The city is slowly and cautiously opening up. Now in stage 2, Toronto is beginning to see some interesting places opening up. Yes, health and safety protocols are in place but in order for us to explore, we’re all still expected to pack our common sense and masks when venturing into the public spaces. Bring your mask and your hand sanitizer! See individual venues for specific details. Here are places that are ready to welcome you back.

AGA KHAN MUSEUM: 77 Wynford Drive. Missing arts & culture? This museum is situated out of the city’s core and worth a couple of hours. Just reopened to the public this past weekend with the new Sanctuary Exhibition featuring 36 works world-renowned contemporary artists focusing on their personal views and experiences of what sanctuary means to them. Admission also includes access to view the Museum’s permanent collections. Timed entry. Tickets online highly recommended. The serene and beautiful grounds are also accessible to the public.

Sanctuary Exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO: 317 Dundas Street West. Reopening on July 2 to AGO Members and Annual Pass Holders and to the public on July 23 with scaled-down hours, and timed entry. Tickets available online. Worth checking out is the current Illusions:The Art of Magic as well as Diane Arbus Photographs from 1956 to 1971 — both special exhibitions have been extended till the Fall. Three levels of galleries will be open, including the J.S. McLean Centre for Indigenous & Canadian Art, The Thomson Collection of European Art, the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art and the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. The AGO Bistro, Café AGO, the Espresso Bar in Galleria Italia and the Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge remain temporarily closed.

Illusions: The Art of Magic. Strobridge Lithographing Company, Kellar and His Perplexing Cabinet Mysteries, 1894, 19th century, 71.7 x 96.7 cm. Purchase, funds graciously donated by La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso. M2014.128.301. © McCord Museum

ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM: 100 Queens Park. Reopening July 9 to members and July 11 to the public with scaled-down hours and timed entry. Tickets will be available online. The Museum’s permanent galleries will be open, including the ROM-original installation Florals: Desire and Design. Further information on special exhibitions—including the return of the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic and the opening of the new ROM-original exhibition The Cloth that Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cottons—will be announced soon.  Note some galleries will remained temporarily closed including the Bat Cave, CIBC Discovery Gallery and Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity.

Winnie The Pooh Exhibition at The Royal Ontario Museum

GARDINER MUSEUM: 111 Queen’s Park. Reopening exclusively to Gardiner members from July 7 to 10. Followed by 2 days of FREE admission to the public on July 11 and 12. Then beginning on July 13, the Museum will resume regular hours of business with social distancing measures in place. Not to be missed is the latest exhibition RAW, a contemporary take on new relevance as conversations around identity, visibility, and survival on our planet continue to take shape.  From sticky and wet to dry and powdery, raw clay speaks to primal themes like the land, the body, and memory. Perhaps most significantly, clay reaffirms our essential connection to the earth.

Templum of a Precious Thing of No Value, A Shapeless Thing of Many Shapes ~ by artist Linda Swanson at the new RAW exhibition at the Gardiner Museum

IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH EXPERIENCE: 1 Yonge Street at the former Toronto Star printing press space. Be immersed in 600,000 cubic feet of stunning projection animating the masters’ oeuvre and illuminating the mind of the genius. Wander through giant projections that highlight brushstroke, detail, and colour as you have never experienced them. Visitors will be immersed in Van Gogh’s works — from his sunny landscapes and night scenes, to his portraits and still life paintings. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889). The exhibition can be experienced in person (social distancing, of course) or you can “Gogh by Car” and drive through.  Timed entry.

Immersive Van Gogh Experience

FOOD TRUCK’N CANADA DAY FESTIVAL: Wednesday, July 1 from 12 pm to 8 pm. Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place. A diverse selection of Toronto’s best food trucks including Busters Seacove, The Arepa Republic, Alijandro’s Kitchen, Jerk Brothers, Tdot’s Naansense, Funnel Cake Dream, El Bosco, Meltdown Cheesery, and other tasty options. The open-air event will also have a licensed patio area. You’ll want to walk off your calories across the nearby bridge at the beautiful Trillium Park.

The Arepa Republic Food Truck

LAVAZZA DRIVE-IN FILM FESTIVAL: July 20 to 31, Ontario Place. Will feature a thoughtfully-curated selection of movies from some of the countries most affected by the global health crisis. A different nation will be represented each night, including France, China, Russia, the US, the UK, Brazil, India and Canada. The Opening night film, THE CUBAN, is the anticipated third feature film from director Sergio Navarretta starring legendary Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. Synopsis:  a naive pre-med student named Mina gets her first job in a nursing home and meets an elderly Cuban jazz musician named Luis (Gossett). The young woman (Golja) realizes music triggers Luis’ memories, she uses it to break him out of his dementia and to create moments of lucidity and joy.  THE CUBAN is a touching story of a friendship that blossoms through music and the power of the imagination – and the film is incredibly topical at a moment that the world has its eyes on the realities of long-term care. The film’s incredible soundtrack was composed by multi Juno Award winner and Grammy nominated artist, Hilario Duran.  Duran grew up and received his musical training in Havana and has since gone on to work with legendary musicians such as Chucho Valdes, Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval.  He is a widely respected piano virtuoso on the international jazz scene.  The Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival is presented by the Italian Contemporary Film Festival.

Here’s the trailer…