Category: Landmark

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. 

❤✌

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

“Mini Toronto” – Kensington Market

Unique. Eclectic. Colourful. Vibrant. Diverse. Charming. Artistic.
Community. 
Kensington Market.


Those who know this neighbourhood, know those words don't even begin to encompass the experience that is Kensington Market. 

Colourful Victorian houses, old synagogues, vintage shops, cafés & restaurants, a "garden car" and so much street art. Add in a pedestrian only party in the streets once a month, and it is easily one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Toronto.

For the short and sweet history of Kensington and it's diversity ☞
The 1880's brought the Irish & Scottish labourer immigrants, followed by eastern European & Italian Jewish immigrants. After the second world war there were Portuguese immigrants fleeing the Azores from political conflict and a wave of both Caribbean and Eastern Asian immigrants. Then there was the American political refugees after the war in Vietnam. The Chinese immigrants joined in as next door neighbourhood Chinatown grew too large. The 80's & 90's brought in groups of immigrants from Central America, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iran, Vietnam and Chile. 
Jon and I noticed that it seems with each diverse group that immigrated to Kensington, they didn't take over the area to call it their own. Each group and era it came in added a layer beside the already existing layers. As you look around today, you feel each and every immigrant community who once called the streets of Kensington Market home. 

In saying all of this, you can see how all of your senses will be at work as you walk around the world in these few city blocks. And there is literally something for everyone and anyone. Beside an organic vegan café may be a Tibetan restaurant. Next to the Italian pizzeria is a vintage clothing shop. Beside one of the many cannabis dispensaries is a Mexican tortilleria.  You want a good Jamaican patty or a Chilean empanada and then go shopping for your fresh produce and meats, we know a few places.  Do you like to people watch? Dog watch? Street musician watch? You can do all of it on practically every street corner. 

But I digress, let's get back to this pedestrian party I mentioned earlier. 
The last Sunday of every month, from May until October, Pedestrian Sundays happen. From noon until 7pm there is a party in the streets that you won't soon forget. The streets are closed to any car traffic and then becomes a great rolling sea of people. Most of the shops and restaurants set up outside on the street to tempt you as you walk by, while musicians and artists litter the areas to entertain. From the Pedestrian Sundays we've been to, you also never know when you might find a flash mob or an unexpected parade erupting. I will put a disclaimer here *do not attempt Pedestrian Sundays if you don't like crowds*. It is the perfect opportunity to people watch until your eyes bleed, but for some that isn't their cup of tea. For those who try to stay away from crowds, mid-day during the week is when it's the calmest.

I could type for days about the history and feel of the Market, but since we are only aiming for a prologue sized blog (and not a novel) to add to our video, I will now glide into this segue ➟ watch our next vlog below! The first in our "Toronto Neighbourhood Series" — Kensington Market.  

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 Newest Dog Park – Berczy Park

This park has become a little passion project for Jon. I think it's safe to say that he may have a crush on it. 

It all began just over a year ago when the fences went up and there was news that our neighbourhood park was getting a makeover. The signage said it would be open early fall of 2016 and Jon waited patiently until then for the unveiling of our park. He would force me to cross the street at times, to get a closer look through the fences at what the construction was looking like. The open date was nearing and it didn't look ready. They pushed the date back to open later in the fall. Jon was getting antsy, he wanted "his" park to be opened. Okay Jon, YOUR park? (That's when I began to realize that my boyfriend may have a crush.) 

It didn't open in the fall, the date now pushed again! This time the signage told us it wouldn't be open until the spring. Slowly over the course of the spring, the park began to come together. Some of the fencing was taken down and we could now walk through the new beautifully tiled walkways. It was an every day occurrence now, Jon dragging me across the street to look at the progress. Imagine his excitement this past week when they started the fountain. And just like that it was opened! 

The first incarnation of this park was in 1980. It replaced a parking lot. Something the area seemed to have had an abundance of. That first park was lovely and we used to sit in the chairs around the small fountain from time to time. Or sit on the grass under one of the big trees. Revitalization began in 2015 and we thought, what was wrong with the park? It was already so lovely.

They outdid themselves. The small fountain has been replaced by a much larger, 3-tiered fountain with spouting ceramic DOGS on all 3 tiers. Yes, dogs. Watch the video and you will see:  

More than the 27 fountain dogs (and 1 cat), the park is now home to a plethora of comfortable seating, beautiful greenery and modern curb less borders to integrate the entire 3,606 square feet of park space. The park the last couple of days has been filled with people taking photos of this incredible fountain. 

There a few pieces still to be installed but we hear that the opening celebration is slated for June 28. Come check it out, Berczy Park! (Bring your dogs and watch them sniff the ceramic dogs!)

*For more information on the revitalization project, click HERE.
*For more information on the Montreal landscape architect firm that designed the park, click Claude Cormier & Associés.

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. 

Captivated by The Royal Ontario Museum

We continue on our CityPASS adventure series, bringing you the Royal Ontario Museum (otherwise known as, "The ROM".)

The Royal Ontario Museum is not one to be missed and you literally cannot miss it. If you can't remember if you have seen the building before or not, you most likely haven't. The Daniel Libeskind architecture and the polarizing facade known as the Michael Lee-Chin crystal, has an undeniable unique identity that could best be described as unforgettable. Those who know it generally love it... or hate it. Jon and I personally love that such a provocative and innovative building exists in our city and is now synonymous with Toronto architecture. Makes for great photo opportunities too! 

Enough about the outside, let's get back to the BIG, beautiful INSIDE of the building. (And by big, we mean biggest museum in Canada and 5th largest in North America!)

While we were visiting the ROM we learned that the experience is part art, part culture and part natural history. Oh, and part fun! (I think we have found quite the balance of this entertainment AND education thing as we've been wandering around our city.) 

Like our previous CityPASS installment the Ripley's Aquarium, the ROM offers so much more than meets the eye. For example, they host ROM sleepovers for the little kids and Friday Night Live for after-hours fun with the big kids (a.k.a. adults). Unlike Ripley's Aquarium though, the ROM may take multiple visits to be able to fully experience everything that it has to offer. There is just too much to see and do and feel and interact with. 

Trying to think of how to sum up the museum and all of the fun you can have while exploring this attraction, I think may be best left to our video below:

There you have it - The Royal Ontario Museum. (It's really not just for kid's school field trips!)

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.

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!)

Toronto Light Festival – Distillery District

We really don't like hibernating in the winter. What we are learning coming into our second winter at home is: you really don't have to.
All of the incredible activities that happen around the city, even in the winter, PROVE - we're a city not afraid of the cold! 
(Okay, I'm afraid of the cold. And that's what warm winter jackets & boots are for, people like me who are afraid of the cold.)

This time we bring you to a unique event in the city that it is so wonderful that we have left the house willingly THREE times to enjoy it.
It's called the Toronto Light Festival. And it's happening right now in the Distillery District. It began on January 27 and it will be running until March 12.
Every night 5pm until 11pm the lights turn on and magically illuminate the spaces that are the Distillery District. 

Words I would use to describe this festival: entrancing, imaginative, magnetic, mesmerizing. (If you go check it out, let us know if I've missed any words.) 

The Toronto Light Festival (website link HERE) is coming to you from the team behind the Christmas Market in the Distillery District, so they are well versed on how to make the space spectacular. They said it best when they described it like this: 

1 Big Idea.
45 Days. 13 acres. 44 buildings.
1000s of lights.
$0 to attend.

Did you see that, ZERO dollars to attend!

Watch our video and then get out there and enjoy winter in the city!