Sunday, January 28, 2024

Six The Musical at the Royal Alexandra Theatre

Six talented performers and 4 musicians (named appropriately The Ladies in Waiting) fill the stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre on King Street in Toronto for Six The Musical telling the story of the six wives of Henry VIII. Sadly it didn't turn out too well for the six original wives as the musical notes, they were "DIVORCED, BEHEADED, DIED, DIVORCED, BEHEADED, SURVIVED". Great show and highly recommended with six awards including a Tony for the Best Original Score and running for 80 minutes with no intermission.

Mirvish says, "From Tudor Queens to Pop Icons, the SIX wives of Henry VIII take the microphone to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a Euphoric Celebration of 21st century girl power! This new original musical is the global sensation that everyone is losing their head over!"
Nearing the end of the show you are allowed to take photos

Royal Alexandra Theatre is at 260 King Street West in Toronto's Entertainment District west of University Avenue. The musical is scheduled to run until March 31, 2024 and the shows from February 6 till the end of March are as follows; Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: 7:30PM, Friday & Saturday: 8PM, Wednesday: 1:30PM and Saturday & Sunday: 2PM.
Grace O'Malley's

You can take public transit to the theatre or find parking nearby. I parked at 200 Front Street (Simcoe Place) which is a fairly easy in and out with access to the Gardiner Expressway from Spadina, it cost $15 for the Saturday night. We came early to allow for traffic and first went to see the Cheetos CHEETLE, then dinner and drinks at a pub just around the corner from the theatre - Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub - with happy hour from 4 to 7 on the Saturday.
The view from King Street, across from Metro Hall

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Nuit Blanche Toronto 2024 back to October

The highly anticipated, award winning, all-night art celebration Nuit Blanche is coming back to Toronto Saturday, October 5, 2024, returning again to the first Saturday in October and away from the late September 2023 event. The event has been running since 2006 and has surpassed 1,500 art installations and a shockingly high number of slightly inebriated people wandering the city streets in the wee hours of the morning looking for amazing art pieces.
Remember the hot air balloon at Toronto City Hall?
Believe, highlighting LIE at MOCA

Project submissions for this year have closed and there is nothing left but to pick the winners and then setup the whole event, which I guess is quite a bit of work! Artistic Director Laura Nanni will have her work cut out for her.
Posing in an art installation at Henderson Brewing
A rave with fire performances in the bowl at Trinity Bellwoods Park

This year's theme is "Bridging Distance" and here is the info from the City, "The view of a horizon line. The time it takes to travel between point a and point b. The feeling we have when separated from a loved one. Zoom out for perspective. Take a closer look. Distance – how do we understand it? How do we feel it? How do we reconnect and bridge the gaps? For Nuit Blanche Toronto 2024, the City of Toronto invites artists and curators to present works that explore the multifaceted ways we experience and understand distance, while also reimagining how we can bridge distance through art. This is an opportunity for recalibration and to reconnect with our city, our world and each other, in public space."

Friday, January 26, 2024

NASCAR Canada Series 2024 Race Schedule

Top Canadian stock car series formerly known as the NASCAR Pinty's Series takes on new presenting partner and changes name to NASCAR Canada Series for the 2024 season. The upcoming season includes 13 races across the country beginning May 19 under new General Manager Alan Labrosse. It also looks like they are out of the 2024 Honda Indy Toronto as they are otherwise occupied on that date. These photos are from a previous season race at Cayuga Speedway.
Evirum and Pinty's are now servings as Presenting Partners starting in the 18th season of the race series. From NASCAR, "Evirum is excited to join NASCAR Canada as one of their Presenting Partners and as its Official Residual Materials Management and Environmental Solutions Provider,” said Julien Remillard, Evirum president. “Our involvement in this thrilling series dates back to last season, where we offered support to some drivers, race promoters, and race track operators. When the opportunity to become a Series Partner presented itself, it was a natural progression in alignment with our expanding presence across Canada and the United States. We eagerly anticipate sharing our expertise with NASCAR Canada and its stakeholders to bolster their recycling and sustainability efforts." 
NASCAR at the Honda Indy Toronto 

Pinty's has been a major sponsor of the series since 2016 and I am glad they are continuing into the future. "Once again, we are very proud to associate the name of our Pinty’s brand with NASCAR Canada as a presenting partner, thus supporting motorsport in Canada, which will now have a new race in Quebec,” said Yanick Gervais, Olymel president and CEO."
Getting ready in the pits

NASCAR Canada Series will bring their top talent and high performance 550 horsepower V8 engines built around Chev, Dodge or Ford cars to six provinces in 2024. Racing opens on the Victoria Day weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and the year's finale will be held for the first time in Quebec on September 22nd. There will also be a dirt race at Ohsweken Speedway in addition to the many asphalt tracks on the calendar.

2024 NASCAR Canada Series Schedule (watch on TSN and RDS in Canada)
DATE                     TRACK CITY
Sunday, May 19     Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Bowmanville, Ont.
Saturday, June 1     Autodrome Chaudière Vallée-Jonction, Que.
Saturday, June 22   Eastbound International Speedway. Avondale, N.L.
Saturday, June 29   Riverside Speedway. Antigonish, N.S.
Sunday, June 30     Riverside Speedway. Antigonish, N.S.
Thursday, July 11   Ohsweken Speedway. Ohsweken, Ont.
Saturday, July 20    Sutherland Automotive Speedway. Saskatoon, Sask.
Saturday, July 27    Edmonton International Raceway. Wetaskiwin, Alb.
Sunday, Aug. 11     Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. Trois-Rivières, Que.
Saturday, Aug. 17   Delaware Speedway. Delaware, Ont.
Saturday, Aug. 24   Circuit ICAR. Mirabel, Que.
Sunday, Sept. 1       Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Bowmanville, Ont.
Sunday, Sept. 22     Autodrome Montmagny Speedway. Montmagny, Que.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

KUUMBA 2024 at Harbourfront Centre

February is Black History Month and Toronto loves to celebrate the heritage and culture of Black Canadians and you can check out one of the largest events in Canada with KUUMBA at Harbourfront Centre from Feb 1-29, 2024. "KUUMBA 2024 will spotlight the boundless potential of the future in Black arts and culture" says Iris Nemani, Chief Programming Officer, Harbourfront Centre. KUUMBA means creativity, one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa which is an African American and Pan-African holiday and celebration. The photo at top shows a poster by Canadian Afrofuturist artist Yung Yemi called "Those that watch over us" from the 2022 Nuit Blanche project, his "response to the hyper surveillance of black bodies in public spaces."
From KUUMBA, "Toronto’s largest and longest-running month-long celebration of Black culture, diversity and creativity, returns in February 2024 with a vibrant collection of multidisciplinary programming featuring artists from Toronto and around the world, including trailblazing Canadian Queen of R&B Jully Black and New York Times bestselling author Angie Thomas. This year’s future-focused festival, presented by TD Bank Group through the TD Ready Commitment, will capture the spirit of raising the voice, symbolizing the exhilaration of joyful expression. Harbourfront Centre will weave the vibrant tapestry of Black culture through a harmonious blend of music, spoken word, dance, visual art exhibitions, film screenings and breaking."
Photos from Nigerian-based fashion and documentary photographer Stephen Tayo are displayed outdoors at the centre
This will also be the inaugural launch KUUMBA 365 which will be a year long celebration of Black culture involving spoken word and literary arts at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

You can find the month's schedule, descriptions and ticket info on Harbourfront's KUUMBA website that includes the following exhibitions and events.

1. Canadian singer, JUNO Award-winner and an inductee to Canada's Walk of Fame Jully Black headlines a concert on Saturday, February 12 at the Centre's Theatre.

2. A first ever Rock Harder Breaking Canada Competition with competitors from North America and the United Kingdom.

3. Visual Art exhibitions such as "(Screaming)...into the void" by two artists (Aaron Jones from Canada and Tiffany J. Sutton from the USA) who explore Black identity and shared human experience in a lens-based format.

4. Film Screenings like the movie "The Hate U Give" by George Tillman Jr. and a Short Film Fest in the Studio Theatre.

Cheetos CHEETLE and the NHL Fan Fair 2024

Cheetos is coming in hot for the NHL All-Star Weekend and the upcoming 2024 NHL Fan Fair with a temporary statue by the Rogers Centre at Roundhouse Park from January 25 to 30. The 16 foot statue shows what they term as CHEETLE which is the cheese dust that coats your fingers when eating Cheetos. From Cheetos, "Cheetos Top Cheetle statue features a Bauer Hockey glove proudly displaying Cheetle-tipped fingertips, bringing together two iconic brands set against a backdrop of Toronto's most recognizable landmark." See provided photo of the statue at top.
Photos from Saturday, January 27
The statue has been set up first for the NHL All-Star Weekend festival will be taking place Feb 1 to 3 at the Scotiabank Arena. Feb 1 will have an all-star draft and a women's hockey 3 on 3 showcase, Feb 2 is the all-star's skill competition and Feb 3 will be the all-star hockey game.

"This is a huge moment for the city and we wanted to create an unforgettable experience for fans to celebrate the return of NHL® All-Star Weekend," said Jess Spaulding, CMO PepsiCo Foods Canada. "With our hockey-fied statue, we want to continue to give hockey fans and Cheetos fanatics a memorable way to mark this moment and show the world how we All-Star."

Then from February 1 to 4 the statue will be moved into the 2024 Hyundai NHL Fan Fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
And more from Cheetos, "Get your fingertips ready, there will be plenty to do! Fans can try their hand at a claw machine game for Chester approved swag, say "cheese" at a larger-than-life photo op with THE Top Cheetle statue, and of course get their mitts on some amazing Cheetos snacks. The Cheetos Top Cheetle statue is only here for a limited time so get in on the fun while you can."
Ann's TikTik video 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Toronto Maple Leafs outdoor practice Feb 2024

Come early to city hall as the professional NHL team the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the outdoor rink in Nathan Phillips Square for an outdoor practice on Thursday, February 8 from noon till 1pm. This is part of a three day, free admission Maple Leaf hockey festival both on and off the ice from Thursday to Saturday (Feb 8-10) complete with music, entertainment, warm beverages along with prizes and giveaways.

The Thursday practice is sure to fill up the available viewing areas so they note that the event is a first come, first serve basis. It will be a 3 on 3 outdoor practice with some of Toronto's favourite Leaf players.

In addition to the practice Feb 8 there is Activation Alley opening at 10am with a variety of pop-ups offering food, beverage and merchandise for sale. You can see PWHL players on the ice from 10:30am to 11:30am for skills practice, then meet PWHL players for autographs after the practice.

Friday the 9th will have Activation Alley opening at 10am and Maple Leaf Alumni signing autographs.

On Saturday the 10th there will be Activation Alley opening at noon, a Blue and White Alumni game (1pm-2pm) and Leafs alumni signing. Then from 6pm till 10pm there is a Rogers Viewing Party for the Leafs versus Senators hockey game.

From the Leafs' website, "Come down to Nathan Phillips Square to join our Viewing Party presented by Rogers to cheer on our Toronto Maple Leafs, during the live broadcast on Sportsnet, as they take on the Ottawa Senators. Fans will also get to enjoy a variety of exciting pop ups, giveaways, and a free public skate!"

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Toronto International Boat Show 2024

Now with glow in the dark kayaks! North America's largest indoor boat show is back, slightly ahead of the Canadian boating season, from January 19 to 28 at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place. And to keep us comfortable they have filled up the rink inside the Coca Cola Coliseum with water from Lake Ontario so we don't have to go outside to see some of these watercraft and aquatic sports in action. Canada's top wakeboarders will be competing for $5,000 in prizes during the Indoor Wakeboard Canadian Championships.

Watercraft manufacturers are following the push to electric in road vehicles and are 'Electrifying The Boating Industry' including some cool jet skiis, surfboards and of course, boats which you can see demonstrated on the indoor lake. Also on the lake is the glow in the dark boating during the weekends (Friday to Sundays at scheduled times only).

From the new product showcase and boats from tiny inflatables to giant yachts, the boating resource centre and the Marine Technical Training educational hub this is a great place to look at upgrading your boating experience or start your journey on the water. Plus it is better to go to the show than sit around stare at the gloomy, cold, winter weather.

There are some incredible seminars on throughout the show including my two faves as described by the Toronto International Boat Show.

"Unlock the Trent-Severn Waterway – Chad Buchner
Chad Buchner, Manager of Operations for the Trent-Severn Waterway, presents this one-of-a-kind seminar, taking audiences on an exclusive insider's journey! Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the world-renowned TSW and gain an in-depth understanding (plus some insider tips and tricks) to plan your adventure. Whether you're a newcomer to the Waterway or a seasoned boater, this interactive seminar has something for everyone.

Exploring Ontario by PWC – Mark Forrest
Mark Forrest has been exploring lakes and waterways with his Sea Doo for the past six years, and uploading his travels to his popular YouTube channel, Mark Forrest Adventures. At this seminar, guests will learn where to get started (including information on the best types of PWC for both smaller and larger bodies of water), how to use apps and websites for trip planning, and some of the best jet skiing locations in Ontario."

Friday, January 19, 2024

Interior Design Show #IDSToronto 2024

Visit the best of design, both Canadian and global, at the Interior Design Show January 18 to 21 returning to the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Interesting doesn't begin to describe the combination of art and science from rising stars in the design world, or from the experienced legacy design brands.

From the show's website, "Celebrating 25 years of being Canada’s premier design showcase, IDS Toronto 2024 will not only commemorate its rich history but also set the stage for what lies ahead in the dynamic world of interior design. This landmark event promises to be an inspiring showcase of cutting-edge concepts, transformative trends, and visionary designs, as it explores the limitless possibilities of the future of design. As Canada's premier showcase of new products, superstar designers, and innovative concepts, IDS is the platform to experience what's new and what's next while also participating in the broader conversation surrounding design. Join us at the new MTCC North Building location, in celebrating 25 years of design excellence and in envisioning a bold and innovative path forward for the industry."

A fantastic opening night party caps off the start of IDS (Thursday, Jan 18) from 7-11pm and open to all. If you missed the 2024 party make sure you save the date in 2025 (see scenes from last year's party on my post here). Thursday and Friday are reserved for Professional Trade Day (Thurs from 9am - 4pm, Fri from 9am - 6pm) where you can pick up some great tips and tricks, followed by Public Days on the weekend (Sat and Sun from 10am - 5pm).
There is a lot to learn by attending the show with many keynote speakers on the Cosentino and Gray stages or enjoy content from the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) and Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) on the ARIDO + IDC Stage while ongoing accredited seminars, presented by Blanco, feature over 50 speakers. In between seminars and speakers check out the immense space filled with lounges, vendors and unique areas like the Future Neighbourhood, the LIV Design Studio, the District and much more.

See more photos of the show after the jump.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Planted Expo Toronto coming in March 2024

Vegans don't eat animals or use products derived from animals and as we learn about the damage to the planet from harvesting animals it is becoming easier to find products made specifically for vegans and vegetarians. In March 23 to 24, 2024 you can visit the Planted Expo at the Enercare Centre in Exhibition Place, Toronto where you will find an inclusive, informative and welcoming event which celebrates the plant based lifestyle; "North America's biggest, most juicy, most epic plant-based event of the year!"

The University of Colorado Boulder estimates that nearly 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are produced through the practice of raising livestock for human consumption. In addition to using so much agricultural land it also contributes to deforestation and water pollution.

From the planted expo webpage, "Don’t miss out on North America's largest plant-based event of the year! Discover the future of plant-based products at Planted Expo, designed exclusively for truly supporting, informing, and sharing sustainable plant-based brands. Exhibiting over 200 edible AND lifestyle brands look forward to trying delicious vegan products and hearing from insightful, informative, inspirational speakers from around the world. Sustainability is an important mission for Planted Expo 2024, and we hope to showcase plant-based brands that will change your life!"

The two-day weekend show runs from 10am till 5pm and you can find the lounge, stage and fun zone on the far side of the Enercare Centre from the welcome centre as well as over 200 vegan lifestyle vendors.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Toronto Reference Library in the movies

My goodness, the Toronto Reference Library is an impressive beast of a building and chock full of books for some reason. Situated on Yonge Street, just north of Bloor Street in the Yorkville section of TO and billed as Toronto's largest and busiest library. You can really see the tiered or stepped floor design in the photo at top.

The massive centre court, or atrium, is open from the ground floor to the top of the 5th floor and the building also includes a basement housing the Toronto Star Newspaper Room. The Newspaper room is temporarily closed for now?

Would you believe it is perfect for spies? There are several 'cones of silence' see through pods

Toronto of course is used to being the location for the silver screen and other media and the Reference Library itself has been featured in a few productions including 'RED' (Retired Extremely Dangerous movie with Bruce Willis - one of my faves), a music video for 'Secrets' by the Weeknd and the television series 'The L.A. Complex' (episode Xs and Os).

It's perfect for getting out of the elements, utilize the many bathrooms in the building, surf the free wifi and check out some books or look at the reference materials (note you can't check out most of the books as they are used for reference). You don't need a Toronto library card to get into the library but you will need one to check out anything.

TRL hours:
MONDAY 09:00am - 8:30pm
TUESDAY 09:00am - 8:30pm
WEDNESDAY 09:00am - 8:30pm
THURSDAY 09:00am - 8:30pm
FRIDAY 09:00am - 8:30pm
SATURDAY 09:00am - 5:00pm
SUNDAY 09:00am - 5:00pm

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Pride and Prejudice (sort of) in Toronto

I really enjoyed the Mirvish production of a humorous retelling of the events that took place in the historical fiction novel Pride and Prejudice by author Jane Austen, updated for this show by Isobel McArthur which is why the play's title includes the (sort of) moniker. 
There are more laughs and singing in Pride and Prejudice (sort of) than the original book, or the numerous remakes made over the years. Keep in mind that Darcy doesn't get wet in this production, but they do question him about it. Ann and I both loved the whole show.
Inside the CAA Theatre
You can't take photos when the actors are on stage so this is the in-between times

From the the show's webpage on the Mirvish webpage, "Direct from its triumph in the West End where it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy and the prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Award, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story. Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this irreverent but affectionate adaptation where the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to romance. This “smart, laugh out loud funny” (Daily Telegraph) show features a string of pop classics including Young Hearts Run Free, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and You’re So Vain."

This production is on at the CAA Theatre (651 Yonge Street in Toronto) held over again until January 21, 2024.

Tuesday - Saturday: 7:30PM
Wednesday: 1:30PM
Saturday & Sunday: 2PM
The end

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Old Toronto political paraphernalia

I still have an old Rob Ford for Toronto Mayor magnetic card from some event that happened some time ago. Spoiler, he did become the mayor and as I recall it was a pretty uneventful term in office! Just kidding, here is a CBC article on his top ten unforgettable moments.

Next to the magnet is a business card for a young Olivia Chow when she was a Member of Parliament. She has since become the current Mayor of Toronto. Here is some info on Ms Chow from the City of Toronto, "In 2006, Olivia was elected as the Member of Parliament for Trinity—Spadina and was reelected twice, serving until 2014. While an opposition MP, she introduced an Early Learning and Child Care bill which laid the legislative foundation for a universal, high quality, affordable and non-profit national childcare program. Her bill on a National Public Transit Strategy was widely celebrated by mayors and municipalities from coast to coast.

After leaving federal politics, Olivia wrote “My Journey”, a book of memoirs chronicling her inspiring life story. In 2015, she joined Toronto Metropolitan University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor where her work focused on community engagement and leadership development. In 2016, she founded the Institute for Change Leaders, providing leadership training and community organizing skills that grass roots activists and organizers need to achieve social change, empowering thousands of people.

And then in 2023, Olivia Chow opened a new chapter in her extraordinary life story when she ran for and won election as Mayor of Toronto, pledging to build a more affordable, safe and caring city where everyone belongs.

Throughout her career, Olivia has been driven by the belief that we are always stronger together."

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square