“Toronto is what many Amer­i­can cities wish they could be”

Business Traveler (USA) - - TRAVEL AMERICAS -

Even if you’ve lived here all your life, there’s al­ways some­thing to learn about Toronto’s cul­tural land­marks. Like the fact that af­ter the Sec­ond City’s fi­nal per­for­mance ev­ery Satur­day, you can watch the cast re­hearse fu­ture shows. Or that the walls and ceil­ings of the Princess of Wales Theatre fea­ture the world’s largest collection of mu­ral art by US ab­stract ex­pres­sion­ist Frank Stella. They’re worth a peek at any hour.

At Bloor Street, there are two ma­jor at­trac­tions – the Bata Shoe Mu­seum, ex­hibit­ing in­ter­na­tional footwear, and the Royal On­tario Mu­seum. This courted con­tro­versy in 2007 with its Michael LeeChin Crys­tal ad­di­tion, a vi­sion of jagged alu­minum and glass by Daniel Libe­skind that burst through the orig­i­nal struc­ture. Not ev­ery­one warmed to it, but I find Libe­skind’s ar­chi­tec­ture as en­gag­ing as the mu­seum’s col­lec­tions, which are rem­i­nis­cent of those in the Bri­tish Mu­seum.

Mid­way be­tween the Light­box and the mu­seum is the Art Gallery of On­tario, which has its own “star­chi­tect” ad­di­tion. Frank Gehry, cre­ator of Bil­bao’s Guggen­heim and Seat­tle’s EMP Mu­seum, grew up on Beverly Street, close to the gallery, where he took art classes in the 1930s. In 2008, he de­liv­ered an un­du­lat­ing se­ries of gallery spa­ces pulled to­gether by a main spi­ral stair­case in blond wood.

Some of the classes Gehry at­tended were taught by Lawren Har­ris. One of Canada’s Group of Seven, a de­pres­sion-era col­lec­tive of iconic land­scape painters, his works are well rep­re­sented in the gallery’s Cana­dian Collection.You could eas­ily spend an af­ter­noon here, but it’s gor­geous out­side, so I stroll to the wa­ter­front.

Get Up and Get Out

Toronto has 20,000 acres of park­land, beaches, bi­cy­cle and hik­ing trails, and rivers that bend and twist to­wards Lake On­tario. It’s an ex­pan­sive, nat­u­ral-feel­ing city, a re­al­iza­tion that hits as you reach the wa­ter’s edge. This is the small­est of the five Great Lakes that form a fresh­wa­ter boundary be­tween Canada and the east­ern US, though at over 7,700 square miles, it’s just a lit­tle smaller than the state of New Jersey.

At Queen’s Quay Ter­mi­nal – a re­fur­bished port build­ing hous­ing craft stalls, bou­tiques and art space – I pause at the Mu­seum of Inuit Art to browse an­tique carvings and sculp­tures. On a day like this, from the top of the CN Tower, you can some­times make out the fuzzy out­line of Buf­falo, NY, in the dis­tance. But my view through the gallery’s sun­lit win­dow is of seem­ingly end­less wa­ter, and wide-open pos­si­bil­ity. BT

Above: Yonge-Dun­das Square Left: Toronto’s Film Fes­ti­val Com­plex, Nathan Phillips Square

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.