Spring is in the air in Toronto, Canada’s Downtown, as the ever-changing city welcomes new openings and experiences to its spring lineup. The season will not disappoint, with festivals, attractions, anniversaries and more!
Hotel X Toronto by Library Hotel Collection will add Canada’s first Guerlain Spa opening late spring/early summer. Guerlain, a French perfume, cosmetics and skincare house, among the oldest and most prestigious brands in the world, will complement the hotel’s expansive athletic center, 10XTO. The partnership will create an exclusive new menu of personalized treatments focusing on beauty and wellbeing while using signature products for facials, massages and body treatments. The Guerlain Spa at Hotel X Toronto will offer 10 treatment rooms with views overlooking Lake Ontario.
Hotel X Toronto will also add a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant and bar to its collection. Pétros 82, set to open this spring, will feature airy dining room featuring an open kitchen and high ceilings, two full-service bars, outdoor patio, Pétros 82 lobby bar and three flexible private rooms that accommodate 20 to 60 guests. Reflecting the hotel’s dedication to the community and sustainability, the restaurant is focused on providing flavorful, all-natural dishes, farmed fresh and sourced locally.
Chotto Matte announces expansion into the Canadian market this May, bringing the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant’s authentic dining experience to downtown Toronto. The 900-square-metre space will have capacity of more than 400 guests and design inspired by contemporary urban Tokyo is situated in Brookfield Place.
French-inspired restaurant Laissez Faire opened recently in the heart of the Entertainment District. Michelin-trained Chef Zachary Barnes, formerly of Alo, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and DANIEL serves upscale food surrounded by rustic elegance.
Pick6ix Sports is the newly reimagined sports bar concept from artist Drake. Pick 6ix Sports will introduce a brand new look and feel, creating a contemporary sports bar destination in the heart of the city’s Financial District. Complete with a revamped menu from Executive Chef Ivan Bailey of Mistura and Celestin, Pick 6ix Sports will offer fresh, modern pub fare with a twist.
TORA is the most recent restaurant to join Yorkdale Shopping Mall, using technology to bring this sushi bar to the next level. TORA specializes in the aburi oshi and nigari then uses a series of laneways that deliver the food directly from the chef’s hands to the tables.
Steam Whistle’s iconic downtown Roundhouse brewery will welcome the Steam Whistle Biergärten this spring. The Biergärten will be a space inspired by the atmosphere, food and drink of the traditional bier gartens and bier halls in Munich. A project two years in the making will build on the brewery’s 18 years of pouring pure pilsner and providing quality service from the Roundhouse. Like a traditional bier hall, the Steam Whistle Biergärten will feature beer that adheres to the strict standards of the Bavarian Purity Act of 1516, with traditional German fare like pretzel, schnitzel and roast chicken. But the menu will also feature vegetarian and vegan options to suit the dietary lifestyle of all guests.
Proud owner of two Michelin stars, Masaki Saito will be opening Sushi Masaki Saito this spring in Toronto specializing in the edomae style of serving sushi. Edomae practitioners are known to marinate, simmer or cure raw fish prior to serving it, in order to maximize both the umami and tenderness. Saito’s edomae pursuits have earned him recognition as a sushi savant.
Square One’s new food concept, The Food District, opened to the public on April 1. The Food District is a modern marketplace with delicious food offerings from local artisan vendors such as The Pie Commission, authentic Italian pasta from Dal Moro’s Pasta, and gourmet chips from Craft Chippery. The Food District will span over 3,600 square metres and houses its own in-house test kitchen for corporate parties, events, cooking classes and more.
Exhibits & Attractions
This spring, Canada’s Wonderland will add a three-time record-breaking roller coaster, the Yukon Striker, promising an exhilarating ride as the longest (1,105m), tallest (75m) and fastest (130km/h) dive coaster in the world. Riders will be held for three breathtaking seconds over the summit of a 90-degree drop before diving down through an underwater tunnel. It also features floorless stadium-style seating and the only 360-degree loop for a dive coaster in the world.
Internationally acclaimed artist Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER, is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario permanently on May 25. The exhibit features mirrored spheres suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the floor. A mirrored column inside the room invites visitors to peer into a seemingly infinite field of silver orbs.
Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro and more is running until May 5. The exhibit explores how French Impressionist artists and their contemporaries, famous for their lush landscapes and sea vistas, were equally obsessed with capturing the spirit of the industrial age. The exhibition features over 120 artworks by beloved artists like Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Van Gogh, Cassatt and Seurat.
Making her Canadian debut this spring is Latvian-born, American-based artist Vija Celmins. Opening on May 4, this large-scale retrospective – her first in North America in
over 25 years – features over 120 works and spans over five decades, from the 1960s to the present. Celmins is renowned for her meticulous portrayals of natural imagery, including ocean waves, desert floors and night skies.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is the exclusive Canadian venue and the final North American destination for Treasures of a Desert Kingdom: The Royal Art India. The rarely seen royal treasures from Marwar-Jodhpur is one of the largest former princely states in India and provides six centuries of Indian history. This exhibition, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with the collaboration of the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, India, will be on display until Sept. 2.
In the Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston opens June 1 to Sept. 15. An unprecedented collection of 70 paintings — including works from Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Jacob van Ruisdael — provides insight into the 17th century Dutch and Flemish ways of life, whether through luxurious still life, humorous genre scenes, sumptuous portraits or detailed landscapes, cityscapes and architectural paintings. This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Aga Khan Museum celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the moon with The Moon: A Voyage Through Time. Explore the enduring fascination with the orb in the sky and look at the role it has played in faith, science and the arts across the Muslim world and beyond. Interactive devices, displays and installations invite us to observe and imagine the moon in new ways running until Aug. 18.
Ai Weiwei is one of the world’s most influential artists and human rights activists, as well as one of China’s most formidable critics. His newest exhibit Ai Weiwei: Unbroken can be seen at the Gardiner Museum until June 9.
9 & 99: The Howe – Gretzky Exhibition is an exhibition at the Hockey Hall of Fame unlike any other paying homage to the most prolific scorers of our generations. Witness the greatest compilation of milestone artifacts and rare personal memorabilia, all hand-picked by Hockey Hall of Fame curators from the Howe and Gretzky family collections. Revel in the legacy and indelible bond of Mr. Hockey and The Great One.
At the Toronto Zoo, Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea will open May 19 and will include 10 larger than life sculptures of aquatic animals created entirely from plastic and other debris gathered from the ocean. This powerful display will educate guests about the impact plastic pollution has on our oceans and waterways. Starting in May the new Wild Encounters program allows visitors to go behind the scenes. Visitors will be able to visit areas where the Wildlife Care staff work and have an experience with giraffes, tigers, polar bears and penguins.
The Body Has Reasons Which Reason Knows Not Of is an exhibit at Craft Ontario Gallery until May 11 that works with clay and actively engages the body. The artists in this exhibition trust that their lived experiences, stories and skills are indwelled in the muscles used to make their work.
Ever wonder what happens in Rouge National Urban Park after the sun goes down? Experience the wildest nightlife in the city and explore the dark side of the park at Rouge After Dark on June 8, from 8 to 11 p.m. Start at dusk at the Zoo Road Welcome Area as the campfires roar to life and the marshmallows get unleashed. Then, step out into an illuminated forest and follow a network of glowing trails towards a series of unique encounters with some of the park’s nocturnal inhabitants.
Puccini’s massively popular opera, La Boheme, returns to the Canadian Opera Company stage through May 22. John Caird’s hit production features eye-catching sets assembled from paintings evoking the Belle Époque period. Set against the exhilaration and poverty of 19th century bohemian Paris, poet Rodolfo falls in love with the fragile Mimì.
Verdi’s masterful treatment of Shakespeare’s tragedy Otello premieres April 27 to May 21. Otello is a self-made man, a former slave risen to the rank of general and now in love with a devoted wife, Desdemona. But his trusted advisor Iago begins to manipulate Otello in a relentless quest to destroy the general.
Mirvish Productions announces the return of the Book of Mormon by popular demand from June 11-23. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word.
A brand new production of The Sound of Music is coming to the Princess of Wales Theatre. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences from May 28 to June 2.
The Shaw Festival 2019 season returns with 13 plays in three theatres on stage through Dec. 22.
Experience an array of South Asian flavors and taste some of the new culinary artisanry of Little India and Gerrard East with Culinary Adventure Co. on Sundays starting May 5.Through Pakistani kabobs, South Indian dosas, Canadian small-batch cheeses, locally cured meats and a fresh dessert to finish, the late brunch food tour will lead you into the kitchen and satisfy you with the best of the dynamic East end.
Heritage Toronto presents the first digital walking tour of the Dundas + Carlaw neighborhood. The first plaque district, Dundas + Carlaw was once the site of international companies that employed thousands of workers in Toronto’s east end. Today, the neighborhood is a thriving residential and cultural hub known for the adaptive reuse of its factories. The walking tour will launch May 19 and will explore the history of the buildings, the surprising products that were made here, the stories of owners, architects and workers.
Go Tours Canada is bringing their award-winning experience to Ontario Place on May 24. The tours feature rolling hills through Trillium Park, exciting terrain on the West Island and photo opportunities of downtown Toronto. After launching in 2018, hugely positive response from locals and visitors has been rolling in. With heightened attention on Ontario Place lately, Go Tours is excited to offer visitors another reason to visit the urban park.
Festivals & Events
Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival, returns from April 25 through May 5, offering a selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences of more than 200,000. This year’s country theme will highlight Italian films and filmmakers.
Casa Loma’s annual Easter Brunch will run April 21 and will feature special appearances by Detective Pikachu in the Great Hall for photos.
Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is the largest annual photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural experience in Canada, with over 200 exhibitions and happening from May 1-31. The Festival’s curated programming — Primary Exhibitions and Public Installations — explores diverse subjects, motivated by artistic innovation and critical discourse locally, nationally and internationally. Collaborating with major museums and galleries, CONTACT presents outstanding photographic imagery that reflects issues relevant to our times and the history of the medium.
The Ralph Thornton Community Centre in Riverside is throwing a “Game of Thorntons” bash on May 11, one month after of the Game of Thrones season premiere. The event will be a combination of a silent auction, murder mystery and costume party. The most valuable item up for auction will be something they’re calling the “Thornton Jewel — a diamond circled sapphire, worth a Queen’s ransom,” which is appraised at around $2,000. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their most epic Game of Thrones gear to come bid and perhaps even get a chance to sit on the Copper Throne.
Now in its 38th year, Canadian Music Week is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America, focusing on the business of music. Taking place May 6-12, the Canadian Music Week festival hosts seven nights of performances, over 800 showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto.
The Toronto International Festival of Authors presents programming for spring at the Harbourfront Centre. On May 1 experience the spring debut of Fragmented Narratives and When Women Write on May 29.
Tastemaker Tour is the ultimate culinary party making a stop in Toronto’s Evergreen Brickworks on May 10-12. Food lovers are allowed to let their hunger guide them rather than their wallet, with a unique all-inclusive experience: one-off chef collaborations, never before seen menus, live music and DJs, and intimate access to party with Toronto’s top chefs.
Currently the largest event of its kind in Canada, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival entertains film buffs of all stripes, showcasing the best and most diverse work of interest to LGBT communities. Taking place from May 23 to June 2, the Festival draws crowds of 35,000 to screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations and parties that highlight more than 180 films and videos from Canada and around the world.
Carassauga is celebrating its 34 the anniversary as Canada’s largest multicultural festival. Visit various countries that will be represented this year in 12 venues, filling hockey arenas, city community centers and cultural centers to celebrate their proud heritage on May 24-26. Carassauga is famous for its ethnic foods, vibrant performances and cultural displays and this year will be no exception. Held over three days throughout the City of Mississauga, Carassauga boasts more than 400,000 visits and over 6,000 volunteers, chefs, artisans and entertainers (local and international) for this multi-venue world tour.
Explore Toronto’s buildings during Doors Open Toronto May 25-26. The 20th annual Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf returns to showcase some of the most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. This year’s anniversary theme is “20 Something,” celebrating the first 20 years of Doors Open Toronto while looking forward to the next 20 years.
Starting March 9, traveling on the GO became even easier and more affordable because kids 12 and under can ride FREE on all GO trains and buses. Get ready to sit back, relax and spend some quality time together as a family on the GO. Save even more with PRESTO Perks.
About Tourism Toronto
Tourism Toronto is the official destination marketing organization for the region, “Canada’s Downtown” – encompassing Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton. With sales and marketing programs in key markets around the world, Tourism Toronto promotes the Toronto region as a remarkable destination for tourists, convention delegates and business travelers. Tourism Toronto operates in partnership with the Greater Toronto Hotel Association and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. For more information, please visit SeeTorontoNow.com.