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Things to Do in Toronto: October 2015 Shows & Events


Things to do in Toronto Armide Chris Hadfield Paul McCartney

Opera Atelier’s Armide, plus appearances by Commander Chris Hadfield and Sir Paul McCartney, are just a few of the things to see and do this month in Toronto

*Also check out our guide to Toronto’s Fall Performance Season, which details more of our favourite theatrical, orchestral, operatic and balletic performances taking place in Toronto through to the end of the year.

OCTOBER 1 TO 4 Nesters seeking inspiration for their abodes can find it at the Toronto Fall Home Show. The biggest public event of its kind in the city presents tips and trends from television personalities like Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, as well as Cityline expert Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, decorator Michael Penney and renovator Michael Upshall. Find small-space ideas and solutions as well as eco-friendly products, and shop for new items from more than 300 retailers.

OCTOBER 2 & 3 Relive 1989 with Taylor Swift. The Western world’s reigning queen of pop brings Bad Blood to the Rogers Centre. (But rest assured, you should be able to Shake It Off.)

OCTOBER 3 For one night each year, Toronto transforms into a roving gallery as Scotiabank Nuit Blanche descends upon downtown. The cultural smorgasbord’s 10th incarnation promises more than 130 contemporary projects—installations that incorporate photographs, sculptural works, films, music—displayed from sunset to sunrise at various locations, including Nathan Phillips Square, Yonge-Dundas Square, Trinity Bellwoods Park and the 401 Richmond building. In a new twist for 2015, more than a dozen projects will remain on display through to October 12. Among them are the social phenomenon Inside Out by international artist JR, which turns portraits into street art, and Ekow Nimako’s Silent Knight at the Gardiner Museum. Nimako’s is one of the pieces in curator Che Kothari’s exhibit “10 for 10th—Memory Lane,” which brings together 10 works that explore concepts of memory and reflection.

OCTOBER 3 Hit roots are showing. American folk-rocker Matt Nathanson plays Queen West’s intimate Great Hall.

OCTOBER 4 Enrico Caruso. George Gershwin. Charlie Parker. Neil Young. Bob Dylan. Maria Callas. Joni Mitchell. Massey Hall has hosted many legendary musicians over its 121-year history. Today, Alvin and the Chipmunks add their names to the venue’s venerated roster.

OCTOBER 5 & 6 She may not court quite so much controversy, but Madonna can certainly still draw crowds. Will you be among the faithful making the pilgrimage to the Air Canada Centre?

OCTOBER 6 Hot on the heels of a trio of animated rodents, Dire Straits guitar slinger Mark Knopfler brings to Massey Hall songs from his recent Tracker collection.

Things to do in toronto stevie wonder songs in the key of life

Stevie Wonder (photo: Eddie Wolfl)

OCTOBER 9 The Air Canada Centre becomes a Pastime Paradise as Stevie Wonder returns to Toronto for an encore performance of his landmark 1976 album, Songs in the Key of Life.

OCTOBER 11 Shania Twain‘s left Las Vegas and is back on the road. The veteran singer rolls into Toronto as part of her Rock This Country tour.

OCTOBER 13 North America had Nsync and the Backstreet Boys; South Korea has Big Bang, a top product of the country’s K-pop factory. G-Dragon, Daesung and their boy-band compatriots are slated to perform a retinue of hits (from “Lies” and “La La La” to the more recent “Loser”) at the Air Canada Centre.

OCTOBER 14 Pyrotechnics, tricked-out vehicles and death-defying stunts are the hallmarks of action-sports phenomenon Nitro Circus. Styled like a 1920’s three-ring extravaganza and set to big-top music, the touring show has 17-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana leading a daredevil crew of freestyle motorcross and BMX riders in a series of aerial feats, including base jumping, triple back flips and a giant synchronized trick that utilizes modified contraptions launched from a jet-powered slingshot.

OCTOBER 14 TO 16 Scotland’s bearded bard of belly laughs, Billy Connolly, tells a bonny joke or two during a three-night stand Massey Hall.

OCTOBER 15 The Winter Garden Theatre welcomes the baddest of contemporary-jazz piano trios—joined by one of the genre’s most sought-after saxophonists—as The Bad Plus plus Joshua Redman take the stage.

OCTOBER 17 Paul McCartney (Sir Paul, to his friends) straps on his signature Höfner bass and runs through his biggest Beatles, Wings and solo-career hits at the Air Canada Centre.

OCTOBER 17 & 18 Elmo, Grover and the rest of the cuddly residents of Sesame Street arrive at the Sony Centre to introduce Chamki, their new friend from India.

things to do in toronto ringo starr all-starr band

Ringo Starr

OCTOBER 20 Serendipity! Toronto hosts its second ex-Beatle in less than a week, as good ol’ Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band to Massey Hall.

OCTOBER 22 His music’s in his name! Alex Cuba blends Afro-Cuban styles with pop, funk, folk and soul at the Winter Garden Theatre.

OCTOBER 22 As has lately been its inclination, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra dips its toes into pop music’s waters at Roy Thomson Hall—in this case by accompanying the venerable folk-rock duo Indigo Girls.

OCTOBER 22 TO 31 North America’s busiest touring opera company, Opera Atelier, revives its monumental version of Armide—as a prelude to its opening at the Opéra Royale at the Palace of Versailles in France. The cast of the sold-out 2012 production, including soprano Peggy Kriha Dye and tenor Colin Ainsworth, returns in this tragedie en musique by Jean-Baptiste Lully and librettist Philippe Quinault. The Baroque-era masterpiece sees its title character fall in love with Renaud, her sworn enemy. But by trying to enchant him into returning her affections, Armide runs afoul of the Goddess of Hate.

OCTOBER 22 TO NOVEMBER 1 A who’s who of the literary world descends upon Toronto for the International Festival of Authors. For 11 days, the city’s waterfront is the destination for all bibliophiles—from lovers of mysteries and thrillers to those who prefer poetry or graphic novels. Meet the likes of Man Booker Prize–winner Anne Enright, former U.K. poet laureate Andrew Motion, Danish poet Ulrikka S. Gernes, Japanese novelist Mitsuyo Kakuta, Australian author Richard Flanagan, and bestselling Canadians Lawrence Hill, Miriam Toews, Jane Urquhart, Guy Vanderhaeghe and Catherine Graham at readings, panel discussions, onstage interviews and book signings.

OCTOBER 27 TO NOVEMBER 8 The power of deduction has long been seductive where fans of Sherlock Holmes are concerned. There are many mysteries to be answered in the new Holmesian adventure being staged at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Chief among them: “Can noted Hollywood doofus David Arquette pull of a convincing version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed consulting detective?”

OCTOBER 28 Join astronaut-turned-bestselling author Chris Hadfield at his Generator, a hybrid variety show and think tank where space explorers, scientists, comedians, musicians and poets rub shoulders and exchange ideas about a range of topics. Comedian and writer Robin Ince emcees the event, while house band Tupper Ware Remix Party, a local group known for its ‘80s-inspired synth-rock and electro-funk sound, provides the soundtrack.

things to do in toronto renée fleming

Renée Fleming (photo: Decca/Andrew Eccles)

OCTOBER 30 Celebrated soprano Renée Fleming brings her distinctive voice to Toronto for one night only. Accompanied by pianist Gerald Martin Moore, Fleming is slated to perform a program that includes pieces by Richard Strauss and Sergei Rachmaninoff, as well as Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und-leben. In 2013, the decorated performer was awarded the United States’ National Medal of Arts and a Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, and last year was the first classical entertainer to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

OCTOBER 30 Koerner Hall becomes a Montmartre street scene during the time of “La Vie en Rose,” as French singer Anne Carrère presents the life and career of Edith Piaf through her timeless heart-on-the-sleeve songs.

OCTOBER 31 Halloween gets a classical twist at Roy Thomson Hall courtesy of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, which performs live accompaniment for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s immortal thriller, Psycho.

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