March always gives us life. We’re almost at the end of winter. We can almost taste it. Stores are beginning to bring in spring gear and we’re more than ready to get shed a few layers of clothing. Okay, here in Toronto we haven’t had too bad of a winter these past few months but it’s always nice to have something to look forward to. As we await the first crocus blooms in the city, here are a few fun, inspiring and heart stirring things do. Don’t forget the daylight savings time change on March 12, too! T
HAMILTON The Musical:
Princess of Wales Theatre until August 20, 2023. The much buzzed about musical has finally arrived in our city and it’s definitely worth seeing. HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, this smash-hit musical tells the story of an American founding father. The story of Alexander Hamilton has created a revolutionary moment in theatre. It’s a musical that has had a profound impact on culture, politics, and education. Full review is coming up shortly!
Women Filmmaker Spotlight at TIFF:
Throughout March, TIFF is showcasing a diverse programme of films. TIFF is spotlighting the achievements and impact of women in the film industry in support of Share Her Journey. The programme will feature Q&As with established and emerging filmmakers, special screenings, and an Industry DIALOGUES event.
TIFF’s month-long International Women’s Day celebration. Special guests include Erika Balsom, Lizzie Borden, Maggie Briggs, Miryam Charles, Luis De Filippis, Chandler Levack, Ashley McKenzie, Renuka Jeyapalan, and Chloé Robichaud.
A touring series adapted from a landmark exhibition, No Master Territories: Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image is screening in Canada. This will be the first time since it made its debut in Berlin in 2022. Curated byErika Balsom and Hila Peleg, this showcases rarely-seen yet pivotal feminist nonfiction films from the 1970s to the 1990s. The showcase was recently listed in Artforum’s best-of-the-year exhibitions. Full details can be found at tiff.net
Human Rights Watch Canada Film Festival:
March 8 to 12 (Virtual screenings via Hot Docs will be available from March 13 to 19). FREE screenings. Celebrating its 20th anniversary the festival includes five noteworthy films. On our radar is Koromousso, Big Sister directed by Habibata Ouarme and Jim Donovan will have it’s World Premiere.
The film focuses on healing hope and empowerment of women – exploring the lifelong effects of female genital mutilation. Also on our radar is The Grab, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Using investigate journalism, she examines food and water insecurity and how the global food supply is threatened by outside forces.
The Little Match Girl Passion with The Toronto Mendelssohn Singers:
March 18 at The Church of the Holy Trinity. This musical vigil drawing awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness in our city. The Choir’s professional chamber ensemble, will perform David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning choral work, The Little Match Girl Passion. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale about a poverty-stricken young woman sent out into the cold by her father to sell matches, this work leads us on a journey where hope and memories meet the harsh reality of the snowy streets. The evening’s program also includes excerpts of Bach’s St Matthew Passion and a new commission, Diaries of the Forgotten, by inaugural composer-in-residence, Dr. Shireen Abu-Khader. This powerful new work is inspired by the composer’s research and direct discussions with unhoused individuals in our community, focussing on the lack of understanding and resources available to those struggling with mental health. Audience members are invited to donate gently used clothing, particularly coats, scarves, socks, and hats. The TMChoir partners with Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity and Unity Kitchen, leaders for this important cause in the community, for this presentation.
Women’s Brunch at CLIO (600 King West):
March 5. Ahead of IWD attend this engaging and enlightening brunch event hosted by renowned hormone and women’s health expert, Dr. Jennifer Pearlman, and learn her top tips followed by a networking afternoon with other like-minded women. Music will be provided by Natalie Rivera and fabulously stocked swag will be available for guests. Bring the women in your life who lift you and celebrate together! Reserve your seat at the table by emailing email@example.com
Public Sweat Experience:
Harbourfront Centre. March 15 to April 23. Public Sweat is a fusion of art, sauna culture, and sweat bathing. Be invigorated by heat and social connections at this unique community experience. Be prepared to bask inside artist-designed saunas and sauna structures. Rotate through thermal cycles, and explore numerous artworks, as you rejuvenate. Bring your bathing suit, towel, robe, slippers and an open mind.
Sugar Shack TO:
Sugar Beach Waterfront March 11 and 12. This sweet festival returns with a full line-up of Canadiana entertainment, comfort foods, activities and of course, tons of maple taffy. The family friendly festival includes a Winter Lumberjack Show, Maple sugaring demonstrations, and a warming station. Free admission.
Woodbine Beach until April 3. This FREE public art exhibition launched in 2014. Winter Stations features international design and art community’s reimagination of existing lifeguard stations that spot the Toronto’s east end beaches during the winter bringing the world of design to the water’s edge. This year’s theme is RADIANCE.
Hogwarts House Pride Night:
March 8 at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre. Celebrate your House Pride on March 8 at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre. Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw houses are the four living and learning communities for Hogwarts students, named after the wizarding school’s four founders. Ravenclaws are wise, creative, and brimming with wit. Gryffindors are daring, chivalrous, and brave at heart. Hufflepuffs are just, loyal, and unafraid of toil. Slytherins are cunning, determined, and ambitious. Tickets and more info on the special night’s activities can be found here.
Those who arrive at 5:30pm will receive early admission to the theatre to participate in Hogwarts House themed trivia, a scavenger hunt, and a costume contest with chances to win prizes.
Cliff Cardinal’s The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It:
March 10 to April 2. CAA Theatre. In September 2021, just as theatres were starting to reopen after the long pandemic hiatus, Crow’s Theatre, one of the city’s most eclectic and adventuresome companies, decided to begin with an audacious new show.
They said very little about it. Only that it was a “radical retelling by Cliff Cardinal” of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. There were no further details, no cast list, nothing. Of course, most people know As You Like It as one of the bard’s most accessible and whimsical plays. How was Cliff, a young Indigenous playwright and actor acclaimed for his acerbic, mischievous humour and willingness to deal with raw emotions and difficult subject matter, going to retell this classic of Western theatre? When the show was finally on stage, word spread about it like wildfire. Its first audiences raved: it was “essential viewing,” “a surprising, powerful, thrilling, and moving piece of theatre that will never be forgotten.”
At the same time, word spread that the show had nothing to do with As You Like It. Cliff was NOT performing As You Like It, nor any version of it. Instead, what Cliff was doing with his new work was examining the relationship between the Indigenous community and the settlers. He was showing us what a young and insightful artist from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota sees in the aftermath of the discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools.
Cliff was offering us the unvarnished truth of the state of the reconciliation process this country has been attempting for the last few decades. He was using theatre to do what it has always done: to take a few moments and pay attention to someone other than our own selves.
Berkeley Street Theatre. March 4 to 26. After its stunning sell-out NYC debut, Canadian Stage and Obsidian Theatre are proud to mount the first Canadian production of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama FAIRVIEW. In this play, the Frasier household is preparing for Grandma’s birthday party, but not everything is as it seems.
Beverly is holding on to her sanity by a thread, refusing help from sister, her brother is MIA, her husband doesn’t seem to do anything right, her daughter is late coming home from practice and the party guests are more than unexpected. A radical examination of power, FAIRVIEW confronts notions of theatre, race, and surveillance.
The Office Experience:
Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Opens March 3. After successful runs in Chicago and Washington D.C., the wildly popular The Office Experience will make its international debut in Toronto on March 3, 2023. Guests are invited to celebrate their favorite moments and characters from the widely acclaimed television series. It’s the largest-ever official interactive fan experience based on The Office, created by Original X Productions (OGX) and Universal Live Entertainment. They also worked in consultation with The Office’s U.S. creator Greg Daniels.
The Office Experience features numerous areas filled with original props and costumes, set re-creations and more. This allows fans to visit Scranton Business Park and other sites associated with the beloved series. Guests will be able to set foot inside the Dunder Mifflin office. This will include Pam’s desk, Michael’s office and Ryan’s closet, as well as relive iconic moments such as Kevin’s Chili Spill. The Office Experience will celebrate all the series’ major characters. The Dundie Awards, the Michael Scott Paper Company and Jim and Pam’s love story will be commemorated. Stay tuned for our first-hand experience coming up shortly!
Lumière: The Art of Light (formerly Winter Light Exhibition):
March 10 – May 7, 2023. Ontario Place’s outdoor public art exhibition, a visitor favourite in 2019, will return this year. This acclaimed annual art event will temporarily transform Trillium Park, its new home for 2023. Lumiere, the French word for “light,” combines art and light to create unique installations down by the waterfront. The exhibit will be open seven nights a week, a bonfire will be hosted Friday and Saturday evenings, and guests are invited to experience the event from dusk to 11 p.m.
This free light exhibition invites visitors to explore the park and experience public art created by talented Ontario artists from all artistic streams. Utilizing innovation, creativity, light, and discovery, Lumière inspires Ontario-based artists and creators to “illuminate” the park under a curatorial theme of “renewal”. Lumière is an outdoor event that spans the entire Trillium Park, and these magical and alluring exhibits are best experienced at night.
OPTIK at Yonge and Dundas Square:
March 3 to April 2. Is a colourful and playful interactive sound and light installation by The Urban Conga in collaboration with Serge Maheu and produced by Init of Quebec, includes ten large gyroscope-like forms with dichroic film at the centre that each play a different music instrument while reflecting any ray of lights during the day, and refracting the inner rings lighting at dusk.
On March 3, Yonge-Dundas Square will celebrate Optik with opening night activities from 5pm-11pm including free warm beverages and treats, plus visitors will have the opportunity to be broadcast to five digital screens in the Square as the installation acts as a photo booth for one night only.
A Grimm Night:
The Great Hall. March 31 to April 9. This unique immersive theatrical production by Transcen| Dance project is inspired by the Brothers Grimm stories where guests interact with mystery, enchantment and tragedy of our most beloved fairy tales. This experience is full of exploration as you wander throughout the spaces in this historical site uncovering the fantastical and unexpected. It’s a beautiful and curious night out. We attended the first performance a year ago and we’ve heard this one tell different stories. Tickets and more info available here.
Stranger Things The Experience:
Cinespace Studios Marine Terminal . Opening March 31. The year is 1986. The town is Hawkins. But the location is Toronto. Netflix and leading global live-entertainment discovery platform Fever have teamed up to deliver Stranger Things: The Experience, a new immersive experience. Fans will be thrown into a world of supernatural mystery, enduring friendships, and ‘80s nostalgia in an atmospheric celebration of the Stranger Things universe. Take on a perilous adventure through the darker side of Hawkins, including the infamous Hawkins National Lab and the Upside Down. This brand new storyline, developed exclusively with the show’s creators, propels guests into a parallel universe where they must run the gauntlet of terrors lurking in the dark and unlock their secret powers to help save the town. With the gang’s hometown on the line, there’s room in Hawkins for heroes of all ages (5+) to work together to save the day.
After their escape from the Upside Down, guests will be free to explore Mix-Tape, where they can meet real-life characters from the Stranger Things world, grab a USS Butterscotch sundae at Scoops Ahoy, attempt to knock off MADMAX’s high score, sample a tasty pie from Surfer Boy Pizza, try a unique cocktail at the first ever Stranger Things-themed bar, snatch up exclusive merchandise, and even get up close and personal with Vecna himself. Children under 5 will not be admitted, and anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are limited and can be purchased in advance by visiting strangerthings-experience.com/
CeraVe House Pop-Up at Stackt market:
FREE March 3 to 5. 12 to 6 pm daily. Torontonians can explore an immersive content factory (think Museum of Ice Cream!), IRL product education and free product samples all under one beautiful white and blue roof. The pop-up is free and open to the public, see here for the eventbrite link with more information.
Guinness SPD St. Patrick’s Day Party: at Rebel
March 18. Considered Canada’s largest St. Paddy’s Day party where an expected 5000 party goers dressed in green will transform the city’s waterfront in to a sea of celebration and festivities. Guinness will flow all day (and into the night) as guests enjoy live music from Dave Murphy Band and In Living Cover, plus top Toronto DJs. The all-day celebration starts at 11:30 am and features a pancake breakfast, all you can eat Lucky Charms Bar, Irish fiddlers, life size beer pong, and photo booths to capture all your luck in this sprawling space. Tickets available at spdcanada.ca (19+ event)
Dwayne Gretzky Spring Tour:
March 24 & 25. Toronto and various other dates/locations across Canada. If you’re looking for a fun night out full of danceable and let loose singalong type of outing with friends and other strangers, this cover band hits all the right feel good spots. This 10 member group of talented Toronto musicians are pure joy. They have a strong following of people who just want to have a good time and they always deliver beyond expectations. BTW, Heather also wrote about Dwayne Gretzky performing at the upcoming Beerhurst at Deerhurst Festival on March 4. Link here for details.
Take the Plunge at Friday Harbour:
March 11. Brave the cold for a great cause at Friday Harbour’s Take the Plunge polar dip event. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit RVH Foundation and the Keep Life Wild campaign, which is dedicated to raising funds to support the expansion of RVH and the creation of a new healthcare facility in Innisfil. Registration to plunge into the icy waters of Lake Simcoe is open to all, with a fee of $25 that includes an event t-shirt, food and beverage, and bragging rights.
PUPPY SOCIALS at Juno Vets:
1073 Yonge Street (Summerhill). Launching March 1, this series invites puppy owners and their furry little pals to this friendly space located at their shiny new clinic. At the bi-weekly get-togethers puppies and their humans will learn to play age appropriate games, enjoy treats, and get to know other pups. Juno’s vet care team will be available to answer questions and gently guide four-legged guests in making new friends. Each Juno Unleashed event is free. For more details and how to register can be found here.
Rubble at Theatre Passe Muraille
Rubble is based on the poetry of Palestinian writers Mahmoud Darwish (translated by Fady Joudah) and Lena Khalaf Tuffaha. (Read her powerful poem “Running Orders” here.) The play examines the value of art against the backdrop of the crisis in Palestine. It was written by playwright and neurologist Suvendrini Lena, who spent time as a medical student working with Palestinian physicians in Gaza. Read our interview with playwright Suvendrini Lena here. The play runs until March 18. Rubble is a co-production from Theatre Passe Muraille and Aluna Theatre. Tickets available here.
Flowing For Our Sisters: 108 Sun Salutations: A fundraising event by 10XT0 and Lululemon
March 19 at Hotel X Toronto, 10XTO. Join this beautiful sunset practice of 108 Sun Salutations in celebration of women. 10XTO yoga instructors will guide guests on the stunning tennis courts in the challenge through the salutations with incredible music curated by DJ Carmelinda DeManno. Anticipate a great workout and energy exchange amongst like-minded participants. 100 per cent of the process will be donated and distributed evenly to three charities. Tickets must be purchased in advice here.
Looking ahead to April…
Behind the Veil with Angel Morgan LIVE at The Factory Theatre:
April 5. Psychic, medium, and animal communicator Angel Morgan returns with her live events. Join in this intimate night as she receives messages from the other side. Who knows who will show up! Be open to the possibility of reconnecting with loved ones, angels and others who you may have come across with in the past. For over 18 years, Angel has provided reading, guidance and spiritual healing to many. She’s appeared on television, radio and newspapers in Canada and the U.S.. Tickets to this heartwarming, fun and fast paced theatrical event can be found at raisingenergy.com