January is many things to many people. It’s a time of refresh and reflect. Our cooler and slower moving months offers us the time to reset and get to the things we love. At our speed. No rushing. For this month we take a look at what’s happening in, and around the city of Toronto, that is worth getting out of our winter cocoon.

IMMERSE YOURSELF:

Reese’s Bookclub Pop-Up x Sheraton Lobby Library:  The Sheraton Centre Hotel Toronto. January 12 to February 12.

Candle Media’s Hello Sunshine, makes its second installation of the Reese’s Book Club x Sheraton Lobby Library – and its only stop in Canada. This collaboration serves as a cornerstone of the new Gatherings by Sheraton program, which features weekly experiences aimed to help guests and locals feel inspired by the stories and cultures of communities around the world, ultimately helping guests get the most out of their travels.

The Reese’s Book Club x Sheraton Lobby Library is at the heart of this program and debuted in October of 2023 at Sheraton Grand Los Angeles, bringing hundreds of guests and locals together though a shared love of reading. As part of the experience at each property, guests and locals
can discover the full back catalog of Reese’s Book Club picks, as well as new genres and local book selections, either by cozying up inside the Lobby Library or purchasing a copy to take home. Throughout the duration of the Lobby Library pop up, the hotel will encourage guests and locals
to gather, read and discover through Gatherings by Sheraton events.

The official program in Toronto launches to the public on January 12, with a Popcorn & Pages event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.. On January 24, the Lobby Library will also host the program’s signature “Beyond the Page” speaker series, with Reese’s Book Club author, New York Times best-selling author, and Toronto native, Marissa Stapley. A guided Book of the Month Discussion event will take place on January 31. The full calendar of Gatherings by Sheraton events is available here, which also includes initial themed activities such as “Cup of Calm,” “Bingo & Bubbles” and “Chapters & Charcuterie.” The pop up will run through February 12.

Heartstopper Pop-up at Indigo Yonge & Eglinton: January 6 to 28

Fans of the iconic book and Netflix series, Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper, will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the pop-up replica of Charlie Spring’s bedroom at Indigo Yonge and Eglinton. In partnership with Scholastic, from January 6-28, 2024, visitors can experience the vibrant world of Heartstopper come to life, exclusively at Indigo.

For a limited time, fans can step into Charlie’s lively world, explore his room firsthand and take selfies in the beautifully designed set. In addition to this fun popup, on January 6, guests can take part in activations from Cricut, visit our Heartstopper colouring station, and the first 100 visitors will walk away with Heartstopper swag bags. On the hunt for another great story? Fans of the series will also be able to browse the bookshelves curated by expert book lovers and discover their next Heartstopper-inspired read.

Indigo - Heartstopper - Netflix

Arcadia Earth Immersive Experience: The Well (Front & Spadina) ongoing. This a multi-sensory journey combines creative art installations and exciting technology to inspire visitors to take action towards a more sustainable future. This immersive experience showcases the beauty of our planet and the impact of human actions on the environment. Using technology visitor will be able to see our planet come to life beyond imagination. Stunning walk through experiences and one of the better immersive experiences we’ve explored in our city. Be sure to take the test at the end to find out what your carbon footprint looks like.  The goal is to inspire visitors to be part of the solution for creating a better world.

Arcadia earth toronto

FILMS BUZZING:

Poor Things: in theatres now. From filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and producer Emma Stone comes the incredible tale and fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter (Stone), a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe). Under Baxter’s protection, Bella is eager to learn. Hungry for the worldliness she is lacking, Bella runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across the continents. Free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows steadfast in her purpose to stand for equality and liberation.

Poor Things - Searchlight Pictures

Emma Stone in POOR THINGS. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Opens January 26. In the darkness of a smoke sauna, women share their inner-most secrets and intimate experiences, washing off the shame trapped in their bodies and regaining their strength through a sense of communion.

Smoke Sauna Sisterhood

THEATRE:

Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of): CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge Street. Until January 21. This is a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story. Men, money and microphones will be fought over in this irreverent but affectionate adaptation where the stakes couldn’t be higher when it comes to romance.  This “smart, laugh out loud funny” (Daily Telegraph) show features a string of pop classics including Young Hearts Run Free, Will You Love Me Tomorrow and You’re So Vain.

Mirvish PR - Pride and Prejudice

Leah Jamieson, Dannie Harris, Lucy Gray, Megan Louise Wilson and Emmy Stonelake in Pride and Prejudice*(*sort of). Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic

The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes: Berkeley Street Theatre, January 18 to 28. Weaving a narrative through human rights, sexual politics, and the rise of artificial intelligence, THE SHADOW WHOSE PREY THE HUNTER BECOMES is a sly theatrical revelation reminding us that none of us are self-sufficient and all of us are responsible for the future. At the center of this exploration lies a fundamental question: If artificial intelligence took over the world, would human beings all end up living with an intellectual disability? Written and performed by neuro-divergent actors interrogating the parameters of traditional theater and their own perceived disabilities, the three performers from Back to Back Theatre challenge contemporary presumptions about artificial intelligence and the human mind.

Ideas at Crows Theatre: begins January 7. CBC Radio’s IDEAS and Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre have announced a new collaboration to explore the ideas that animate great art and the crucial questions that shape our world. This a five-part talk series to be recorded at Crow’s Theatre in Toronto from January to June 2024, inspired by five plays in the Theatre’s 2023.24 40th anniversary season. This series is a forum for artists and scholars to develop new ideas, and for audiences to engage directly with the pressing questions of our time.

Each IDEAS AT CROW’S THEATRE event will feature a 45-minute talk followed by an onstage interview conducted by IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed, and will take place on a Sunday morning prior to a matinee performance and be recorded for later broadcast on IDEAS.

The series will begin on January 7, 2024, with McGill professor and world literature scholar Sandeep Banerjee delivering a talk on love and art in times of war, inspired by NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 by Dave Malloy.

ART IS LIFE:

Foodways Chef Series: Inspired by Keith Haring: AGO Bistro, January 24 with Chef, Eric MacDonald (She/Her). Foodways Chef Series offers an exclusive dining experience that connects the storytelling of art and lived experience of our guest chef. Enjoy a curated dinner inspired by the exhibition, from the chef’s point of view. Eric’s food is meant to speak directly to the people eating it.

Eric was born a boy and left high school as a girl. One day, she was working in a restaurant and the switch turned on and suddenly all things cooking became the most interesting thing in the world.

“My food is directly tied to my identity as a queer person, and I have always felt my food has an inherent queerness about it- as being its own thing—Not following the rules— being multidimensional and always changing— it is soft and tender- yet rebellious it exists in many extremes and is always saying something.”

Magdalene Odundo: A Dialogue with Objects: Gardiner Museum ongoing. Join a curator for an exploration of Magdalene Odundo work. Focusing both on Odundo’s early influences and the connections between her work and the wide ranging artifacts and artworks on view nearby, this tour will also consider Odundo’s strategies for working across cultures and how that can impact us today. Gain insight into her creative process and the profound influences of artifacts and artworks that have shaped and inspired her throughout her career.

The exhibition features the exquisite sculptural vessels one of the world’s most renowned ceramic artists, Dame Magdalene Odundo. Her first exhibition in Canada and the largest ever presentation of her work in North America, the show brings together works spanning the artist’s career, including new pieces directly from her studio. Odundo’s work will be in dialogue with art and artifacts from many time periods and cultures, ranging from ancient Mediterranean figurines to monumental Abstract Expressionist painting, to explore the connections that unite us as humans. These dialogues, and Odundo’s practice, model working trans-culturally in ways that are neither colonial nor extractive, while interrogating the role of museum collections of historical objects as well as hierarchies of Western art.

FEED ME, FUEL ME:

SoBar Social Club Mocktail Competition: El Mocambo. January 13. Sticking to “Dry January” doesn’t have to mean “boring”. This event will kick off the New Year with Toronto’s top mixologists as they compete to create the city’s best Mocktail! The event will feature a wellness market, activations, and with Ceder’s Non-Alcoholic spirits. Tickets includes: full venue access at the legendary EL Mocambo, wellness market, DJ, photobooth, exciting giveaways, 6 expertly crafted mocktails and a special treat from a food vendor.

KEEP MOVING:

Hangar Skate: Downsview Airport Lands, January 19 to March 17. The popular free ice-skating experience, back to the Downsview Airport Lands in the new year. Set against the backdrop of the expansive airplane hangars and under a canopy of interactive lights, Hangar Skate will run every weekend for two months. The experience will also include music from up-and-coming student DJs selected through a contest led by Downsview-based arts education non-profit Just BGRAPHIC, in partnership with VIBE 105, a community radio station. Northcrest is also partnering with H2 OM for learn to skate programs every weekend as well as North York Arts for special March Break programming.Skate rentals (including Skateez Skate trainers on weekends) are available for a small fee for adults and free for children under 12 years old. Register here.