Tag Archives: Yonge Street Corridor

BuskerFest 2013: Art and Performers Take the Streets of Toronto

BuskerFest 2013 Street Crowd
BuskerFest 2013 Street Crowd

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We are introducing a brand new series of Photo Essays! Have a look at amazing Photo Sets all shot by talented photographers. Explore the vibe of the city, its hidden treasures, meet the Torontonians! This time, let's have a look at Toronto through the lens of Carlos Bolivar!

BuskerFest 2013 in Toronto Panorama
BuskerFest 2013 in Toronto Panorama

One of the most spectacular festivals in Canada fills the streets of Toronto each summer. The 14th annual Scotiabank BuskerFest took Yonge Street by storm for three days at the end of August (this year, the event was held from August 22 to 25). The festival brings a large number of street performers of all kinds to Toronto — from silent comedy, slapstick, magicians, and daredevils to acrobats, clowns, and musicians. On each street corner and all along downtown Yonge Street, people formed circles around the amazing fire shows, with little ones screaming with joy when funny puppet shows began. But there's much more to BuskerFest than just entertainment. It's the largest event held to support the epilepsy treatment in the world and it's also North America's largest street performer festival!

The unbelievable becomes the new normal in the streets of Toronto during this festival. Peculiar costumes and eccentric performances leave you in awe. Before you say you don't like these kinds of shows, let us remind you that the event's list doesn't feature any average performers that you might pass on your way to work. It's more than 100 top-notch street performers from Canada and around the whole world who hit the streets — enthralling, thrilling and surprising. After last year's tremendous success, with more than a million visitors who came to the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, the event expanded to Yonge Street (all the way from Queen Street to College Street) which provided more space. BuskerFest 2013 succeeded in filling the central part of one of the longest and most vibrant streets in the world. The event was open for all, as admission was voluntary donation to the non-profit organization Epilepsy Toronto. The only form of payment for the performers is their collecting money in a hat or guitar case after each show from their audience, so you alone decide which acts you like most and how much they deserve.

Street Artists at BuskerFest 2013
Street Artists at BuskerFest 2013

The tradition of busking is very old, going all the way back to 13th century jongleurs, musicians, and acrobats in medieval France. The word "busk" comes from the Spanish root word "buscar," meaning "to seek." Buskers seek fame and fortune by stepping onto street corners and hoping to win over the attention of passers-by.

“We wanted to create a unique and memorable experience that brought epilepsy out of the shadows and into the public eye: an entertainment extravaganza that supports a greater purpose in aid of people with epilepsy and their families,”

says Geoff Bobb, Executive Director of Epilepsy Toronto .

Epilepsy Toronto helps more than 40,000 Torontonians diagnosed with epilepsy and their families to get through the difficulties of this condition through counselling, employment support, advocacy, and education. You might be surprised to learn that one in every 100 Canadians has experienced some form of epilepsy, so this truly is a problem that needs all the awareness and support we can give it.

Each year, BuskerFest attracts the most talented street performers not only from across Canada, but also from distant parts of the world. But there's no language barrier — the international language of the body plus toys and tools of all sorts are answered with the raucous laughter of the audiences. The organizers prepared two major benefit shows that donated all their proceeds to Epilepsy Toronto. Busker Fest is their biggest fund-raising event of the year. The first of the two events was the Fire Show, which brought the best artists performing fire stunts with such fierce names as Pyromancer or PyRomeo. For performers from all over the world, being a part of the main event, the Grand Finale, is a lifelong dream. Each year, the Metro People's Choice Award grants the performer with the most votes from the audience an invitation to the next show. It must be an overwhelming feeling to know that among all the performers, you stole the most glances and hearts in the audience.

BuskerFest entertains the whole family — a special program for kids is always included. This year, Trinity Square Park boasted balloon animals, face painters, and hula hoops that put a smile on every kid's face.

If you missed this year's event, have a look at our photo report from the Yonge Street extravaganza. And make sure you drop by to watch the colourful spectacles next year. See you at BuskerFest 2014!

Where: Downtown Yonge Neighbourhood

Website: www.torontobuskerfest.com

Contact: info@torontobuskerfest.com

Street Performer at BuskerFest
Street Performer at BuskerFest
Face Painting at BuskerFest 2013
Face Painting at BuskerFest 2013
Happy Girl with Baloons at BuskerFest 2013
Happy Girl with Baloons at BuskerFest 2013
BuskerFest Entrance
BuskerFest Entrance
BuskerFest Street Festival 2013 in Toronto
BuskerFest Street Festival 2013 in Toronto
Visitors in the Streets During BuskerFest 2013
Visitors in the Streets During BuskerFest 2013
Face Painting Pretty Girl BuskerFest
Face Painting Pretty Girl BuskerFest
Musician at Buskerfest 2013
Musician at Buskerfest 2013

CB00SK

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Carlos Bolivar

Carlos Bolivar

Colombian photographer based in Toronto, started with analog Photography in 2003, then jumping to the digital world in 2005. His photographic areas are mainly street, landscapes, portrait and beauty.

Top October Events in Toronto

Top October Events in Toronto
"Toronto comes alive at this time of year with events to satisfy anyone’s appetite (particularly if you’re one for spooky treats and avant-garde art exhibits). Here are my top picks for this month’s events in and around the City of Toronto."

Can you believe that it’s October already? Gone are the humid days and hazy nights of summer as we bid a hearty welcome to the changing leaves and crisp air of autumn. There's never a shortage of things to see and do in the city come fall. Toronto comes alive at this time of year with events to satisfy anyone’s appetite (particularly if you’re one for spooky treats and avant-garde art exhibits). Here are my top picks for this month’s events in and around the City of Toronto.

Les Misérables (September 27–October 27)

Les Miserables by Rough Tough, Real Stuff Les Miserables by Rough Tough, Real Stuff

More than 60 million people the world over have seen Les Misérables since it first opened back in 1985 in London, England. The emotional story about charismatic ex-convict Jean Valjean trying to make good while being relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert has touched millions of people and become one of the greatest stage musicals of all time. Recently reworked and updated, this new production of Les Misérables is set to play for a limited one-month engagement at Toronto’s historic Princess of Wales Theatre. Tickets will go fast if past presentations of the show are anything to judge by — Les Misérables has always attracted huge crowds of devotees and new fans alike, and there are guaranteed to be plenty of those since last year’s Oscar-winning film adaptation premiered. You can purchase tickets for the show’s limited run online or through Ticketmaster.

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (October 5)

Outsiders 2012 Outsiders 2012

Every year, the Nuit Blanche contemporary art festival hosts hundreds of artists from all over the world and takes over the streets of Toronto for one evening only, from sundown to sunrise. This year marks the arrival of renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who's set to recreate his sculpture Forever Bicycles using thousands of full-scale bikes live in front of an audience. This year’s festival consists of over 100 individual art projects scattered throughout the city’s streets and neighbourhoods. Arm yourself with a map of the event before you head down and plan out your route. Things can get pretty hectic, with the huge crowds of art lovers and casual observers flooding the streets, so you’re better off planning ahead. Nuit Blanche is a free event and welcomes people of all ages. Just remember to dress warmly because the majority of the exhibits will be outdoors. For more information, visit www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca.

Fall Home Show (October 3–October 6)

Home & Garden Events Home & Garden Events

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Fall Home Show at Exhibition Place! For years, this has been the premiere destination for homeowners seeking ideas and tips on home décor, building, and entertaining. The celebrity guest list at this year’s exhibition is star-studded and sure to attract thousands of people from all over the Province of Ontario. Special guests include Jonathan and Drew Scott, stars of the W Network’s hit show Property Brothers, paint expert and Chalk Paint creator Annie Sloan, design and lifestyle guru Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, and designer Erica Gelman. What kind of home show would it be without the requisite contests, lectures, and live demos? This one is chock-full of insightful guest speakers and wonderful prizes on offer from the hundreds of vendors present at this year’s show. You can purchase tickets for the event online at www.fallhomeshow.com.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival (October 17–October 25)

Toronto After Dark Festival Toronto After Dark Festival

What better way to celebrate Halloween than to sit in a darkened theatre and have yourself scared silly by ghoulish monsters and crazed serial killers? Well, to put it plainly, there is no better way! The Toronto After Dark film festival is in its eighth year and growing by leaps and bounds. It initially started off as a small indie-type festival featuring only a handful of films, but it’s now become a stand-out event for horror, sci-fi, action, and cult movies. This year, the festival has partnered with Cineplex — and that means better venues, better food, and more show times than ever before. Tickets are currently on sale online for the festival’s Spotlight Screening Series, which showcases four features before the actual festival begins on October 17. Please visit the Toronto After Dark film festival website at www.torontoafterdark.com for event listings, show times, and tickets.

Toronto Zombie Walk (October 26)

toronto zombie walk Toronto Zombie Walk

The annual Toronto Zombie Walk proudly supports the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with all proceeds going directly to this charity of choice. All participants are asked to register on the official Zombie Walk website (www.torontozombiewalk.ca) before the parade commences. This year’s route begins at 3:00 p.m. at Toronto City Hall and lurches its way up Bay Street towards Grenville, ultimately creeping south on Yonge Street towards its end at Nathan Philips Square. Spectators and participants alike are encouraged to dress up in their finest Halloween-inspired ensembles and meet up at the end of the walk for an evening performance from The Independents as well as other great entertainers and local vendors.

Concerts

October is usually packed full of great concerts and musical events because it essentially rings in the Fall touring season for many bands and solo entertainers. This year is no different, with acts such as Bon Jovi (October 2), Nine Inch Nails (October 4), homegrown rapper Drake (October 24), and Josh Groban (October 25) all appearing at the Air Canada Centre to sold-out crowds. You can purchase tickets online or by phone through Ticketmaster. Whatever your musical taste or preference, you’re guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy this month. Actually, you’re rather spoiled for choice if you ask me!

Air Canada Centre Air Canada Centre

No matter what events you choose to attend, you’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself. Get out there this month and meet new people, experience new things, and gather as much new information as you can. One of the things that makes this city so breathtakingly wonderful is its sense of community! Everyone is encouraged to step out this month and partake of what Toronto has to offer.

Happy Halloween! If you know of any other events taking place in the city this month, please tell me about it in the comments section below.

VB00SK

Top July Events in Toronto

Top July Events in Toronto

Torontonians certainly won’t get bored this July, since there's so much going on around the city to fill your warm summer days. There’s an event for every taste — we can look forward to many community events and charming farmers markets, theatre and music festivals for arts enthusiasts, and even indy car races for lovers of fast cars and motorsports. Check out my list of the top July events in Toronto.

Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market  (every Tuesday)

If you like farmers markets because they let you buy fresh, local produce, the Riverdale Farm Farmer’s Market is an ideal spot for you. Every Tuesday afternoon during the season, this charming market is set up just outside the main gates of the farm. Look for delicious organic veggies and fruits, a wide assortment of plants and flowers for your garden, homemade preserves and sweets, or dairy straight from small local producers. Over its thirteen-year history, Riverdale Farm Farmers‘ Market has become an institution in the community. You can expect to see lots of people coming out just to have a chat with friends or spend a nice afternoon with their kids.

riverdale-farm-market

Toronto Fringe Festival (July 3 to 14)

The Fringe Festival is among Toronto’s most popular summer events. In 2013, it's celebrating its 25th anniversary, and it promises to mark the occasion with some great programming. Talented actors will perform more than 148 productions by Canadian and international creators in 35 affiliated venues scattered around downtown. The Fringe is known to be both an indoor and outdoor celebration of creativity, so the program includes a wide variety of free outdoor concerts, busking performances, and outdoor site-specific shows. A popular series of discussions held in tents, TentTalks, and a special section for young visitors, FringeKids!, are also included. Tickets for most performances cost $10 or $11, but festival guests can also choose from a selection of special passes.

Fringe-Festival-Toronto

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (July 5 to 7)

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition reached its impressive 52nd year, and it seems to be getting better every summer. Once again, Nathan Philips Square will soon fill with the characteristic small white tents, sheltering artists who come to share their works with the public and celebrate art during the warm summer days. The exhibition is the largest of its kind in Canada and focuses on showcasing independent and unconventional art of both well-established and emerging artists. Visitors can freely walk around, talk to the artists, and even directly buy some of the works.

Festival of South Asia (July 6 and 7)

Don’t miss your chance to get carried away straight to South Asia and learn more about the subcontinent's cultures and cuisines during the Festival of South Asia, taking place in Gerrard India Bazaar between Greenwood and Coxwell avenues from 12:00 to 11:00 P.M. The two days of celebrations feature dancing, singing, theatre shows, magicians, and many more. The third annual South Asia’s Got Talent show for Toronto youth will also take place within the festival. On top of these great events, more than 20 businesses will offer food tastings to treat your taste buds.

Festival-of-South-Asia

Honda Indy Toronto (July 12 to 14)

All lovers of speed, fast cars, and the smell of burning tires can look forward to spending an unforgettable weekend at Exhibition Place. Honda Indy Races return to Toronto during the second weekend of July together with the top indy racers in the world, who will show off their mastery on the 1.75 mile circuit around the streets near Exhibition Place. The event is accompanied by a full week of programs showcasing the best of the world of fast cars. There are different kinds of tickets for the races, and if you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you might even get to have a look behind the scenes and visit some pit stops.

Honda-Indy-Toronto

Festival of India (July 13 to 14)

The Festival of India celebrations kick off with a famous annual parade down Yonge Street. The euphoric parade full of colours, dancers, and masks starts at Bloor and continues down to Queens Quay. Afterwards, more than 40,000 expected visitors will shift to Centre Island, where the programming for the festival takes place. Get ready for acclaimed music, dance, and theatre performances, traditional face painting, a South Asian Bazaar bustling with arts and crafts for sale, and even an outdoor yoga session. The festival is free and great for families, as kids have their own section full of fun activities and yoga for children lessons.

Americanarama Festival of Music(July 15)

Bob Dylan, legendary 1960s icon and one of the most celebrated songwriters of all time, returns to Toronto — and he’s not coming alone. Dylan returns as a headliner of the Americanarama Festival of music, and he will perform an unforgettable show featuring a mix of the best songs from his rich repertoire. Other bands at the festival include Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and many more. Americanarama is noted for its great atmosphere, as all the artists seem to represent a very similar musical spirit. Tickets range from $46.25 to $106.25. The doors at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre open at 5:30 P.M.

Beaches International Jazz Festival (July 19 to 28)

The Beaches International Jazz Festival is an annual showcase of the top Canadian and international jazz musicians taking place around the Queen East and Beaches area, which offer a magnificent setting for outdoor concerts. Since its beginning in 1989, the festival has grown into a ten-day event with eclectic line-up that doesn’t limit itself only to jazz. Visitors can look forward to a colourful mixture of different styles, including Latin, reggae, blues, big band, R&B, and even hip-hop. Some of the big names who will perform at the festival include Eric Lindell & the Sunliners, Bryan Lee & the Power Blues Band, and Adonis Puentes.

Beaches-International-Jazz-Festival

BIG on Bloor Festival (July 20 to 21)

The BIG on Bloor Festival started a few years ago as the idea of a couple young people who felt that public space should be returned to the community. They found inspiration in other world cities and came up with the concept of creating a festival right on the street. Authorities gave the green light to the initiative, and nowadays, Bloor Street West closes off all vehicle traffic during one weekend of the year and becomes an amazing festival site. The area fills with artist performances, great food and drinks, and the unique Bloordale market, full of arts and crafts for sale.

T&T Waterfront Night Market  (July 19 to 21)

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T&T Waterfront Night Market is one of Toronto's exciting multicultural food festivals. The event features over 100 popular food vendors with a selection of delicacies from the Pan Asian countries. The event will take place at T&T Supermarket on Cherry Street. Entry is free! Take a stroll down the market and check out  booths selling clothing, crafts, consumer goods, xiaochi (snack food) or get some tasty Bubble Tea. You don't have to travel far to enjoy what the great Asian culture has to offer.

Toronto: Saturday Night on St. Clair Avenue West

AcquolinaLast Saturday night we dropped in on the new location of one of our favorite Italian restaurants: Acquolina Ristorante. They moved to 760 St. Clair Avenue West recently from their original on Mt. Pleasant Road. As usual, the food and service were great however…

It has been a while since I drove the length of St. Clair Avenue West from Yonge Street to Christie Avenue without construction…and now we could truly experience the finished product of the past three years, including special lanes for the TTC Trolleys….

Sadly, on a Saturday night at 6:30 PM (early eaters are we)…the street was vacant of any life. The St. Clair Avenue West BIA or Toronto City Council that proposed the rebuild of this vibrant area have really blown it. There used to be life on the Street, people sitting in sidewalk Cafes, shopping, strolling, etc. Continue reading