A wealth of activities for kids of all ages
By Heather Kelly
February is a month of celebrating love and making time with family members.
Valentine’s Day really is Valentine’s “week” in the Annex. For a special Valentine’s Day date night on Feb. 14, plan a fun dinner and enjoy a film, concert, or exhibition on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor. The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is screening its True Crime Tuesdays film Capturing the Friedmans at 6 p.m. and a special screening of Harold and Maude, the quirky and romantic cult classic comedy featuring all of your favourite Cat Stevens tunes, at 9 p.m.
Another idea is to visit the Royal Ontario Museum in February for Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a showcase of 100 striking landscape and biodiversity images from the world’s most prestigious nature photography competition. Only a few tickets are left to see the unmistakably joyous and uplifting South African a cappella vocal ensemble, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, at Koerner Hall on Feb. 14. The Royal Conservatory of Music is offering an add-on post-concert soirée with chocolates and cocktails to top off the night. On your way out for the evening, stop at Alliance Française to see the Encounters with the Sublime featuring images by photographers Sebastião Salgado and Bradford Washburn on view from Feb. 8 to March 4.
If you’d like to share the sentiment with a special person on another night that week, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, a.k.a. “the J”, with timeless love songs in The Kings of Swing: A Valentine’s Day Concert on Feb. 16. The J is also presenting a new take on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in Ahuri Theatre’s What Dream It Was installation in the Al Green Theatre Feb. 16 to 19.
The University of Toronto Faculty of Music is presenting the Cecilia String Quartet and tenor Lawrence Wiliford at Walter Hall on Feb. 13 with a program of Mozart, Rubbra, and Schubert, and on Feb. 16 the Musicians from Marlboro will perform Thomas Adès’s Arcadiana, Brahms’s String Quintet in G Major, and piano trios by Haydn and Fauré. On Feb. 16, the Gardiner Museum will unveil the special exhibition, Janet Macpherson: A Canadian Bestiary, where hybrid animal creatures stand in for the complexity of human experiences. The exhibition, which the Gardiner commissioned to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial, both celebrates and questions notions of Canadian identity.
Family Day is Feb. 20, and there is an abundance of arts and culture activities to enjoy with family members of all ages throughout the long weekend.
On Family Day Monday, the Bata Shoe Museum will be a winter wonderland with arts and crafts, ISpy games, shoes to try on, and a special screening of the children’s movie The Snow Queen. The Gardiner will present special programming inspired by A Canadian Bestiary, where visitors can explore the new exhibition featuring Janet Macpherson’s curious hybrid animals and create creatures out of clay, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is screening Strike a Pose at 1:45 p.m., about the group of Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour dancers and their impact on LGBTQ culture. The ROM’s Family Fun Day Weekend features Asafo flag maker from Ghana, Baba Isaaka, leading Asafo Flag workshops, and a performance by the School of Atelier Ballet in a Dance Through Time on Feb. 20.
The Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre is also planning Family Day festivities for all ages from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 20.
If you are looking for family activities throughout the rest of the weekend, visit the Japan Foundation’s gallery 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 to see the exhibition Legendary Loyalty: The 47 Ronin in Japanese Prints. The Bata Shoe Museum offers hands-on activities for kids in the galleries every Saturday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema will be showing the hilarious exposé My Scientology Movie and Kedi, a film that explores the lives of seven Istanbul street cats (in Turkish, with English subtitles) with multiple screenings throughout the weekend.
Heather Kelly is the founder and director of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, one of the city’s leading cultural districts.
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