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Local Guide - Toronto (2017)

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(This guide was put together by the SCS Local Arrangements Committee, chaired by Alison Keith)

Local Guide to Toronto

Toronto

While the classics have had a long and rich life in Southern Ontario, the name of this province’s capital bears witness to the importance – not of the European tradition – but of the indigenous tradition within its history. Toronto’s etymological fons et origo is tkaronto, a Mohawk word, probably meaning “where there are trees standing in the water.” Prior to European contact, the Mohawk peoples had used the name to describe their ancient fishing weirs in the straits of Lake Simcoe, just north of what is now called the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). But as French and British settlers began moving beyond the St Lawrence in ever-increasing numbers throughout the 18th century, colonizing the territory around the Great Lakes that was under the stewardship of the Iroquois Confederacy and the Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations, tkaronto became Toronto on European lips and soon came to denote the incipient city on Lake Ontario’s north shore. By the time the Missisaugas of New Credit had surrendered their lands in the GTA to the British Crown in the Toronto Purchase of 1787 (a purchase that would not be settled until 2010, when the Government of Canada finally decided to make good on its side of the deal), the name Toronto was so firmly affixed to the region that, although Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe decided to officially rechristen the city York at the end of the 18th century, its earlier name prevailed: York (or Muddy York, as the city was for a time un-affectionately called) was discarded and Toronto was lawfully returned in 1834, the year of the city’s incorporation.

Meanwhile, the classics had started taking root in the GTA and near-by Hamilton, a city that had steadily grown alongside Toronto since its conception in 1812. The first European settlers brought their classical learning and enthusiasms with them: Simcoe was apparently keen on his Greek and Latin, and Henry Lamb, a 19th century entrepreneur, dreamt of constructing a metropolis near Hamilton, which was to be called Romulus. In the same decades that Lamb was dreaming up his urbs Romana, the classics found a constant and venerable home with the foundation of the University of Toronto as King’s College in 1827, where Latin and Greek have been studied continuously for the past 190 years. As the European colonies along the north shore of Lake Ontario developed, such homes soon multiplied: McMaster University, founded in Toronto in 1887, had the classics as a key part of its first curriculum, and Greco-Roman antiquity has continued to be taught at that institution since it moved to its present Hamiltonian home in 1930. Similarly, the study of the classical world has been a part of York University’s curriculum ever since it was established in 1959 – the school even has a phrase from the Third Georgic as its motto: tentanda via.

Getting Around by TTC

Public transportation in Toronto is offered by the Toronto Transit Commission (ttc.ca).  There are two subway lines serving downtown Toronto, one running north-south along Yonge Street and University Ave., and one running east-west along Bloor St/ Danforth St.  The subway connects to Union Station, the hub for regional transportation (GO train) and other train service (VIA Rail). The TTC also connects to Pearson Airport, via a bus from Kipling Station (1 hr travel time to conference hotel, $3.25).  Arrivals to Pearson airport may prefer the much more convenient Union-Pearson Express (25 mins travel time; 12$ one way, https://www.upexpress.com/).

The TTC also runs frequent buses and streetcars along major routes. The conference hotel is on the route of the Queen St. Streetcar (501), which runs 24 hours a day. The subway runs from 6 am to about 1:30 am, with a later start time on Sunday morning (8 am).

The TTC provides reliable and fairly timely service to most of the city. The downtown area is very well-serviced. The system is undergoing some major updating, so do check the TTC website for any Service Advisories for information about closures or detours. The area of the conference hotel has several transit options, so this will likely not be a problem, but do check.  

Accessibility is patchy on the TTC. Most downtown stations have elevators (including the two stations closest to the conference hotel, Queen and Osgoode), but you will need to check on the TTC website to make sure there is an elevator at your destination station, and that these elevators are in service. Likewise, some streetcars are low-floor, accessible cars (these are designated with a blue light at the front of the car), but most are not. Buses are reliably accessible. The TTC is at least clear about its accessibility on its website, so do please check: http://ttc.ca/TTC_Accessibility/index.jsp

Adult TTC fare is $3.25 cash. Seniors’ fare is $2.00 cash. The Student Fare is only for local high school students. Children under 12 ride for free. A Day Pass is $12.00, and is worth it if you are making more than two trips somewhere, or for the convenience of not having to worry about the fare. A Weekly Pass is $42.25. Passes can be bought at subway station collection booths.

Fares can be paid in cash at subway stations and when boarding the streetcar at the front door. The TTC has recently shifted to a Proof-of-Payment fare system so streetcars can be boarded at any door along the car as long as the rider has a proof of payment, i.e., a transfer, or a pass. You can pick up a transfer (they are free) from any bus or streetcar driver, or from machines just inside all the subway stations. Transfers can be used for a continuous one-way trip (changing between any combination of bus, streetcar, and subway) without any time limit. Transfers are not required to change between subway lines, but are needed when transferring from the subway to the streetcar and vice-versa. It is a good habit to pick up a transfer every time, especially if you are not exactly sure where you’re headed. 

Fares can also be purchased at machines, which are at some streetcar and bus stops. Frustratingly, the TTC is in the midst of automating its fare-payment system to a card system (PRESTO), and some stations, bus stops, streetcars and buses are outfitted with automated machines while many are not.  The simplest thing to do is pay by cash or to purchase a number of tokens at a subway station collection booth (which reduces the individual ride fare to $3.00).

The TTC website has reliable, up-to-date information but you may want to use an app for the best real-time information about streetcar arrival (very useful in January weather!). Transit Now Toronto is the most beloved local app, but is for Android only. Moovit and Transit App are very good runners-up and available for Android and iOS.

Getting around Underground (the PATH system)

Speaking of January weather, you will be glad to know that the conference hotel is connected to Toronto’s underground pedestrian walkway, the PATH. The PATH connects most major downtown buildings in the Financial District (more than 50!) to its colour-coded system of walkways (totaling 39 km!).  The PATH also connects to major hotels, to some major attractions (CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Roy Thomson Hall, Air Canada Centre) and to downtown subway stops including Union Station. It is also an enormous mall with more than 1200 shops. You will never have to come above ground again!

The PATH is famously labyrinthine and does not follow the grid pattern of the surface streets.   Colour-coded arrows indicate which direction you’re headed (N = Blue; E = Yellow; S = Red; W= Orange).  Fortunately, in September 2016, new and simplified maps of the system were posted after a survey found that 81% of PATH users considered the old signage to be somewhere between perplexing and useless.  New and improved maps can be found along with other useful information on the PATH’s BIA website: http://torontopath.com or through the City of Toronto’s site (toronto.ca).

More good news about the PATH is that one of Toronto’s best coffee shops, the Sam James Coffee Bar, has an underground PATH location at St. Andrew Stn. (University Ave. and King St.). And here is a list of the public art found in and around the PATH: http://torontofinancialdistrict.com/art

If you like mazes and staying warm, you will enjoy using the PATH.

Self-Guided Walking Tours

Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods many of which are best explored by walking.  A few walking tours within easy distance of the hotel are suggested below:

Chinatown/Kensington Market. 

From the hotel, head north on University Avenue, then west on Dundas St to Spadina Ave, the major intersection of Chinatown (1.5 km from hotel).  Kensington Market, Toronto’s most eclectic, lively, and delicious neighbourhood lies just to the west of Chinatown and is bordered by College St. to the north, Bathurst St. to the west, Dundas to the south, and Spadina on the east.  Spadina Ave. south from College St. is also Toronto’s historic Garment District, a.k.a., the Fashion District.

Queen St. West to West Queen St. West.

Queen St. has long been Toronto’s coolest street. Heading due west from the hotel on Queen past Spadina, you’ll find boutiques, vintage shops, funky bars, and cafés. When chains like the GAP moved into this area in the ‘90s, the cool moved further west.  Beyond Bathurst St, West Queen West, there are even artsier boutiques, funkier bars and cafés, art galleries, odd little shops, and more, all the way to Dufferin St (3.5 km from the hotel).  Along this stretch are two arts & culture hotspots: the Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel.  

Harbourfront

Toronto’s lakefront can be reached by walking 1.5 km due south from the hotel on York St. (some of this trip can be done underground in the PATH). There is greenspace and a boardwalk along the lake with pretty views of the city skyline and of the island, and a couple of pubs with waterfront windows. The Harbourfront Centre building is an arts & culture hub and, if the spirit moves you, you can have a skate on the Natrel Pond, a beautiful rink right on the shore (skate rental 8$).

Distillery District

A 25-minute streetcar ride eastward on Queen St (#501) brings you to the Distillery District, an area of Victorian-era industrial buildings that has recently been restored as a pedestrian zone with shops, art galleries, pubs, and cafés (http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com). It’s quite picturesque and lovely to wander around in. 

Shopping at the Toronto meeting of the SCS/AIA.

First, what some of you will really want to know: bottled liquor can only be purchased at outlets operated by a crown corporation, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). A number of LCBOs are convenient to the conference hotel. The closest is two blocks directly south in First Canadian Place at 100 King Street West. Apart from at a tiny handful of grocery stores (none convenient to the conference hotel), beer and wine can likewise only be purchased at LCBOs or (for beer only) at depressing outlets operated by The Beer Store (the only one even remotely convenient to the hotel is at Yonge and Dundas). Prostitution is still illegal, as are most Schedule I narcotics, but marijuana is largely decriminalized and can easily be procured at the medical and recreational dispensaries that have proliferated across the city (there is one less than 100 meters distance from the conference hotel and there are close to a dozen on Queen Street West).

The conference hotel is also convenient to a wide variety of other shopping experiences.  A stroll due west of the hotel on Queen Street West will bring you to Chinatown, which stretches north from Queen Street up Spadina Avenue (and a few blocks east and west off Spadina along Dundas Street West). Chinatown is the place to purchase affordable souvenirs as well as a live black-banded sea urchin, lungfish or baby turtle (not recommended as souvenirs if traveling internationally). Just west of Spadina between Dundas and College streets is Kensington Market. This lively neighborhood has managed to resist wholesale gentrification and retains much of its diverse, eclectic, bohemian character. Its fiercely independent retailers, clustered primarily on Augusta and Kensington avenues, include all kinds of meat, fish, vegetable, cheese and dry goods shops, vintage stores, clothing and other specialty stores, as well as cafés, restaurants and watering holes.  An informative community website is maintained here: www.kensington-market.ca/

Continuing west across Spadina Avenue on Queen Street West offers more than two kilometers of bars, shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. After Bathurst the chain retailers give way to a more varied range of largely independent shops including interior design stores, clothing boutiques and small galleries. This vibrant neighborhood, which continues as far as Gladstone Avenue, is known as West Queen West and more information about it can be found here: http://westqueenwest.ca/

You can also leave Queen Street West before reaching Gladstone and head north on Ossington Avenue, which between Queen Street and Dundas Street offers perhaps the city’s trendiest mix of bars, restaurants, boutiques and vintage and consignment shops. The growth of that stretch of Ossington has attracted many hip retailers, bars and restaurants to the adjacent stretch of Dundas Street West. This rapidly transforming neighborhood is called Ossington Village and an informative blog is maintained here: http://ossingtonvillage.com/ 

In January the Queen and Dundas streetcars provide a warm and convenient means of returning to the conference hotel from West Queen West, Ossington Village or Kensington Market.

Other shopping options abound. Just a few blocks south and east from the conference hotel is St. Lawrence Market South in the Old Town district. This indoor market on the south side of Front Street regularly features in stories about the world’s best public markets. The current structure was built in 1902 but its construction incorporated the old Toronto City Hall (and a jail) built in 1845 (look for its outline in the facade). The market is now home to more than fifty vegetable, fruit, meat and cheese vendors on the main floor and a wide range of additional shops on the floor below. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday. More information can be found here: http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/

If high end shopping is more to your taste (and budget) the place to go is Yorkville. To get there you can either walk or take transit north to the intersection of Bloor Street and Avenue Road. The Royal Ontario Museum is on the southwest corner but note too across the street to the east the lovely neoclassical building that is home to the University of Toronto’s Department of Classics. The stretch of Bloor from Avenue to Yonge Street is known as the Mink Mile. These blocks feature some of the most expensive retail space in North America. To the north of Bloor, parallel to the Mink Mile, are Yorkville Avenue and Cumberland Streets. On these streets and adjacent alleyways and courtyards can be found scores of luxury boutiques and art dealers, galleries and antique shops. The bars, restaurants and cafés in this neighborhood are also the best place to shop for non-academic celebrity sightings. More information about the neighborhood can be found here: http://bloor-yorkville.com/

If your shopping tastes are more conventional, and especially if you privilege staying out of the cold, there is a large mall, the Eaton Centre, located just a few minutes east of the conference hotel on the west side of Yonge Street, immediately north of Queen Street. And for those interested in combining climate-controlled shopping with the pleasures of getting hopelessly lost, the PATH system can be accessed directly from the conference hotel. This underground walkway is lined with over 1,200 cafés, restaurants and retail stores along its nearly 30-kilometer length, making it the largest subterranean shopping concourse in the world.

Given the size and vibrancy of Toronto, it should be no surprise that these options really just begin to scratch the surface of what kinds of goods are available in what kinds of settings. For more information about shopping in Toronto, see http://www.seetorontonow.com/shopping/

Recommended Bookstores

For scholarly books:

Bob Miller Bookstore (180 Bloor St. West near Avenue Road)

http://www.bobmillerbookroom.com/

University of Toronto Bookstore (College St. at St. George St.)

http://uoftbookstore.com/

For general interest books:

Ben McNally Books (366 Bay St. near Richmond St.)

http://benmcnallybooks.com/

Indigo Books in the Toronto Eaton Centre (Yonge St. between Dundas St. West and Queen St.) and/or Books in the Manulife Centre (Bloor St. at Bay St.)

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/storelocator/

BMV Books (10 Edward St., near Yonge St. north of Dundas St. West)

http://www.bmvbooks.com/locations/10-edward-st-store/

Places of Historical Interest (all near the Sheraton Centre):

Fort York Fort York National Historic Site

Canada's largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings and the site of a critical battle in the War of 1812, in the heart of downtown Toronto.

250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto (3 km SW of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, easiest to take a taxi).

Fort York houses Canada’s largest collection of original War of 1812 buildings and 1813 battle site. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Fort York is open year-round and offers tours, exhibits, period settings, and seasonal demonstrations.  Open: Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; weekends: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission: $7.96 (adults); $4.87 (seniors, 65+ and youths aged 13 to 18), $3.76 (children aged 6 to 12), free for children 5 and under.  Website: http://www.fortyork.ca/

The Distillery District (short street-car ride from the Sheraton Centre), the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America, is now a pedestrian-only neighbourhood dedicated to promoting arts, culture and entertainment, with an array of shops, galleries, restaurants, and a theatre. Website: http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/

Queen’s Park

A five-minute subway ride north of the conference is Queen’s Park, the site of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the eastern centre of the University of Toronto. While the southern section of the park houses the Legislative Assembly, a building designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and open to visitors (drop by the info desk in the lobby if you’re interested in a tour), the northern section is part of the University of Toronto and borders many of the prettiest parts of campus: St Michael’s College and Victoria College to the northeast, Hart House to the west. Though not immediately bordering the park, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Gardiner Museum are also just a block north (as is the neo-classical Lillian Massey Building, home of UofT’s Classics department!). But, full of trees, statues, and criss-crossing paths, Queen’s Park is itself a pleasant place to visit and take a stroll.

Architecture of Interest (all near the Sheraton Centre):

The CN Tower:

At 553.33 meters (1,815 ft., 5”) in height, the CN Tower dominates the Toronto skyline.  View from the Skypod or venture onto the famous glass floor, which provides a view 342 m (1,122 ft) straight down!

http://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/home.html?ref=MainBarEN

Art Gallery of Ontario (re-designed by Toronto-born Frank Gehry, see infra)

317 Dundas Street West (1 km W. of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 1 stop north on the TTC Subway, Line 1, from Osgoode to St. Patrick station and then a 5 minute walk west along Dundas)

Along with the National Gallery in Ottawa and Montréal’s Musée des Beaux Arts / Fine Arts Museum, the AGO boasts the finest collection of old masters and Canadian art in Canada. The AGO was transformed in 2008 by Canadian-born architect Frank Gehry’s stunning new additions in local wood and glass, including a new façade on Dundas Street and new entrance and breathtaking spiral stairway within. Special exhibitions open in early January include “Mystical Landscapes: Monet, Van Gogh and more” (with works by Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe and James McNeill Whistler) and “Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures”, bringing together for the first time 60 examples of these breath-taking artefacts from the early 1500s the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the AGO. The Frank Restaurant inside the Gallery is well worth a visit for lunch (Tues. to Fri.) or brunch (Sat. and Sun.) or dinner (Tues. to Sat.). Opening hours:  Thursday, 10.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., Friday 10.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Admission: $19.50 (adults), $16 (seniors, 65+), $11 (full-time students with ID, youths aged 6 to 17), free for children aged 5 and under. For “Mystical Landscapes” exhibition, add $5.50 to the general admission price. Free entry on Wednesday’s nights from 6.00 to 9.00 p.m. to the permanent collection, $12.50 for “Mystical Landscapes”. Website: http://www.ago.net/

Royal Ontario Museum – see the ‘Crystal’, the innovative design of architect Daniel Libeskind:

100 Queen’s Park (2.5 km due N. of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 3 stops north on the TTC Subway, Line 1, from Osgoode to Museum station).  

Canada’s largest museum, now graced, if that is the word, on its north (Bloor St.) side with its Daniel Libeskind Crystal Pyramid, it houses an impressive collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine antiquities, plus a large collection of Middle Eastern art, South Asian art, Chinese sculpture and architecture, African, Japanese and Korean galleries, plus Canadian collections (First Nations, colonial period, as well as post-confederation Canada). It doubles up as a Natural History Museum with, for instance, an impressive dinosaur gallery in the Liebeskind crystal gallery.  Special exhibitions on display in January include: “Chihuly: From Sand, from Fire Comes Beauty”, “Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana” and “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”.  Open 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. (January 1 – 7) and 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (January 8).  Admission: $17 (adults), $15.50 (seniors, 65+), $14 (child aged 4 to 14), $15.50 (student (15 to 25), free for infants 3 and under. Website: http://www.rom.on.ca/en/visit-us

Gardiner Ceramics Museum

111 Queen's Park (just across from the Royal Ontario Museum and right next to the University of Toronto’s Department of Classics and 2.5 km due N. of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel or 3 stops north on the TTC Subway, Line 1, from Osgoode to Museum station).

Canada’s national ceramics museum houses an impressive collection of pottery, ranging from ancient American vessels, fine porcelains of Europe and Asia (especially from China and Japan), to dynamic contemporary pieces.  The special exhibition “True Nordic: How Scandinavia Influenced Design in Canada” will continue on display until Jan. 8. The museum is open Mondays to Thursday, 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Admission: $15 (adults), $11 (seniors, 65+); $9 (students); free for those aged 18 and under. Half-price admission, Fridays, 4.00 to 9.00 p.m. The Gardiner bistro is open Mondays to Fridays and on Sundays from 11.00 to 3.00 p.m., though unfortunately closed on Saturdays. Website: http://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca/

Bata Shoe Museum

327 Bloor Street West (at the southwest corner of Bloor Street West and St. George, 3 km N of the Sheraton Centre Toronto or 4 stops north on the TTC Subway, Line 1, from Osgoode to St. George station).

Fascinating collection of footwear of all types in the permanent gallery “All About Shoes” ranging from ancient Egyptian sandals, Roman military caligae to Chinese bound foot shoes, chestnut-crushing clogs, David Bowie’s sparkling platforms to Lady Gaga’s best. A must for any budding Imelda Marcos or Mila Mulroney, wife of former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. Special exhibitions currently on display include Art and Innovation: Traditional Arctic Footwear from the Bata Shoe Museum Collection”. Open 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 12.00 noon to 5.00 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $14 individuals, $12 seniors, $8 students with ID, $5 children aged 5-17, free for children 4 and under. Website: http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/

Textile Museum of Canada

55 Centre Avenue (600 m N. of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel).

Canada’s leading museum of textiles, with a permanent collection of over 13,000 items spanning almost 2,000 years from around the world.  A small museum but well displayed and with an eclectic collection. A special exhibition is running until 5 February 2017 on “Sheila Hicks: Material Voices”, featuring the work of one of America’s leading artists who employs textiles and fabrics in art.  The museum is open daily from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (11.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. on Wednesdays). Admission: $15 (adults), $10 (seniors, 65+), $6 (youths and students, with ID), free for children 5 and under.  (Pay what you can on Wednesdays from 5.00 to 8.00 p.m.) Website: http://www.textilemuseum.ca/home.

NOTE: A 3Pass ($20) will get you admission to the Gardiner Ceramics Museum, the Bata Shoe Museum and the Textile Museum of Canada: see website: 3pass.ca.

Toronto City Hall & Old City Hall (across the street & a block away from the Sheraton Centre)

Sharp Centre of Design, Ontario College of Art & Design

This is a striking, award-winning structure designed by UK-based architect Will Alsop.

http://www.ocadu.ca/about/sharp-centre-for-design.htm

Toronto-Dominion Centre

The last major work of acclaimed Modernist architectural pioneer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the T-D Centre marked an important shift in Toronto’s urban coming-of-age.

For the entire family

Outdoor ice-skating! Skate rentals available at both of the following venues:

1. Toronto City Hall, rink on Nathan Phillips Square (right across from the Sheraton Centre):

http://nathanphillipssquareskaterentals.com/

2. Harbourfront Centre: skate right beside Lake Ontario:

http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/venues/natrelrink/

Also for the entire family

The Hockey Hall of Fame is a fabulous family venue (really; you don’t even have to like hockey!) and close to the Sheraton Centre:            https://www.hhof.com/

Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place), 30 Yonge Street (1 km SE of the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel or 3 stops south and east on the TTC Subway, Line 1 from Osgoode to King station).

For that quintessentially Canadian experience, nothing can beat the hallowed Hockey Hall of Fame, shrine of the great white north’s national passion (even if lacrosse is actually Canada’s national game). See the famed Stanley Cup, take shots against animated versions of today’s greatest goalies or take on the famed Sidney Crosby, marvel at the largest collection of hockey memorabilia imaginable, and much, much more. Extended hours over the Christmas season (until 8 January): 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., Monday to Saturday; 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Sunday. Admission: $18; seniors (65+) $14; youths (aged 4-13) $12; free for children 3 and under. Website: https://www.hhof.com/.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is also close to the Sheraton, and has a ‘pop-up planetarium’, a special event designed for children of all ages which allows discovery of the many awe-inspiring landscapes found within our solar system and throughout the universe. The planetarium will run daily from Dec. 26, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017. Website: http://www.ago.net/

The CN Tower, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World:

http://www.cntower.ca/en-ca/home.html

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is close to the Sheraton and beside the CN Tower:

https://www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/

The Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM) is only a short subway ride from the Sheraton and has a great dinosaur exhibit, as well as extensive holdings from classical antiquity:

www.rom.on.ca/en

The Ontario Science Centre is further afield, but reachable via public transit. 

http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/

The Ontario Science Centre has a special exhibition for children (ending January 7, 016):

http://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca/WildWeather/

Further Afield

Spadina House

285 Spadina Rd (5 km N. of the Toronto Centre Sheraton Hotel or 7 stops N. on the TTC Subway, Line 1 from Osgoode to Dupont station).

Heritage home demonstrating domestic life in Toronto in the 1920s & 1930s, plus a Victorian-Edwardian garden. In January open only on Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Admission: $7.96 (adults), $5.75 (seniors, 65+ and youth aged 13 to 18), $4.87 (children aged 6 to 12), free for children 5 and under.   Website: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=919d2271635af310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Casa Loma

1 Austin Terrace (just N. of Spadina/Davenport intersection, 5 km N. of the Toronto Centre Sheraton Hotel or 7 stops N. on the TTC Subway, Line 1, from Osgoode to Dupont station).

The Casa Loma is a grand, European-style castle set in the midst of a beautiful park with gardens in the heart of Toronto. Designed in 1911 by E.J. Lennox (architect of many Toronto landmarks, including the Old City Hall near the conference hotels) for Sir Henry Pallatt – founder of the Toronto Electric Light Company, which for many years held a monopoly on street lighting in the city –, the Casa Loma has been lovingly restored in recent years and is well-worth a visit for its spectacular rooms and fine period furnishings. In addition, the castle houses the museum of the Queens Own Rifles, in which Pallatt was a major general; he was knighted for his service to this regiment. Easily accessible from the conference hotels via subway to Dupont Station on the Spadina-University Line. Self-guided multimedia tours are available in English, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean and American Sign Language. Opening hours: 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (with last admission at 4.30 p.m.). Admission: $25 (adults), $20 (seniors, 60+and youths aged 14 to 17), $15 (children aged 4 to 13), free for children 3 and under.

Aga Khan Museum

77 Wynford Drive (north of Eglinton Ave E off Don Mills Rd)

The Aga Khan Museum offers visitors a window into the artistic, intellectual, and scientific heritage of Muslim civilizations across the centuries from the Iberian Peninsula to China. Its mission is to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the contribution that Muslim civilizations have made to world heritage. Through education, research, and collaboration, the Museum fosters dialogue and promotes tolerance and mutual understanding among people. From 15 October 2016 to 26 February, 2017, the Museum features an exhibition on “Syria: A Living History”: “Few countries have captured the world’s attention like Syria has today. Stories of conflict and displacement dominate the media and define people’s awareness of the place. Syria: A Living History brings together artifacts and artworks that tell a different story—one of cultural diversity, historical continuity, resourcefulness, and resilience.”

MUSEUM HOURS

Open Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm except Wednesdays, when there are extended hours from 10 am to 8 pm.

Closed Mondays except statutory holiday Mondays.

Admission: Adult $20; Child (6–13) $10; Family package (2 adults and up to 4 youth aged 17 and under) $50. Admission to the Museum and all exhibitions is FREE each Wednesday from 4 pm to 8 pm.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a great day-trip from Toronto. About 80 miles away from the city, the legendary falls straddle the border between Canada and the US. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking up-close view of the falls simply by strolling along the Canadian shore; they can also take tours down into the bedrock beneath to see the falls from behind; it is also possible to go to the foot of the falls by boat with a Hornblower Cruise (Maid of the Mist), weather permitting. For those whose interests extend beyond the natural beauty, Niagara Falls also has attractions such as casinos. One can get to Niagara Falls from Toronto in various ways. The cheapest are the following:

1)    Take the “GO” Train from Toronto’s Union Station to Burlington, where one transfers to a GO Bus to Niagara Falls. The trip takes about 2 hours. A Day Pass for the Go Train/Bus costs CAD $37.50. In Niagara Falls one must take a taxi or city bus from the Niagara Falls Bus Terminal to the falls (or walk for ca. 50 minutes).

2)    Various bus lines also go direct. Megabus leaves roughly once an hour from the Toronto Coach Terminal at 610 Bay St. to the Niagara Falls Bus Terminal. The trip takes about 2 hours (depending on time of day and traffic). It costs CAD $32.00 round trip. Greyhound has less frequent service, but offers web fares of ca. CAD $25.00. As with the GO train/bus, one must take a taxi or city bus from the Niagara Falls Bus Terminal to the falls (or walk for ca. 50 minutes).

In addition, there are numerous companies offering guided bus (scil. van) tours, which can include lunch and entry to various on-site attractions. Just search online under “Toronto Niagara Falls Tours” to find plenty of possibilities.

Theater, music, athletics

A good source for current events is the Now Magazine, available in print for free throughout Toronto and online at https://nowtoronto.com

Toronto has a great theatre scene, though many companies do not have any plays scheduled for early January. Below is a list of places that have performances around the time of the SCS/AIA meeting:

THEATRE

Factory Theatre: Founded in 1970, the Factory Theatre is committed to bringing new Canadian voices to the stage. It will be hosting the Next Stage Festival (http://fringetoronto.com/next-stage-festival/) from January 4-15, 2017

Address: 125 Bathurst Street (best reached by streetcar on King or Queen)

Website: https://www.factorytheatre.ca

Tarragon Theatre: Canada’s home for groundbreaking contemporary plays. Showing “Infinity” by Hannah Moscovitch from 04-29 January, 2017.

Address: 30 Bridgman Avenue (close to Dupont Subway Station)

Website: http://www.tarragontheatre.com

The Second City: Improvisational Theatre; will be showing “Superdude and Doctor Rude” in early January.

Address: 51 Mercer Street (close to St Andrew subway)

Website: http://www.secondcity.com/shows/toronto/venue/toronto-mainstage/

MUSICALS AND OTHER SHOWS

Ed Mirvish Theatre: Beautiful historical theatre venue, opened in 1920, currently playing “Matilda – The Musical” until 07 January, 2017.

Address: 244 Victoria Street (close to Yonge/Dundas)

Website: http://www.mirvish.com

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres: stacked Edwardian theatres. The Elgin will be showing “Sleeping Beauty, the Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical” from November 25, 2016 – January 07, 2017.

Address: 189 Yonge Street (close to Queen subway station)

Website: http://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/EWG/Home.aspx

Princess of Wales Theatre: Modern 2000-seat theatre, will be showing Broadway’s “The Illusionists” from December 13, 2016 to January 07, 2017.

Address: 300 King Street West (close to St Andrew subway station)

Website: http://www.mirvish.com

Royal Alexandra Theatre: Historical, beaux-arts-style theater, opened in 1907, will be showing a new musical, “Come From Away”, before its Broadway run, from November 15, 2016 – January 8, 2017.

Address: 260 King Street West (close to St Andrew subway station)

Website: http://www.mirvish.com

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Music Toronto: Presents traditional and contemporary chamber music concerts and recitals; there will be a piano concert (Sean Chen) on January 10, 2017.

Address: St Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East

Website: http://music-toronto.com/index.html

Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO): https://www.tso.ca. No concerts in early January, but starting on January 11, 2017 there will be a Mozart Festival (“Magnificent Mozart) with six performances at Koerner Hall (273 Bloor Street West).

OPERA

Neither the Canadian Opera Company (http://www.coc.ca) nor Opera Atelier, Toronto’s Baroque opera company (http://operaatelier.com), has any performances in early January. The COC will show Mozart’s Magic Flute, starting January 19, 2017.

LIVE MUSIC VENUES

Cameron House: Bar with ceiling murals and live music every night

Address: 408 Queen Street West                    Website: http://www.thecameron.com

Dakota Tavern: Country Music Venue

Address: 249 Ossington Avenue                    Website: http://thedakotatavern.com

Drake Underground: Hosts live bands, DJ dance parties, film screenings, comedy shows, poetry slams.

Address: The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen Street West

Website: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/dining/venues/underground/

Horseshoe Tavern: Bar and Live Music Venue

Address: 370 Queen Street West (Queen/Spadina)    Website: http://www.horseshoetavern.com

Lee’s Palace: Rock Concert Hall

Address: 529 Bloor Street West (close to Bathurst subway station)

Website: http://www.leespalace.com

The Rex: Jazz and Blues Bar

Address: 194 Queen Street West                    Website: http://www.therex.ca

ATHLETICS

Ice Hockey:

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montréal Canadiens: January 07, 2017 at the Air Canada Centre (40 Bay Street); website: http://www.theaircanadacentre.com

Eating around the Hotel – Breakfast and Lunch Places

Breakfast options abound. While there are, of course, many cheap and quick chain restaurants close by (including the ubiquitous Tim Hortons, a kind of Canadian Dunkin’ Donuts), there are a number of other breakfast joints within 10-15 minutes of the Sheraton that are more deserving of your attention.

Two hip newish restaurants are very close: The Gabardine has a small but delicious breakfast menu (372 Bay Street,  http://www.thegabardine.com), and the Argentinian-inspired food at Leña Restaurante, while being a bit more expensive, is worth checking out (176 Yonge Street, lenarestaurante.com). Both of these restaurants also have lunch and dinner menus.

When it comes to diners that serve all three of a day’s meals, The Senator (249 Victoria Street, http://thesenator.com/history) and Fran’s Restaurant (200 Victoria Street, http://www.fransrestaurant.com) are both Toronto institutions only a short walk away. The former claims to be the oldest operating restaurant in the city, while famed pianist Glenn Gould used to frequent the latter (or, at least, he was a regular at the original location up on St. Clair West). Less venerable but no less tasty is the tiny George Street Diner, where the Irish soda bread is recommended (129 George Street, http://thegeorgestreetdiner.blogspot.ca). 

For a healthier option (albeit a quirky one), there’s Karine’s, which serves up vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free breakfast food (109 McCaul Street Unit 32, http://stage.karines.ca). N.B.: Karine’s is located within a food court in the Village by the Grange building, so the atmosphere is a bit strange but quite warm, nonetheless.

If you’re willing to take a streetcar ride for your morning meal, two of Toronto’s best breakfast joints are minutes away. Belgian style comfort food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) can be had at Le Petit Déjeuner (191 King Street East, http://www.petitdejeuner.ca), and a little ways eastward down Queen is Figs, a plant and flower filled operation that also serves lunch (344 Queen Street East http://www.figsbreakfastlunch.com/).

But if a small breakfast, decent coffee, and a break from the conference are all you’re after, there are a number of good cafes close by: Dineen Coffee Co. is at Yonge and Temperance (140 Yonge Street); Orange Alert Coffee is up on Dundas, kitty-corner to the Art Gallery of Ontario (298 Dundas Street); Balzac’s (122 Bond Street) is on a pleasant pedestrian street in the middle of Ryerson University’s campus; and Sam James Coffee Bar, mentioned elsewhere in this brochure (but worthy of being mentioned twice) has a location underground in the PATH (150 King Street West). 

Eating around the Hotel – Lunch and Dinner Places

Ja Bistro ($$$$, high-end sushi, dinner only, http://www.jabistro.com/menu/)

George ($$$$, tasting menus and small plates, lunch and dinner, http://georgeonqueen.ca/)

Canoe ($$$$, upscale contemporary Canadian, lunch and dinner, http://www.canoerestaurant.com/)

Momofuku ($$-$$$$, five Momofukus in one building, lunch and dinner, https://momofuku.com/our-restaurants/by-location/)

Buca ($$$, innovative Italian, dinner only, http://www.buca.ca/king.html)

Lai Wah Heen ($$$, upscale Chinese, lunch and dinner, http://laiwahheen.com/)

Richmond Station ($$$, contemporary European/North American, lunch and dinner, http://richmondstation.ca/)

Estiatorio Volos ($$$, upscale contemporary Greek, lunch and dinner, https://volos.ca/)

La Bettola di Terroni ($$$, southern Italian, lunch and dinner, http://www.terroni.com/terroni-toronto/la-bettola-di-terroni/)

Byblos ($$, Eastern Mediterranean, dinner only, http://byblostoronto.com/)

259 Host ($$, upscale Indian, lunch and dinner, www.259host.com/)

Trattoria Mercatto ($$, Italian staples, lunch and dinner, http://trattoria.mercatto.ca/)

Real Mo-Mo’s ($$, contemporary cosmopolitan, lunch and dinner, http://realmomos.com/)

People’s Eatery ($$, eclectic small plates, lunch and dinner, http://www.peopleseatery.com/menu/)

Bannock ($$, Canadian comfort food, lunch, dinner, takeout, http://www.bannockrestaurant.com/)

Rol San ($, Chinatown dim sum, lunch and dinner)

Pai ($, popular Thai, http://www.paitoronto.com/#main)

Campechano Taqueria ($, tasty tacos, lunch and dinner, http://www.campechano.ca/)

416 Snack Bar ($, hipster small plates, lunch [Fri-Sun] and dinner, http://www.416snackbar.com/#eat-together)

Kensington Market ($-$$, colourful market with many and diverse yummy snack and sandwich places, food counters, and restaurants, http://www.kensington-market.ca/Default.asp?id=restaurants-bars&l=1

Local Arrangements Committee

Peter Bing (University of Toronto), Sarah Blake (York University), Sean Corner (McMaster University), Jonathan Edmondson (York University), Michele George (McMaster University), Regina Höschele (University of Toronto), Alison Keith (University of Toronto), Eph Lytle (University of Toronto), Maggie Rogow (Toronto District School Board), Phil Snyder (TDSB)

With special thanks to Jesse Hill (University of Toronto)

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