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Summer Festival Guide 2008

GO BACK IN TIME July 4 to 6. Go back in time to medieval Europe with five feature shows at Casa Loma‘s Renaissance Festival. See performances by Men in Tights, Zoltan the Adequate, Sir Charles of Linton; plus listen to live music and visit a colourful gypsy camp. Characters from the court of King Henry VIII roam throughout a five-acre garden. 1 Austin Terrace, open daily, adults $17, children $9.25 (price includes admission to Casa Loma); call 416-923-1171 for details.

ESCAPE TO ITALY July 5 and 6. Find Italian hospitality in the heart of Toronto at the Corso Italia Toronto Fiesta. Hear more than 30 musicians and bands—such as Lou Martin, Imbayakunas and Marco D’Amico—performing everything from classical to salsa. And what’s a party without food? The area’s restaurants offer an array of mouth-watering flavours. Along St. Clair Avenue West, between Westmount and Lansdowne avenues, Saturday 1 to 11 p.m., Sunday 1 to 9 p.m., free; call 416-698-2152 for festival information.

ISLAND BREEZE July 15 to August 3. Celebrate Caribbean culture at the Scotiabank Caribana festival. Enjoy the king and queen show, a junior carnival and an art exhibition. On August 2, the revelry comes to a climax with the ever-popular parade, which starts at Exhibition Place and winds along Lake Shore Boulevard. Participants are renowned for their sequined and feather-laden costumes. Various locations and times, most events are free though some are ticketed; call 416-391-5608 for a complete schedule.

INTERNATIONAL INSPIRATION July 18 to 20. Revel in global culture at Worldfest, a street celebration for all ages with community pavilions from 23 countries. Check out the live entertainment stage for music and dance performances representing Venezuela, Mexico, Peru and India. Along Eglinton Avenue West, between Dufferin Street and Chamberlain Avenue, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., free; call 416-657-1100 for more information.

MUSICAL MERRIMENT July 18 to 27. Soak up the summer sun along with the sounds of jazz, blues, calypso, fusion, new age, Latin and Cajun music as 100 musicians perform during the 20th annual Beaches International Jazz Festival. Performers include Anne Lindsay, Lou Pride, Johnny Rawls and Young Diva. Shows at various locations in and around The Beach, along Queen Street East between Woodbine and Beech avenues, free; call 416-410-8809 for a list of venues and times.

RED-HOT MUSIC July 22 to August 17. Excite your ears with classical music from world-renowned musicians at the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Join music enthusiasts for four weeks worth of concerts exploring the theme “In the Fire of Conflict.” Master classes, free lectures, workshops and a fully staged opera spice up the festivities. Don’t miss piano virtuoso André Laplante at The Carlu, formerly the historic Eaton Auditorium, on opening night. Make sure to also check out the distinguished Molinari String Quartet, performing in a three part concert series combining music, visual arts and dance, on July 29. Various venues; call 416-597-7840 to purchase tickets and for a complete schedule.

FUN IN THE SUN July 25 to 27. Award-winning actress Nandita Das (Fire and Earth) and UK band BritInvAsian honour South Asian culture at Masala! Mehndi! Masti!. Visit the market for foods native to the region, see the latest fashion trends from India and Pakistan, and view a showcase of traditional dances. Exhibition Place, Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday noon to 11 p.m., Sunday noon to 7 p.m., free; call the festival hotline at 416-666-9494.

SATISFY A CRAVING August 15 to 17. Awaken your tastebuds at the Hot & Spicy Food Festival with zesty and sizzling flavours from around the world. Enjoy celebrity chef demonstrations, bartending tricks, and the fifth annual Iron Chef Competition. Savour live music and dance as you appease your palate. Harbourfront Centre, Friday 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday noon to midnight, Sunday noon to 7 p.m., free; call 416-973-4000 for details.

STREET FESTIVAL August 21 to 24. Performers from across the globe take to the streets of Old Town at the annual Buskerfest, which features acrobats, magicians, fire jugglers, comedians, musicians and more. Members of the U.K.’s Dream State Circus juggle and do acrobatics, and Quebec’s The Mat Velvet and Charlie Show clown around. Performances take place at various venues along Front Street from Jarvis to Yonge streets near the historic St. Lawrence Market, Thursday noon to 10 p.m., Friday noon to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., free (but a donation is appreciated, with proceeds going to Epilepsy Toronto); call 416-964-9095 for information.

—Maria Cortellucci and Chandrika Mathur

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