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What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events This August

There are always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great events and concerts taking place throughout the city this month!

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is always a huge summer hit

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is always a huge summer hit

AUGUST 2  Switch into island mode as Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival wends its way through the city’s west end; its annual grand parade is the largest procession in North America! More than one million people line the 3.5-kilometre parade route each year to see all the elaborate sequined costumes and head pieces, and groove to masquerade bands performing soca, calypso and steelpan sounds. Exhibition Place, 200 Princes Blvd., parade starts at 9 a.m., free admission (reserved seating available); visit torontocaribbeancarnival.com for event details.

AUGUST 2 TO 10  Tennis’s top seeds swing into action this month at the Rogers Cup, trading forehands and volleys for a purse worth more than $3.5 million. Playing out simultaneously in Montreal and Toronto (ladies are in the former city while the men are in Hogtown), the tournament is expected to rekindle some long-standing rivalries: Rafael Nadal is back to defend his title from the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Milos Raonic (pictured), last year’s runner-up and the first Canadian to reach Rogers Cup final since 1958, is also among the players vying for the big prize. Rexall Centre, 1 Shoreham Dr., $25 and up; call 1-877-283-6647 or visit rogerscup.com to purchase.

AUGUST 2 TO 31  Join Ariel and her fishy friends Sebastian and Flounder as they dream of a life on land in The Little Mermaid Jr. This family-friendly adaptation of the 2008 Broadway show has the sylph longing to escape her oceanic surroundings to be with Prince Eric. But first she must defy her father and be transformed into a human being—through a pact with the evil sea witch Ursula. The amphibious love story is told with the enchanting music of Alan Menken. Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Ave., Thursday and Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m., 2:30 and 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., $29 to $59; call 416- 915-6747 or see lowerossingtontheatre.com to reserve.

AUGUST 7 TO 17  Homegrown talent is highlighted at the annual SummerWorks Performance Festival, the largest juried theatre series in Canada. Though there are several dozen works to see—from memoirs (Bitter Medicine) to apocalyptic premonitions (And Now, The End) to mariachi operas (El Jinete: The Rider)—the drama He Left Quietly is a distinct highlight. Based on the life of Duma Kumalo—masterfully portrayed by Conrad Coates—this true story examines South Africa’s corrupt justice system as Kumalo is wrongfully accused of murdering a local politician and sentenced to death. Various venues and times, single tickets $15, three- and 10-show passes $40 to $120; call 416-915-6747 or visit summerworks.ca for a complete lineup.

AUGUST 8 TO 10  Get your Greek on as the Krinos Taste of the Danforth returns for three days of Hellenic culture—and lots of food. For more than two decades, Canada’s largest street festival has drawn thousands of visitors to the city’s east end; a record-breaking 1.5 million guests attended last year. In addition to authentic offerings of spanakopita, souvlaki, gyros and baklava, three stages with live entertainment add to the jovial spirit. This year sees Hollywood playing a starring role with themed activities from such movies as Expendables 3, The Boxtrolls and Paddington. The Taste successfully (though unofficially) broke Guinness World Records for both the largest Zorba dance and Greek yogurt bowl in 2013; this time around attendees can participate in two more attempts: for the largest tug of war—a minimum of 2,000 people are needed—and the farthest cumulative long-jump distance—2.79 miles is the length to beat. On and around Danforth Avenue, between Jones and Broadview avenues; visit tasteofthedanforth.com for more information.

AUGUST 9  Although summer is known for its abundance of farmers’ markets, there’s always room for another leisurely shopping opportunity, particularly one as pretty as the Toronto Flower Market. Since May, Ontario greenhouses have been bringing their fragrant blooms and bouquets to Queen Street West (at Dovercourt Road) for a spectacular floral bazaar. August brings seasonal blossoms such as sunflowers, dahlias, zinnias, hydrangeas and freesia. A special art installation composed of fresh buds is planned for the gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park. Two additional market dates are scheduled for this year: September 13 and October 11. Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 1056 Queen St. W.; visit torontoflowermarket.ca for further details.

AUGUST 14 TO SEPTEMBER 29  A Tender Thing rewrites the fate of fiction’s famous star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet. Rather than taking their own lives at the end of Shakespeare’s tragic tale, they’re now an elderly couple facing mortality as Juliet, ailing from a degenerative disease, contemplates ending her life. Playwright Ben Power weaves events and soliloquys from the Bard’s original play into his new work, drawing clever literary parallels that astute viewers and readers will appreciate. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, evenings 8 p.m., select matinees 2 p.m., $29 to $74; call 416-866-8666 or visit soulpepper.ca to charge.

The Breeders' Stakes caps the Canadian Triple Crown of horse racing

The Breeders’ Stakes caps the Canadian Triple Crown of horse racing

AUGUST 17  Three-year old thoroughbreds compete for a $500,000 purse in the Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of Canada’s Triple Crown. Following the first two jewels—the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales stakes were both in July—this third race is the longest of the trio at one and a half miles. It’s also the only one to use a turf track; the previous competitions are run on a polytrack and dirt track, respectively. Make a day of the occasion by having a pre- or post-race meal at Favourites buffet or Champions Bar and Patio. Alternatively, test your luck at the slot machines—there are more than 2,500 to choose from with plays ranging from one cent to $5. Woodbine Racetrack (page 33), 1 p.m., call 416-675-7223 or visit woodbineentertainment.com for details.

AUGUST 21 TO 24  Yonge Street becomes a stage as Scotiabank Buskerfest returns for the 15th year. Canadian and international performers including clowns, comics, fire jugglers, acrobats and magicians bring their daring and comedic acts to North America’s largest busking event, with all proceeds supporting Epilepsy Toronto. Don’t miss the debut of Australia’s Rueben DotDotDot as he performs his famed balancing act from 20 feet up in the air, plus a dancing fire show from Down Under troupe FlameOz and the acrobatic spectacle of NoMaD Cirquel. Yonge Street (between Queen and College streets), Thursday and Friday noon to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., free admission but donations are appreciated; visit torontobuskerfest.com for more information.

AUGUST 28 TO 31  Live out your sci-fi and comic book fantasies at Fan Expo Canada. The four-day geekstravaganza features photo sessions with the likes of Stan Lee and Patrick Stewart. Q&A sessions, special-effects and makeup workshops, and a huge selection of vendors round out this popular convention, which draws everyone from gamers and comics aficionados to fans of horror films and anime. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., Thursday 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $25 to $40; visit fanexpocanada.com for more information.

AUGUST 28 TO OCTOBER 19  The distinctive blue and yellow tents have once again popped up at the Port Lands, and with them comes Cirque du Soleil, back in Toronto after a near-two year absence. This season the famed Montreal troupe presents a kaleidoscope of characters and objects in its latest travelling show, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities. Under the big top, audiences are transported back to the 19th century to meet an inventor who’s able to defy time, space and even gravity—in one spectacular scene there is even an upside-down dinner party! Grand Chapiteau, 51 Commissioner St., Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 4:30 and 8 p.m., Sunday 1:30 and 5 p.m., $50 to $160; visit cirquedusoleil.com to purchase tickets.


Drake headlines his annual OVO Fest

Drake headlines his annual OVO Fest

AUGUST 1  Superbly shouty indie rockers Modest Mouse scurry on to the Echo Beach stage—following a support performance by Broken Social Scene-ster Kevin Drew.

AUGUST 1 & 2  Stylin’ Harry Styles and the rest of One Direction play to the converted (and their minders) at the Rogers Centre.

AUGUST 2 & 3  Downsview Park gets “Fancy” as Iggy Azalea seeks to steal the Armin van Buuren and Calvin Harris’s thunder at the electronic-leaning Veld Music Festival.

AUGUST 3 & 4  “The 6” welcomes back its prodigal son as Drake headlines the second night of his annual OVO Fest. A reunited Outkast tops Sunday’s bill, and many special guests are expected on both days of the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre event.

AUGUST 5  On the heels of OVO Fest, the Amphitheatre hosts a very different crowd as Kings of Leon roll into town.

AUGUST 6  Easygoing lakeside venue Echo Beach welcomes Panic! at the Disco.

AUGUST 8  The hallowed Massey Hall is an apt stage for Tori Amos‘s timeless story-songs.

AUGUST 8  John Legend soulfully seeks your approval at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

AUGUST 8  Blogger-friendly ethereal-pop stylist FKA Twigs croons at the Danforth Music Hall

AUGUST 9  The only Greek musician you’re likely able to name wafts into town on a cloud of symphonic new age music. That’s right, Yanni is scheduled to perform at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

AUGUST 12  The only Satanic costume-sporting adults you’re likely able to name (unless you’re a fan of Lordi) stomp into town to rock ‘n’ roll all night. That’s right, KISS is back at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, and this time they’ve brought Def Leppard with them.

AUGUST 14  Alvvays—a buzzy lo-fi pop outfit led by a Rankin Family hatchling—makes melancholia-tinged noise at the Horseshoe Tavern.

AUGUST 15  The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre fulfills the obligation that Blue Rodeo must play at least one Toronto concert per year.

AUGUST 15  Fort York continues to situate itself as a go-to host of summertime music festivals. Its offering this month: the Mad Decent Block Party, featuring Chance the Rapper and Diplo.

Arcade Fire rocks the Air Canada Centre at the end of the month

Arcade Fire rocks the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre at the end of the month

AUGUST 16  British folk-rock crooner Michael David Rosenberg (better known as Passenger) plays the Sound Academy.

AUGUST 16  Late-’90s nostalgia gets a musical outlet at an Edgefest-branded concert at Echo Beach, featuring the likes of I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and Sloan.

AUGUST 20  The kids still love Canadian pop-rockers Hedley. Thus, the band gets to play to a few thousand fans at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. (Youthful ears also seem to love reggae-leaning “Rude” quartet Magic!, who’ve been tapped to open the show.)

AUGUST 23 & 24  A more mature audience is undoubtedly expected to see Steely Dan‘s Donald Fagen and Walter Becker totter into the Sony Centre.

AUGUST 25  Echo Beach gets some northern exposure with a double-bill of Scandinavian electro-pop—Röyksopp and Robyn.

AUGUST 26  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers aim their collective Hypnotic Eye (whatever that means) toward fans of workmanlike rock at the Air Canada Centre.

AUGUST 27  You can bet Chris Isaak will play “Wicked Games” at Massey Hall.

AUGUST 28  We’re not sure why American country singer Jason Aldean is in a destructive mood: his Burn It Down tour ignites the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. (Fans, please try not to get singed!)

AUGUST 29  The modernist spectacle that is Arcade Fire‘s Reflektor tour returns to Toronto. The band proclaims “We Exist” (and probably plays a bunch of its other songs, too) at the Molson Amphitheatre.

AUGUST 30  Dance-y Krautrock-inspired trio Fujiya & Miyagi bring Artificial Sweeteners (their latest album) to Lee’s Palace.

AUGUST 30 TO SEPTEMBER 1  Summertime says an unofficial goodbye with a flypast courtesy of the Canadian International Air Show.

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