Toronto is an exciting place to visit to matter when you decide to plan your trip, but there’s a few extra incentives in 2017 to entice you to do some travelling. From art exhibits to sporting events, Toronto is a busy place to be this year. Here are nine exciting reasons to visit Toronto in 2017.
Canada’s 150th Birthday
2017 is the year Canada turns 150 and Toronto will be hosting its share of celebratory events to take place throughout 2017, dubbed TO Canada with Love. The celebrations will include more than 30 City-produced events comprised of everything from art exhibits and cultural events, to concerts and commemorations. Many of Toronto’s annual events will also be themed around Canada’s 150th and there will be a massive four-day Canada Day celebration at Nathan Philips Square June 30 to July 3, 2017.
New Art Exhibits
There are several exciting exhibits coming to Toronto in 2017. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will be bringing two new shows to the city, starting with a Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective in summer 2017, in partnership with Tate Modern. Expect over 100 works that span the iconic artist’s career, beginning with some of her earliest works. Toronto is the only North American stop for this exhibit and it runs April 22 to July 30, 2017.
Next up, the AGO, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, will present the Canadian only Canadian appearance of Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. The unique exhibit will feature 500 objects that bring together elements of del Toro’s films as well as inspiration behind his work. Items on display will range from photos and sculptures, to costumes, paintings, prints, books and ancient artifacts. The exhibit starts on Sept. 30, 2017 and runs to Jan. 7, 2018.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) also has something unique up its sleeve for 2017. The ROM will be presenting Out of Depths: The Blue Whale Story, an original exhibition that retells the 2014 story of blue whales tragically getting trapped in the ice and dying. Two of the nine trapped whales ended up ashore in Trout River and Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador and the bones of one of them will be on display at the ROM – a massive 80-foot skeleton. The Blue Whale Story, running to September 4, offers the chance to learn more about the blue whale, including their feeding habits, how they communicate, their unique biology and conservation efforts currently underway to save the gentle giants.
A Bigger and Better Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (formerly known as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art) had been a mainstay in the West Queen West neighbourhood since 2005, but 2017 marks a big year for the museum, which will be reopening in a new home, in a whole new ‘hood. MOCA will soon occupy the first five floors of the iconic Tower Automotive building in Toronto’s Junction Triangle. The new and improved Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada should be opening its doors in the fall of 2017.
The Invictus Games and Prince Harry
The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry in 2014 and in May 2016, the younger royal announced that Toronto will host the next games, which will coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. The Games will take place in Toronto from September 23 to 30, 2017.
London, England hosted the inaugural Games in 2014 and Orlando, Florida hosted the second Games in 2016. What’s so special about the Invictus Games is that they are the only sporting event for ill, wounded and injured active duty and veteran service members, one that highlights their abilities and celebrates their service. This year’s Invictus Games are expected to have close to 600 competitors from 17 nations competing in 12 adaptive sports. Events include wheelchair basketball and rugby, archery, powerlifting, track and field events and ball hockey and golf (which are new for 2017). These are also fully integrated games, which means some of the events will include both able-bodied and disabled competitors of both genders competing together.
North American Indigenous Games
In addition to the Invictus Games, Toronto will also be hosting the 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). This marks the first time in the twenty-five-year history of the games that the NAIG will be held in a community outside of Western Canada. Events will be held in venues across the Greater Toronto Area and this year’s Games are expected to be the largest sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous Peoples in North America. Participants, aged 13 to 19, will be from all 13 provinces and territories of Canada and 13 regions from the United States. The Games take place July 16 to July 23, 2017 and competitions include baseball, basketball, canoe/kayak, soccer, lacrosse, golf, badminton and rifle shooting among others. There will be over 5000 athletes participating in 230 sporting competitions.
Festivals and Cultural Events
From music and art, to food, beer and theatres, there’s a festival in Toronto for every interest. Some of the biggest festivals in the city to look forward to in 2017 include the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the world’s largest public film festival. This year's fest runs September 7 to 17 and you can expect world premieres of star-studded movies, galas, celeb-filled red carpets and parties. Another not-to-be-missed festivals in Toronto is Luminato, a celebration of art and culture that brings together performers and creators of all kinds. The 2017 event takes place June 14 to 24, 2017 at the Hearn Generating Station. You can also add the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto’s Festival of Beer and TD Toronto Jazz Festival to your list.
Thrill-seekers rejoice – there’s a few new ways to get your adrenalin pumping in Toronto in 2017. Canada’s Wonderland will be unveiling two new rides, including Muskoka Plunge as part of Splash Works water park and a thrill ride dubbed Soaring Timbers. Muskoka Plunge is a 60-foot waterslide complex comprised of four slides wherein riders step into an enclosed launch chamber and then plummet into a free fall through S-curves and 360° loops and reach speeds of nearly 40 km/h.
Soaring Timbers will have those brave enough to ride it, spinning through the air on two rotating gondolas that swing in sweeping arcs, while at the same time rotating 360 degrees.
Summer 2017 will also see Wild Water Kingdom replaced by Wet’n’Wild. The existing facility is getting a 25-million-dollar upgrade and the new park will have a spate of new rides, pools and slides for waterpark fans of all ages.
Theatre fans always have a reason to visit Toronto, whether they prefer larger, splashier shows or more intimate or independent performances. In 2017 we’ll have some fun and exciting shows coming to the city, including Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, coming to Ed Mirvish Theatre June 27 to September 3, 2017. Toronto will also be getting a production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Princess of Wales Theatre October 10 to November 19, 2017 and Bat Out of Hell The Musical, also at Ed Mirvish Theatre, from October 14 to December 3, 2017.
2016 saw a spate of new restaurants open in Toronto making 2017 a good year to visit the city for a few good meals. Plant-based menus were well-represented courtesy of Planta, Doomie’s and Awai; we got a new spot for pizza and house-made pasta at Jonathan Poon’s Superpoint on Ossington, Hainanese eats courtesy of Craig Wong’s Jackpot Chicken Rice, French-inspired Korean cuisine at Doma, Argentinan food at Lena and seafood spot Ufficio just to name a few.