 York St., across the lobby from Drake One Fifty. Part eatery, part bar, it offers an adventurous small plate menu with hand crafted cocktails and an eclectic wine and beer selection. Along with an interior courtyard patio perfect for people watching, Drake Mini Bar will feature a 65-seat outdoor patio directly at the corner of York and Adelaide.
Toronto Island Brewing Co. – which has a series of beers on the market – is taking over the Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co. space in May, with a menu that will likely consist of food plus their house beers. The property at 120 Centre Island Dock sits next to the ferry docks and has a massive outdoor patio.
Located in the heart of Toronto’s Riverdale neighbourhood, on the corner of Broadview and Queen, Brickworks Ciderhouse joins the city’s vibrant cider scene this spring. As the first urban Ciderhouse in the country, they offer small batch cider brewed on-site, alongside Brickworks favourites and local craft beer. Brickworks Ciderhouse farmhouse-inspired menu features locally sourced ingredients and changes with the seasons.
Filipino fast-food chain, Jollibee, opens its first Canadian location this April in Scarborough. Jollibee Canada will offer its all-time favorite Jolly Crispy Chicken – Jollibee’s perfectly seasoned fried chicken that’s crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, and the Jolly Spaghetti—meaty, cheesy, sweet style spaghetti.
Not one, but two, Japanese soufflé pancake shops are opening in Toronto this spring! Hanabusa Café, located in Kensington Market, makes Japanese authentic soufflé pancakes and fully customized preserved fresh flowers. All their cakes are made in their front open kitchen, where customers can enjoy watching the process of making cakes. Fuwa Fuwa is coming to the Annex and tells its guests to expect impactful flavours and impressive fluffiness!
Located in Toronto’s newest boutique hotel, The Anndore House, is a Mediterranean-style restaurant, called Constantine. Celebrating the diverse, stimulating, and primal cuisine of distinct regions of the Mediterranean, Constantine aims to cultivate an intimate and inviting atmosphere that will be a gathering place for local residents and guests of The Anndore House. It will also be a destination spot for anyone looking for a generous dining experience full of the familiar and exotic.
Bienvenidos to El Chapo! Tacos with an attitude! El Chapo is a place where people, who truly enjoy real and authentic Mexican cuisine, will find a selection of tacos, appetizers, and desserts from various parts of Mexico. El Chapo offers a familiar and relaxing environment, which one can find in an authentic “taqueria” from the heart of Mexico characterized by excellent food and service.
Chef Mark McEwan is bringing his rustic Italian fare to Toronto’s downtown core with the opening of his second Fabbrica location at the TD Centre. Located at 66 Wellington St. W in The PATH, the new Fabbrica will bring the authenticity and quality of the flagship restaurant to the bustling financial district.
Opening this spring in the Financial District, Rosalinda Restaurant is a vibrant, feel-good vegan Mexican restaurant. The new plant-based restaurant is a dream collaboration between the prolific chef/restaurateur behind Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, El Rey, Harry’s, Tennessee Tavern etc., and the duo behind Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale.
Back by popular demand, Come From Away plays at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until September 2. The show centers on a remote town in Newfoundland, where it became the epicenter of a remarkable true story filled with unusual characters, unexpected camaraderie, and uncommon generosity.
Return to an era of pink ladies and slicked back hair with Grease the Musical live in Toronto! The 2017 production that captivated audiences returns to Toronto’s historic Winter Garden Theatre for another limited run from May 24-June 17.
The classic family musical Annie makes its long-awaited return to Toronto this spring on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre from April 24-May 27. With its Tony award-winning book and score and memorable soundtrack, it is a show to be enjoyed by all ages.
Featuring the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Justin Freer, relive the magic of your favorite wizard in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ — in concert at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts from May 16-18. Based on the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s classic saga, fans of all ages can experience the thrilling tale, accompanied by the music of a live symphony orchestra and choir as Harry soars across the big screen.
Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul, who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and many more. Experience Motown the Musical live on stage at the Ed Mirvish Theatre from May 22-June 3.
Hailed as a masterpiece at its sold-out world premiere in Toronto and a subsequent tour to New York, the Canadian Opera Company is thrilled to revive Robert Lepage’s The Nightingale and Other Short Fables from April 13-May 19. A blending of exquisite visuals, whimsical puppetry, and emotional storytelling, this magical mélange combines the best of Stravinsky in a program designed to delight audiences of all ages.
Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera comes to Toronto as part of a new North American Tour. The beloved story and thrilling score, with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask Of You,” and “Masquerade”, will be performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions on tour. Experience it at the Ed Mirvish Theatre from June 7-30.
Sutra, the award-winning collaboration between Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, sculptor Antony Gormley, and 19 Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in China, is a breathtaking spectacle of athleticism that explores the philosophy of faith behind the Shaolin tradition and its relationship with kung fu within a dance context. Sutra takes the stage at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on May 12.
The court of Henry VIII is in tumult as the king tires of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who must now fight for her honour and her life. The Canadian Opera Company completes its Tudor Trilogy by Donizetti on May 26, with a sumptuous production of Anna Bolena, starring the queen of bel canto, Sondra Radvanovsky.
Frame by Frame, a ballet based on the work of Norman McLaren, comes to The National Ballet of Canada from June 1-10. Robert Lepage comes to The National Ballet of Canada for the first time to collaborate with the company’s Choreographic Associate Guillaume Côté in a multidisciplinary production that explores Norman McLaren’s life and work.
Fun Home: Alison, a 43 year-old lesbian cartoonist, struggles to untangle her complex relationship with her deceased father. Moving between past and present, Alison relives an unusual childhood, growing up in a funeral home, her sexual awakening, and unanswerable questions about her father’s secret life. This ground-breaking new musical based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir plays from April 13-May 6 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Exhibits & Attractions
MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art):
- After a nearly three-year absence from the city’s arts and culture scene, MOCA reopens on May 26. MOCA will be located on the first few floors of the Tower Automotive Building in the Junction Triangle, and the new, 55,000 square foot purpose-designed home will be nearly three times larger than the space previously occupied by MOCCA on West Queen West. The museum will launch its programming with an exhibition called BELIEVE, in which 15 local, Canadian, and other international artists explore the “beliefs and systems that inform our values and behaviours while touching upon some of the fundamental issues of our times.”
- 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 the CN Tower’s two new floor-to-ceiling panoramic Window Walls. The complete renovation is expected to be completed by mid-June 2018. This renovation will bring more panoramic views, new food, and beverage offerings and more.
The Art of Banksy Exhibit
- Starvox Exhibits in association with Live Nation presents the North American Premiere of “The Art of Banksy” exhibition from June 13-July 11, 2018. The acclaimed showcase will feature 80 original works associated with the most intriguing and talked-about artist in modern history. The Toronto exhibition will be mounted in a raw space on Sterling Road, which has been described as “Toronto’s next big thing” and “a neighbourhood for art”.
Art Gallery of Ontario:
- The newly re-installed and re-named J. S. McLean Centre for Indigenous and Canadian Art opens July 1, featuring more than 80 works by Inuit, Indigenous, and Canadian artists. In recognition that the AGO is located on Mississauga Anishinaabe territory, all texts in the McLean Centre will be trilingual – in Anishnaabemowin, English, and French. The Inuit collection will feature texts in Inuktitut, along with English and French.
- The outrageously popular Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit is on at the AGO until May 27 (tickets limited). Infinity may be a difficult concept to grasp, but it is easy to contemplate when you step inside one of artist Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Infinity Mirror Rooms in the exhibition, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. Rich with key works from the contemporary Japanese artist’s significant 65-year career, this major exhibition also shows the evolution of her immersive, multi-reflective installations in which she invites you to share in her unique vision.
- Opening on June 16 in the Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion, Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak highlights the artistic and family ties of two of Inuit art’s biggest names. Led by a curatorial team of Inuit artists and curators, the exhibition is a gift that comes to the AGO through the language, stories, and its community’s perspective.
- Canada’s Wonderland’s newest thrill-ride for 2018 is Lumberjack, which will take guests for a thrilling ride on two swinging axe pendulums, propelling them into the sky with their feet dangling through 360 degree loops. With inversions reaching up to 75 feet (22m) high, Lumberjack will give riders the sensation of an inverted coaster loop!
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada:
- Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada has opened its newest exhibit, Curious Creatures. Step back in time and sail through the life of Robert Ripley (1890-1949), the iconic “Believe It or Not!” cartoonist, explorer, reporter, adventurer, and collector, who travelled to 201 countries in 35 years, seeking the odd, the unusual, and the unexplained. To celebrate the 100th Oddiversary of Ripley’s first cartoon drawing, get ready to explore the new Curious Creatures exhibit.
- A three-part installation by Yoko Ono, entitled The Riverbed, is on at the Gardiner Museum until June 3. Yoko Ono is a forerunner of Conceptual art, frequently involving collaboration, audience participation, and social activism in her artwork. Consisting of three parts—Stone Piece, Line Piece, and Mend Piece—visitors are encouraged to shape the installation through collaboration with the artist, the museum, and each other.
Royal Ontario Museum:
- The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India is on until September 2 at the Royal Ontario Museum. From one of the largest former princely states of India set within the desert of Rajasthan come intricate paintings, dazzling jewellery, meticulously-crafted textiles, and sumptuous decorative arts. Drawn from the superb collection of the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur and the city’s Mehrangarh Fort Museum, many of these treasures are on display outside their palace setting for the first time.
- Look beyond fashion and explore the endless possibilities that come from interweaving design, art, and technology in Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion (June 2-October 8). Featuring original designs by Dutch designer and couturier, Iris van Herpen, this exhibition explores her 2008-2015 collections that push the boundaries of traditional fashion and craftsmanship.
- Opening June 16, Spiders: Fear & Fascination will bring guests face-to-face with over 200 live and preserved specimens, interactive and augmented reality experiences, and even a live venom-milking lab. Ignite your curiosity, conquer your fear, and see spiders in a new light.
Bata Shoe Museum:
- Manolo Blahnik: The Art of Shoes is an intimate retrospective, spanning 45 years of work by one of the most influential figures in his field. His inventiveness and superb craft have managed to cross boundaries between fashion and art. The Bata Shoe Museum is excited to be the final, and only, North American stop on this exhibition’s worldwide tour. Guests can visit the exhibition starting May 16.
Aga Khan Museum:
- From March 10-July 2, The World of the Fatimids bears witness to a remarkable dynasty that built one of the world’s oldest universities, compiled one of its greatest libraries, and fostered a flowering of the arts and sciences. At its height in the 10th and 11th centuries, the Fatimids established one of the greatest civilizations in the world, influencing knowledge and culture throughout the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Near East.
On April 4, 1893, Ontario’s new Legislative Building at Queen’s Park officially opened. This year, the historic building where the Legislative Assembly of Ontario meets turns 125 years old!
Toronto is getting an Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship! The new innovation hub will soon open doors to Indigenous entrepreneurs, serving as a catalyst for the creation of Toronto’s Indigenous Business District by 2020. Proposed by Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the incubator will offer services and entrepreneurial mentorship to Indigenous businesses across the city. The new hub is scheduled to be built at the corner of Dundas and Jarvis Streets.
Cinespace Film Studios (Cinespace) has signed a lease with PortsToronto to occupy and develop Marine Terminal 51 and the Cruise Ship Terminal into film and TV production facilities. Marine Terminal 51 will become a new hub for Cinespace’s downtown productions, relocating studio capacity from their former Eastern Avenue site. Cinespace’s Toronto studio facilities are known for housing award-winning productions, such as the TV series, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Oscar-nominated movie, The Shape of Water.
Sixteen airports are first-time winners this year in the annual Airport Service Quality Awards from Airports Council International. In announcing the awards, ACI said the unprecedented number of newcomers to the winners’ category is a sign of the increasingly competitive airport industry, where service is key. Toronto Pearson (YYZ) was among the first-time winners.
Festivals & Events
Celebrating its 25th year, Hot Docs – North America’s largest documentary festival – returns from April 26-May 6, offering an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000.
As the largest photography festival in the world, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival is a premiere cultural event with a broad range of international programming. May 1-31, participants exhibit in a variety of venues, from major public museums to private galleries and many alternative spaces, such as billboards and the facades of significant cultural buildings.
Now, in its 37th year, Canadian Music Week is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America, focusing on the business of music. Taking place May 7-13, the Canadian Music Week festival hosts seven nights of performances, over 800 showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto.
This spring, Junior, Harbourfront Centre’s new international children’s festival, brings together leading contemporary artists to challenge and animate young minds. Productions from as far away as Australia and Norway to as near as Québec and the Mohawk Nation of Kanawake take on the challenging questions facing youth today. Taking place May 19-25, the festival boasts activities, like circus, storytelling, music, and great food!
Currently, the largest event of its kind in Canada, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival, entertains film buffs of all stripes, showcasing the best and most diverse work of interest to LGBT communities. Taking place from May 24 to June 3, the Festival draws crowds of 35,000 to screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations, and parties that highlight more than 180 films and videos from Canada and around the world.
Carassauga is a three-day (May 25-27) cultural event, showcasing over 70 countries at different pavilions throughout Mississauga. Travel the world without leaving the city. In each pavilion, you will find exotic foods, entertainment, and culture of the country you are visiting.
On May 26 & 27, Doors Open Toronto will shine the spotlight on the city’s film and television industry. Visit historic cinemas, film and television studios, post-production houses, digital media studios, artist-run centres, and buildings that have been featured in film and television.
The inaugural Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) takes place May 31-June 3 at Harbourfront Centre, presenting the most distinct and progressive Indigenous artists working in fashion, textiles, and craft. IFWTO launches with runway showcases, a curated exhibition, panels and lectures, hands-on workshops, and a marketplace, including works by 75% Indigenous women artists and a Far North Spotlight, with delegations travelling from Nunavut and Greenland.
Uniting and empowering people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, the annual Pride Toronto festival has become a major Canadian arts and cultural event and the largest Pride celebration in North America. Pride showcases Toronto on the world stage with diversity, inclusion, and vibrant creativity. Kicking off on June 1 is Pride Month, culminating with the 38th annual Pride Parade on Sunday June 24.
2018 marks the sixth anniversary of Toronto’s Field Trip Music & Arts Festival! Field Trip brings some of the world’s best music right to the heart of Toronto, but the festival is about much more than that. Food, art, comedy, family, fashion, and a spirit of discovery count among their many inspirations, and each year’s Field Trip is dedicated to collaborative explorations of those themes. This year’s festival takes place June 2-3.
Luminato is back from June 6-24! As Toronto’s international arts festival, Luminato is dedicated to performance, media and visual arts, and programming that cuts across traditional art form boundaries. Luminato works closely with Canadian artists to support the development and creation of distinctive new work, as well as presenting today’s most exciting artists from around the world.
North by North East (NXNE) is a raging annual 10-day (June 8-17) festival and conference in Toronto, featuring music, gaming, comedy, and more at this packed cultural explosion. NXNE celebrates its 24th year in 2018 and takes over Toronto with showcases, panels, parties, installations, and more. NXNE includes a major free, three-day music festival in the centre of the city at Canada’s biggest street corner, Yonge and Dundas.
In partnership with APTN, the City of Toronto’s Fort York National Historic Site will host Indigenous Day Live celebrations on June 23 as part of the four-day Indigenous Arts Festival, running from June 21-24. The Indigenous Arts Festival is an annual celebration of traditional and contemporary Indigenous music, dance, theatre, storytelling, film, crafts, and food.
The TD Toronto Jazz Festival is one of North America’s premier jazz festivals produced annually by Toronto Downtown Jazz, a Canadian registered charity. What began in 1987 as an eight-day showcase of jazz now attracts in excess of 500,000 loyal patrons annually over 10 days (June 22-July 1), as more than 1,500 musicians entertain all across the city.
Ontario’s largest theatre festival – Toronto Fringe Festival – returns July 4-15! Showcasing 160 plays at 45 venues, Fringe keeps ticket prices lower than any other arts festival in the city (at only $12) because they believe everyone should be able to afford to see theatre. Throughout its three decades of growth, Fringe has kept the indie, grassroots spirit alive.
Beaches Jazz Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this July! The Festival, which runs July 6-29, attracts millions of fans and makes a major contribution to promoting Canadian jazz excellence locally and on the world stage.
Also celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer is Afrofest! On July 7 & 8, enjoy the largest free African Music Festival in North America. Afrofest ignites the spirit of African culture in the heart of Toronto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Afrofest seeks to share the rich and diverse expressions of African music and culture in an inclusive, vibrant, and positive community festival setting.
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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 travelers. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. For more information please visit SeeTorontoNow.com.
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