All stories by Emily Landau

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A Winter Hater’s Guide to Loving Winter: how to survive the season in style

The Winter Hater's Guide To Loving Winter

This is the era of the polar vortex. Winters are colder, storms are icier and the frost sticks around till May. You could hibernate for six months. Or move. Or stop whining and fall in love with winter in the city. There are dozens of ways to outfox, and even take pleasure in, the cold. Like getting drunk in a yurt, for instance. That, and 14 other secrets to having a ­deliriously happy winter, in the pages that follow.

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #5. Fur doesn’t have to make you feel bad

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #5. Fur doesn’t have to make you feel bad

(Image: Thomas van der Zaag)

After decades of guilt-induced abstinence, we’re reintroducing furs to our winter wardrobes, this time with an ethical pedigree. The plushest pelts come from Toronto designer Farley Chatto, who sources his furs from Origin Assured, an organization that guarantees its stock comes from a country where the trapping is regulated and the animals are treated humanely. Chatto’s fall 2014 runway show was a parade of luxurious furs that felt straight out of Doctor Zhivago: ­red fox coats, mink stoles and coyote hats. His designs, which run up to $200,000 for a Barguzin sable coat, have enticed celebs like Sarah ­Jessica Parker, Elton John, Richard Branson and Drake (who commissioned a silver fox and ­chinchilla coat trimmed with Russian broadtail for his 27th birthday). 331 Adelaide St. W., ­416-831-9941.

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #10. Winter wear for dogs is undeniably cool

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #10. Winter wear for dogs is undeniably cool

Rover Boutique’s cotton twill pooch peacoat has a double-breasted lapel and a pleat in the back to accommodate the tail. $103. Theroverboutique.com.

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Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #15. The best festivals happen in winter

Secrets to a Happy Toronto Winter: #15. The best festivals happen in winter

Long Winter. (Image: Daniel Neuhaus)

1 Long Winter
Once a month, the thrash-rock outfit Fucked Up throw the city’s hottest party at the Great Hall, featuring sets from bands like the Hidden Cameras and Bruce Peninsula, modern dance and performance art, and a live late-night talk show. Jan. 9, Feb. 13 and March 13. $11. The Great Hall.

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Heroine Chic: the problem with feminist fairy tales

The Heart of Robin Hood, a new feminist fairy tale from Mirvish, morphs Maid Marion from a prissy damsel into a spunky swashbuckler

Heroine Chic

(Photograph courtesy of Mirvish)

For little girls, the most indelible image of 2014 was that of Frozen’s Queen Elsa, shimmying and shimmering as she discarded the manacles of her regal existence. At that moment, Elsa became an avatar of tweenage girl power, trumpeting the virtues of self-expression, pragmatism and independence. Frozen, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, is the latest fairy tale to be ­reimagined as a badass feminist manifesto. We’ve also seen Snow White and the Huntsman, which recast the porcelain princess as a ­hard-core warrior played by Kristen Stewart; ­Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie as an evil fairy turned motherly martyr; and Wicked, which transformed Elphaba, The Wizard of Oz’s reptilian witch, into a sensitive victim of bullying. After centuries of docile damsels and nefarious crones, the new fairy-tale heroines have pluck. They fight battles, stand up for themselves and belt out the swelling go-girl anthems that inspire millions of ­YouTube covers. As female role models, they form an unimpeachable sorority.

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See a radiant retrospective of Art  Spiegelman’s comic (and not-so-comic) art

House of Maus: the irreverent cartoonist Art  Spiegelman gets a radiant retrospective

Art Spiegelman never wanted a retrospective. “It feels like walking around among a bunch of tombstones,” he recently pronounced. It’s no surprise the famously anti-establishment cartoonist would be ambivalent about hanging his work in museum halls: he’s a cultural heretic who got his start scribbling satirical cartoons in the early ’70s as part of an underground comics ring in San Francisco. In 1991, he completed his Pulitzer-winning Maus, a disturbing parable based on his father’s experience in the Holocaust, that reimagined the Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats.

Just as Spiegelman inadvertently elevated comic books into literature, he also transformed cartoons into high art. His new AGO show, which opens on Saturday, documents every stage of his creative ­trajectory: his earliest comic strips, the discarded drafts of his 1993 New Yorker cover depicting a Hasidic man kissing a black woman, and studies for a stained glass panel he designed for his alma mater, New York’s High School of Art and Design. Most affecting is the ­section dedicated to Maus, plastered with character studies and family artifacts, where a sound system plays recordings of ­Spiegelman interviewing his father. Click through the gallery for a look at some of his most iconic comics.

Dec. 20 to Mar 15. Included with general admission, $19.50. Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas, St. W., 416-979-6648, ago.net.

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Start a strange new Christmas tradition with Henri Fabergé’s holiday rock opera

(Image: Madi Chambers)

(Image: Madi Chambers)

The avant-garde enigma Henri Fabergé (real name: Henry Fletcher) has been hovering around the city’s art, music and theatre fringes for years: he’s best known for The Adorables, a secretive supergroup featuring members of The Bicycles and Born Ruffians, who play surreal live shows that feel like East Village ’80s performance art. His latest creation, Crisis on St. Creskins, is a site-specific holiday rock opera that transforms the great rooms and hallways of the Campbell House Museum into an Edwardian naval academy, where students are staging a Christmas pageant while stoking a long-held rivalry with a nearby arts college. The show is arch and absurdist, combining cabaret, improv and punk into an irreverent new holiday tradition.

Dec. 13 to 15. $20. Campbell House Museum, 160 Queen St. W., 416-597-0227, henri-faberge.com.

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Festive Feast: the top 20 artisanal treats of the season

A hedonistic reverie of hand-crafted, artisanal, drop-dead-delicious holiday treats

Holiday Special: Festive Feast

Cinnamon candy apples from Apiecalypse Now

’Tis the season for reckless over-indulgence, so why waste it on frozen turkeys and mass-market confections? We rounded up the city’s most gorge-worthy holiday foods that’ll satisfy every nostalgic craving. Here, the top 20 holiday treats in the city.

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be torture—not if you know where to go and what to get. We asked retail tastemakers across the city for suggestions. Here, 80 inspired gift ideas

Toronto Christmas Gift Guide 2014
Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Under $50
Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: $50 to $150
Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Over $150
Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: See All 75 Gifts

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Explorers

We asked retail tastemakers across the city for holiday gift ideas. Here, 14 inspired suggestions for the travelers, adventurers and urban explorers on your list

Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Explorers

White Faux Bison Head, $225, Elte

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Gifts $50–$150

We asked retail tastemakers across the city for holiday gift ideas. Here, 25 gifts priced between $50 and $150

Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Gifts $150 and Under

Hooded Pack-Away Puffer, $69, Joe Fresh

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Gifts Under $50

We asked retail tastemakers across the city for holiday gift ideas. Here, 27 gifts that won’t break the bank

Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Gifts $50 and Under

Krochet Kids Hoot Tuque, $45, Holt Renfrew, H Project

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: DIY Gifts

DIY classes and workshops to help you channel your inner elf

Christmas Gift Guide 2014: Japanese Tie-Dye
Japanese Tie-Dye

The Shop offers drop-in classes in the art of shibori. DIYers pleat, bind and knot white fabric before dipping it in dye for twisty prints. Dec. 23. $45. 1139 College St., 416-949-1184.

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Style Setters

We asked retail tastemakers across the city for holiday gift ideas. Here, 24 inspired suggestions for the style-conscious friends on your list

Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Groomers

Peppercotton Confetti Bracelet, $248, Ewanika

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Toronto Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Gifts $150 and Over

We asked retail tastemakers across the city for holiday gift ideas. Here, 28 gifts worth splurging on

Toronto Christmas Gift Ideas 2014: Gifts $150 and Over

Accordion Briefcase, $595, Philip Sparks