WHAT’S NEW & HAPPENING IN TORONTO, Winter 2020
Wednesday, January 15th, 2020
Download the press release: WHAT’S NEW & HAPPENING IN TORONTO, Winter 2020.
TORONTO, CANADA (January 15, 2020) – There’s no better way to begin a new decade than indulging in your inner curiosities –and Toronto is just the place to inspire and excite your senses. Longer nights and colder temperatures are celebrated in Canada’s Downtown with a wide variety of art and light festivals, new exhibits, restaurants, and shows. This year we’re turning up the volume on winter with Spotlight Weekends and inviting you to get out and do more this season. Take advantage of some of the City’s best cold weather favourites with a new program featuring special offers at more than 35 attractions across Toronto.
Check out our latest events and offerings to make your winter 2020 the best yet! Click through for a full list of updates on hotels, restaurants, exhibits, performing arts, tours, events and shopping.
The Gladstone Hotel transforms into a universe of art and design during Come Up To My Room, its annual four day design exhibition from January 16-19. Visitors are able to explore, discover and engage with the artists on site during the festival. There are also a series of events during the exhibition like the Love Design Party on January 18 and a Love Design Market on January 19.
Once home to Portland Variety, the corner of King and Portland streets will soon be taken over by Ruby Soho Bar. Described as a relaxed neighbourhood bar and eatery, this restaurant from Alexander Ross will be open January 17.
From January 31 to February 13, restaurant enthusiasts have a chance to explore international cuisine—French, Japanese, Middle Eastern, national Canadian, and more –at discounted prix fixe prices. Winterlicious consists of a prix fixe program offered by 200 of Toronto’s dining establishments. Three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus are offered at $23, $28, or $33 for lunch and $33, $43 or $53 for dinner.
On February 1 head over to Steamwhistle Brewing for a pint at the Winter Craft Beer Festival! Right in the heart of downtown Toronto, Winter Craft Beer Festival was created to provide beer lovers the opportunity to sample Ontario’s finest craft brews and delicious eats from Toronto’s best Food Trucks, all in a magical winter setting. There will be campfires and marshmallows, a photo station, DJ and dance party and a ton of retro ski gear.
As this last decade comes to a close, so too will the doors of the popular downtown spot Canoe. To mark its 25th year of operation, Canoe will be going through a renovation from January to February. In March 2020, they will reopen with a fresh new look and feel. Book your table from March 2 onward to be one of the first to experience the all-new Canoe.
Attention all Witches and Wizards: You are formally invited to the most magical beer festival of the year! On March 1, be transported into a mysterious and magical world at the Wizard’s Beer Festival. A variety of magical onsite entertainment will be available. Included in your ticket will be a 12oz welcome beer and five tokens. Don’t forget to don your robes and gowns, as appropriate wizard attire is 100% encouraged!
On Sunday, March 17, celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in style with a pint or two at Steam Whistle Brewing. There will be Irish entertainment, food from the Irish Embassy Pub, and, in addition to Steam Whistle’s signature pilsner, there’ll be Irish whiskey on hand for those who prefer a more traditional tipple.
EXHIBITS & ATTRACTIONS
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO):
Visit the AGO from February 22 until May 17 to be transported back in time to the Golden Age of Magic. Illusions: The Art of Magic will feature 55+ colourful posters, photographs, films, documents and memorabilia to introduce visitors to the leading magicians of the time like Harry Houdini. The exhibition will also dive into the portrayal of women in magic, the rise of spiritualism, and how performers appropriated cultural identities in their acts.
During the same period, enjoy Diane Arbus: Photographs, 1956–1971. The exhibit, highlighting Arbus’ evolution as an artist over fifteen years, features 150 of her photographs. Primarily made in and around New York City, Arbus selected her subjects – including couples, children, nudists, suburban families, circus performers, and celebrities – for their singularity.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM):
On March 7, one of the most adored literary and cartoon characters leaves the Hundred Acre Wood to come to the ROM. Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic features interactive activities and life-size installations to showcase the themes the beloved stories embody. With original sketches, manuscripts, letters, photographs and memorabilia, Winnie-the Pooh brings to life the story behind the creative partnership of author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard.
Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, opening March 2020, channels the second-generation immigrant experience in a series of diverse artistic commissions exploring cross-cultural artistic realities. The exhibit is dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding between cultures and communities. This will be the North American premiere of the exhibit before it travels to the US, Europe and Middle East.
The Toronto Zoo:
After nightfall at the Toronto Zoo, you are invited to pursue an immersive experience along a 1.5 km walking path that travels into the future and back. Let yourself be transported by vibrant lighting, multimedia effects, breathtaking video projections and an original score to an enchanted world filled with possibility. On twilight winter evenings, step through a portal of light into 2099, a time when the world glows with possibility.
The Power Plant:
On Friday, January 24 join the festivities at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery as it kicks off the opening of its Winter 2020 exhibitions. The party is open to the public and begins at 8 pm. From January 25 to May 10, 2020 discover Asymmetries by Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Spazio Disponibile by Dawit L. Petros, What we found after you left by Naeem Mohaiemen, and Anxious Audience by Rashid Johnson. These artists explore forms of architecture, history, personhood and identity in their art exhibits.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection: Canadian Art Gallery:
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is holding a major exhibition to mark the centenary of The Group of Seven and a complimentary exhibition on Canadian women artists of the 1920s and 30s. The Group of Seven is recognized as the definitive source of a distinctly Canadian style of art. The exhibition of over 280 artworks spanning five galleries “A Like Vision:” The Group of Seven at 100 will open January 25 and run until December.
On Saturday, January 25 join Ian Dejardin, Executive Director of the McMichael and exhibition curator, at 2 pm for a talk to commemorate the opening of the exhibit. This very special curatorial talk will explore the fascinating history behind iconic works and uncover the stories of lesser-known treasures that will be on view during this celebratory year.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA):
The MOCA will be home to four new exhibits beginning February 5, 2020. A Sudden Beginning by Carlos Bunga, Hush Sky Murmur Hole by Megan Roony, An Embodied Haptic Space by Shelagh Keeley, and Images in Debris by Sarah Sze will all be on display until May 10. Working across sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography and moving image each artist explores a broad range of themes from memory to consumption.
Museum of Illusions:
Feel like a magician yourself during Illusions Weekends at the Museum of Illusions this winter. The museum’s in-house illusionist hosts special shows every weekend for visitors. Even more, the Museum of Illusions will undergo a full renovation in February, with plans for all new exhibits!
Rouge National Park:
2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of Rouge National Urban Park in the GTA. Join the park on Family Day (February 17) to celebrate its annual winter festival, WinterRouge. Activities include winter birding, guided walks, snowshoeing, campfire s’mores, heritage hot chocolate, a visit from the Parks Canada mascot Parka, and more!
The wait is finally over! Hamilton makes its Canadian Debut at the Ed Mirvish Theatre February 11 to May 17, 2020. Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.
Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera will make a triumphant return to Toronto as part of its North American Tour. The phantom returns to the Princess of Wales Theatre January 8 to February 2, 2020.
The brilliant, utterly compelling hit play Us/Them – a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s National Theatre – tackles the Beslan school siege from the perspective of two wise, indomitable youngsters caught up in the tragedy comes to the CAA Theatre February 27 to March 15, 2020.
After breaking box office records week after week and receiving unanimous raves on Broadway, Hello, Dolly! is now coming to Toronto, paying tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest stagings in musical theatre history. Playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre March 24 to May 3, 2020.
The National Ballet of Canada:
The National Ballet of Canada presents the world premiere of New work by Chrystal Pite & Chroma & Marguerite and Armand. Chrystal Pite is one of the world’s most in-demand dance artists. The Canadian born choreographer has created brand-new work for The National Ballet of Canada to premier February 29 2020 and run until March 7.
A classic returns to The National Ballet stage from March 11-22, 2020. Created by Alexei Ratmansky in 2011 for the 60th anniversary, Romeo and Juliet is a contemporary re-imagination of Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed love. The ballet is also set to Prokofiev’s famous score.
The Winter Garden Theatre:
Presented by the Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Company, Caroline, or Change will run at The Winter Garden Theatre from January 31 to February 16, 2020. Set against the Kennedy assassination and the civil rights movement, Caroline, or Change is a story about ordinary people facing extraordinary change. Its musical score blends blues, soul, gospel and classical and traditional Jewish melodies. Canadian artist Jully Black stars as Caroline.
New York’s world-famous all-male ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, returns to Toronto March 7 and 8, 2020. For more than 40 years, the Trocks have blended physical comedy and flawless ballet technique to entertain and inspire audiences.
Toronto Symphony Orchestra:
From January 15 to 18, 2020, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra presents Mozart Requiem. Sir Andrew Davis leads Mozart’s ebullient Symphony No. 39, among the last to be composed, and the movingly plaintive Requiem, which Mozart would not live to complete.
On Saturday, February 8, 2020 dive into what the American Film Institute considers one of the 25 Greatest Movie Musicals of all time – Singing in the Rain. This film masterpiece comes to life with live orchestral accompaniment and award-winning on-screen performances by Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds.
Bring your valentine to the symphony from February 14 to 16, 2020 for Rachmaninoff &Scheherazade. Esteemed artist Stephen Hough plays Rachmaninoff’s rapturous Second Piano Concerto and Elim Chan leads the Orchestra in Rimsky-Korsakov’s bewitching Scheherazade.
The Royal Conservatory:
Join Koerner Hall for the 21C Music Festival January 11-25, 2020. The Royal Conservatory presents the greatest jazz, classical, roots, and world music performers from all over the globe.
Canadian Opera Company:
The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s delightfully chaotic and infectiously catchy comedy, returns to the COC in a lively and exceptionally animated production from acclaimed Spanish theatre troupe Els Comediants. Filled with razor-sharp jokes and memorable music, this audience favourite is great for families. Runs: January 19 (2 pm), 22, 25 (4:30 pm), 30, February 1, 2 (2 pm), 4, 7, 2020.
Hansel & Gretel gets the full-scale opera treatment in an exciting new production that uses cutting-edge stage technology to transplant Hansel and Gretel’s adventure from the forest to the city. As the duo makes their way through a contemporary concrete jungle, they must rely on their wits – and each other – in order to outsmart the dangers that lie along the way. Hansel & Gretel runs for seven performances at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts on February 6, 8, 11, 15, 16, 19, 21, 2020.
Opera for Young Audiences: Hansel & Gretel: Kids are in for a sweet treat this winter when the Canadian Opera Company’s annual Opera for Young Audiences production moves to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for two special performances on February 15 and 18, 2020. The Engelbert Humperdinck classic, Hansel & Gretel, has been adapted with young audiences in mind, featuring a shortened 90-minute runtime and English performance.
Roy Thompson Hall:
Highly regarded for his genre-defying approach to the piano, showmanship and collaborations with global stars, Chilly Gonzales returns to Toronto on January 20th. Canadian Grammy Award-winning entertainer and pianist Gonzales is known as much for the intimate piano touch of best-selling albums Solo Piano I and Solo Piano II as for his showmanship and composition for award-winning stars.
From beautiful Nara Prefecture in Japan, YAMATO The Drummers of Japan are bringing their captivating and high-energy performance to Roy Thomson Hall on January 24. This exhilarating performance begins with a group of dozens of players hitting a Japanese taiko drum made from a large 400 year-old tree.
From February 23 to 25, join Roy Thompson Hall for the National Geographic Live Series. The explorers featured in the upcoming season take us deep in our oceans, to territories high and far and share many breathtaking views from across the globe.
On February 28 and 29, Just for Laughs presents Hannah Gadsby: Douglas live at Roy Thompson Hall. Gadbsy’s previous solo show, Nanette, was turned into a Netflix special and earned her Emmy and Peabody awards.
Letterkenny, a small YouTube web series in 2013, snowballed into a national phenomenon when its first 90-second video amassed over four million views. Expanded into a full TV series a year later, Letterkenny is about two friends, chronicling their hilarious interactions with each other and others in their Canadian small-town community. Join Letterkenny Live on March 6 as it re-enacts scene favourites at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Believing is just the beginning for your favorite Disney heroes on January 24 to 26 at Disney On Ice presents Dream Big! Share every magical moment filled with breathtaking ice skating and beloved songs and stories that give you a reason to believe.
In partnership with FLYGTA Airlines, Visit-Canada offers Canadian packages during all seasons including the winter! Fly out of the conveniently located Billy Bishop Airport for a daytrip to discover southern Ontario locations. Head to Muskoka for a snowmobiling or ice climbing adventure, Niagara on the Lake for a luxurious wine tasting and airplane tour of the falls, or stay downtown and behold Toronto by air.
Sweet Pete’s Bike Shop:
Take on Mother Nature and the frozen landscape as you explore the many interesting destinations in the valley and beyond with a guided Fat Bike Ride tour. Get outside to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving the city. Fat bike tour guides know the Don Valley inside and out. The rides are designed to be interesting for experienced riders and accessible to new riders.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Experience The Toronto Light Fest January to March 2020 inside the legendary and artfully illuminated Distillery District. The festival features works by Canadian and international light artists across 45 days.
The 2020 Next Stage Theatre Festival runs January 8 to 19 at Factory Theatre. 2020 is the perfect year to talk about 20/20 vision – and these artists have it: they represent a vision for the future of theatre, both in the innovative styles and formats of their shows, but also in their own diverse identities. This year’s festival acts as Next Stage’s vision for the future.
Winter Stations returns to the lakefront in the new year on January 15 to February 8 with Loop. Loop is a cross between a music box, a zoetrope (a 19th-century optical toy) and a railway handcar. The retro-futuristic machine, more than two metres in diameter, creates animated fairy tale loops. It activates when a group of people work a hand lever, revealing a lit-up image cylinder that creates the illusion of motion in the drawings. Catch this exhibit at the corner of York and Harbour.
On January 18 to 19, join the Toronto Blue Jays for a bit of off-season fun. Toronto Blue Jays Winter Fest presented by TD returns to the Rogers Centre for the third year. Activities include player appearances, Jr. Jays activities, live entertainment, historic memorabilia displays, ballpark tours and, much more.
Toronto gets a little sweeter with its second Winter Chocolate Show on February 1. The one-day festival celebrates Canada’s craft chocolate makers. Bean-to-bar creators will be offering samples of their chocolate and a full schedule of workshops, seminars and tastings has been planned. Bars and treats will also be available for purchase.
Ontario Place’s Winter Light Exhibition begins just in time for the end of holiday light season on February 8, 2020. Light installations will focus on utilizing both light and user engagement to encourage, stimulate or motivate audience interaction. Also, check out a nostalgic IMAX movie at the Cinesphere during The Cinesphere Film Series before wandering the snowy hills of Ontario Place.
The much-anticipated Kids Fest Toronto happening at the International Centre, Family Day Long Weekend, February 15th – 17th, 2020 is back and gearing up to provide laughter, fun and play for kids 12 and under. Children can slide, ride and bounce all day. Inflatables range from large slides to toddler appropriate rides, but that’s not all. Enjoy the stage performance, escape room, science shows and so much more.
The flagship Winter Stations Competition and Exhibition is slated to launch its sixth annual competition just in time for Family Day on February 17 to March 30. Winter Stations is an international competition and exhibition that receives design submissions from around the world. Each year, the winning installations transform the unused lifeguard stations along Woodbine Beach into whimsical works of winter art.
Sugar Beach gets a little sweeter on March 14 and 15 with the return of Sugar Shack TO presented by Redpath. On the first weekend of March Break, Sugar Shack TO will sweeten up the city’s winter blues with two sugar shacks serving fresh maple taffy, interactive ice activities, cabane à sucre comfort food, live entertainment and more.
On March 15, deck yourself in green to celebrate the St Patrick’s Day parade. The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins on the corner of Bloor Street and St. George Street and heads east on Bloor Street, turns south on Yonge Street and finally turns west on Queen Street, finishing at the parade reviewing stand at Nathan Phillips Square. The parade starts at noon and the line of march lasts an hour and a half at any given point along the route.
Toronto Comicon as presented by FAN EXPO Canada, held this year on March 20 to 22, has now grown to become a spectacular 3 day event! Located in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the show will be boasting unique exhibitors, presentations, workshops, and many celebrity guests.
New to 677 Queen West this past summer, StickerYou has announced its Custom Centre will be open to the public at 679 Queen West in January 2020. In addition, its unique sticker art and sticker history museum will also be unveiled by early February.
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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.