What’s New & Happening in Toronto (Fall/Winter 2019)
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
Download the press release: What’s New & Happening in Toronto (Fall/Winter 2019).
TORONTO, October 2019 – 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.
ATTRACTIONS & EXHIBITS
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
October 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020
The AGO is thrilled to showcase Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in a new exhibition featuring the North
American debut of some of his most ambitious works. Rubens is one of the most revered painters in Western art – widely recognized for his riveting, dynamic and even cinematic style, known as the Baroque. The exhibition highlights works the Flemish master produced between 1609 and 1621 – a crucial time that was the artist’s most innovative and inspired.
Hito Steyerl: This is the Future
October 24, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Hito Steyerl is an acute observer and interpreter of globalized and digitized cultures; her work often blends the personal with the political and irony with seriousness as she investigates how images are created, packaged and consumed. This exhibition will be the first solo show in Canada for the German artist, filmmaker, writer and cultural critic. Taking up all of Level 5 of the David & Vivian Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, the exhibition includes some of the artist’s most iconic works to date, ranging from single-channel projections and video monitor works, to elaborate architectural environments.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches
November 16, 2019 – March 22, 2020
Discover the fascinating science lurking beneath the surface of history’s most enduring legends at the ROM this fall with Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches. Vampire bats and birds, live leeches and lampreys, and more of nature’s most bloodthirsty animals star in this ROM-original exhibition.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Age of You
September 4, 2019 — January 5, 2020
Age of You is a timely exhibition about how the self has become more extreme, and what it means to be an individual today. It is curated by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist, with graphic design by Daly & Lyon and over 70 visual contributors from the worlds of art, design, filmmaking, photography, performance and electronic music. A series of public programmes will run in parallel and expand upon the exhibition’s themes. Age of You has been commissioned and produced by MOCA Toronto.
Ryerson Image Centre (RIC)
The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture
September 11 – December 8, 2019
Drawn from the extraordinary holdings of The Walther Collection, The Way She Looks revisits the history of African photographic portraiture through the perspectives of women, both as sitters and photographers. Guest curated by rising scholar Sandrine Colard and organized by the RIC in collaboration with The Walther Collection, The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture features contemporary works by female artists alongside twentieth-century studio portraits and early colonial images and albums.
Opens September 17, 2019
Elevator Pitch is a new semi-permanent experience at Escape Manor. The escape room will be designed for
four adventurous guests and will be a 25-minute experience. The experience will be based on the namesake novel, “Elevator Pitch” by renowned Canadian Best Selling Author, Linwood Barclay.
Aga Khan Museum
Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time
September 21, 2019 – February 23, 2020
Aga Khan Museum has partnered with African nations and members of the African diaspora to bring Toronto
the ground-breaking exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time. In relation to this exhibit, guests can also experience an Afrofuturist art installation made of Lego and world-class thought leaders and performers who reveal new dimensions of this vast and complex continent.
Ontario Science Centre
Life of the Earth
September 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020
This large-scale artwork by Canadian contemporary artist Director X reflects on humanity, environmental
degradation and Anthropocene extinction. This multimedia installation shows the past, present and future of the Earth as if seen from space. Life of the Earth runs simultaneously with the Brampton-raised artist’s monumental Nuit Blanche Toronto 2016 project Death of the Sun. Life of the Earth, a collaboration between the Science Centre and the City of Toronto, is part of Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019.
September 28, 2019 – April 26, 2020
Through intriguing, thought-provoking experiences that task visitors to use their bodies and minds, this new exhibition researched, designed and fabricated by the Science Centre will spark moments of mindfulness,challenging visitors to question themselves and discover answers experientially. Visitors will learn more about their own minds and how they think, feel and react.
Meridian Arts Centre
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom presented by TO Live
October 10, 2019 – January 7, 2020
Mandela: Struggle for Freedom – a major exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights,
Winnipeg in collaboration with the Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa – opens in Toronto at the Meridian Arts Centre (formerly the Toronto Centre for the Arts) on October 10th. Mandela is an exhibition that looks at Nelson Mandela and the movement that formed around him. Follow Mandela into hiding after he is declared an outlaw, and then join him inside a replica of the prison cell that was his home for 18 years.Experience the bittersweet joy of his release, after 27 long years of imprisonment. Finally, witness South Africa’s first democratic elections, and find out about Mandela’s efforts to rebuild a nation shattered by racism and injustice.
The Dr. Seuss Experience
Starts October 26, 2019
Square One is excited to be the global-premiere location of the The Dr. Seuss Experience launching this
October 2019. A massive 15,000 square foot experience with 360-degree immersive spaces, the Seuss-tacular spectacle is an Instagrammable playground and presents a journey through the wondrous world of Dr. Seuss. The experience will include beloved stories and characters of Dr. Seuss, including “The Cat in the Hat”, “Horton Hears A Who!” and “The Lorax” as well as other timeless favourites, and will be travelling to multiple cities across North America.
StickerYou has recently opened the world’s largest sticker store at 677-679 Queen Street West. In addition to the new store, StickerYou is also opening a permanent sticker museum this fall to showcase the history of stickers, from “labels” attached to commodities in ancient Egypt to decalomania, the creation of bumper stickers and the growth of sticker art culture. The store is also planning a temporary sticker art exhibition that will be held within the museum that will expand on the sticker art culture of North America and will feature sticker art by a range of artists, including Shepard Fairey and Matthew Hoffman.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Thursday Night OVERTIME at Hockey Hall of Fame
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF) is a venue like no other. For the first time ever, HHOF is opening their doors for a series of 19+ after-hour events: Thursday Night OVERTIME at the Hockey Hall of Fame. It will be an evening for attendees to experience the museum while enjoying some of the best live entertainment, local food vendors, and beverages this city has to offer.
Thursday, September 26th, 2019 – Season Opener
Thursday, October 31st, 2019 – Halloween Bash
Thursday, November 28th, 2019 – Kickin’ Country
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
September 5-15, 2019
For the first time ever, the TIFF 2019 Opening Night Gala Film is a Canadian-made documentary. Titled Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, the documentary is a touching tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music, The Band. In total, there are 333 titles at TIFF this year with 36% of them being directed, co-directed, or created by women.
September 12-14, 2019
Toronto is about to get a bit more colourful! Yorkville Murals, a brand new festival presented by INK
Entertainment, is an artistic initiative celebrating contemporary muralism from September 12-14. Featuring local and international artists RISK, Ben Johnston, Mr. Brainwash, Whatisadam and more, Yorkville Murals will transform the courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue into a paradise of public art, becoming a hub for social gatherings and elevated cultural experiences. Alongside the murals, the festival will feature artist talks, panels, film screenings and pop-up parties.
The Word on the Street Festival
September 21 – 29, 2019
Celebrating its 30th year, The Word On The Street Toronto 2019 Festival delights audiences of all ages with author readings and featured programming alongside Canada’s largest open-air book fair. This September, the festival will return to Harbourfront Centre for a birthday party like no other, celebrating the past and future of Canadian literature with an exciting lineup of debut authors alongside perennial favourites. Beloved Canadian entertainers Sharon & Bram will share a special free performance on the Harbourfront Concert Stage for their official Farewell Tour.
Toronto Biennial of Art
September 21 – December 1, 2019
Launching on September 21st, the Toronto Biennial of Art (TBA) is a new international contemporary visual arts event that is as culturally connected and diverse as Toronto itself. For 10 weeks every two years, the city will be transformed by exhibitions, talks, and performances that reflect the local context while engaging with the world’s most pressing issues of our time. In an effort to make contemporary art available to everyone, the Biennial’s free, citywide programming aims to galvanize citizens, bridge communities, and contribute to global conversations from a variety of perspectives.
29Rooms “Expand Your Reality” experience by Refinery29
September 26 – October 6, 2019
For the first time ever, 29Rooms is bringing an immersive experience to Toronto. The Expand Your Reality Experience is the newest artistic wonderland of interactive installations and thought-provoking performances brought to you by the creators of Refinery29. Developed in collaboration with brands, visionaries, and emerging creative voices, come and find yourself at this real-life wonderland from 29Rooms. The event will be hosted in the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place.
Big Draw Festival 2019
September 28-29, 2019
For the first time ever, the City of Toronto will be hosting Big Draw Festival – the world’s largest celebration of drawing. Taking place at the City’s Toronto History Museums, the free all-ages event invites everyone who loves to draw to make a mark on their city by creating artworks using paints, pencils and crayons, and participating in a collaborative art project. This year’s theme, “Drawn to Life: creativity and well-being,” is all about health and well-being, more specifically a positive, accessible “can-do” attitude with the creativity essential to a fulfilling, healthy life.
Toronto Tequila Festival
October 4, 2019
On October 4th, visit Toronto’s Berkeley Church to experience the city’s first ever Tequila Festival! Drinks, tacos, entertainment and more; the Toronto Tequila Festival has it all for both the tequila aficionados and those looking to discover their new favourite spirit. Guests can also look forward to free, fun, interactive educational sessions hosted by local tequila expert and owner of Drink Tank, Jon Gray, throughout the event.
Toronto Food Film Fest
October 4-5, 2019
For its inaugural year, the Toronto Food Film Fest launches October 4th, 2019. This is Toronto’s only multi-day food film festival. Don’t miss your chance to screen mouthwatering, thought-provoking, conversation-starting independent films about food from around the world. Curated snacks paired with every screening, panels, workshops and meals make this event your best excuse to wear sweatpants – two days in a row. Toronto Food Film Fest is truly a celebration of independent filmmaking, food and culture!
Toronto Railway Museum Presents the John Street Roundhouse’s 90th Birthday Party
October 5, 2019
This year is the 90th birthday of the John Street Roundhouse. To celebrate, the Toronto Railway Museum will present to the public an event 90 years in the making. On Saturday October 5th, 2019, visit the Toronto Railway Museum at 255 Bremner Blvd, Stall 17 and experience scavenger hunts, guided tours, and more! The museum will also feature live music, mini train rides, and turntable rides!
Nuit Blanche Toronto 2019
October 5-6, 2019
The 14th annual Nuit Blanche Toronto will fill the city’s streets with nearly 90 contemporary art projects created by more than 300 local, national and international artists starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 5th. This year’s event will present two City of Toronto-produced, curated exhibitions in Scarborough and at Fort York, and a large-scale artist installation at Nathan Phillips Square will be presented under the event-wide theme, “Continuum”.
Rouge National Urban Park’s Earth Run & Fall Festival
October 19, 2019
The Rouge is home to many historic and significant travel paths. Indigenous peoples used these paths since time immemorial, running from community to community delivering messages, for protection, for ritual and for sport. Then, and now, Indigenous athletes are considered masters of distance running, and are counted among the most esteemed runners in Canadian history. In celebration of this proud and enduring legacy of Indigenous athleticism, Rouge National Urban Park invites visitors to reconnect with nature and follow in the footsteps of more than 10,000 years of human history within the Rouge Valley.
The Earth Run in the Rouge consists of a 10k and 5k course. Not a runner? Take part in a series of free, drop-in guided walks with Indigenous content and fall themes!
Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA)
October 24 – November 3, 2019
Canada’s largest and longest-running festival of words and ideas celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. TIFA connects curious readers of every kind with leading authors and provides forums to showcase Canadian talent to the world. This year’s festival includes lively conversations between world renowned authors, a Toronto Poetry Slam showcase, a special TIFA at 40: An Anniversary Exhibition and more!
October 25-27, 2019
Art Toronto, Canada’s international fair for modern and contemporary art, will fill the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre with creativity and conversation as it marks its 20th year with bold new leadership and cues from Portugal’s flourishing arts scene. As one of Canada’s most important annual art events, Art Toronto has attracted top leadership talent on both a local and international level with the appointments of Mia Nielsen as the new director of Art Toronto and esteemed curator João Ribas for this year’s FOCUS: Portugal, an exhibit featuring work from Portuguese galleries and artists.
Hot Docs Podcast Festival
November 6-11, 2019
The Hot Docs Podcast Festival, presented in partnership with CBC Podcasts, is back this November with an exciting program featuring the best and brightest in non-fiction audio storytelling. Canada’s premiere podcasting event, this year’s Festival will present an expanded six-day program of live podcast performances and a three-day edition of its annual Creators Forum, the country’s top industry conference for seasoned and aspiring podcasters.
The 2019/20 Mirvish Theatre season kicks off with the continuation of the award-winning production, Come From Away, which continues at the Elgin Theatre until December 1st and then transfers back to the Royal Alexandra Theatre beginning December 13th.
Additional highlights for Mirvish Productions include:
• the Canadian premiere of the critically-acclaimed, smash-hit Broadway musical (and the winner of 10
Tony Awards), The Band’s Visit takes the stage at Ed Mirvish Theatre from September 17-October 20;
• the Toronto premiere of Piaf/Dietrich from September 17-December 8 at CAA Theatre;
• the Canadian premiere of Girl From The North Country from September 28-November 24 at Royal
• Mozart Don Giovanni – Opera Atelier from October 31- November 9 at Ed Mirvish Theatre;
• Mandy Patinkin in Concert: DIARIES presents the acclaimed actor/singer/storyteller in his most
electrifying role: concert performer on November 12 & 14 at Ed Mirvish Theatre;
• the record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber, CATS, is on from November 27-
January 5 at Princess Of Wales Theatre;
• and the Canadian premiere of Anastasia takes the stage from December 3, 2019-January 12, 2020 at
Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO)
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra kicks off their 2019/20 season this fall starting with Dynamic Duo: Hannigan & Storgårds on September 19 & 21. Additional highlights for TSO include:
• the return of the ever-popular Star Wars Film Concert Series with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi—In
Concert from October 3-5;
• incoming Music Director Gustavo Gimeno conducts Daphnis et Chloé on October 9, 10 & 12;
• the TSO’s Pop Series pays tribute to the suave and immortal secret agent in James Bond: The Music on
October 15 & 16;
• the Young People’s Concerts Series Symphony Spooktacular on October 27th;
• Interim Artistic Director Sir Andrew Davis conducts Thaïs Grand Opera in Concert on November 7 & 9
and Russian Masters on November 13th;
• and TSO Concertmaster Jonathan Crow leads the orchestra in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on November 16,
17, 20 & 21.
Canadian Stage’s 2019/20 season opens with the world premiere of The Book of Life, created and performed by international praised Rwandan director, author, actor, feminist, humanitarian and professional dreamer, Odile Gakire (Kiki) Katese, September 17-29. Additional highlights for Canadian Stage include:
• the Argentinian internationally celebrated comedy/dance sensation Un Poyo Rojo makes its Toronto
debut from October 3-11;
• Chinese choreographer Yang Zhen, a rising international star of contemporary dance, makes his North
American debut with Minorities from October 17-27;
• Canadian theatrical greats, Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks, present the world premiere of Let’s Run
Away from October 31-November 17;
• and Australia’s internationally renowned, Bangarra Dance Theatre, visits Toronto for the first time to perform Spirit from November 8-9.
Cirque du Soleil: Alegría
September 12 – December 1, 2019
Cirque du Soleil: Alegría is coming to Toronto’s Ontario Place this fall! Alegria first premiered in 1994 and was seen by more than 14 million spectators over the course of its 19-year run. Now they’re reviving the show for the shows 25th anniversary. This is a first for Cirque du Soleil.
Opening fall 2019, Eataly Toronto will be the first-ever Eataly in Canada. You will be able to find them within the Manulife Center, located in the desirable Yorkville neighbourhood. The new location will offer 50,000 sq ft of high-quality Italian food. Whether you’re looking for an on-the-go snack or a delicious meal to savor, Eataly’s cafés, takeaway counters, and restaurants will have something for you. Eataly Toronto also allows you to shop both local and Italian products and learn how to recreate their recipes with live demonstrations, cooking classes, and complimentary tastings.
Slated to open mid-September, Xango Toronto, a new fixture of Toronto’s King West social scene will focus on Latin Cuisine, twisting both Latin and Asian flavours to create a breakthrough restaurant experience that encompasses both authentic dishes and inspired new favourites. Xango will combine the incredible talents of celebrity Chef Claudio Aprile (MasterChef Canada) and Toronto’s hospitality impresario Nick Di Donato (Liberty Entertainment Group). Xango’s global cuisine will serve fresh bright flavours in a contemporary and eclectic setting.
Opening this fall, Dasha is a new restaurant from Honeycomb Hospitality, the same group that brought you Baro and Petty Cash. The restaurant will be backed by Michelin Star Chef, Akira Back. The restaurant will offer specially curated cocktails, Chinese cuisine and karaoke rooms galore for all entertainment needs.
Bringing authentic flavours of the Aegean seas and the art of Greek hospitality to Toronto, Pétros82 will open inside Hotel X Toronto on September 12th. Featuring prime steak and fresh seafood with an emphasis on a Greek-style of cooking, this Mediterranean restaurant and raw bar uses only fresh, natural ingredients and adds a flair of the unexpected.
New to the city as of this fall, ēst is a progressive tasting menu and cocktail restaurant located in the heart of the vibrant Queen Street East community of Riverside, Toronto. Featuring the creations of world-recognized Chef Sean MacDonald, ēst’s cuisine is truly Canadian and influenced by the many cultures within Canada’s borders.
This September, Montreal’s beloved 100% plant-based restaurant opens its doors in Toronto at 620 King
Street West. LOV’s newest expansion will be a bright and inviting space featuring planet-conscious dishes that offer a refreshing twist on plant-based possibilities. Guests can expect a fast fine dining experience when they visit the restaurant that perfectly combines culinary excellence and elegance with affordable pricing and quick service – a triple threat for the city that’s always on the go.
Beaches Brewing Company
Set to open mid-September, Beaches Brewing Co. will provide a healthy selection of craft beers in a cozy, community environment that is sure to become a staple Beaches neighbourhood establishment for both residents and visitors to the area. Additionally, Chef Michael Kirkwood will bring his experience from working in classic Toronto restaurants such as Avalon, Toro and Opus to the kitchen. This is the company’s first-ever brick-and-mortar location.
The Green Wood
Leslieville neighbourhood favourite, The Green Wood, has two exciting announcements for the fall. In addition to their popular brunch/lunch menu, the restaurant has added dinner service to their offerings. What’s more, in late October The Green Wood will be opening its second location, this time in the west end at 461 King Street West. Both The Green Wood East and West will be serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and exist as spaces in which private events can be hosted. Both locations will continue their commitment to Toronto’s sustainable food movement.
Smoke Bar & Kitchen
Toronto has a new Southern BBQ inspired eatery and brunch hub in the heart of Queen Street West. This new smoke-inspired hot spot is the latest from the group behind the successful Hogtown Smoke chain; however, it is very different from Hogtown. The most notable shift seen is the number of menu items dedicated to delicious vegetarian dining, while still keep with the contemporary BBQ theme (think Smoke’d Watermelon “Ham” & Cheese). Now both meat-eaters and vegetarians can dine happily together in a cool casual setting.
ABOUT Destination Toronto
Destination Toronto is the official destination marketing organization for Toronto – “Canada’s Downtown.” With sales and marketing programs in key markets around the world, Destination Toronto promotes the Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travellers. Destination 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.