Toronto is home to a wide range of artists, with expertise in fields ranging from visual art, to street art, dance, theatre, film and more. With such a vast amount of talent there are projects always on the go that reflect the diversity and hustle and bustle of the city. For creators, Toronto and all of its diversity is full of inspiration. This guide will lead you to the best entertainment for your visit to Toronto, to ensure that you catch all of the art and entertainment from the best of the best of Toronto’s arts culture!
Joel “French” Desbois is a Toronto-based musician and visual artist, who predominantly works with fountain pen and ink. He is self taught, and through his career has created artwork and show posters for a number of Canadian and International acts and has been displayed at a variety of gallery showings. His artwork often has humorous undercurrents, as well as elements of rawness. Desbois is also musically talented, as he plays guitar in Sam Coffey And The Iron Lungs, a rock and roll band whose previous singles Talk 2 Her, Tough and First Time have graced the National Radio charts.
In 1922, the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario since 1966) held a memorial exhibit for Mary Hiester Reid. Both she and another female artist, Helen McNicoll, worked to fight the social norms of their time, which actively reinforced womens’ role of staying home and tending to their children. Due to this, opportunities for female artists were few as most women were not allowed to pursue studies of fine art. Although these two female artists may have fallen into obscurity for a period of time after their deaths, they still remain trail blazers in the female artist community, and helped to pave the way for other women artists of subsequent generations.
Viktor Mitic is a Canadian-Serbian painter and sculptor noted for his innovative use of live ammunition in his paintings and installations. Mitic’s bullet-riddled creations have sparked intense social discussion across the political spectrum, as well as in the art community at large due to the level of realism that he strives for. Mitic’s work has been seen in galleries throughout Canada and the United States, and he has published 4 books. He is also a graduate of the University of Toronto, with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
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Natasha Mumba was born in Kalulushi, Zambia and is currently based in Toronto. She graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada, and has performed in a variety of popular stage productions with organizations such as Factory Theatre, Shaw Festival, Canadian Stage, and Obsidian Theatre. Some of her shows include: Trout Stanley, Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Henry V, Dracula, Middletown, The Adventures of the Black Girl, Alice in Wonderland, School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play, and The untold story of Robin Hood. She is now starring in her role as Faith in the new show, Acts of Faith, about youth and the eternal struggle between good and evil.
Ann and David Powell, Co-Artistic Directors of Puppetmongers Theatre, have been producing puppet theatre together since Ann was given a string puppet by chance as a child, which sparked their vering passion for the artistic medium. Ann and David have crafted over a dozen original shows incorporating various styles of puppetry since founding their company in 1974. Their innovative and engaging methods have been used all over the world, and they are passionate about continuing to invent ground-breaking new concepts in puppetry. Today they continue to give back to the performing arts community, as they teach and are involved in mentorship efforts through such initiatives as the Toronto School of Puppetry, their Summer Puppetry Intensive, and the Puppetry eXploratory Laboratory.
Sonia Rodriguez has been a ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada for nearly 32 years. Ever since the beginning as a Corps de Ballet member when she was just a toddler, Sonia emerged as exceptional for both her sparkling technique and her bubbly personality on-stage and off. In addition to her innate physical talents, she has a great ability to convey drama and emotions to the audience. Today, Sonia is an acclaimed Principal dancer, having started in numerous productions at the Four Seasons Theatre in Toronto such as Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Manon, La Fille mal gardée, The Merry Widow and Marguerite and Armand.
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Keara Graves is a Toronto based actress, most famous for her roles as Leia in the Family Channel series Lost & Found Music Studios, and Max in the Netflix original series The D Cut. In addition to her thriving acting career, she starts on her own YouTube channel, where she makes motivational videos about for LGBTQ+ community, providing comfort and a sense of community for the young adults who follow her. There she keeps her arms wide open for those who need comfort, advice, or even just a friend to chat with.
Caitlin Durlak is an award-winning filmmaker, who recently directed, produced and edited a new documentary, Dropestones. The film is an intimate family portrait set on Fogo Island off the coast of Newfoundland, that follows a matriarch, Sonya, shortly after she has returned to the home she once yearned to escape. As Sonya raises her two young sons, Luke and Sean, she finds herself drawing on her island’s traditions to meet the challenges of motherhood. The dramatic story sheds light on both the hardship and fulfillment that come with calling this singular place home. Dropstones premiered at the 2021 Hot Docs Canadian International Festival on April 29, North America’s largest documentary festival.
Michael Musi plays the hilariously quirky Handy Car Rental employee, Terence on CBC’s beloved and surely to be missed, Kim’s Convenience. He was grown to be adored by the show’s fans through his entertaining antics on camera and off camera, and his genuine kindness in real life. In addition to this role, he has also written and produced three of his own plays, created and shot two web series, co-produced a SXSW feature film, and acted in an impressive list of local TV, Film, and Theatre productions. His most recent creation was released on March 26th, a CBC digital miniseries that he created with his best friend, entitled Something Undone.
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