“Postponed!” “Cancelled!” “Regrettably, not this year… Check back.”
Ontario is currently managing the beginning of Stage 3 reopening, but cultural events and venues that normally attract crowds of 100s or 1,000s are, understandably, off limits. We’re still getting used to the sidewalk sidestep, the new polite, never mind squeezing bodies into tents, theatres or stadiums.
The arts community has been hit hard, economically, by our need to keep a physical distance from one another. The great joy of festivals and concerts is that feeling of community, of being in the same space at the same time and experiencing the same range of emotions with so many others. But the decision to go online, where possible, seemed the only reasonable alternative for many arts organizations. While we’ll miss that en masse joie de vivre, we can organize our own watch parties through online platforms, or watch at home, or in the backyard, with family and friends in our ‘safe circles.’ Who likes anyone sitting too close to their popcorn, anyway?
The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) re-opened July 9th. All staff and guests are required to wear masks and respect physical distancing.
Shakespeare on demand! The Stratford Festival, going strong since 1953, is North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company. They provide livestream and on-demand plays for us this summer:
Major art galleries and museums around the world are in contact with each other about the safest and best ways to re-open their exhibits to the public. To date, many remain closed to in-person visitors, but their creative staff have thought of ways to keep patrons and guests engaged. The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), re-opened July 9th. Please check their site for COVID-19 protocols (for example, all staff and guests are
required to wear masks and respect physical distancing).
And did you know that the ROM has more than 48,000 objects to view free, online? The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) opened July 23, but their staff uploaded about 40 AGO At Home YouTube videos since early April, 2020. The University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, the largest collection of rare books in Canada, has made some of their rare book images available,
free, to download and colour. The place that normally welcomes in-person guests into its hushed, academic space (although many of their items are look-don’t-touch, understandably), has also created a page on Jigsaw Planet.
This summer, Hot Docs ’ May to June festival presented more than 140 online selections.
This year, the 41st annual Toronto International Festival of Authors are hard at work planning their fall edition, inventing scenarios to bring people together in “safe and exciting new ways.” These will include digital live streaming, interactive media and creative new partnerships. Stay tuned!
The red-carpet hot TIFF is on for the fall! They promise a full slate of film premieres with “physical, socially distanced screenings.” There will also be drive-ins and other outdoor opportunities to experience the magic of this star-studded, internationally renowned film festival. According to their website, “TIFF is working closely with the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, and public health officials on the
safe execution of the Festival, with its number-one priority being the health and well-being of both Festival filmgoers and the residents of the entire community.”
You won’t be squeezing past any knees this August and September, as cinemas remain closed, but check out the list of movies Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema provides, online (we know you’re not necessarily proud of all your Amazon Prime watch &ldquoions” by now). Hot Docs May to June festival this year presented more than 140 online selections, pre-recorded Q&As and virtual live events.
Speaking of movies… there is still one way you can safely watch a movie with a group of people: the drive-in. Ontario is home to 16 working drive-ins, almost half of all those in the country. If your local drive-in is open this summer and fall, they have protocols in place to ensure movie watchers can relax and enjoy the shows. Please check their websites and understand their measures before heading out.