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September 01, 2014

Toronto Festivals & Events

It's here... the time of the year that we most dread - BACK TO SCHOOL and the end of Summer (somewhat!)

This weekend is what's known as Labour Day weekend and is also a LONG weekend with all the usual closures that you would have on a public holiday (kind of like a Bank Holiday in the UK!). The following is a list of what is open and closed on Monday

OPEN

  • Malls: Eaton Centre / Square One / Vaughan Mills and Pacific Mall
  • Tourist Attractions: CN Tower, Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo, Casa Loma, etc.

CLOSED

  • LCBO & The Beer Store
  • All government services
  • Banks
  • Libraries
  • Post offices/no mail
  • Some supermarkets

Public Transit

  • TTC operates on a holiday schedule
  • GO Transit will operate on its Sunday schedule

We see the end of the CNE (ends Monday) but it goes out in style with a spectacular air show - always a crowd pleaser.

There's an ArtFest in the Distillery District - always a nice when you're visiting the Distillery area.

There's a pop-up event for the Food Truck Fest that's going to be held in Mississauga this year. Open Streets (8am-Noon) has its day on SUNDAY and don't forget Pedestrian Sunday at Kensington Market (Noon-7pm)! Definitely a day for walking, so if you can, get out and enjoy the last Sunday of the 'summer'! :)


Film Festivals

Film festivals are starting to pickup again in September. As you know (or you may not), TIFF is a huge film festival that happens here in downtown Toronto and attracts international film actors as well as Hollywood's famous. Definitely a star gazing event, with a lot of 'stalking' to get that perfect picture (or selfie). Tickets for this festival are quite expensive but star watching isn't...good luck!


Events to Consider


Roy Thomson Hall: Live on the Patio

Thursdays (Jul 3-Aug 28, 2014: 5-8pm): [Roy Thomson extended their Live on the Patio season.] There will be live music performed on the patio alongside the reflecting pond at Roy Thomson Hall.

Drinks will be available and food will be provided by Barque Smokehouse.

  • August 13: Classic Albums Live performs the Beatles (Wed)
  • August 21: Kalle Mattson & Whitney Rose
  • August 28: TBA

picture of Roy Thompson Hall

It's FREE admission and you can enter via the stairs at King & Simcoe or via the PATH (underground). King & Simcoe Streets.


Summer in the City

Here's some of the fun stuff that's at your fingertips, or should I say, wherever your feet will want to wonder to!


Shows of Interest

KURIOS™Ė Cabinet of Curiosities

Cirque de Soleil returns to Toronto with another amazing show at the end of this summer. For the moment, the show will run from August 28-October 26, 2014 (was extended) under the Grand Chapiteau at The Port Lands [map].

Cirque de Soleil's logo for Kurios The tickets range from $60-$160 with a VIP experience $285. With this venue (a large blue/yellow striped tent), there's not a bad seat in it, but the higher up you go the more you will see. The stage is round and open so you don't really need to buy the tickets facing the 'stage entrance' (usually the most expensive) to enjoy a Cirque de Soleil show at this venue. It's relatively small and you will be amazed at how intimate the setting is for such a grand show.

What's the show about? Cirque's website states: "Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down in a place thatís as beautiful as it is mysterious."

As you can see, the video isn't really giving away too much but whatever it promises to be, it's a Cirque de Soleil show and shouldn't be disappointing.
Tickets are on sale now.


Ongoing Theatre

Rose Summer Theatre (Brampton) [Jul-Aug]: This summer, variety is the name of the game. There's comedy, drama and song! Every Wednesday not only offers a splendid production. More Info...

Stratford Festival [Apr-Oct]: Enjoy quality live theatre - only approx. 1hr & 40 mins drive from Toronto.

Shaw Festival [Apr-Oct]: Live theatre covering the works of George Bernard Shaw. If visiting Niagara region, definitely worth checking out.


Attractions

Save on Tourist Attractions

We all look for a deal, especially if you're visiting as a family. The following are just some ways of catching a deal when in Toronto.

  • Mastercard Priceless: MasterCardís Priceless Cities program is an exclusive benefit for cardholders. From private experiences to tickets to the most coveted events in cities around the world, all you need to unlock Priceless Cities is your MasterCard.
    There are currently 42 Priceless Cities around the globe, including our very own Priceless Toronto. To celebrate summer and help Torontonians experience more in their cities, MasterCardís Priceless Toronto is offering cardholders exclusive offers and experiences to top attractions. Featured offers include:
  • City Passports offers booklet of discounts and usually sells out quickly, so keep in mind for future visits to the city.
  • City Pass (not to be confused with the City Passports) offers discounted admission to five of Toronto's main tourist attractions including CN Tower. Cost is US$60.89+tax
  • Fun Pass will get 1 free child's general admission to 19 different Ontario attractions when you purchase an adult or senior admission! Valid June 28-October 31, but the attractions may have different dates of operation.
  • Ticketmaster's 2 for 1 ticket deals as well as discounts on other events! Again, worth checking out regularly.

Ripleys Aquarium of Canada

The newest addition to Toronto's tourist attractions is open for business! The aquarium finally opened its doors to the public on Oct 16 and already has been experiencing an overwhelming demand for its tickets online. It's open 365 days of the year and the times vary during the week.

picture of the aquarium building

The 135,000 sq. foot (12,500 sq. metre) interactive attraction will showcase more than 16,000 marine animals and over 450 species. Features:

  • Jelly Fish Exhibit
  • Planet Jellies
  • Dangerous Lagoonís underwater tunnel showcasing Sharks, Green Sea Turtles, and Sawfish
  • Touch pools with Horseshoe Crabs, Stingrays, and Bamboo Sharks
  • Rare and unique lobsters, daily live dive shows and more!

It's situated right at the bottom of the CN Tower at 288 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto. You can purchase your tickets online or at the door. They also offer passes but these aren't available online. Prices are as follows:
Adult: $29.98
Youth (ages 6- 13): $19.98
Child (ages 3-5): $9.98
Senior (+ 65): $19.98
*Kids under 2 yrs: complimentary with adult guardian.

SUMMER NIGHTS SPECIAL

Beginning June 2nd, guests who plan their visit for 7:00pm or later will receive $5 off on-line and on-site tickets. No early admittance will be permitted before 7:00pm. Prices are as follows:

Adult: $24.98
Youth (6-13): $14.98
Child (3-5): $4.98
Senior (65+): $14.98


LEGOLAND® - Adult Nights

LEGOLAND® is, of course, a fantastic place to take your kids! But, you gotta know that if you're an adult, you MUST be accompanied by a child otherwise you will NOT be allowed to enter. For this reason, they hold "Adult Nights" - always on a Wednesday. More information


Yonge/Dundas Square

picture of Yonge and Dundas SquareYonge & Dundas Square is a place where you can experience Free live music, Free movies (during the summer), many FREE events. Or you can just hang out in one of the central spots for people to gather as there is outdoor seating available.

Better still, if you're from out of town, need quick access to online info, especially to help you find your way quickly around Toronto, you will appreciate the FREE Wi-Fi offered by Yonge & Dundas Square, compliments of Wireless Toronto. You can also pick up your concert or show tickets from the "TO Tix" booth which is partly covered from the 'elements'.


Other Interests

Country 'n' Western Bars in Toronto

Picture of cowboy boots and hatYep, you read that right.. Toronto is now home to not just one, but TWO 'saloons'. They not only serve up excellent eats but are bringing some good up-and-coming Country artists to Toronto.

If you want to pull out and dust off your boots, just head on down to either the Rock íní Horse Saloon (250 Adelaide St. W., above Adelaide Hall) in the Entertainment District Downtown OR over to the Boots & Bourbon Saloon (725 Queen St E) in Riverside (East Toronto).

Both have those infamous Mechanical Bulls and will not disappoint even the hardcore country guy or gal... Yeee Hawww!!


PATH Information

PDF map of Toronto's underground Pathway through the downtown coreI am keeping this information on the front page as I believe it's definitely worth checking out, especially when weather's not so good. Now in the Guiness World Record book, this underground heaven is busy throughout the year.

During the summer, using the PATH is a great way to keep cool whilst checking out the numerous stores hidden under the downtown core of Toronto and during the winter, you stay warm and dry. And if you're in the downtown core (financial district at King/Bay area) and it appears to be kinda quiet on the streets during the week, just head underground and you'll find everyone there.

Remember, if you feel lost (and it's so easy to do on the PATH! - just ask, hopefully you'll ask a local!!


Updated: Aug 29