Travel back to turn-of-the-century Paris—La Belle Époque—with the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Established and up-and-coming classical musicians gather for this three-week festival to celebrate works by French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré. Lectures, workshops, interviews, and concerts will take place in various venues across the city.
Got something to say about Toronto’s housing situation? Attend and take part in Collectively Speaking, an alternative town hall meeting. There, three of the city’s most innovative art and design collectives, The Project Gallery, The Hashtag Gallery, and 185 Augusta, will go head to head in a friendly competition to come up with the best way to provide affordable housing in a major metropolitan centre.
The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.
Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.
“To Be Near You” is a new art exhibition that explores the relationship of colours and experiences to our existence. These uniquely abstract pieces of art come to you via artist Christina Wollesen. The opening reception is on July 4 at 7 p.m. While you’re at Hashtag, you also have the chance to check out their “Send-A-Postcard Wall”, which lets you send art to anyone in the world so they can enjoy the show too.
If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions.
Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea is a new exhibition from the Toronto Reference Library that gathers a number of rare items that explore the theme of the possible and the impossible. Some of the highlights on display are La vingtième siècle: la vie électrique (a rare French book that shows how scientific discoveries would have affected people in 1955), Tame (a sci-fi pulp magazine), and Worldly Wisdom (watercolour that depicts a Leonardo da Vinci-like figure creating a winged flying machine). You’ll find the exhibition in the library’s TD Gallery.
Soulpepper Theatre collaborates on a Joe Orton play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s artistic producer Brendan Healey. Guest director Healey has coached some Soulpepper theatre stalwarts—Stuart Hughes, Fiona Reid, Michael Simpson, and David Beazley—for this dark comedy about a charming lodger who incites illicit passions among his other housemates.
Condo-ville isn’t exactly known for its access to organic and locally grown foods. MyMarket is trying to change that with weekly farmers’ markets set up in the CityPlace complex. Residents can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables virtually from their doorstep, while supporting local farmers. Everyone wins!
Nelly Furtado’s backup singer and opening act since 2009, Celia Palli is stepping out of the shadows as a singer-songwriter. Born in Spain, and raised in the Netherlands, Palli will be spending July in her adopted home of Toronto for a residency at the Cameron House.
Some people unwind with retail therapy, others do yoga. Now you can combine both activities with free yoga in the Town Square at The Shops at Don Mills. Regardless of your skill level, bring a mat and join the group for sessions twice weekly, courtesy of Titika.
Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension.
Cult films are generally defined as obscure pieces, or box-office bombs, that have been shunned by the mainstream but are beloved by a dedicated underground fanbase. And while Yonge-Dundas Square is hardly a little-known moviehouse tucked away in the trendiest part of the city, it is a great place to watch movies outdoors. Every Tuesday, the City Cinema: Cult Classics program will feature fan-favourite films like Edward Scissorhands (July 9), Napoleon Dynamite (July 23), and The Goonies (July 30) in the square.