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Visiting Toronto Youth Theatre 

Inventive programming makes it worth the drive

Toronto Youth Theatre

A few years back, my son and I sat adrift in a Toronto hotel restaurant, considering our respective breakfasts. He was of an age when our interests did not necessarily intersect. And we were tired --- not exactly up for a day at the museum or the zoo. Unaccustomed as I was to the concierge concept, I was at a loss. Then I saw a large chalk board looming not 10 feet away. It listed local activities, particularly shows. I had no interest in any of those Broadway shows foundering on the Ontario shores like the castaways of the S.S. Minnow entertaining themselves with half-remembered stage directions. Besides, Miss Saigon did not seem family-friendly.

Among the listings was a preview of The Hobbit at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKTYP). I ran through the basic plot with my son, who had recently become familiar with the story. Having no idea what to expect, we requested seats for the back of the theater and mounted the subway. The production was wonderful; the stage was huge; Smaug was massive; it was just a grand day out.

Now, whenever we find ourselves in Toronto in season, we venture to the LKTYP and catch a current production, which is often something out of the ordinary. This year they're doing everything from Hana's Suitcase to George & Martha. Their Web site ( provides a schedule, directions, recommended ages, and quite a bit more. The walk from the subway station may be a bit longer than it appears on their map, but it can also take you by the Hockey Hall of Fame and the St. Lawrence Market.

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