Michael Schwartz –
The South East Downtown Networking Alliance (SEDNA) met on April 10 to hear updates from its members. The Distillery District reported that the Cluny Brasserie opens in June; modern French cuisine will be served in a building constructed from the bricks of an original 19th century rackhouse (an area used to store barrels of whiskey).
Secrets of Distilling Spirits (tours exploring the Distillery Historic District’s spirited past—from delivery of grain to final distillation of whisky) will be held on May 24. The tour showcases the transformation of a Victorian industrial building into fully functional modern spaces which still respect their built heritage.
The Distillery farmer’s market will be open Sundays from June 1 to Sept. 28, while the Distillery ArtFest (featuring 75 artists and artisans) will be held May 17-19, August 2-4 and August 29-Sept 1. Artfest is now in its eighth year.
Devotees of the vocal arts surely cannot complain about the SONG! vocal arts festival from May 30 to June 1. In just three days there will be popup concerts in the Distillery District’s streets, along with ticketed concerts featuring The Nylons, Cantabile-The London Quartet, Dan Hill, Alan Frew, Lorraine Segato, concerts dedicated to R Murray Schafer and Cole Porter, and a celebration of Shakespeare in song.
Trinity Square will host the Canadian National Ballet School Creative Challenge on June 14. This project encourages young ballet dancers anywhere to create their own ballet alongside other artistes. In a triple live performance student dancer Stella Leowinata, composer Felix Arifin and visual artist Clarissa Adityani will work towards exploring how memories are formed and how they shape the person who holds them.
OmTO, a nine-hour yogic celebration of the Summer Solstice, will be held on June 21 starting at 9 a.m. The event will feature continuous outdoor yoga classes led by the most dynamic and popular instructors from the top studios in Toronto. Hundreds of yogis from across the GTA will partake in a free and unique yoga experience—attendees should bring their own yoga mat.
World Pride kicks off on June 26 when 100 gay couples will be married in a humanitarian ceremony at Casa Loma at 3 p.m. Organizers hope World Pride will create a legacy and a statement of belonging for a community still experiencing discrimination in certain locations. The event will also be a reaffirmation of Toronto as a place of tolerance.
A second World Pride event will take place on June 21 at Metropolitan United Church, McGill Square, 56 Queen St E. From 3 to 6 p.m., the World Interfaith Pride Fair will focus on the work of the Rainbow Underground Railroad as it helps LGBT people seek safe haven from state enabled violence, murder or persecution. Keynote speakers and entertainers from these and other backgrounds will create an atmosphere of spirituality.
There is still time to catch two shows performed by the Young People’s Theatre (YPT). Sultans of the Street by Anusree Roy runs until May 15. Recommended for ages 8+, it features four children from different social classes trapped into begging on the streets of Kolkata, India. They must work to escape servitude to a mysterious “Aunty” and set a course for a new life.
Paper Song, which ends on May 11, is by Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull. It combines a traditional Japanese folktale with an original story of a young mouse and her grandfather as they struggle against an oppressive goblin who has enslaved the inhabitants of their village. Large-scale origami (Japanese paper-folding) and shadow puppetry inspire the design of this powerful story.
YPT is also hosting summer drama camps from June 30 through the summer.
The Ontario Black History Society has now had August 1 commemorated as Emancipation Day in Ontario. In conjunction with the Lieutenant Governor and Fort York, it is combining this celebration with Simcoe Day.