Category: Events

Toronto’s High Park Cherry Blossoms

It happens once a year for one week... two, if you're lucky. The city's Sakura Trees BLOOM into beautiful flowers. You may know them as, "cherry blossoms."
They brighten up the parks they live in and they invade our Instagram News Feeds. They make us happy, because all of this means patio season (Spring) has finally arrived in our beautiful city of Toronto.

Did you know...? That Toronto Citizens were gifted 2000 cherry blossom trees from the Citizens of Tokyo, Japan. This happened on April 1, 1959 and it was a way for the Japanese citizens to say, "thank you" to those in Toronto who helped Japanese refugees after World War II. Since then, they've planted even more and you can find the trees throughout the park and the city in the spirit of continued friendship between the people of Canada and Japan. 

❤✌

Toronto Concerts of 2017

It's no secret, we love concerts. 

There's an extraordinary feeling of togetherness that happens at concerts. You may be surrounded by strangers, but the shared experience links you all together in that moment. The band is on stage pouring their hearts out through their music, and the crowd is giving back. Maybe with cheers or maybe by singing every word of every song that is being performed. That feeling is one of the best in the world for us. These moments gives us chills, have us lost in the moment and many times leaves me (Cheryl, not Jon) crying for what I think is no apparent reason. The outdoor summer concert is our favourite of them all, but we'll take any. Cheers to Toronto concerts of 2017. 

Find a selection of the ones we attended this past year in the videos below:

Canada Day Weekend Adventures – Happy 150 Canada!

Happy 150 Canada!
Can you believe it? Canada is 150 years old! 

To celebrate this joyous occasion, we decided to frolic through the city. 
A short run down on our weekend went something like this:

1. The Canada Day Blue Jays game vs. Boston Red Sox (we lost, it was ugly.) 
2. CN Tower's unbelievable Canada Day fireworks display (wish this could happen every year, hint hint.) 
3. A race down to the waterfront for the Harbourfront fireworks 10 minutes later (we made it!)
4. Redpath Waterfront Festival to hang out with the world's largest rubber ducky (it was large.)
5. A wander over to Nathan Phillips Square on multiple occasions where we happened upon free concerts from: Barenaked Ladies, Dream Warriors and dvsn. dvsn happened to have a few special guests (Majid Jordan and DRAKE.) We still can't believe we saw a free Drake concert!! Oh and there were fireworks too. Phenomenal fireworks... overshadowed a wee bit by our Drake shock.

And you know the long weekend wouldn't be complete without poutine and a few beverages like a double double Timmies, a Molson Canadian and a Mott's Bloody Caesar. Yum.

We hope you all had a fabulous Canada Day weekend too.

Cheers, eh!

What to do in Toronto – July 2017

If you thought there was a lot of fun to be had in May & June, just wait for July. We are beginning to hit our summer stride.
We think there are two ways to experience Toronto events in the summer. Some will need planning, while others you can stumble upon while exploring the city. 

Your list of July events to plan for or stumble upon, are as follows: 

July 1 - Canada Day

The city will be erupting with celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday!
The below links will bring you to a breakdown of most everything that is happening around the city for that day. Be forewarned, there is a LOT to choose from! From food & drink to markets & festivals to sporting events & family fun and don't forget to end the night with fireworks!
1. Toronto.ca
2. ToDoCanada.ca

To break down firework timing:

✫Nathan Phillips Square 10:55pm (this will be an epic 4 day celebration starting June 30, every night ending in fireworks!)
✫CN Tower 10:30pm
✫Harbourfront Centre 10:30pm
✫Mel Lastman Square 10:55pm
✫Humber Bay Park West 10:55pm
✫Scarborough Civic Centre 10:55pm
✫Ashbridges Bay (The Beaches) 10:00pm
✫Centennial Park 10:00pm (part of Toronto Ribfest happening June 30 thru July 3)
✫Downsview Park @ dark

(If anyone is wondering what we will be doing -- we'll be going to the Canada Day Blue Jays game vs. the Boston Red Sox. Afterwards we will be wandering around Harbourfront/Redpath Waterfront Festival/Artisan Market. Followed by setting up somewhere with a good perspective of the CN Tower fireworks & Harbourfront Centre fireworks that will be happening in tandem @ 10:30pm. If we can squeeze it in during the morning hours, the Royal Ontario Museum has free admission on Canada Day. My feet are already tired and looking forward to resting on July 2.) 

Festivals & Events

1. July 1st thru 3 - Redpath Waterfront Festival - this FREE festival happens along the lakefront. You will finally be able to see this HUGE RUBBER DUCK!

2. July 5th thru 16th - Fringe Festival - Inspired by the worldwide fringe movement, Toronto started their's 28 years ago. These 12 days of Toronto theatre is Ontario's largest theatre festival. And ticket prices are lower than most other festivals in the city @ $12 a ticket!
3. July 7th thru 30th -The 29th annual Beaches Jazz Fest - A FREE 10 day music festival staple that takes over the Beach communities on the east side of Toronto. Full schedule of the events, bands and when to expect Queen St. East to be closed can be found in the orange link. 
4. July 8th and 9th - TD Salsa  in Toronto - Get your dancing shoes on for the 13th annual festival. It is one of the largest latino themed festivals in Canada. It happens during 3 weeks in July, but the big talk is when the festival takes over St. Clair Avenue West between Christie and Winona Drive on July 8th and 9th.  
5. July 11 thru the August long weekend -  Toronto Caribbean Festival (We still call it Caribana) - The official city of Toronto launch is July 11, but the Grande parade, King and Queen parade and OVO Fest won't be happening until NEXT month! Click on the orange link for a full run down of events. 

6. July 14 and 15 - 1st annual Budweiser County Fair - The spirit of country will be taking over King St. West! Think country carnival with BBQ, carnival eats & games, Coyote Ugly dancers and mechanical bull rides! 
 

7. July 15 and 16 - 45th annual Festival of India - This was originally scheduled to be a Centre Island event. As of right now, they are working with the City of Toronto to find a more suitable location. The parade will still be held on dry land July 15th @ 11am, starting at Bloor & Yonge and moving south towards Queens Quay. We will update you when we have more information. 
8. July 20 thru 23 - Burlesque Festival - The 10th annual Toronto Burlesque Festival takes over MOD Club and Revival for 4 days this month. If you are looking for a summer festival a little different, this could be your choice.

9. July 22 - Junction Night Market - this fun night time community food event supports a good cause. ALL of the proceeds go towards helping members of their community access fresh and healthy food through local programs. Indie 88 will be there spinning some tunes and handing out FREE high fives!
10. July 22 & 23 - Big on Bloor Festival of Arts and Culture - A city and community-building street festival that celebrates local arts, culture and community. If you live in the area or want to drive that day, remember Bloor West will be shut between Dufferin and Lansdowne. 
11. July 28 thru 30th - Toronto's Festival of Beer - This is the big one! All the beer will be there! The free music on Saturday will be Toronto's own Sloan will be the band on the Saturday and it is already sold out. (Method Man & Redman play Friday and Alan Doyle on Sunday.)
12. July 30th - Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market - We've hit the middle mark for Pedestrian Sundays now. If you haven't gone out to experience one yet, here's your chance! If you have made your way there already... do it again!
13. Live on the Patio - Roy Thomson Hall - Sit on a patio, listen to some music and admire the beautiful Roy Thomson Hall. This is yet another FREE music event that happens in Toronto during the summer. There are 7 dates to choose from in July with different musicians for each date. The line up can be found in the link. Doors open at 5pm and seating is limited. All you have to do is get there before the Bay Street Crowd does after work.
14. Harbourfront Centre - Free music, movies and events throughout the entire summer. Every Wednesdays are Free Flicks, Thursdays are Dancing on the Pier, Thursdays and Sundays there is Summer Music in the Garden and of course don't forget the Paddle boats on Natrel pond. (Who doesn't like city paddle boats!) Full schedule for the summer can be found in the link. (We're waiting for the Hot & Spicy Festival there in September.)

Unique Attractions & Events

July 14 thru 16 - Honda Indy - Insider Tip: the Friday is practice and qualifying races. And FREE!

July 14 thru 16 - Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition - Nathan Phillips Square becomes a juried art exhibition over these days in mid July. Go to browse, buy or do art tours with beer chats. More information in the orange link.

AGO:
July 6 -  First Thursday this month is called "Future Perfect"  celebrating the diversity of the Canadian experience.
+ Georgia O'Keefe ends this month. We've attended this exhibition and definitely recommend it. If you enjoy art, she's well worth the trip.

Remember ☝︎ if you attend First Thursday, entry into Georgia O'Keefe is included. If you are an AGO member, Georgia O'Keefe is FREE and there is a member's discount for First Thursday!

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada:
Friday Night Jazz on July 14 is Juliet Dinn

Casa Loma After Dark:
Soul in the City continues every Monday
Symphony in the Garden continues every Tuesday
+ the Escape Series continues

Movies Under the Stars 


We've listed all of the parks and rec. centres that are hosting one OR more movie nights in July. And the best part? Most are doing it for FREE! All you have to do is show up, bring your blanket to sit on and maybe some nibbles. Click the orange link above for more details on the movies that will be featured, dates and times. If you live nearby any of these parks or can make the trip, we highly suggest you checking it out!

Regent Park
Corktown Commons
CityPlace's Canoe Landing
Christie Pits
St. James Park
Trinity Bellwoods
Downsview Park
Harbourfront Centre

Food Markets & Food Tours

There are many regular area Farmer's Markets popping up all over the city.
Our select few are below: 

Artisan Market HTO Park every Saturday  
+ Trinity Bellwoods Farmer's Market every Tuesday
+ Adelaide Eats - You originally saw this group at Union Station 2 years ago. The've moved locations and give you great options with places like Tacos 101 and Chimney Stax to tempt your tastebuds
+ David Paecut Square's INDULGE (market/entertainment) every Thursday
+ Brookfield Place every Wednesday
+ Nathan Phillips Square Farmer's Market every Wednesday

We've also noticed Food Tours & Culinary Adventures are becoming more popular. There are many tour providers and we have chosen a selection (see below) from Savour Toronto and Culinary Adventure Co. They all require tickets. Ticket prices range from $50 - $150. 
Kensington Krawl  
Old Chinatown Food Tour
Best of the West Food Tour
Coffee & Pastry Food Tour
Tastes of Little Italy 
St. Lawrence & Old Town Culinary Adventure

Active

July 8 - Bubble Run - Get exercise and play in the bubbles! Jon and I came across a Bubble Run in Marseille, France. We didn't participate and we had no idea what we were witnessing until afterwards. All we knew is this: everyone looked like they were having so much FUN!

July 15 - Night Nation Run - A running music festival that takes you thru a 5k running course laced with lights, lasers and DJs spinning electronic music. This looks like it may be even more fun than the Bubble Run!



July 23 - Toronto Triathlon Festival - Voted the best Triathlon in Canada last year, this "festival" celebrates human endurance and tenacity. 

Concerts & Music Festivals

July 1 - Electric Island continues with July's installment @ Woodbine Beach
July 7 - Bud Light Dreams Festival @ Echo Beach
July 7 - Ed Sheeren @ Air Canada Centre
July 6 - Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull @ Air Canada Centre
July 8 - Violent Femmes @ Massey Hall
July 8 - Linkin Park @ Budweiser Stage
July 10 - Gorillaz @ Air Canada Centre
July 11 - Joan Jett and The Blackhearts & Boston @ Budweiser Stage
July 14 thru 16 - Ricky Gervais @ Massey Hall
July 15 - Iron Maiden @ Budweiser Stage
July 15 - Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers @ Air Canada Centre
July 16 - Metallica @ Rogers Centre
July 18 - Take Off, Eh? @ Second City - This is a ONE NIGHT ONLY, ALL-STAR Benefit. Bob & Doug McKenzie and Jiminy Glick will be there! It's expensive, but click the link and you'll see why.
July 18 - Muse & 30 Seconds to Mars @Budweiser Stage
July 19 - Chicago & The Doobie Brothers @ Budweiser Stage
July 20 - Elvis Costello @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
July 25 - Kendrick Lamar @ Air Canada Centre
July 25 - Korn @ Budweiser Stage
July 26 - Blondie & Garbage @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts 
July 28 thru 30 - 3rd annual WayHome Music & Arts Festival @ Burl's Creek Event Grounds - look at that lineup! 😍

Major League Sports

Rugby: Toronto Wolfpack RLFC (Lamport Stadium)

July 1 vs. York City Knights RLFC
July 15 vs. Hemel Stags RLFC

Baseball: Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre)

July 1 & 2 Boston Red Sox
July 6 thru 9 Houston Astros
July 24 thru 27 Oakland A's
July 28 thru 30 LAA

Soccer: Toronto FC (BMO Field)

July 22 vs. Colorado Rapids
July 30 vs. NYC FC

Football: Toronto Argonauts (BMO Field)

July 24 vs. Ottawa Roughriders

What to do in Toronto – June 2017

There is so much going on in the city in June, you are going to want to clone yourself. Jon and I are going to have a busy month, that's for sure!
We are going to break it into categories instead of calendar days this month. Like last month, the orange links will take you to the website for more information and don't forget to look out for J&C's choices!

Festivals & Markets

1. **J&C's choice** June 1 thru 25: PRIDE! Events happen the entire month of June in Toronto to celebrate Pride month. They kick it off at the AGO's First Thursday event (details later in this post) and end it on June 25 with the annual Pride parade. The Village neighbourhood is ground zero for most of the events. We were front row for the parade last year and what an incredible experience! Love, acceptance and inclusivity flooded our day. Also, the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black was represented with a float. As they passed us Jon yelled, "WE LOVE YOU!" at 'Dayanara' (actress Dascha Polanco). She yelled back, "I love you, too!" Look, I even have a blurry photo to prove it! WHATTTTTT!

We love you Dayanara!

2. June 2 thru 4 - Mac and Cheese festival @ Ontario Place. FREE admission - tickets are recommended and available online. Eat, drink and celebrate MACARONI AND CHEESE!
3. June 3&4 - Riverdale Art Walk A free 2 day exhibition in the Queen East neighbourhood connects local artists with the public. A perfect compliment to the Riversaide Eats & Beats festival (see below.)
4. June 3&4 - Riverside Eats & Beats 10 blocks of free neighbourhood fun on Queen East, east of Degrassi. Note that this is only a part day event, 1:00pm - 6:00pm on Saturday and 1:00pm - 4:00pm on Sunday. 

5. June 3 - Dundas West Fest All day Saturday, between Landsdowne and Roxton! Celebrate and share with this west side neighbourhood. 11:00am - 10:00pm
6. June 3 - Waterfront Artisan Market. If you wandered down along Queens Quay on weekends last summer, you may have noticed a food & craft market set up around HTO Park. It's back for 2017! All summer long on Saturdays you will find this market open from 11am - 8pm. If it's hot, you will need ice cream and the best ice cream there belongs to our friend Mel's Boreal Gelato. (Yes, we are bias. But try it, you won't be disappointed!)

7. June 9 thru 11 - BBQ Eats Festival @ Ontario Place. Looks like Ontario Place has found a new use this summer... Food Festivals! This time a massive BBQ competition will be happening, featuring ethnic BBQ flavours. It's free admission, but you still need a ticket to get in. Get your tickets HERE.  
8. June 10&11 - Foodalicious Food Truck Festival - Popular food trucks will be gathering in Downsview Park for a big food fest. Go hungry and bring the kids (there will be a middway and kids area!) $5 tickets can be purchased on the website. 
9. June 10 - Sessions Craft Beer Festival @ Yonge Dundas Square. Similar to Beer Fest, you a pay a price for a souvenir mug and tokens and you sample beers. Fun for the day includes Collaboration Nation where multiple breweries team up with local celebrities for a special brew and then YOU get to vote on your favourite. Ticket packages start at $40 and are available on the website.  
10. June 10 - Liberty Village Art Crawl - The 5th anniversary of this free neighbourhood art crawl.
11. **J&C's Choice** June 13&14 - The 5th annual Stop Night Market. An all you can eat, all you can drink 2-day fundraiser hosted by Stop Community Food Centre. This popular night market brings together creatives in culinary, design, performance and graphic arts to celebrate diversity, community and the power of food.  In the past it has been held in the Honest Ed's alleyway. This year they have moved venues to 181 Sterling Road in the Lansdowne and Bloor area. Tickets are $100. One ticket could provide healthy food for up to 3 families or 20 meals at the Stop Drop-in. They are still looking for volunteers, deadline coming up soon (May 29). 
12. June 14 thru 25 Luminato. Last year Luminato took over The Hearn and placed the world's largest disco ball there. There are a plethora of events and it looks like this year is shaping up to be even better.  The kick-off event will be held at David Pecaut Square and is called Tributaries. Tributaries pays tribute to the immeasurable power, passion, beauty and resistance of Indigenous women. Different shows, community events, entertainment will be spread out over 12 days. The full schedule can be found HERE

Shiny Disco Balls

13. June 15 thru 18 - Taste of Toronto. Dubbed a foodie wonderland, Taste of Toronto is 4 days of food, drink and summer fun times. You will recognize the names of the chefs and restaurants who are in attendance. You will want to try samples from every place you can. And then your stomach will thank you. (Your doctor or personal trainer, maybe not so much.) General admission tickets start at $17. For more information on tickets, click HERE.
14. June 16 thru 18 - TacoFest is for those who enjoy a good taco. (*cough* Jon) Like so many other food festivals, TacoFest will be held at Ontario Place. Admission tickets are $9.95 but you do need to choose an entry time. You can do that HERE
15. June 16 thru 18 - Tastes of Little Italy - Mama Mia! This long running neighbourhood festival happens right thru the heart of Little Italy along College Street. It begins on Friday night and ends Sunday night. And this year they are giving away a trip for 2 to (big) Italy! (*Note that Saturday the festival will be open until 1:00am.) Last year we ventured out just for a veal parmigiana sandwich and it was worth it, it tasted just like Nonna's! Oh and we happened to eat a pizza too. Said pizza below.

16. June 16 thru 18 - Beaches BBQ & Brews is The Beaches neighbourhood's Rib Fest. Woodbine Beach is where it will all go down and there will be something for the whole family. Free admission, live music, midway, fully licensed and BBQ ribs!
17. June 16&17 - Wine & Spirit Festival @ Sugar Beach. The 9th annual Wine & Spirit festival is returning to Sugar Beach this year. This is a pay as you go event. $25 admission and then you pay for vouchers (cash only) to sample the wine, spirit and selection of foods. Your admission is an experience that includes entertainment by local musicians who will be performing all weekend as well as fun free mixology classes to take part in!
18. June 22 - Movies in St. James Park. This is a neighbourhood secret in Old Town. Once a month throughout the summer, they screen movies in the park! This year it kicks off in conjunction with Pride month. They are screening the 2014 movie, Pride @ 9pm and a live drag show @ 8pm will accompany the movie. 

19. **J&C's Choice** June 23 thru July 2 - TD Toronto Jazz Festival. This annual festival has a lot to be excited for this summer. It will be moving to Yorkville in part to coincide with the re-opening of The Concert Hall (Masonic Temple) as a music venue. Aaron Neville will be headlining the OLG Yorkville Ave. stage for a FREE concert on Saturday June 24. Randy Bachman will be kicking off the festival at The Concert Hall on Friday June 23. And there will be a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha Franklin at the Sony Centre on Canada Day. Full schedule here
20. June 24 - Junction Summer Solstice. No details have been released yet, but we'll keep you updated. *Update* Noon - midnight. Stages & market places will be strewn across Dundas Street West, between Keelse Street & Quebec Ave. Click the link for more details. 
21. June 25 - Kensington Pedestrian Sunday The second installment of the summer for our favourite neighbourhood festival. 

Unique Attractions 

Casa Loma 
June 4 - Italian National Day. Seeing as though I am of Italian heritage, it makes sense that we highlight this event. The castle will be transformed into an Italian Piazza complete with entertainment, art, a kid zone and a culinary feast. You must register for this event to attend. 

June 19, 26 - Mondays will bring back Soul in the City to Casa Loma. Dine in the gardens and listen to the soulful sounds of Sean Jones and his 7-piece band under the stars. General Admission is $25.
June 6, 12, 20, 27: Tuesdays are for Symphony in the Gardens. The Toronto Concert Orchestra will fill the Glass Pavillion with beautiful sounds all summer long. The concert schedule looks incredible, kicking off in Great Gatsby style. General admission is $25 per show and there are also seasons passes available. All 13 shows were on Groupon @ $18. They are currently sold out, but keeping checking back. They sometimes will release a new batch of tickets

AGO
June 1 - First Thursday for June is The Official Pride Month Launch Party. This visionary night is being created by the collective Blackness Yes. It will be everything you would normally expect from a First Thursday and more. New York based hip hop artist Junglepussy will be performing at 10pm in Walker's Court. All information on the event including tickets, can be found HERE

ROM
There is a busy Friday Night Live schedule with 5 Friday's in June!

June 2 - DinoNite. Everything dinosaurs lights up this night! Palaeontologist Dr. Victoria Arbour will be on hand as the ROM's newest dino is introduced out of the vaults.  
June 9 - Love. PRISM Festival will be represented and Carole Pope will perform. Yes the same Carole Pope who sings High School Confidential. 

June 16 - Indigenous Now. In honour of Aboriginal Heritage Month. 
June 23 - Colour ROM Proud. Continuing with Pride month celebrations. 
June 30 - The final Friday Night Live of the season - O Canada! Let's celebrate Canada's 150th birthday in style.

Ripley's Aquarium 
Friday Night Jazz

June 9 - The soothing sounds of Melodious Vibes is this month's jazz event at the Aquarium. 

Yonge Dundas Square - "Lunchtime Live!"
From 12:30pm - 1:30pm on specific dates, it gets a little more lively at Yonge Dundas Square! If you work in the area or find yourself wandering through, check it out. 

June 5 - Nhapitapi and Classic Roots
June 12 - Vanessa Lu, Dynesti Williams & Charmie

Active

June 4 - 27th annual Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart. Raise money and ride to help Canadians live longer lives. It's an exciting opportunity to ride on the DVP and Gardiner Expressway car-less as well!
June 11 - Divas Half Marathon. 5k or half marathon. You've seen these runners, dressed in pink tutus and wearing tiaras racing around your city. Originally scheduled to take place on Centre Island, they are awaiting their change of venue. We'll keep you updated.

June 17 - Toronto Waterfront 10k. Part of the Canada Running Series, this 10k runs most of it's race along Lakeshore, ending at the CNE. There are prizes and awards for the top finishers!

Concerts & Music Festivals 

We tried to limit the list of concerts & keep it in Toronto. There are so many great shows happening all around the GTA and Ontario, not only Toronto ( for example, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Billy Talent will be in Hamilton this month and ZZ Top will be at Casino Rama, whaaaatttt!),  but we're aiming for a short (ish) list. 
You can find tickets for most events on official sellers Ticketmaster.ca or LiveNation. When in doubt, we like to use StubHub for re-sale. For smaller shows if you want to avoid ridiculous amount of service charges, pop into Rotate This @ 186 Ossington. But remember, they are cash only, so go prepared. 

June 2 - Franz Ferdinand @ Danforth Music Hall
June 2 - Toronto band Goodnight, Sunrise are hosting their 6th birthday @ Adelaide Hall
June 3&4 - Field Trip Music Festival @ Fort York 

June 6 - The Specials @ Danforth Music Hall
June 7 - Neil Diamond's 50th Anniversary Tour @ Air Canada Centre
June 13 - Don Henly @ Budweiser Stage 
June 16 - Carl Cox @ Rebel
June 16 thru 25 - NXNE rolls into Toronto. You'll find events all around the city. June 23-25 Peaches opens NXNE at the Phoenix and they will close it all out with a 3-day music festival in the PortLands.

June 17 - John Legend @ Budweiser Stage
June 18 - Alexis on Fire @ Danforth Music Hall *All Ages Event*
June 19 - Hall & Oates/Tears for Fears @ Air Canada Centre 
June 20 - New Kids on the Block/Boyz II Men/Paula Abdul @ Air Canada Centre (Jon loves Joey McIntyre) 
June 20 - Steve Miller/Peter Frampton @ Budweiser Stage
June 23 - U2 @ Rogers Centre (I have seen them at the Rogers Centre with the dome open, what an unbelievable experience. Let's hope for a repeat!)
June 24 - Be Yourself with Danny Tenaglia @ Sunnyside Pavilion
June 25 - Prism Festival: Revival @ Rebel 
June 27 - Nickelback (Canada's favourite band) @ Budweiser Stage
June 29 - Third Eyed Blind/Silversun Pickups @ Echo Beach

Sporting Events

Toronto FC (MLS Soccer) @ BMO Field

June 17 vs. DC United
June 23 vs. New England Revolutions

Toronto Argonauts (CFL Football) @ BMO Field

June 8 vs. Montreal (preseason game)
June 25  vs. Hamilton Tigercats
June 30 vs. BC Lions

Toronto Blue Jays (MLB Baseball) @ Rogers Centre 

June 1-4 vs New York Yankees (we'll be taking my mom to her first baseball game at the dome, EVER!)
June 13-14 vs. Tampa Bay Rays
June 16-18 vs. Chicago White Sox
June 27-29 vs. Baltimore Orioles
June 30 vs. Boston Red Sox

Miscellaneous Events

June 7  - TIFF's 6th edition of Food on Film continues. Chefs, food experts and film lovers come together for culinary cinema and thoughtful conversation. This month will be with internationally known chef, Susur Lee at the screening of Ang Lee's  Eat Drink Man Woman. Local bites provided by St. Lawrence Market. Yum.

**J&C's choice** June 24&25 - Step back in time to the 1920s and enjoy the Great Gatsby Garden Party @ Spadina Museum, This annual event is a 2 day, daytime extravaganza filled with music, food, croquet (yes I said croquet) and a costume contest too! $10 admission, tickets online only.

**J&C's choice** June 29 thru September 3 - Shakespeare in the Park begins @ High Park. Admission is free, you may pay what you can in donations. What we learned last year is that if you make a donation of $25 or more beforehand, they will reserve you a spot in the amphitheatre. You are sitting on the concrete amphitheatre seats, so bring something comfortable to sit on. There are pillow seats, food and drink for purchase. This year the choices will be King Lear and 12th Night.

**J&C's choice** June 30 - Canada Day celebrations kick off at Harbourfront Centre!

Always remember that if you don't want to take part in any of these events, many will always be looking for volunteers!
(Blog TO re-iterates our thoughts with a list of places that are still looking for volunteers, HERE.)

Toronto’s Castle – Casa Loma

98 rooms, secret passages, towers overlooking the city... and maybe even a couple of ghosts!? Jon and I are a little obsessed with ghost stories and ghost hunting "reality" shows that somehow never end up finding any ghosts. (Sad!) When it came time to take our CityPASS adventure to Casa Loma, we were ready to do our own ghost hunting. 

I mean, it's a little difficult to do ghost hunting in a tourist attraction, that was hosting a Beauty and the Beast week with about a million (few hundred, I like to exaggerate) kids running around, but we definitely had fun doing it. 

We learned that Casa Loma means "Hill House" in Spanish. It was built for $3.5 million from 1911-1914 for financier, Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Sir Henry Pellatt is one of the rumoured ghosts that roams the hallways. Ghosts said to be roaming along with Sir Pellatt are his wife Lady Mary, and the most often seen ghost - the lady in white. The lady in white is believed to be a maid who once worked at Casa Loma. Staff and visitors alike have reported strange sightings over the years, noises and even felt grabbing hands. We didn't experience any of this, but we'll be back at Hallowe'en when Casa Loma hosts their haunted castle, to try again! One thing we like more than laughing, is scaring the crap out of ourselves!

Other than ghosts (or no ghosts), there is a Great Hall, a beautiful conservatory where weddings are hosted, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum for history enthusiasts, a potting shed, a vinatge car collection and soon there will be a steak restaurant run by Liberty Group. Casa Loma also hosts events such as the aforementioned Hallowe'en haunted house called Legends of Horror, they are currently hosting an Escape to Casa Loma series, there will be the upcoming Mother's Day brunch, they've hosted a Symphony in the Garden music series & Soul in the City concert series in the summers and so much more. 

If you have never been to this stunning mansion, you may also recognize Casa Loma from the movies. She's famous in Hollywood for playing the part of Guru Pitka's Ashram in the Love Guru, she made an appearance as a battle ground in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, she was in Cocktail, The Vow, Chicago... just to name a few.  

For the 4th installment of our CityPASS adventure, come with us up to the top of Spadina Avenue, where you find Toronto's castle, Casa Loma. 

What to do in Toronto – May 2017

It's almost May and spring will be officially in full bloom. Now that the weather is beginning to warm up, our city is coming to life. 

We've compiled a calendar of our favourite events to give you some ideas of how you can explore the city during the month of May.
(Psst, many of the events are even FREE!)

For more information on each event, click on the orange links.  

MAY 1:
Hot Docs Canada's International Documentary Festival starts April 27 and comes to a close on May 7. The event schedule is up, check out the link! 

Scotiabank Contact Festival This yearly photography festival runs throughout the entire month of May. You will find exhibitions and events, meant to provide a forum for education and conversation, strewn throughout the city. The list and map of where to find exhibitions can be found in the orange link.

AGO's Georgia O'Keefe exhibition The Art Gallery of Ontario is running a major retrospective on the pioneering American painter until July 30. This exhibition is an extra $5.50 for adults above the regular admission price. If you happen to be an AGO member, it's free!

Toronto Raptors - Eastern conference semi-finals begin against King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 1 will be in Cleveland. This is going to be great. #WeTheNorth (Update: WE LOST.)

High Park is predicting that their cherry blossoms will be in full bloom by the start of May. This only happens once a year, so see it while you can. And visit the High Park zoo while you're there, it's FREE!
(Or judging by our Instagram feed of cherry blossoms this weekend, head down to Trinity Bellwoods Park, NOW!)


MAY 4:
AGO's First Thursday

Loud bands, DJs, performance pieces and art, a lot of art. One Thursday a month, the party happens after the gallery closes, 7pm - 11:30pm. The May First Thursday is titled, "Gender Trouble" as an ode to Georgia O'Keefe who declared, "I am not a WOMAN painter!"
Advance tickets can be purchased for $23 via the link. Cash bar.

Light vs. Dark on May the fourth. An ode to Star Wars, Drink Inc. is hosting a tasting event at the Berkeley Church on Queen Street East. Beer, wine, spirit and cider vendors will produce a light and a dark beverage for you to sample. Which side will win? $25 tickets (includes 3 sample tickets). May the 4th be with you. 

MAY 5:
ROM's Friday Night Live - Splash
The ROM's Friday Night Live happens only in the spring and summer, so come and get it. The first event of the season is called "Splash", to celebrate the Blue Whale that you will be able to view in wonder while you attend a FNL session. You can purchase tickets online for $17. Cash bar.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada - Splash
A 5 part SPECIAL EVENT series is coming to us also called, Splash. It begins on Friday May 5 and it will pop up throughout the entire year. The theme for the first event is The 90's. Sharpen up your Jenga skills and iron those jean overalls to wear! $30.97 admission + food & drink extra. 

Cinco de Mayo - A day to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over France in The Battle of Puebla, 1862. It has also become synonymous with celebrating Mexican-American culture. Hot spots to celebrate while eating tacos and drinking margaritas across the city are: El Catrin in the Distillery District, El Caballito in the Entertainment District, Fonda Lola in West Queen West, Playa Cabana in the Annex, and of course our friend Andrew's La Carnita Uptown, College Street, Leslieville or Central, just to name a few. 

MAY 6:
Cinco de Mayo doesn't have to end on May 5th. And it's doesn't in Toronto. Baro & El Cabalitto are partnering up for CincoFestTO and is sponsored by none other than our favourite tequila company, Tromba! $25 admission.

MAY 8 - 10:

The Blue Jays host a 3 game series with the Cleveland Indians (and welcome Edwin Encarnacion on his first visit back to the Rogers Centre!)
Tickets are going for as little as $6 USD (plus fees) on the Blue Jays official re-seller, Stub Hub.


MAY 11 - 14:
The Blue Jays host the Seattle Mariners for a 4 game series.

MAY 12:
ROM Friday Night Live - Fashion 
Celebrate the fabulous world of fashion in the second installment of the ROM's Friday Night Live aptly called 'Fashion." 

Ripley's Aquarium Friday Night Jazz - Ivory and the Sugar Daddies
The second Friday of every month the Aquarium hosts live jazz music. $25.98 admission to enjoy the live music throughout the Aquarium while hobnobbing with the sharks. Cash Bar.

MAY 13:
Color Me Rad All those fun photos of people doing a 5k run, covered in colour? That's Color Me Rad. The runs happen all across North America and Toronto's turn falls on May 13. Your outlook on running WILL be brighter. That can be guaranteed.
 

Toronto Comic Art Festival
Do you like Comics? Graphic Novels? Then TCAF may be worth checking out. This 2 day event is hosted at the Toronto Reference Library, only the coolest (and quite possibly the largest) library we've ever been to. And you won't believe this, it's FREE to attend!

Spring into Parkdale
There will be many all spring and summer long, but the first neighbourhood festival of the season happens in Parkdale. It's a day sidewalk festival and a night market that surges summer life into this west end neighbourhood. Queen West from Dufferin to Roncesvalles is where you'll want to be. When you're there, get your ice cream fix at our friend Mel's Boreal Gelato. 

MAY 15 - 16:
The Blue Jays host the Atlanta Braves for 2 games.

MAY 18:
National Caesar Day. And not the salad.

MAY 19:
ROM Friday Night Live - Get Out of Town 
If you aren't "getting out of town", begin your Victoria Day long weekend with the third Friday Night Live of the Month, celebrating the British invasion!

MAY 20 & 21:
**J&C's choice**  Toronto's Festival of Beer - Spring Sessions
The spring sessions are the slightly less expensive and less busy baby sister to Toronto's Festival of Beer that normally happens mid summer. It is a little bit smaller, with maybe a few less beers to sample, but the fun is still supersized! Garrison Common (Fort York) - $30 admission 

MAY 22:
Victoria Day (It's Queen Victoria's birthday but you may know it by the name we do, Firecracker Day!)
You can catch fireworks display at our favourites: Ashbridges Bay (free, you only have to deal with the traffic) or Canada's Wonderland (free with price of admission).        

Electric Island Nothing says summer is here more than music festivals. One of the first of the summer happens on Centre Island. 2 stages of electronic music, food trucks & BBQ, games & activities and the views... that skyline. Bring a blanket! (To sit on... or it works in the case that it's a bit chilly. It is May and you never know.) (*Update - Due to Toronto Island being unsafe for visitors, Electric Island has relocated to Woodbine Park for this event.)

MAY 26: 
ROM Friday Night Live - Flash
Photography is in the air at the final affair for Friday Night Live in May. The new ROM exhibition 'The Family Camera,' will be front and centre on this night. 

MAY 26 - 28:
Blue Jays host the Texas Rangers for a 3 day stint.

MAY 27 & 28:
**J&C's choice**  Doors Open One weekend a year, the City of Toronto opens it's doors at a slew of different, normally off limits, buildings. In honour of Canada's 150th birthday this year, the theme is "15 Decades of Canadian Architecture." Plan your route and see as much as you can. Last year we were able to see inside the Sony Centre, Osgoode Hall, City Hall, Redpath Sugar Building, the Toronto Police Marine Unit,  Railway Museum just to name a few. And the price of admission? FREE!


Woofstock 
The first festival that let's us celebrate DOGS! There will be a kid zone too, so it's family fun. This year it will be all weekend at Woodbine Park in the Beaches. Buy tickets online, $10 for the entire weekend. 

May 28:
**J&C's choice**  Kensington Market - Pedestrian Sunday 
The 14th season of this very popular neighbourhood street festival happens the last Sunday of the month, from May until October. You won't find Dr. Oetker handing out free pizza or the drink out of a fruit that seems to find it's way into every festival in Toronto. You will find a celebration of the unique community with different foods to try, performers to watch and art to admire. In our opinion, it's a do not miss. 

MAY 29 - MAY 31:
Blue Jays host the Cincinnati Reds in the final series in May.  

 

 

A Love Letter to the Toronto Blue Jays – #LetsRise

Let’s Go Blue Jays! (Clap Clap ClapClapClap)

Early 1980’s at the CNE Grandstand. Where it all began. Where I became a hardcore baseball fan. Correction, where I became a hardcore Toronto Blue Jays fan.

My parents would take my sister and I to games. We would usually sit in the bleachers. Those “cheap seats” behind the outfield. My sister has memories of hating every minute of being forced to watch a sport she didn’t understand. For me, it had the exact opposite effect. These trips to the ball games created the monster (of a fan) that I am today.

I was a young and impressionable 17 year old when the Toronto Blue Jays made it to (and won) their first World Series. I watched that final game on the JumboTron in the SkyDome with 50,000 other fans. The Blue Jays made history that night with the first time the World Series went north of the border! I was so proud to be a Jays fan.

Then I was 18 and living in downtown Toronto while attending university when the Blue Jays completed their BACK TO BACK World Series win. Anyone who knows baseball knows how we won the World Series in this year. The iconic Joe Carter home run. Myself and my 4 roommates watched the incredible moment on my 13” TV (the only TV in our apartment).

The excitement and electricity that surrounded those seasons were enough to make anyone a fan.

 

And then we had a few not so great decades.

 

Following these record breaking years, I stuck with my Blue Jays. I still took tickets whenever someone would offer them and had a few different friends who knew to think of me when they went to a game.

Most thought I was crazy for my loyal love of the Jays. Many Toronto sports fans sound like this; “I love basketball and the Raptors” or “I love hockey and the Maple Leafs”. In response to their declarations I would say, “I love baseball!!” I would often get strange looks and a response that was something to this effect, “but baseball is boring” or “the Blue Jays suck.” Yeah yeah okay, you’re right. Sometimes baseball IS boring and the Jays did kind of suck, but I didn’t care! I just loved them!

2015 the tides began to change and we made the playoffs. Jon and I were working on cruise ships and away from home at the time. Being away from Toronto for the 2015 season was breaking my heart though. I wanted to be home to feel that excitement again.

We watched one of the playoff games on TV, while we were in Vancouver that year. That’s when we began to realize that the Blue Jays weren’t just Toronto’s team, they really felt like Canada’s team. Their slogan for the 2015 season was “Come Together” and it felt like one team was pulling our country closer together. Over baseball! Everybody’s favourite major league sport to hate!

Last year, 2016 and we were finally off ships and back at home in Toronto. I was convinced the Jays had lost in the playoffs the previous year because they wanted to wait until I was home to win. Lo and behold, we made it to the playoffs for the second year in a row! “History is Now” was the team’s slogan. We fought hard to get there but ultimately lost and never made it past those playoffs.

Bring on 2017. “Let’s Rise” is the slogan for the team this year. My wonderful mother gave the gift of baseball. She gifted Jon and I a “20 pack” of Jays tickets. WE ARE GOING TO 20 GAMES THIS SEASON!! (Correction - 21, my mom’s never even been to a game at the Dome so we are also taking her to a separate game.) Now I’m convinced that’s why we just missed conquering the World Series last year. Our team was waiting for this year while Jon and I are breaking our own records with number of games we’ll be going to!

This brings me to the point of this long winded story.

We’ve decided to vlog (video blog) our way through that 20 pack.

So stay tuned… the adventure starts in two days.
AT THE HOME OPENER!

(Tuesday April 11, 2017)

#LetsRise

For the 20 game Blog

click HERE.

Concert Love: Green Day @ FirstOntario Centre – March 20, 2017

It's a special feeling when you're at a concert and the band is pouring their hearts out to the crowd by way of performing their music live. And the crowd... the crowd isn't just cheering and clapping. They are giving back to the band by singing every.single.word of their song back to them. 

Those moments at any concert gives me chills. My hair (not literally) stands up on end. Some have seen first hand how it can lead to tears streaming down my face as well. (I'm embarrassed every time, but I own it.) I can't help it! I become so overwhelmed by the emotion in the room. Or theatre. Or arena. Or stadium. 

For me, nothing compares to this feeling. 

Last night at the Green Day show, those chills were alive and well. I won't go into the details and give you a full break down review of the show. I will tell you that Jon and I could not believe that Billie Joe Armstrong is 45 years old and they have been doing this since 1986. He gave us so much of himself and had so much energy that WE felt spent at the end. (It was similar to watching a toddler run endlessly around a room and you become exhausted just watching said toddler.)

They sang the hits, they sang fan favourites, they had old school pyrotechnics, a light show and CONFETTI! They danced, told stories and commanded us to (happily) raise our hands and to sing along. They are extremely talented and so involved and the energy in the arena was purely electric as it radiated from the stage. 

The very best part of this show for us was the level of interaction Green Day had with the fans. Not only "tell us stories" sort of interaction. It was "fans on stage" sort of interaction that got us. I knew from seeing them in the past that they normally bring one person from the crowd up on stage with them, to sing and/or play an instrument. For this concert it wasn't one person on stage. THREE lucky fans lived the dream!

First there was a girl who sang along. Then later there was the guy who sang along. Lastly, there was Sofie. Sofie who played the guitar. She OWNED the guitar. I think all 18,000 people filling FirstOntario Centre were living vicariously through Sofie in that moment.

We've stitched together our video moments into a 2 minute montage of Sofie making her debut. Live her dream with her (and us) below. *Spoiler Alert* She gets to keep the guitar! 

(You were amazing, Sofie!)

Overall, I believe it may have been one of the best shows I've ever seen. (Right up there with my all-time favourites, Coldplay and Depeche Mode!)

As Billie Joe Armstrong sang to us in his final song;

"It's something unpredictable and in the end it's right, I hope you had the time of your life."

We really did Green Day, and thank you so much for it. 

Toronto’s Top 5 Attractions and CityPASS

If you are reading this, I probably don't have to remind you --> WE LOVE TORONTO! We love Toronto in the day and in the night, in the hot and in the cold, in the good and in the bad. It's our favourite city in the world. 

Although Toronto flourishes in the summer, you aren't "out in the cold" in the winter. I grew up in Toronto surrounded by the idea that you were supposed to hibernate in the winter. In adulthood both Jon and I disagree with this, fully and completely. 

So far on our website we've covered some of the outdoor fun you can take advantage of in the city during the winter months, but for those of you who really do prefer to stay indoors, there is so much for you to see and do too!

Enter CityPASS - A pass that allows you to see 5 of Toronto's top attractions, for 42% off the regular admission price. I know that sounds like there's a catch, but there really isn't. You buy it, you use it and then brag about how much fun you had!

Attractions included (site links in orange):

CN Tower
Casa Loma
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
Royal Ontario Museum
Ontario Science Centre (OR) The Toronto Zoo

Regular admission price: $126 + tax
CityPASS: $72 + tax 
CityPASS Children: $46 + tax
(please don't make me do the math tax, just add our ridiculous HST of 13%)

Even if you don't visit all 5 attractions, you can still be saving money. Wait there's more - once you have your CityPASS booklet, you skip most lines for entry! And let's not forget that you get to visit 5 of the top attractions in the city! 

You have 9 days to use the CityPASS.
(We took all 9 days to use it. We probably could have used it even quicker but we didn't in order to avoid crowds over the long weekend. Although 9 days seems like a long time, it goes by quickly. Especially if you will be using CityPASS with your children, so please be prepared. *Note* You will need a full day for almost all of the attractions.) 

If you are from Toronto, you may be thinking, 'Oh I've been there on a school trip in elementary school, I don't need to go again.' If I may be so bold as to say - YES, YOU DO. I have been to all of these attractions dozens of times in my lifetime. I have enjoyed them every single time and exhibits are always changing too, so there is always something new and exciting to check out. Jon and I had SO MUCH fun at all of the attractions. We learned a lot - about history, about science, about Toronto. Educational AND entertaining!

This was Jon's first trip to the Science Centre and he said this was his favourite stop in our adventures. As for me, Team CN Tower. Even though I used to work at the CN Tower, I never ever get sick of the views. I mean, #views.

We've put together a video highlight reel of sorts, of all 5 attractions. Either to sell you on the idea of CityPass or just entertain you with our charm.

You can find it here. Right below this writing.
See it? Click play and enjoy!

If you are planning a visit to Toronto or you already live here, we at J & C Toronto can now weigh in with our opinion.
JUST DO IT!

(If anyone has any specific questions about the attractions, how to get there, what's included in each place, etc... please let us know, we're here to help!)