Tag: TORONTO

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.

Science is Fun at the Ontario Science Centre

I don't even know where to begin! Maybe I'll start with this - the Ontario Science Centre is SO. MUCH. FUN! I've been dozens of times as an adult and I still feel this way every time I'm there. This was Jon's first visit to the Science Centre and I believe you will be able to see his first impression and how much enjoyment it gave him, in our video below.  

Keeping with every other stop along our CityPASS adventure, this day was educational and entertaining. More than any of our other stops, it was much more interactive. There are hundreds of engaging activities throughout the 4 levels of this science museum. The subjects that are represented range from geology, nature, astronomy, technology, communication, human anatomy and more. Sounds boring, right? No, no it is not. You can see much of the museum in one day, but it is also a place where you will discover new aspects every time you visit. And if you really want to experience every area and every exhibit, you will need to visit multiple times. 

Unfortunately we went on a cold rainy day at the end of the winter and we missed out on the musical water fountain that lives outside of the building. It's a hydraulic action pipe organ that anyone can play. But it's closed in the cold months to avoid freezing and damage (similar to me, I shut off in the cold months too!) So I think we will have to go back and make some music sometime this summer.  

What to look out for when you are there: the daily science demonstrations (and the hair standing on end when you the touch the ball), the KidSpark area if you have children, the IMAX theatre and like the ROM and Aquarium, the Science Centre also hosts birthday parties and sleepovers ($64/person, find out what is included in the orange link) to spark the ultimate creation and innovation in kids. 

I could go on and on about the museum and all that this attraction has to offer, but I believe it may be more interesting just to watch us below:

This concludes our CityPASS adventure. We did it! And we would do it all over again. 

That being said, we would recommend any of these attraction in Toronto - to tourists and locals alike. We would also recommend anyone to see them using CityPASS (because who doesn't want to save money!)

If anyone has any questions above and beyond what we've covered, please don't hesitate to ask. We are here to help. 

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.  

 

 

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.

Under the Sea – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

5.7 million litres of water, 16,000 species of marine animals with two very happy adults wandering around wide eyed with big smiles (and their cameras). 

(⬆︎ That was a description of Jon and I in Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.)

Who said you have to travel to tropical locales to get a peek at what swims beneath the sea? If you are in Toronto you don't have to splurge on the flight south, you can find almost every type of sea life imaginable right in the city, at Ripley's Aquarium! 

We took on the great task of conquering the Ripley's Aquarium as part of our CityPASS experience that we thrust on to ourselves. (For more information on the Toronto CityPASS, you can read our blog HERE.) We were NOT disappointed. And this wasn't even our first visit to the Aquarium!

Ripley's offers so much more than just "fish." It's an interactive experience. Education and Entertainment. With capital E's. 

Interactive with touch pools (I pet a hard shelled crab... it was hard. You can also pet a stingray or a shark, we passed). Education with dive shows. There are viewing "bubbles" where you can watch Nemo swim by feeling like you are swimming with him. Then there is the moving walkway that moves through North American's longest underwater viewing tunnel, as you watch the sharks swim around you. There's a kids play area, a cafeteria. But wait there's more - Friday Night Jazz on the second Friday of every month, they host birthday parties (for kids OR adults), yoga classes, Paint-Nites and SLEEPOVERS! Seriously, you can sleepover as a family, a group or a school trip for $99/person. For more information on the Aquarium and all that it offers, click HERE

Now immerse yourself in a thrilling underwater adventure with us:

Need advice on where to park? When are best times to go? If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask. We're here to help!

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!