Toronto and Greater Toronto Area unions will march in force through the downtown core in celebration of Labour Day. The procession will depart at 9:30 a.m. from the stretch of University Avenue between Queen Street West and Armoury Street. No union card is required to join in the Labour Day Parade, or for the perk at the end of the parade at the Dufferin Street gates: all marchers and supporters will get free admission to Exhibition Place grounds for the last day of the Canadian National Exhibition.
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.
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.
Arti[face]: A Wink And A Nod Can Mean So Much is a new exhibit of photo-realistic paintings by Jane Duncan (who was named an emerging artist in the 2013 Artist Project). The exhibit focuses on blank-slate toy models and aims to “animate and create a multitude of unique subtle narratives and moods using only the most basic tools and conventions of portraiture.” You can check out a preview of the exhibit here. The opening reception is on August 29th and starts at 7 p.m.
BEARS IN THE STREETS *the world as I’ve seen it is a solo art exhibition by Jeff Blackburn featuring works that involve bears, which act as guides through various cityscapes (see above for example). Visitors will have the chance to see different public spaces from around the world (with bears!). The opening reception will be held on September 1st and will start at 7 p.m.
For the Labour Day weekend, Harbourfront Centre has programmed the Hot and Spicy Food Festival, a four-day experience of culinary delights, plus music, dance, and more. The festival kicks off with the Red Hot Market opening on Friday evening, and a headlining performance on the stage by jazz and hip-hop fusion tastemakers BADBADNOTGOOD.
The Canadian National Exhibition, that storied summer fair, opens for its 135th season. For 18 days, there will be amusement-park rides late into the night, all manner of overindulgent foods to gorge on, long-running traditions like the Warrior’s Day Parade and the Air Show, concerts by bands like The Beach Boys and The New Pornographers, and much, much more.
Evergreen Brick Works may be a cool place to ride a bike or check out a farmer’s market, but it also has a rich history that many people don’t know about. Memory in the Mud brings light to these stories with a unique style of roving, interactive theatre courtesy of Words in Motion. Learn about the people who lived and worked at Brick Works throughout the years, including German prisoners of war and those who were left homeless during the Great Depression.
Many people now routinely consume television series in marathon benders, blowing through DVDs or Netflix downloads in a few evenings or a weekend. It’s that sort of experience—but live, of course—that awaits audiences at Soulpepper’s production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which offers over six hours of impeccably staged and performed theatre either in two long evenings or over the course of one full day, with multiple intermissions and a meal break.
The drama that happens within prison walls is perfect material for storytelling, hence the prevalence of jailhouse material in action movies, TV dramas like Oz, and plays like John Herbert’s controversial 1967 hit, Fortune and Men’s Eyes. Though Fortune is one of Canada’s most published scripts, modern audiences haven’t heard from inmates Smitty, Mona, Queenie, and Rocky in quite some time. BirdLand Theatre, known for successful productions of Assassins, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and last year’s Gruesome Playground Injuries, is currently mounting the play in a Distillery District dance studio. Their aim is to showcase this iconic piece of Canadian theatre history, known for exposing the mental and sexual abuse that happens to people in confinement. Unfortunately, this version carries little of the original production’s impact.