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ARTS: Exceptional gifts (Dec. 2017)

December 15th, 2017 · No Comments

Arts, culture, film, and music

COURTESY BLOOR STREET CULTURE CORRIDOR Tickets for a Calypso Rose and Kobo Town show at the Royal Conservatory of Music make a great gift.

By Heather Kelly

Beautiful things and special experiences are wonderful gifts. For those of you still doing your holiday shopping, a small suggestion: start local. In addition to the great retail stores along Bloor Street West, there are hundreds of gift ideas right here at our local culture organizations.

Did you know that there are gift shops at the Native Canadian Centre, Bata Shoe Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum? And book shops at A Different Booklist Cultural Centre, Alliance Française, and the Toronto Reference Library? There will also be a Holiday Pop-Up Market at A Different Booklist on December 16. Here are a few more ideas.

Surprise your loved ones with a subscription to the Toronto Jewish Film Society’s 40th season. The Miles Nadal JCC presents outstanding film events, each with a notable guest speaker and a discussion, at its Al Green Theatre. The series includes feature films and documentaries from Germany, Israel, the U.S., the U.K., and France, on eight Sundays in 2018.

There’s nothing like sharing an inspiring evening of music. Concert tickets are easy to purchase online or in person. The Royal Conservatory is offering more than 30 classical, jazz, and world music performances at Koerner Hall in the new year, with artists like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Angelique Kidjo, Calypso Rose, and classical pianist Beatrice Rana.

You can give tickets to Tafelmusik performances being presented in the new year: Safe Haven, a new program from Alison Mackay that is directed by Elisa Citterio, Handel Alexander’s Feast, J.S. Bach: The Circle of Creation, Bach B-Minor Mass, and others.

This year the Toronto Consort marks their 45th anniversary concert season, and tickets are available for their multi-media concert based on illuminated manuscripts called Illuminations, or Quicksilver presents Fantasticus with music from 17th century Germany, or their season finale in May, Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Alliance Française presents classical, jazz, and world music at its Spadina Theatre. Tickets to concerts like Africa Without Borders or From Rome to Venice: Sonata by Corelli, Veracini, and Tartini are a lovely gift idea.

Memberships to arts organizations are great gifts that usually come in individual, student, and family options. The ROM, Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum, and the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema all offer membership options. Memberships provide free or discounted access to exhibitions, screenings, and events, and special perks like invitations to exclusive members’ events, for a year.

You can get Hot Docs 2018 passes or ticket packages of 6, 10, or 20 tickets for someone on your list — or treat yourself. The 25th anniversary Hot Docs festival will take place April 26 to May 6. New this year is that package holders get to select their films before single tickets go on sale. Passes and packages are on sale with special holiday season prices in effect until January 3.

Arts or music classes are fantastic for people who want to get out, learn a new skill, and get creative. No experience or special knowledge is required for beginner instrument lessons at the Royal Conservatory.

The Royal Conservatory School also offers music appreciation classes like “Comedy in Mozart,” “Beethoven Symphonies,” and “Double Agents: Musician Spies,” for anyone curious to learn more about music.

The Miles Nadal JCC also offers talks on music, including “Hollywood’s Oscar-Winning Songs” in January, and “Exotic Operas from Around the World” in March.

And Tafelmusik’s Listening Club delves into baroque music with Radio host and musicologist Dr. Hannah French and violinist Christopher Verrette.

For those who want to get hands-on, the Native Canadian Centre offers beading classes, and the Gardiner Museum’s Clay Classes include wheel throwing, hand building, tableware, and more.

Of course, learning a new language is on many people’s to-do lists, and in this neighbourhood there are French language classes at Alliance Française, Italian classes at the Istituto Italiano, Japanese at the Japan Foundation, Mohawk and Oneida at the Native Canadian Centre, and Hebrew, Yiddish, and Sign Language available at the Miles Nadal JCC.

Don’t forget gift certificates! When you can’t decide what to get for someone, gift certificates are a great option. Most of the local arts and culture organizations offer gift certificates for performance tickets or at the gift shops.

All of these arts and culture events are part of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, a collaboration of 19 arts and culture organizations located on Bloor St. West.

Heather Kelly is the founder and director of the Bloor St. Culture Corridor, one of the city’s leading cultural districts.

Tags: Annex · Arts