Urban Planner: December 26, 2013



Urban Planner: December 26, 2013

In today's Urban Planner: Von Trapp family singalongs, Boxing Day wrestling, and an enjoyable death from above.

Tomer Sidi Shalom gets cagey during a previous match. Photo courtesy of Victory Commonwealth Wrestling.

  • Outdoors: Exercise and fresh air—two things you’ve probably done without these last few weeks. To prepare for Boxing Day shopping, or perhaps another round of turkey and treats, might we suggest getting outside and taking part in a Rouge Park Nature Walk? There’s more to this trek than just stomping around in the snow—you’ll actually be learning about the geological history of Rouge Valley. Your knowledgeable guide will explain how the area came to be, while pointing out the rare bedrock and remnants of the glacial period that exist in our very own city. Rouge Valley, Mast Trail (7450 Kingston Road), 9:30 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Sports: What does one do on Boxing Day, if one is not inclined to visit the malls? The answer: take in some wrestling. Don’t try to make sense of it—just take our word that there is a lot of fun to be had at the Victory Commonwealth Wrestling holiday bout. With the fury of a discount-crazy shopper, Mysterion will take on Gunderson in this special match benefiting the Daily Bread Food Bank. Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West), 6 p.m., $10, or 3 non-pershibable food items for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Details
  • Music: There’s perhaps no better way to get one last musical bash in before the end of the year than by taking in this legendary Toronto band. Death From Above 1979, which has been celebrating its reunion tour since 2011, will be rocking Danforth Music Hall with music from its first (and only album), and, we hope, some new material. Remember that time this noise duo jammed so hard they caused a massive riot at SXSW? Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth Avenue), 7 p.m., $33.50–$39.50. Details
  • Film: The hills—er—theatre is alive with the Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music! The classic film returns to the big screen for a short run, just in time for the holidays. Unlike most screenings, you’re actually encouraged to make noise in this one by singing along with the characters. Start practicing those do-re-mis! TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 7 p.m., $22.75, $20 seniors, $17.50 children. Details
  • Music: The Drake Hotel is all about the number five this holiday season. To fill the gap between Christmas and New Year’s, it has put together What’s in the Box, a mini music festival. For five nights in a row, you can pay just five dollars and see five great bands. Nautiluss (Dec 26), Solids (Dec 27), Doomsquad (Dec 28), Kevin McPhee (Dec 29), and Rich Aucoin (Dec 30) make up only a small chunk of this stellar bill. Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), 7 p.m., $5. Details
  • Performing Arts: The Garrison is combining tunes, laughs, and charity this holiday season with its Boxing Day Special Festival. For five straight days, it’ll be presenting music from artists like BA Johnston and Rioting Reverb, as well as comedy from Troy Stark, Chris Locke, and many more. All proceeds will support the Parkdale Food Bank. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), 9 p.m., $5, or 3 non-perishable food items. Details


  • History: 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. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 (Includes general admission). Details

  • Film: It’s not every day that a media tour opens with the injunction not to photograph “the sex blob,” but so began TIFF’s preview of “David Cronenberg: Evolution,” the organization’s first large-scale touring exhibition (for now, it’s stationed at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s HSBC Gallery). It’s an exhaustive, stunning look at some of the wildest, most perverse creations of a pioneer of the body-horror genre—who also happens to be Canada’s most internationally renowned filmmaker. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 2:40 a.m., $15, $12 students, $5 Tuesdays. Details
  • Art: Virginia Woolf once remarked that, “On or about December 1910, human character changed.” Whether it actually did is debatable, but the curators of “The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910–1918” use that year to start their exhibition of works from a tumultuous decade of innovation in European fine art. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $16.50–$25 (includes general admission). Details
  • Film: The rare retrospective to get a victory lap soon after its first run, TIFF’s recent spotlight on the eighteen acclaimed films from Japan’s much-admired animation studio gets a second lease on life with Spirited Away: The Films of Studio Ghibli. A major hit with families when it showed at TIFF Bell Lightbox last spring, the retrospective returns with some key modifications, including a couple of prized screenings of 1988’s Grave of the Fireflies, which was unavailable for the last round. TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West), 7 p.m., Adult (non-member) $12. Details
  • Performing Arts: So the kids are out of school—now what? Escape holiday cabin fever by taking the family to see Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes. Watch good prevail over evil as Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, Jasmine, and Aurora fall in love, get their wishes, and defeat their tormentors with the help of some studly princes. Rogers Centre (1 Blue Jays Way), 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., $36.75-$102.65. Details
  • Theatre: You know what they say—things are better, down where it’s wetter. Keeping that in mind, why not escape the cold, and enter the underwater world of The Little Mermaid. Straying from the sugar-coated Disney version, Ross Petty’s production draws on Hans Christian Andersen’s story, tying in humour to make this family program both relevant and entertaining. Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street), 2 p.m., $34-$97. Details
  • Theatre: Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Miserables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After Wednesday night’s official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead. Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West), 7:30 p.m., $35–$130. Details
  • Comedy: You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding. Second City (51 Mercer Street), 8 p.m., $24–$29. Details
  • Theatre: Once upon a time, there was a film called Once. It was made for dirt cheap in 2006 by writer and director John Carney, shot in 17 days, and starred two unprofessional actors. Fast-forward seven years, and those stars—Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová—are Oscar winners, the movie has grossed almost US$9.5 million, and a Broadway musical based on the story walked away from the 2012 Tonys with eight awards, including Best Musical.

    Now Toronto gets to take part in Once‘s Cinderella story, as the touring production continues its run at the Royal Alexandra Theatre until early 2014, rounding out Mirvish’s holiday offerings: Aladdin for the kids, Les Misérables for an outing with your parents, and for a romantic night at the theatre with your folk-music-loving significant other, this simple story of two broken-hearted Dubliners who find a connection through music. Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), 8 p.m., $35–$200. Details

Happening soon:

Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.