I’ve lived in Toronto almost 8 months now, not including school last year, and I’ve been to Toronto countless times in my life. I love big cities. There’s so much to see and do. Toronto is a very culturally diverse city, which makes the arts and culture of the city all the more fun and interesting. Whether you live in Toronto or are just going down for a weekend, there is always something new and exciting for you to go and see!
Mirvish Productions Theatre Company
One of my personal favourite arts attractions in Toronto is the Mirvish Productions Theatre Company. It is because of this company that Toronto has become a large theatre district in Canada, even though there are only 4 active theatres. At these theatres, you can usually catch one or more Broadway Touring productions or Broadway-bound shows playing at any given time. Because I don’t have the means to get to New York City to see Broadway shows all the time (I wish I did), I can see some of these Broadway level productions in Toronto that are only a 30 minute train ride away instead of a flight. I have seen Les Miserables, Newsies, Kinky Boots, If/Then, and Matilda at Mirvish theatres (4/5 were Broadway tours but 5/5 were Broadway shows) and all of them were really excellently done. Other shows that have been in Toronto include: Wicked, Once, Hairspray, Rent, Mamma Mia! and more. If you’re an avid theatre lover like myself, it’s a great way to catch Broadway level productions without going to NYC and dropping insane amounts of money. If you’re interested, upcoming Mirvish shows include: The Sound of Music (June 2017) Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (June 2017), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (October 2017)and Come From Away (February 2018). If you like theatre, you should also check out Toronto’s Fringe Festival that occurs in early July and features theatre, dance, visual art, buskers, site-specific performances, and more.
Toronto International Film Festival – If you happen to be in Toronto at the beginning of September, you should definitely check out TIFF. It runs for 10-12 days beginning the Thursday after Labour Day. All kinds of movies from around the world are premiered and there’s a star-studded red carpet event. These are also the movies that tend to get nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes. It’s a fun time if you’re a movie lover to see all kinds of new releases. Then there’s also
Nuit Blanche – occurs for one night in October from sunset to sunrise. It’s a celebration of contemporary art with hundreds of installations in the downtown area. There’s everything from paintings to sculptures to interactive activities and performances. Everything’s relatively close together so it’s a nice walk and you can see all kinds of cool art.
Tourist Attractions and Museums
The Royal Ontario Museum – The ROM is an art, world culture, and history museum. Exhibits there are constantly changing. There have been everything from dinosaurs to ancient civilizations to galleries of Africa. Keep an eye on what’s coming and I’m sure there’ll be something that’ll interest you!
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Casa Loma – This is pretty self explanatory. The AGO houses thousands of works from historical art to contemporary art from all over the world. Casa Loma is another cool place to go visit. It’s an old gothic style house that has been converted into a museum and is a major tourist attraction. The architecture of this building and the interior are just so beautiful, it’s definitely worth going to see.
Toronto is a very photogenic city. There’s lots of landmarks to take pictures of like the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre. There’s hundreds of skyscrapers. There’s some nice parks. There’s some really cool and pretty neighbourhoods. I personally love taking photos around Graffiti Alley (which in itself is pretty cool and it’s always changing). But there’s a nice mix of skyscrapers and old buildings up by Queen and Spadina near Chinatown. I love doing photography projects in Toronto because there’s such a wonderful mix of cool, contemporary architecture and old architecture, especially up by U of T and even nature. Now I haven’t been to all of these spots to take pictures but here’s a good list of some of the best photography spots in Toronto.
If you’re into arts and culture and live in or near Toronto and are looking for a day out, there’s no lack of stuff to do. There’s something for everyone, no matter what type of art you’re into.
Do you have a favourite arts attraction in Toronto? Let me know in the comments!