Welcome to the April edition of the We’ve Been Expecting You eNewsletter – a monthly newsletter customized for members of the hospitality, tourism and service sectors. Each newsletter includes:

  • an e-guide to events for quick reference
  • helpful information on what there is to see and do in Toronto
  • details on the We’ve Been Expecting You initiative

In this issue:

Below are just a few of the April events taking place in Toronto this month! See a more complete list of what is happening.

Film and Literature Events

Hot Docs

Hot DocsHot Docs logo, North America’s largest documentary festival, celebrates its 25th anniversary this spring! From April 26 to May 6, enjoy one of the best lineups in the festival’s history, with an outstanding selection of over 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world being shown to Toronto audiences and international delegates of over 200,000.

Hot Docs screens over 460 documentaries at multiple venues across the city, and 80% of them include public Q&As with audiences. Hot Docs also features exciting and innovative programs such as DocX, an interdisciplinary section of the festival that explores interactive and virtual reality projects; Food & Film, which are intimate events that provide in-depth conversations with special festival guests and partners; and the Big Ideas Series presented by Scotia Wealth Management, which offers audiences the opportunity to experience six thought-provoking documentaries and then hear, first-hand, from the notable subjects and experts on the issues featured in the films.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Man surrounded by large cut-down trees in forest.
Image info: Silas.

The 15th annual Human Rights Watch (HRW) Film Festival, co-presented by TIFF® and Human Rights Watch (HRW), runs from April 18 to 25 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Most screenings will be accompanied by exciting discussions with filmmakers, HRW researchers, or subject-matter experts to spark conversations around the challenging issues featured in the films. Stories of citizen journalism, staying true to one’s identity, and overcoming unimaginable adversity comprise this year’s inspiring lineup.  Some of its highlights include: the North American Premiere of The Poetess, which follows Saudi poet Hissa Hilal as she puts her safety on the line and uses her wit and lyricism during a high-profile televised competition; Generally Temporary, which documents the situation of a young Palestinian boy and his grandfather who live in immigration limbo at an Israeli hospital; and Silas, a look at how activist Silas Siakor and a network of dedicated citizen reporters fight political corruption as well as their battle for accountability, their land and their future.

Visit tiff.net/humanrightswatch to purchase tickets, and for the full lineup of films and guests.

2018 Images Festival

Images Festival poster/logoImages Festival is excited to announce its full programming schedule for its 31st edition! Images Festival presents the most current, unconventional, and inventive moving images through 13 gallery exhibitions, 78 new on-screen works, and 5 live performances happening throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The 2018 program brings bold new perspectives that further challenge, uproot, and complicate the dialogue around experimental media art practices, with over half the schedule showcasing Canadian works, and over 50% female voices.

Images Festival’s opening night on Thursday, April 12 will feature SHAKEDOWN by American artist Leilah Weinraub at The Royal Cinema (608 College Street). On Friday, April 20 the closing night program will include Djamilia, by French filmmaker Aminatou Echard at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Avenue). The screening will be followed by a performance by the Egyptian-Iranian performer and musician Lafawndah at The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West).

Images Festival runs April 12 to 20.

Special Events at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Image info: Rashomon. couple embracing.
Image info: Rashomon.

TIFF is bringing the star power this month with two incredible events highlighting extraordinary filmmakers. The popular TIFF Books on Film series continues this month with special guest novelist Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings) on Rashomon. The Man Booker Prize winner will discuss Akira Kurosawa’s visionary masterpiece and its lasting influence on cinema, literature and popular culture, including James’ own highly anticipated Dark Star trilogy. Visit tiff.net/books for information and to buy tickets.

Academy Award–nominated writer-director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) heads to TIFF for an onstage discussion about his highly anticipated reunion with Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) and lead actress Charlize Theron (Young Adult) in Tully. Theron plays Marlo, a mother of three who forms a unique bond with a challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis). Tickets to this screening and on stage discussion are available at tiff.net.

Italian Contemporary Film Festival Youth Program

ICFF logoEight international films will be featured in the 2018 Italian Contemporary Film Festival Youth Program, expanding from an Italian film festival to a multicultural celebration and learning platform.

The festival continues its expansion to feature more international youth films, and ICFF Youth is proud to reveal the film selection for 2018, presented by IC Savings. Screenings will run daily from April 13 to April 19 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cineplex Yorkdale, Cineplex Cinemas in Vaughan and SilverCity Richmond Hill.

The following eight films will be screened in their original languages with English subtitles: L’Odyssèe,Come Diventare Grandi Nonostante I Genitori, Abel, Figlio del Vento/L’Aigle et L’Enfant, La Légende de Sarila, Leo Da Vinci, Tea Pets, Quando Sarò Bambino, Le Voyage de Fanny.

For further information, please visit the website at icff.ca/youth or you can also email youth@icff.ca or call 416-551-4615.

Toronto Silent Film Festival

Toronto Silent Film Festival logoWhen was the last time you were swept away by the play of light and shadow on the big screen along a wave of music? Toronto Silent Film Festival’s unique “Cinema with Live music” screenings do just that.  Celebrate Extraordinary Women in Film with three boundary pushing programmes: Opening Night has Asta Nielsen producing and starring in the gender bending re-imagining of Shakespeare’s tragic prince Hamlet. Saturday lends itself to the wild women of silent comedy in 1000 Laffs: Her-Larious followed by a film by ground-breaking director Lois Weber with Sensation Seekers. Sunday has 2 boundary pushing films in the historic Battle of the Somme followed by the Japanese masterpiece A Page of Madness. It winds up with forgotten funnyman Harry Langdon in Frank Capra’s The Strong Man. Return to a time when films changed the world. Passes and tickets available in advance or at the door.

Toronto Silent Film Festival runs April 6 to 9 – more information at www.torontosilentfilmfestival.com.

Fran Lebowitz: In Conversation

Fran Lebowitz“Success didn’t spoil me, I’ve always been insufferable.” – Fran Lebowitz

In a cultural landscape filled with endless pundits and talking heads, Fran Lebowitz stands out as one of America’s most insightful social commentators. Offering her acerbic views on current events and the media, her writing – pointed, taut and economical – is equally forthright, irascible, and unapologetically opinionated. Lebowitz is widely sought out for her razor-sharp commentary on everything from cigarettes to the Trump presidency.

Purveyor of urban cool, Leibowitz has been called “the heir to Dorothy Parker,” and was once named one of the year’s most stylish women by Vanity Fair. At age 67, she remains a style icon.

For her first Toronto appearance in five years, Lebowitz will hold court on stage – in conversation with Johanna Schneller (Globe and Mail columnist and host of CBC’s The Filmmakers) on Saturday, April 21 and Anna Maria Tremonti (host of CBC Radio’s The Current) on Sunday, April 22 – followed by an audience Q & A. Copies of her collected essays, The Fran Lebowitz Reader, will be available for purchase at the event through Ben McNally Books.

April 21 and 22 at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Tickets are available through the Koffler Centre of the Arts by calling 647-925-0643 or online at kofflerarts.org.

Getting Around

TTC Shop has Something for Everyone

TTC branded mugsTaking the TTC home has a whole new meaning at the TTC Shop. The online store features many great TTC-branded mugs, maps, model vehicles, shirts, socks, and water bottles, to name a few of the products available for sale. If you are, or know someone who is, a transit enthusiast, this is the place to visit. It’s only a simple click away from here. New merchandise is always arriving so be sure to check back regularly because you don’t want to miss out on the latest TTC find.

Culinary Events

Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo 2018

event attendees testing coffee - by smellAttention all coffee and tea devotees! The city’s buzzing second annual Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo is back on Saturday, April 14th and Sunday, April 15th at Evergreen Brickworks (550 Bayview Ave.) and will host 5,000 coffee and tea lovers to celebrate Toronto’s thriving café culture.

Guests of the two-day expo will experience the city’s top brews and discover industry tips, emerging trends and new beans from local vendors and indie cafés from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Hot bevie lovers will discover what’s brewing in the minds of leading coffee and tea innovators as they explore exhibitors, savour endless free samples, learn industry secrets and participate in new and returning hands-on programs – like free TIY (Tea-It-Yourself) workshops and Espresso-Making classes. There will be a “best cup” competition hosted by CBC’s The Goods’ Chef Shahir Massoud alongside a celebrity judge panel on Sunday at 3 p.m.

For more information and tickets ($15), please visit torontocoffeeandtea.com/join-today/.

Attractions and Exhibits

Invitation to Volunteer for Doors Open Toronto – All Welcome!

Volunteer fro City of Toronto logoDOT welcomes visitors into the City’s hidden architectural gems. Volunteers are interested in the arts, architecture and history of Toronto, and have a willingness to talk with the general public. See www.toronto.ca/doorsopen to learn more.

Attend a recruitment session for DOT volunteers on April 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall (Committee Room 2), 100 Queen Street West.  You’ll learn about all the 2018 events, not just DOT, but also Nuit Blanche Toronto and others.

Please email spevvol@toronto.ca or call the Coordinator of Volunteers at 416-392-9315 for more info or to register for a recruitment session. We hope you decide to join us!

Doors Open Toronto takes place May 26 and 27, 2018.

Battle of York Weekend at Fort York

Soldiers in red uniforms - Fort YorkHonour the 205th anniversary of the Battle of York fought on April 27, 1813. The Fort comes alive with musket firing demonstrations, Georgian cooking in the Officers’ Quarters kitchen, site tours and period animation. Kids can try “falling-in” for 1812-era soldiering drills. On Saturday, April 28 staff and volunteers will lead a special free walking tour tracing the course and events of the battle. Regular admission applies at Fort York.

Battle of York Weekend at Fort York takes place Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s

Mantis ShrimpGet ready to explore Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada’s new Curious Creatures exhibit. From the most remote corners of our blue planet, you will journey from coast to coast and encounter extraordinary sea life and stories along the way. From giant isopods and peacock mantis shrimp to various artifacts, immerse yourself into the strange and brilliant life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley. Exhibit now open! Included with general admission.

April is Print Month at Mackenzie House

Printing press operator in historic costumeEvery Sunday in April, visitors to Mackenzie House can use the historic press in the print shop to make their own souvenir. Possible souvenirs include a postcard, a historic recipe card, or a copy of the Proclamation calling for the arrest of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first Mayor and leader of the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion! Regular admission applies.

Castle Builder at the Ontario Science Centre

Castle Builder logoThe king and queen of the realm need a new castle and have summoned the best castle builders in the land to create a new home for their family. In the exhibit, open through April 29, 2018, children and families will be able to:

  • Visit the royal castle and see their majesties’ throne and royal decorations.
  • Wander the castle grounds to learn about life in the Middle Ages.
  • Dress up in child-sized, medieval-themed costumes.
  • Study secrets from real castles such as Blarney, and Neuschwanstein, which have been reconstructed by LEGO® Master Builders out of LEGO bricks.
  • Build a castle of their own in one of three age-appropriate build areas: Toddlers; 3- to 6-year-olds, and ages 7 and up
  • Virtually build a castle wall using a 3-D computer program and test the fortress’ strength to discover the best construction method.
  • Visit the dragon’s cave and create a fantastical story about knights and kings, princesses and dragons.

Find Castle Builder on Level 6 at the Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road, Toronto.

Notes in the Night: The History of Toronto Jazz Clubs since 1946

Notes in the Night: The History of Toronto Jazz Clubs since 1946Guest curated by Ralph Coram, this exhibition explores the history of Toronto’s jazz scene. It features materials from the collections of important music-scene personalities such as Dave Caplan, Jim Galloway and Archie Alleyne, including photographs, menus, memorabilia, record sleeves, posters, and correspondence. Taped interviews with jazz greats such as Molly Johnson and Don Vickery focus on the experiences of performers in these clubs and the politics of the jazz scene.

Notes in the Night: The History of Toronto Jazz Clubs since 1946 on display at the Market Gallery until June 23.

Visual Arts Exhibitions

stone sculptures - geometric.
Image info: Visual Arts – Or Something in Between by Dear Human – Deconstructe

Harbourfront Centre presents three self-programmed exhibitions: Or Something In Between curated by Melanie Egan, is a series of objects borne out of an ongoing exploration of material and form by Montreal-based design duo Dear Human. On now – until June 17.

Blind Spot, curated by Robyn Wilcox, is a series of physical experiments exploring notions of truth, perception, and our sense of self by visual maker Daniel Rossi. On now, through to June 17.

Face à Face: An Exhibition of Canadian Contemporary Jewellery, organized by MaDe Collective and curated by Melanie Egan and Paul McClure, strives to epitomize Canada’s vibrant diversity through the work of ten contemporary jewelers. On until April 22.

All exhibitions are free.

Live Entertainment

Young People’s Theatre

Risky Phil - show posterYoung People’s Theatre proudly presents the World Premiere of Risky Phil by the award-winning playwright Paula Wing. This comedy-drama about fathers and sons will be presented on the Mainstage from April 9 to 27. In line with YPT’s season theme “finding yourself”, this wonderful comedy-drama challenges you to consider how much of YOU is actually determined by your roots.

From April 23 to May 11, YPT presents Christine Quintana’s Selfie – a powerful new play for teens that offers an honest look at consent and self-promotion in the era of social media. The award-winning play for ages 13 and up will be presented in the Studio.

Learn more about Young People’s Theatre.

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir

Ornate stained glass windowTafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir presents Bach B-Minor Mass, one of the supreme pieces of music ever written. Whether you are a performer or listener, this piece captivates your heart and soul. Experience Bach’s choral masterwork at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre from April 5 to 8, and at Toronto Centre for the Arts on April 10. Arrive one hour before each concert for a free pre-concert chat with soprano Ann Monoyios.

Directed by Ivars Taurins, featuring soprano Dorothee Mields, mezzo-soprano Laura Pudwell, tenor Charles Daniels, and baritone Tyler Duncan. For tickets and more information, call 416-964-6337 or visit tafelmusik.org.

What a Young Wife Ought to Know

What a young Wife Ought to Know - show posterCrow’s Theatre presents a 2b theatre Production.
Written by Hannah Moscovitch.

From one of Canada’s top playwrights comes a timeless love story. What a Young Wife Ought to Know takes an unflinching look at love, sex and infertility, inspired by real stories of young mothers during the Canadian birth control movement of the early 20th century. Hannah Moscovitch has crafted a sensual, funny love story seen through the eyes of Sophie and her journey through womanhood and motherhood – a journey that is sometimes tragic, sometimes ridiculous and always recognizable.

On stage starting March 20, through April 7 at Crow’s Theatre (345 Carlaw Avenue, Toronto).

April at The Royal Conservatory of Music

Kune Orchestra
Image info: KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra; Photo – Nicola Betts.

Two multi-cultural Toronto music groups share a very special evening on April 7. The Royal Conservatory’s KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra features top notch musicians from all over the world who now live in Canada. The group returns to Koerner Hall after their debut concert in June of 2017, which was followed by a Canadian tour and a recording at The Banff Centre. This concert is the launch of the group’s self-titled release on Universal Music Canada. The second half of the evening features Juno Award-winning trumpeter and composer, David Buchbinder, and Grammy Award nominated piano master, Hilario Durán, with their band, Odessa/Havana, renowned for textured and tuneful music with powerful, swinging, and lyrical playing.

Other notable concerts include Bernstein @ 100 featuring Jamie Bernstein, Wallis Giunta, Sebastian Knauer, and the ARC Ensemble on April 6; award-winning Italian pianist Beatrice Rana on April 8; Canadian baritone Gerald Finley on Aril 22; and the Amici Chamber Ensemble celebrating its 30th anniversary on April 27 with soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.

For more information and tickets, please visit www.rcmusic.com/performance.

On Stage at Tarragon Theatre

Tarragon Theatre show poster - three women, dark sweaters, speech bubbles.Girls Like That
Written by Evan Placey
On stage April 17 to May 27.

Four Stars – “Viciously funny; Maybe change starts with plays like this.” – The Guardian

Girls Like That is an explosive new play that explores the evolution of feminist consciousness and modern female friendships in the wake of advancing technology. A naked photo of Scarlett goes viral. Rumours spread across smartphones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the clique of girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent?

Tickets starting at $22!

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Image info: Blake Pouliot. Credit: Jeff Fasano Photography.
Image info: Blake Pouliot. Credit: Jeff Fasano Photography.

TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis returns to the podium for the majestic Sibelius Symphony 5 – a lively program that also features violinist Ray Chen, April 5, 7 and 8.

Direct from Broadway, Stephanie J. Block and Canada’s own Ramin Karimloo are the stars of On Broadway, April 10 to 12. TSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads the irresistible program filled with toe-tapping show-tunes, vintage classics and recent hits. On April 13, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal and musical director Kent Nagano make their annual appearance with dazzling German violinist Christian Tetzlaff as soloist.

April 14 and 15, RBC Resident Conductor Earl Lee leads the Orchestra in All Beethoven, spotlighting Canadian violinist Blake Pouliot. Conductor Dina Gilbert and narrator & composer Greg Smith go on a musical journey with The Animated Orchestra, April 21, a delightful family event perfect for kids 5 to 12!

On April 26 and 28, the TSO honours Leonard Bernstein’s centenary with  Bernstein’s Candide, Bramwell Tovey conducts the combined forces of a brilliant cast including Judith Forst, Tracy Dahl, and members of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Visit www.TSO.ca or call 416-598-3375 for details!

Mouthpiece returns to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Women, Black and white facial image - pink dotsA harrowing, humorous and heart-wrenching journey into the female psyche. In the wake of her mother’s death, Mouthpiece follows one woman, for one day, as she tries to find her voice. Interweaving a cappella harmonies, dissonance, text and physicality, two performers express the inner conflict that exists within a modern woman’s head: the push and the pull, the past and the present, the progress and the regression. Winner of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Outstanding performance by an ensemble, outstanding sound design/composition). A Nightwood Theatre and Quote Unquote Collective production, in association with Why Not Theatre.

Onstage April 11 to 22. Tickets PWYC – $35. By phone, 416-975-8555, or online: buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/mouthpiece-2018.

Robert Lepage’s Landmark Production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables Returns to Canadian Opera Company

(l – r) Olga Peretyatko as The Nightingale and Ilya Bannik as The Emperor in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, 2009, photo: Michael Cooper.
Photo credit: (l – r) Olga Peretyatko as The Nightingale and Ilya Bannik as The Emperor in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, 2009, photo: Michael Cooper.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables, from Canadian theatre visionary Robert Lepage, returns to the Canadian Opera Company this spring. Hailed as a masterpiece in sold-out runs in Toronto and New York, this enchanting production blends exquisite visuals, whimsical puppetry and emotional storytelling into a magical mélange set to the best of Stravinsky’s music. Lepage flips operatic convention on its head by placing the musicians on stage and transforming the orchestra pit into a pool filled with water where the singers perform with elaborate puppets. It’s a visual feast audiences of all ages won’t want to miss! The Nightingale and Other Short Fables runs for nine performances from April 13 to May 19 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Visit coc.ca for details.

Celebrate New Art, Music, Literature and Bacchanalia at Soulpepper!

Singer, Trumpeter.
Photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann

Soulpepper’s popular concert series returns with a brand new concert, A Moveable Feast: Paris in the ‘20s, inspired by Hemmingway’s memoir. Due to such success A Moveable Feast has been extended twice – performances begin March 30, through Easter weekend, until April 14.

You’re invited to post-war Paris, the global capital of art, music, literature, and Bacchanalia! Artists like Ernest Hemmingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Picasso, and Josephine Baker shaped a new era of modernity, and set the stage for the Lost Generations of musicians who followed. See it March 30, 31, April 2, 6, 9, 10 and 14

Soulpepper’s biting adaptation of Orwell’s staple novel Animal Farm has its final week of performances in April. The barn doors must close April 7.

To purchase tickets and to learn more: visit soulpepper.ca; follow Soulpepper on Twitter; or call the Young Centre Box Office at 416-866-8666.

Opera Atelier’s The Return of Ulysses

Archer and woman in white dress.“A masterpiece…visually stunning and profoundly moving.” – Stage Door

Don’t miss this Monteverdi masterpiece, starring world’s greatest interpreter of the title role. Join Canada’s premier baroque opera/ballet company for the story of the Greek king Ulysses and his return to his homeland after a twenty-year absence fighting in the Trojan War. Monteverdi’s deeply moving opera abounds with gods, goddesses, flying machines and magical transformations. Starring dramatic tenor Krešimir Špicer, whose definitive performances in the title role have thrilled audiences around the world.

Featuring: Krešimir Špicer (Ulysses), Mireille Lebel (Penelope), Artists of Atelier Ballet, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

April 19 to 28, at the Elgin Theatre. Tickets start at just $39. Visit operatelier.com or 1-855-622-ARTS (2787).

What’s Bringing People to Toronto

Old City Hall framed by arches at reflecting poolCatch a game!

Events, shows and live entertainment abound – here are some to check out this month:

For more information on live performances across the city, visit www.whatsontonight.ca.

More venues to check out:

No matter what kind of music you enjoy or what kind of venue you like best, there’s always something playing in Toronto. Visit the City’s Music page for links to concert listing and information on the music sector.

Visit the websites of the major conference centres for information on other events, conferences and shows: Exhibition Place, Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) and the International Centre (in Mississauga).

We’ve Been Expecting You

WBEY logo

Tourism Services offers a variety year round programs to support the industry:

Event Calendar: www.toronto.ca/eventcalendar.
Promote your event on the calendar by submitting your information. Or stay up to date with what’s happening in Toronto.

Information Centres:
Year round at Union Station (part of the Ontario Travel Information Centre) or seasonal at key locations around the city. Drop in to find out more about Toronto or to pick up material and maps. To provide your material for distribution to the public email us at infotogo@toronto.ca for more information.

Visitor Maps:
Available free of charge. Contact us at visitorservices@toronto.ca to:

  • Request a supply to distribute to your guests.
  • Find out about advertising on future editions.

We’ve Been Expecting You (WBEY) Training:
Free training covering customer service principles and providing helpful information about Toronto. Available at www.wbeytoronto.ca and in face-to-face format for groups (note: this format is unavailable in 2018 between March and June). Email wbey@toronto.ca for more info.

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