Summer in the City
Instead of doing my usual slew of summer trips, I’ve relocated to Toronto for the sunny months, captivated by…by, well, pretty much everything about this 5.8 million-strong megacity.
This vast, vibrant city shakes off its chilly winters and throws itself into summer with a fervor that has to be experienced to be believed. Sidewalks come alive with crammed patios, perfect for people watching. Walk through the city’s diverse neighborhoods and it seems there’s a festival going on round every corner, with flavors to match. It must be statistically impossible to throw a dart at the city’s summer calendar and not hit a festival.
My first weekend in Canada’s coolest city coincided with eclectic arts festival Luminato. With a staggering 138 events over 10 days, Luminato offered a dazzling introduction to Toronto’s festive character.
Friday night I scampered downtown to Yonge-Dundas Square to take in the Count Basie Orchestra, fronted by 14-year-old prodigy Nikki Yanofsky, belting out an upbeat set. Tearing myself away from this Ella-esque wunderkid, I sashayed up to upscale Yorkville and the Royal Ontario Museum to check out Luminato’s Armani Gala opening party. The city’s brightest young things were out swilling cocktails alongside dinosaurs, priceless Asian art exhibits, and a slew of TV cameras.
I spent Saturday ricocheting round the city, catching performers including quirky singer Mary Margaret O’Hara (actor Catherine O’Hara’s sister) and gay Nova Scotia rocker, Ashley MacIsaac belting out traditional numbers with a flotilla of fidders. On Saturday night The Royal Shakespeare Company’s incredible, fast-paced, multilingual production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream kept me captivated.
One weekend, so much to celebrate. Toronto is a city that doesn’t slow down.