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Toronto’s seventh annual WinterCity Festival presented by RBC celebrated culture, creativity and cuisine with a series of free stunning spectacles at Nathan Phillips Square, specially-created indoor entertainment at Toronto’s cultural venues, and a series of one-of-a-kind culinary events with some of the city’s most revered chefs and restaurants.
“From ancient mid-winter festivals in Greece and Rome to mid-winter festivals across the world today, common themes are found: feasting, fire, parades, processions and performing arts,” said Rita Davies, Executive Director of Culture, City of Toronto. “The city came alive this winter as we explored these themes through music, theatre, dance and food”
WinterCity is 3 festivals in 1: the WOW! Series at Nathan Phillips Square, the Warm Up! Series at Toronto’s cultural venues, and, the ever-popular restaurant promotion and culinary event series, Winterlicious.
One of the highlights included Compagnie Les Passager, one of Europe’s most innovative and visually compelling theatrical and artistic troupes. The French company transforms public space through the use of scaffolding, pyramids, cables, ropes and nets to create a massive 210m2 colourful vertical fresco. High above the audience’s heads, the actors perform dance and acrobatics on the vertical stage’s landscape, which changes to reflect each of three separate and visually stunning shows.
Time Is… is inspired by traditional and contemporary Chinese culture. Through specialized choreography and martial arts training, the performers take audiences on a journey through the seasons as time flows around them.
Namastey is a theatrical and choreographic spectacle based on the famous themes from the Indian movie world; a Bollywood-inspired performance that revolves around the story of a young Indian woman travelling to London where she falls in love with a Royal Navy captain.
Cosmogonia recounts the Book of Genesis in a succession of 12 scenes played and danced on a background of projections of images portraying the Elements, urban labyrinths and the mystery of life over a soundtrack of dramatic industrial music.
The Flaming Lotus Girls, another incredible show set Nathan Phillips Square aglow with large scale interactive fire and steel installations. Angel of the Apocalypse is an elegant sculptural environment that rises from the earth in the form of an abstracted bird. As the Angel’s head and wings come alive with fire, audience members are invited to move around and between the blazing feathers and can interact with the sculpture by operating the propane flame effects of the inner wings.
Tim Horton’s Ice Breakers Skating Parties added international fare to the festival with celebrations of the music and traditions of mid-winter festivals from around the world on the iconic rink at Nathan Phillips Square. These included Chinese Lantern Festival, Paris Carnival, Winter Carnival Holiday, Brazilian/Caribbean Carnaval, Festival du Voyageur, Nightly DJ skating parties
Audiences also enjoyed Mythical Ice, in which teams of ice carvers bring to life gods and goddesses that reflect winter, snow and ice. The sculptures were inspired by figures from around the world including Yuki-onna, Ullr, Inuit Sea Goddess, Jack Frost and Snegurochka.
Winterlicious at Toronto’s Restaurants complimented the events at the square as Winterlicious presented by American Express® offered tasty specials at a variety of the city’s most popular venues.