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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Come and get it! Delishish time again

   One-Tank Trip for Jan. 23/16

   By Jim Fox

   Bon appetit!

   It’s that delicious time of the year for fine-dining aficionados wanting to try new eating places at a fixed price that’s just right.

   This is a bonanza for foodies who can try this, that and the other at culinary events across southern Ontario.
Quinn’s Steakhouse and Irish Bar at the Sheraton Centre has bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin for Winterlicious.
    These include Winterlicious in Toronto, Niagaralicious, Tastes of Oakville and Burlington, Savoury Celebrations in Cobourg and Port Hope’s Winter Meal Deals.

   So, get set to take part in this gastronomical romp and enjoy your lunch or dinner.

   Delish dishes in TO

   Diners can indulge in creative cuisine from around the world whether new, exotic or traditional at Winterlicious in Toronto.

   This extremely popular culinary celebration runs from Jan. 29 through Feb. 11.

   The “prix-fixe” promotion at more than 200 restaurants includes some special culinary events.

   Three-course, fixed-price lunch menus are $18, $23 or $28 while dinners are priced at $25, $35 and $45.

   “In its 14th year, Winterlicious continues to be Toronto’s favourite foodie event,” said Justine Palinska of the Economic Development & Culture department.

   Eleven “one-of-a-kind” culinary events, at a higher price, include a culinary journey through Canada, the art of charcuterie and curing, a savoury Azorean-style dinner, an evening inspired by the Chinese New Year and a tantalizing twist on a traditional Indian feast, she said.
Carrot cake is a popular Winterlicious dessert at the Carbon Bar.

Visit Detroit today: What's happening over the winter

Find out why Travel + Leisure and USA Today are saying you should visit Detroit this year. A major addition to the Detroit Zoo, new exhibits at our world-class museums, concerts, car shows, the return of baseball and the allure of a Detroit winter are excellent reasons to plan your next trip to The D in the coming months.

Experience some wintry pleasure at the Meridian Winter Blast or catch opening day at Comerica Park with the Detroit Tigers. Come see for yourself why you should spend some time in metro Detroit.

Detroit will soon be home to the world’s largest penguin facility, home to more than 80 penguins of four species – Gentoo, Macaroni, Rockhopper and King. Construction for the 33,000 square foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC) at the Detroit Zoo is in progress and is scheduled to open in April. The ice-cold, 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic zone where penguins can be seen exploring their habitat and deep-diving will surely be one of the most vivid features of the PPCC, and the animal habitat will ensure an optimal environment for the welfare of penguins. For more information, visit detroitzoo.org.

For more than 60 years, Lego has been nourishing the imaginations of young kids and soon kids of all ages will be able to experience the ultimate Lego experience right here in metro Detroit. The new Legoland Discovery Center will open in spring 2016 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. The new discovery center is a two-to-three-hour experience that will offer numerous interactive educational features such as a brick pool, master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder, a fun LEGO ride, a 4D cinema and, of course, the popular MINILAND area found in every LEGOLAND Park and attraction. This will be the state’s only location and the eighth Discovery Center in the United States. For more information, go to greatlakescrossingoutlets.com.

Alice Cooper returns to Casino Rama

2016 “Spend the Night” Tour date - May 21st, 2016

RAMA, ONAlice Cooper pioneered a grandly theatrical brand of hard rock that was designed to shock.

Drawing equally from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock, the group created a stage show that featured electric chairs, guillotines, fake blood and boa constrictors.

He continues to tour regularly, performing shows worldwide with the dark and horror-themed theatrics that he’s best known for.  His latest tour titled “Spend the Night” includes a performance at the award-wining Casino Rama Resort Entertainment Centre on Saturday, May 21st at 8pm.

Toronto Zoo news and events

CLICK HERE to see the latest video of the white lion cubs interacting with dad, Fintan.
Our white lion cubs continue to grow and have slowly been introduced to dad, Fintan. Every weekday, keepers are working on integrating the pride with Fintan and the cubs. Each cub is now over 30lbs and as you can see, they are still very active, playful and rambunctious!

Don't forget to visit mom, Makali, and the four cubs every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00am to 2:00pm, weather permitting.

Monkeys take over Harbourfront Centre for Lunar New Year celebrations, February 20-21, 2016

TORONTO, ON (January 25, 2016) Returning to Harbourfront Centre to celebrate the Year of the Monkey, LunarFest will welcome the Lunar New Year with an exciting and diverse weekend of events.
From February 20–21, this free family-friendly festival will feature a wide range of activities, including musical performances, craft activities and delectable Asian cuisine. Two major interactive installations will feature hundreds of life-sized monkey figurines on site to greet visitors. The entire festival will be free to attend, and food and souvenirs, including monkey figurines, will be available for purchase.

A time of celebration, the Lunar New Year is particularly special given this year’s representative animal. “2016 is the Year of the Monkey – the species closest to the human being,” says Charlie Wu, Managing Director of the Asian Canadian Special Events Association, which is partnering with Harbourfront Centre to co-produce LunarFest. “Monkeys, too, are emotional creatures who are intelligent, crafty, curious and naughty at times. Are there lessons humans can learn from monkeys?”

Heat up your February with an action-packed long weekend in Toronto

TORONTO (January 25, 2016) – February marks an exciting time in the city with a weekend full of romantic escapes, family-fun and All-Star action. From delectable menus to action-packed sporting events, this is one Toronto weekend you won’t want to miss. Lavish in sweeping views of the city at one of the Toronto’s rooftop restaurants with your loved one, enjoy a day at the zoo with the family, or compete with friends at NBA Centre Court.  Plan an action-filled long weekend in Toronto with experiences far from ordinary with the following happenings:
First Comes Love at the Toronto Zoo on February 13 and 14. This Valentine’s Program includes a romantically-inspired dinner, special animal encounter, an interactive group presentation and a tour of the reproductive labs led by the Reproductive Specialist Team.
Take part in the Love & Desire’s Valentine’s Day Workshop at The ROM on February 14. Spend your Valentine’s Day exploring cultural expressions of desire, sexuality and romantic love through the ROM’s collections. Invoke the memory of famous lovers such as Cleopatra, Hadrian, Shajahan and Yang Gui Fe in this unique adult-only workshop that includes a rare opportunity to handle artefacts.
Join Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada on February 14 for an exclusive Deep Sea Soiree in the heart of the sea! Whether you’re hooked or still fishing, this event is sure to leave you head over eels. A $50 ticket (for 19 years or older) includes general admission, light hors d’oeuvres, drink ticket, and complimentary photo.   A DJ will be playing tunes all night long while you groove and take in the breathtaking views. Cash bars will also be available throughout the Aquarium. Get your tickets before they ‘shell’ out!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Frozen nectar of the vine draws wine aficionados to the Niagara Icewine Festival

   One-Tank Trip for Jan. 16/16
   (c) By Jim Fox

   They’re mining some “liquid gold” in the Niagara Wine Region and inviting everyone to come and celebrate the chilly nectar of the vine.
   Step aside maple syrup, Icewine is an Ontario treasure savoured around the world.
   This sweet intensely flavoured wine is made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine.
Two festival-goers make a toast with iconic Canadian Icewine.
   For two decades, the celebration of this harvest has taken place at the Niagara Icewine Festival happening now from Friday to Sunday through the end of the month.
   It provides the opportunity for people to find out what Icewine is all about and sample this dessert wine delicacy.
   Ontario has produced Icewine since 1984 and gained world acclaim once Inniskillin won the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Bordeaux’s Vinexpo wine fair in 1991.
   With its hot summers and cold winters, Ontario is ideal for the production of Icewine.
Klaus Reif of Reif Estate Winery shows grapes that have been left to freeze on the vine and become Icewine. (Photo by David Devine)
   Once the temperature dips to -8C or lower, the harvesting begins as it did on Jan. 4 this year.
   Ontario produces about 90 percent of this iconic Canadian product, with annual output of 850,000 litres.

Visionary design announced for the new Canadian Canoe Museum

As a leader in 21
st century sustainable design 
will relocate to water's edge at 
Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada  

These innovative plans for the reinvention and relocation of the museum can be realized with your strong and continued support. We hope you will continue your backing of the museum and this important project in whatever way possible to make this move to the water a reality.
As a leader in 21st-century sustainable design the museum will relocate to water's edge at Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada 

Nice prices on VIA Rail

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Travel between Jan 28 and May 31, 2016.
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Toronto Zoo Giant Panda cubs update - 100 day milestone

CLICK HERE to view Toronto Zoo's 100 Day Milestone video.

TORONTO, ON, January 20, 2016: Today, the Toronto Zoo released a new video highlighting the first 100 days for the giant panda cubs. The 100 day celebration follows an ancient Chinese tradition that when a child reaches his or her 100th day of life, he or she has survived the risky fragility of infancy and may be considered on track for a successful future.

Er Shun gave birth to these beautiful twin panda cubs on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. Born at only 187 grams and 115 grams, these tiny cubs have grown from tiny, pink, hairless cubs to strong, fuzzy pandas with distinctive black and white markings. 

"The Toronto Zoo is very honoured to be participating in the Global Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program and extremely proud of the births of Canada's first giant panda cubs," said Mr. John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. “We are very grateful for the ongoing partnerships with a number of institutions around the world who have contributed to our success,” he added.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain celebrates Winter 2016

Mountain and off-hill winter activities abound and delight now that trails are open and
cooler temperatures have arrived
January 14, 2016 – The Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain is cheering the arrival of cooler temperatures and the opening of mountain ski and boarding trails and off-hill winter activities.

Blue Mountain is the largest ski resort in Ontario with 364 acres of skiable terrain including 42 day trails and 30 night skiing/snowboarding trails, half pipe and terrain park. Currently the majority of trails are open from North to South of Blue Mountain.

The Westin Trillium House is located in an ideal location, offering great views of the mountain, the pedestrian village and Mill Pond. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Niagara Icewine Festival -- Celebrating another year of Icewine excellence

ST. CATHARINES, ON – The 21st Annual Niagara Icewine Festival is around the corner and the time is right to plan your January getaway to Niagara.

The 2016 Xerox Icewine Gala marks the 21st regional celebration of the truly Canadian icon: Icewine.

What began as a gala event has evolved into three weekends of globally sought after Icewine experiences. 

From stunning formal affairs to outdoor ice village settings to wineries setting the stage with incredible culinary and Icewine delights; Niagara is the place to explore your senses.

Taste the best in culinary and wine, as noted Niagara chefs prepare Icewine infused delights or create the
ultimate Icewine pairing.

Company signs 220 new hotels and adds 105 hotels to its operating portfolio


STAMFORD, Conn. – January 6, 2016 – Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE:HOT) today announced it closed 2015 with 220 new signed hotel management and franchise agreements, a 26% increase over the prior year, marking the sixth consecutive year of increased signings and the most incremental signings in its history. The company also opened a record of 105 hotels in 2015, representing approximately 22.5k rooms in 30 countries, also the highest number of openings in its history.

“Our continued commitment to brands, design and innovation this past year allowed us to accomplish much on behalf of our shareholders, which is a true testament to the great work of our associates and something our team should be proud of,” said Thomas Mangas, Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

“As we begin 2016 and work towards our merger close with Marriott to become the world’s largest hotel company, we will continue to vigourously compete in the marketplace, deliver value to our owners, delight our guests and grow our brands into new markets around the world.”

“This was a remarkable year of record-breaking growth for Starwood Hotels & Resorts with the highest number of both signings and organic openings in any single year in the company’s history,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development.  “We continued to enjoy balanced growth across both mature and emerging markets and across all of our brands, with a notable increase in the number of conversions.  Approximately one-third of our openings in 2015 were conversions.” 

Casino Rama spring 2016 concerts include The Cult, Santana, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Diana Ross and more

Steve Martin and Martin Short
RAMA, ON (Monday, January 11th, 2016) – It’s not every venue that can play host to so many artists from so many different musical walks of life and be confident that each one will be a hit with their audience, but the Entertainment Centre at Casino Rama Resort can.

As one of Ontario’s premier entertainment destinations hosting concerts & events by some of the biggest names on the charts, we’re excited to announce more of our 2016 line-up including a much-anticipated show by The Cult, the Queen of Motown – Diana Ross, and being billed as “An Evening You’ll Forget For The Rest of Your Life” a musical & comedy performance by Steve Martin & Canada’s own Martin Short.

Fans are invited to visit the Casino Rama Resort Facebook page to gain access to an exclusive pre-sale, along with a chance to beat the box office to win a pair of tickets to the show of their choice!

The just announced additions to the 2016 concert line-up at the award-wining Casino Rama Resort Entertainment Centre include performances by:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Zoom, zoom to the Detroit auto show, Monster Jam and Motorcycle Supershow

   One-Tank Trip for Jan. 9/16

  (c) By Jim Fox

   Get your motor running for too much fun on wheels with cars and trucks in Detroit, the big truck “Monster Jam” in Toronto and motorcycle super show in Mississauga.
   It’s the Motor City’s big party night of the year when glitz and glitter combine for the Charity Preview of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) next Friday (Jan. 15).
   The lavishly expanded Cobo Center in downtown Detroit will host 15,000 formally clad auto aficionados to be wined and dined while checking out the latest models.
Hamming it up for photos beside a $235,000 Bentley at the auto show. (Jim Fox photo)
   It’s the annual black-tie prelude to the auto show’s public days from Jan. 16 to 24.
   The show will have more than 40 worldwide and North American “vehicle reveals” and features 750 new cars and trucks, making it one of the most prestigious auto events in the world.
   “The industry is truly firing on all cylinders and that will be reflected at this year’s show,” said Paul Sabatini, 2016 NAIAS chairman.

Troupes from six continents hit the stage in Stratford for the 14th World Festival of Children's Theatre (June 5-14, 2016)

“All the world’s a stage…”– As You Like It (Act II,  Scene VII ), William Shakespeare 

The best of the world’s children’s theatre arrives in Stratford as Canada’s theatre mecca plays host to the prestigious World Festival of Children’s Theatre. For 10 days in June, 2016, 300 young thespians between the ages of 7 and 15 will participate in performances, workshops and academic events that explore the festival theme “My World, Our Planet”. The festival is “for children, by children”, with productions for children and those who are young at heart.

Today, the Festival’s Board of Directors announced that the 2016 Festival will welcome 22 troupes from 6 continents and 20 countries, offering audiences an illuminating array of artistic expression and theatre traditions. In September, a 12-person jury assessed applications and viewed sample videos before making final selections.

The 2016 Festival will welcome theatre troupes from six continents:

DJ Skate Nights, Toronto’s #1 free event, offers a "stellar lineup"

TORONTO, ON – Harbourfront Centre’s DJ Skate Nights are bringing the party to the waterfront, featuring an electrifying lineup of legendary local and international DJs. Combining beats and blades, good times are had every Saturday night on Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink until Feb. 20.

This year’s DJ Skate Nights season is all about celebrating the magic of music. It highlights a number of top local music tastemakers who will transform an average Saturday night into an epic experience. Included in this year’s lineup is Hip-Hop legend Tony Touch, FLOW 93-5’s very own DJ P Plus and a very special night featuring the trio DJ Duck, DJ Kafe and DJ NS.

“This year we are collaborating with some of the best local music leaders, including Wavelength, Do Right Music, Small World Music and Soul Kitchen, to live up to its title as Toronto’s #1 free event” says Sergio Elmir, DJ Skate Nights lead artistic associate.

What's happening: January on the Bloor St. Culture Corridor in Toronto

The Bloor St. Culture Corridor, Toronto's most diverse arts and culture district, begins the new year with concerts, classes, exhibitions, and events that are sure to kick off everyone's 2016 with inspiring and enriching arts and culture.
The Talisker Players welcome the new year in style with High Standards, a concert that features the very best of the Big Band era and the golden age of Broadway musicals - songs by Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Frank Loesser and others. These songs have been the soundtrack for the lives of generations of North Americans, and standards for vocal artists of every age.  January 10 at 3:30pm, and January 12 at 8pm.  Tickets and info are available at www.taliskerplayers.ca.
January is an exciting time at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, a.k.a. "The J." The 2016 season of the Toronto Jewish Film Society kicks off with the Swedish WWII drama Simon and the Oaks, featuring guest speaker critic Adam Nayman on January 24. The works of Sheila Thompson are on display at the Resilience exhibition in the gallery January 6-21.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

ZZ TOP returns to play at Casino Rama in March 2016

RAMA, ON – Casino Rama is excited to announce the addition of popular rockers ZZ TOP to the previously announced spring 2016 concert line-up on March 24th, 2016.  This performance will mark the seventh time the band has taken to the stage at the popular music venue known as the Entertainment Centre.

ZZ TOP a.k.a “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” lay undisputed claim to being the longest running major rock band with original personnel intact and, in 2004, the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of course, there are only three of them – Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard -- but it’s still a remarkable achievement that they’re still very much together after almost 45 years of rock, blues, and boogie on the road and in the studio.

“Yeah,” says Billy, guitarist extraordinaire, “we’re the same three guys, bashing out the same three chords.”  With the release of each of their albums the band has explored new ground in terms of both their sonic approach and the material they’ve recorded. ZZ TOP is the same but always changing.

Harbourfront Centre’s Kuumba Festival explores what it means to be black in the 21st century

TORONTO, ON (January 5, 2016) – Harbourfront Centre is pleased to announce the 2016 edition of its annual Kuumba celebration, February 5–7, presented in partnership with TD Bank Group.

Under the theme of ‘Black Like We’, the festival will investigate race politics and the shared experience of Blackness in today’s society through spoken word, panel discussions, music, comedy, film, and more. Kuumba offers fun, free activities for everyone.
Kuumba 2016 will host panel discussions, led by activist and journalist Desmond Cole exploring the experience of being Black, with a specific focus on youth, and renowned DJ Mel Boogie will lead a discussion around misogyny in hip-hop.

Toronto Zoo's first births of the New Year

Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo announces three baby Desert Grassland Whiptails hatched on Saturday, January 2, 2016 making all three females the official first births of the new year! The babies are not viewable by the public at this time, but their mother shares an exhibit with another desert lizard species, the San Esteban Chuckwalla, in the Zoo's Americas Pavilion. Did you know? Desert Grassland Whiptails reproduce by parthenogenesis, meaning there is no sexual reproduction because this species contains only females!