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Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in July 2016


The Draken Harald Harfagre set sail from Norway in April to be part of Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival

JULY 1 TO SEPTEMBER 18  The Group of Seven is well known for its Canadian landscapes, and as one of its founding members, Lawren S. Harris was recognized for his stark depictions of the Arctic and our nation’s northern regions. A new exhibit presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario, curated by actor, comedian, musician and writer Steve Martin, along with Andrew Hunter and Cynthia Burlingham of the AGO, examines Harris’s legacy. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris, sees more than 30 works by Harris drawn from public and private collections, including his early works of his Toronto neighbourhood.

JULY 1 TO 3  Head to the shores of Lake Ontario to celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday as the Redpath Waterfront Festival sails into the city. Hop aboard a fleet of majestic vessels for tours, including the El Galeón from Spain, the Pride of Baltimore II, four Canadian Brigantines (the STV Fair Jeanne, St. Lawrence II, TS Playfair and STV Pathfinder), and two of the Royal Canadian Navy’s defence vessels (the HMCS Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay). Particularly spectacular is the largest Viking ship in the world, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, which set sail from Norway at the end of April following a route travelled 1,000 years ago. On July 3, catch the Parade of Sail, the grand finale with all of the boats sailing along the harbour.

JULY 2 TO 24  For three weeks this summer, parks and restaurants in Queen East fill with the sweet sounds of blues, Latin, calypso, fusion and more as the Beaches International Jazz Festival takes over the lakeside neighbourhood. The free event boasts extensive programming that includes live mainstage concerts at Woodbine Park, art and photography displays, food trucks, and, for the first time in the event’s 28-year history, a salsa festival.

JULY 2 AND 3  Join the likes of Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond, Knife Party, Borgore and Bassnectar among others when they take over The Flats at Ontario Place for the Bud Light Digital Dreams festival.


The Queen’s Plate trots into Woodbine Racetrack

JULY 3  Woodbine Racetrack hosts the 157th Queen’s Plate, which is Canada’s oldest thoroughbread horse race and North America’s longest continuously running race. This year, the first gem of the triple crown, also features three stages with seven bands including Hedley, Matthew Good and The Strumbellas.

JULY 3  The annual Pride Parade marches through the city starting at 2 p.m. For the first time in Canadian history, a sitting prime minister, Justin Trudeau, will march in the parade, along with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory. The parade starts at Church and Bloor streets, winding down Yonge Street to Yonge-Dundas Square.

JULY 4  Co-founder of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, hits the Massey Hall stage for the world tour of the 50th anniversary of his Pet Sounds album.

 JULY 5  R&B/hip hop musician Maxwell, who is credited with shaping the “neo-soul” sound, tours with special guest Ro James.

Matilda the Musical (credit: Joan Marcus)

JULY 5 TO OCTOBER 16  Enacting revenge upon a bullying adult is every child’s dream, and Matilda Wormwood does exactly that when she stands up against the evil headmistress, Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the Musical. Kids and adults alike will be cheering on the precocious titular heroine in this witty, internationally award–winning production as it debuts in Toronto, which is based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl. Mistreated and neglected at home, young Matilda escapes through books and finds a kindred spirit in a young schoolteacher, Miss Honey, as she seeks justice for her classmates.

JULY 6  Two American pop-rock bands, Weezer and Panic! at the Disco join forces for a concert at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JULY 6 AND 7  Every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the month of July, revered improv troupe The Second City presents Superdude and Doctor Rude, a family-friendly show filled with selfies, jet packs and secret lairs.

JULY 7  Two classic American rock bands, Journey (“Don’t Stop Believin'”) and The Doobie Brothers (“Listen to the Music”) bring their chart-topping hits to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre stage.

JULY 8 TO 24  The city-wide dining program, Summerlicious, is back for its 13th year with more than 220 restaurants offering special prix fixe menus—lunch for $18 to $28 and dinner for $28 to $48. Ensure a spot by making reservations in advance, as popular restaurants such as The Carbon Bar, Kasa Moto, Beaumont Kitchen, Bannock and Lee book up quickly.

JULY 8 AND 9  For two days, Nathan Philips transforms into a public art space when the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition takes over, featuring the works of more than 350 established and emerging artists. Each year, this popular event sees more than 100,000 visitors attending Canada’s largest juried outdoor contemporary art fair.

JULY 9  Queen West transforms into a garden paradise when the Toronto Flower Market sets up shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring florists such as Blush & Bloom, Pink Twig, Rosedale Florist and Wild North Flowers selling lush bouquets and arrangements.

JULY 10  Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher is joined by his band High Flying Birds for a show at TD Echo Beach.

JULY 11  Named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, John Fogerty headlines Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JULY 12  Aussie boy band 5 Seconds of Summer, known for such radio-friendly tunes as “She Looks So Perfect” and “Don’t Stop” make a Toronto stop at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre during their Sounds Lives Feels Live world tour.

JULY 13  British band Duran Duran, beloved for such hits as “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World,” headline Molson Canadian Amphitheatre with special guests CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers, and Tokimonsta.

JULY 14 TO AUGUST 7  Some of music’s biggest names have hailed from the land of the Union Jack, including such composers as Benjamin Britten and Edward Elgar, and more recently, the likes of The Beatles, Queen, Sir Elton John, and Adele. The Toronto Summer Music Festival pays homage to the British influence on popular music with London Calling!, featuring concerts, guest lectures and masterclass shows by Canadian and international performers. Among the highlights are Benjamin Britten’s dramatic chamber opera, The Rape of Lucretia (July 22); The Bard’s plays and poems set to music by Verdi, Tippett and others in Sonnets, Scenes and Songs: A Shakespeare Serenade (July 27); pianist Christopher Riley demonstrates his impeccable repertoire playing everything from pre-Baroque works to songs by Pink Floyd and Radiohead (August 2); while a beloved London tradition featuring such noted works as Pomp & Circumstance and Rule, Britannia! is performed by the National Academy Orchestra of Canada in (Almost) Last Night of the Proms (August 4).

JULY 14  A star-studded country line up hits the stage at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, led by Toby Keith with special guest Eric Paslay.

JULY 15  Catch new age composer and keyboardist Yanni on his world tour, which includes stops in Costa Rica, Panama, UAE, Jordan, the U.S.A., and Canada.

Honda Indy

JULY 15 TO 17  Ontario’s largest annual sporting event, the Honda Indy, returns for its 30th edition with a modified track layout—the first since 1996—to accommodate the addition of a new hotel on the grounds of Exhibition Place. Local favourite, James Hinchcliffe, and last year’s champ, Josef Newgarden, are both expected to be back behind the wheel on the 11-turn street circuit. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama featuring exotic car racing and Robby Gordon’s Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks are also popular returning events.

JULY 15 TO 17  Head to Harbourfront Centre for a colourful celebration of the sights, sounds and smells of Mexico City. Ritmo y Color: The Streets of Mexico brings the vibrant theatre, music, dance and street food to the lakeside attraction.

JULY 16  Hard rockers Guns N’ Roses, led by Axl Rose and Slash, are joined by special guests Billy Talent on their Not in this Lifetime tour at the Rogers Centre.

JULY 17  Head to the Ashbridge Estate in the city’s east end for The Leslieville Flea, a monthly market featuring more than 60 vendors selling antiques, vintage and salvaged items, collectibles and upcycled and handcrafted goods.

JULY 18 TO AUGUST 27  When it originally premiered at The Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in December 1879, A Doll’s House was met with much controversy, as Henrik Ibsen’s three-act play defied the societal norms of the day with its main protagonist Nora setting out on a journey to explore herself.

JULY 19  American alt-rockers Dave Matthews Band, known for such songs as “Crash Into Me” and “The Space Between” headline Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JULY 20  The Open Roof Festival, a not-for-profit outdoor music and film event that celebrates the works of independent filmmakers and artists from Canada and around the world, features a musical act and an outdoor screening in Liberty Village. Singer and songwriter Tomi Swick (“Sorry Again”) plays live, while Off the Rails by Toronto filmmaker Adams Irving about a man with Asperger’s syndrome who was jailed for impersonating New York City transit employees, is shown.

JULY 21 TO AUGUST 27  Inspired by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps is a Tony Award–winning play starring four actors who take on 150 roles as the main character embarks on a new romance, is part of a nationwide manhunt, and concludes with a dramatic finale.

JULY 22 TO 24  Harbourfront Centre celebrates the “Sounds of the St. Lawrence” in Shield to Shore, featuring music from the likes of Great Lake Swimmers and Vishtèn, as well as the East Coast Comedy Revue.

JULY 22 TO 24  Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place hosts Toronto’s Festival of Beer. The always-popular event—for folks age 19 and older—is the ultimate beer sampling experience featuring 333 brews from local, regional and international brewers. Participating breweries include Belgian Moon, Cracked Apple, Newcastle Brown Ale, High Park Brewery, Bobcaygeon Brewing Company, Sawdust City, Big Rig Brewery, Lucky Buddha and Goose Island Beer Co., among many others.

JULY 23 TO JANUARY 8, 2017  Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza is spotlighted in a new exhibit at the Aga Khan Museum. Álvaro Siza: Gateway to the Alhambra celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of the award–winning designer through renderings, models, sketches, large-scale photographs and videos, as well as architectural objects from Alhambra’s own personal collection of ceramic tiles, carved doors and more.

JULY 23 TO 31  Tennis’ current second seed, Andy Murray, attempts to not only defend his title but also win his fourth Rogers Cup when the men square off against each other at the Aviva Centre. Murray, who previously won in 2009, 2010 and 2015, defeated the number one seed Novak Djokovic last year, who is expected to be back alongside the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as well as Canada’s own Milos Raonic. This is the third-oldest tennis tournament in the world, behind only Wimbledon and the US Open, and has a total purse of more than $4 million.

JULY 23  American pop sensations, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas join forces for a new tour at the Air Canada Centre.

JULY 24  On the heels of releasing their first studio album in 15 years, Violent Femmes (“Blister in the Sun”) tours in support of We Can Do Anything.

JULY 25 TO AUGUST 27  Soulpepper Theater presents the Canadian premiere of Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts I, II, III) by Suzan-Lori Parks about a slave who fights in the Civil War on the confederate side, exploring the themes of race and family during one of the most turbulent turning points in American history.

JULY 25 TO 31  TechWeek makes its debut in Toronto after successful conferences in Chicago, New York and Miami among other cities. Hear from the founders, influencers, and cultivators of educational institutions, startups, and top companies.

JULY 25  Catch the Toronto Argonauts at their new home, BMO Field, as they take on the Montreal Alouettes.

JULY 26  Juno– and Grammy–Award winning Canadian performer Bryan Adams, best known for such songs as “Summer of ’69” and “(Everything I Do) I Do it for You” rocks the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia opens under the big top at the Port Lands (credit: Laurence Labat)

JULY 28 TO OCTOBER 16  The Big Top rises once again at the Port Lands for Cirque du Soleil’s latest touring show, Luzia. The company’s 38th production transports audiences to a vibrant land inspired by Mexico, rich in colour, lush landscapes and exotic creatures. The title of the show fuses the Spanish sounds for light (“luz”) and rain (“lluvia”), an apt name as both elements play a role in this spectacle, whether it’s cyr wheel or aerial artists spinning and swinging through a drizzle, or birds jumping through a series of hoops.

JULY 28  Folksy rockers The Lumineers share the stage with Rayland Baxter and Langhorne Slim & The Law.

JULY 29 TO AUGUST 1 Harbourfront Centre brings the Caribbean vibe to Lake Ontario with Island Soul, which showcases the music, dance, art and cuisine of this colourful region.

JULY 29 TO SEPTEMBER 24  Picture it: Toronto, 2016 … Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia in puppet form. Miami’s fab four are the stars of The Ultimate Golden Girls Expereince, at the Al Green Theatre.

JULY 31 AND AUGUST 1  Toronto’s own Drake plays for two nights at the Air Canada Centre with special guest Future as part of his Summer Sixteen Tour.

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