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Weekend Roundup, July 30 to August 2

The Caribbean (plus a whole lot more) comes to Toronto this long weekend!

Friday: Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista swings for the fences (photo courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays)

Friday, July 30
Start your weekend laughing! Catch one of the last shows of the Bad Dog Theater Short Play Festival, which supports emerging and established Canadian comedic talent. With four hilarious plays to choose from, there’s sure to be one that tickles your funny bone.

Dance and sing the night away with an eclectic selection of musicians performing at Disco Lemonade. This concert at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre features Euro-popsters including Keane, Robyn, Ingrid Michaelson, Kelis, Fran Healy from Travis, Dan Black and Far East Movement.

Catch the Toronto Blue Jays’ final 2010 series against the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe swept our Jays in a four-game stand last month; the home team will be looking to dominate this time around.

Saturday: Vibrant costumes draw crowds at the Caribana parade

Saturday, July 31
Lake Shore Boulevard is awash in the colours of the Caribbean today at the annual Scotiabank Caribana Parade. This spectacular display is the culmination of nearly a month of Caribbean cultural activities in Toronto. More than one million tourists are expected to pour into the city for this event. Are you one of them?

Add some art to your weekend by visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario to catch such current exhibitions as “Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theater” and “Playing with Pictures: the Art of Victorian Photocollage.” Or keep with the Caribbean theme by viewing the Royal Ontario Museum’s Caribana-themed exhibit “From the Soul,” with more than 150 works by African-Canadian artists. A trip to one of these institutions is always a great option for the weekend, and as a bonus, they’re both open on the holiday Monday, too!

Enjoy an evening of Beethoven, Schumann and Shostakovich courtesy of the Summer Music Festival, which tonight hosts respected pianist Menahem Pressler and the Grammy-winning Pacifica String Quartet.

Sunday: Catch the final staging of large-scale musical Miss Saigon (photo by Bruce Bennett)

Sunday August 1
Don’t miss this afternoon’s opening reception of Queen Gallery’s 50/50 exhibition. For this juried show more than 80 artists each completed a piece measuring 20” by 20” in size, and the collected works are all on sale for the same price. These restrictions, of course, stand in contrast to the creativity of the artists.

It’s your last chance to relive the days of Beatlemania! Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles is a unique experience. And not only because of the music; the band successfully embodies the Beatles themselves. Incorporating period photos and video footage this show is sure to transport you back to the ’60s.

The curtain falls on Miss Saigon tonight at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Based on the classic opera Madama Butterfly, this tragic tale of doomed love during the Vietnam War deserves your standing ovation.

Monday: See Fiona Byrne and Diego Matamoros in Turgenev's A Month in the Country (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Monday August 2
The Irie Music Festival runs all weekend long with Caribbean cultural events in Queen’s Park, Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge-Dundas Square. With dancing, tunes, food and more, it’s the perfect tropical complement to Caribana’s festivities.

And let’s not forget Harbourfront Centre! It’s Island Soul festival, part of the World Routes Summer Festival series, offers one more day of Caribbean cultural activities. Learn how to make ox tail dumplings, listen to steel pan drummers, and enjoy Caribbean films.

Allow Soulpepper Theatre Company to treat you to A Month in the Country. Its production of the Russian classic seamlessly maneuvers between comedy and tragedy, as characters become tangled in complicated summer-love triangles. It’s the perfect way to end a packed weekend.

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