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100th Grey Cup Festival

Weekend Roundup: November 16 to 18

The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is an epicurean’s dream

Friday, November 16
Nothing warms a cold November day quite like good food and a stiff drink. With more than 1,500 wines, beers and spirits to sample, as well as a selection of gourmet food tastings from Toronto’s top chefs, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo delivers. The weekend-long event offers access to top winemakers and craft brewers, cooking demos, tasting workshops and much more.

The Design Exchange relaunches as “Canada’s Design Museum” while celebrating the work of cultural “game changer” Douglas Coupland tonight at DX Intersection, its annual fundraiser. Multiple DJs, performers and a silent auction of artist-reimagined Ikea products provide entertainment, while the Food Dudes food truck keeps mouths and stomachs full well into the night.

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Friday Night Live event series brings you good eats, good tunes, and, tonight, a screening of the 1972 Summit Series hockey final in honour of the 40th anniversary of this legendary game. Bite into a sandwich care of Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile or savour delicious treats by Waffle Bar’s Valerie Bain while you toast the T-Rex skeleton to your left. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy the hockey action you’ve been missing, all while exploring the ROM’s hallowed halls after hours.

The Cavalcade of Lights kicks off the holiday season with music and more

Saturday, November 17
Ring in the holiday season with Toronto’s annual Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square. Dragonette and Suzie McNeil are just two of the performers who will grace the stage as City Hall is illuminated and fireworks mark the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree.

Festivities for the 100th Grey Cup have also taken over Nathan Phillips Square. The event’s Adrenaline Zone dares you to take a leap with North America’s tallest urban zip line while Yonge-Dundas Square’s Nissan Family Zone gives you an opportunity to teach your little one how to throw a ball. Later, gather everyone together and check out a screening of Jerry McGuire at the Rushes Football Film Festival at Scotiabank Theatre. How’s that for a touchdown celebration?

To locals, a trip on the 501 Queen streetcar can sometimes feel unbearably long. But for visitors, a trip on North America’s longest surface public transit route is a great way to see the city. Today it’s also a great way to get some grub. Sign up for Foodies On Foot’s Streetcar Food Tour, a six-neighbourhood restaurant-hopping taste-a-thon that’s will help you travel the path from Toronto-dining neophyte to expert in just one night.

Santa makes his triumphant return to downtown Toronto (photo: Gabriel Perez)

Sunday, November 18
Bundle up the kids and head on down to the Santa Claus Parade for an afternoon of elves, upside-down clowns, marching bands, floats and more. Be on the lookout for a Grey Cup float with a four-metre replica of the trophy and Mike “Pinball” Clemons at the helm, as well as a One Direction float inspired by the popular British Boy Band.

Christmas comes early for the canine in your life with Winter Woofstock at the Direct Energy Centre. Lavish your pooch with fashion, food, furnishings and accessories and get their picture taken with Santa. Dog pageants, races and a dating soirees are just some of the fun events that are sure to keep tails wagging.

Matinee and evening shows today offer one last chance to catch the pre-Broadway run of Jekyll and Hyde. The intriguing and dark story of a man fighting multiple identities stars former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis and R&B diva Deborah Cox, who deliver performances that are not to be missed.

Kick Off Your Fun at the 100th Grey Cup Festival

The Toronto Argonauts celebrate their 1996 Grey Cup win

NOVEMBER 15 TO 25  Hailing itself an “invitation to the nation,” the 100th Grey Cup Festival promises to be a cultural extravaganza uniting football fans, cinephiles, foodies and music lovers alike. Even if you don’t know a slotback from a safety, you’ll still have a ball at this pigskin-inspired party.

DO
The Nissan Family Zone at Yonge-Dundas Square boasts a mini football field where kids can learn to kick or throw a football.

Hit the Adrenaline Zone at Nathan Phillips Square to brave the tallest urban zip line in North America; it’s suspended 725 feet in the air between the two towers at City Hall, and runs all the way down to Queen Street. If you’d rather stay on the ground, why not test your athleticism on the obstacle course created by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces.

Revellers can also crowd the Scotiabank Fan Zone at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, while the Telus Street Party, along King Street from John to Simcoe streets, gets everyone into high spirits with live shows, team celebrations, and food and beer tents. A tailgate party presented by Frank’s Redhot and an outdoor ribfest are sure to create a frenzy in the lead up to the big game, which takes place on November 25.

SEE
Jolly old St. Nick and his reindeer have a special item aboard their sleigh this year: the Grey Cup trophy makes a special appearance during the Santa Claus Parade (click here for the route) on November 18.

Cinephiles can catch game in all of its Hollywood glory at the Scotiabank Theatre (259 Richmond St. W.) during the Football Film Festival, which includes screenings of Any Given Sunday, The Longest Yard, Remember the Titans and Jerry Maguire. Toronto Argonauts alumnus Mike “Pinball” Clemons is on hand for the tragic yet endearing Brian’s Song.

A varied lineup of performers takes to stages throughout the city for ticketed and free concerts. Count on acts such as Burton Cummings, K’Naan, Sam Roberts Band, Matthew Good, Treble Charger, Kreesha Turner, Big Sugar, April Wine and Kim Mitchell to bring crowds to their feet.

EAT
Chefs and culinary students from George Brown College team up at Nathan Phillips Square’s High Octane Food Zone, where individual servings of comfort foods with a twist cost no more than $5 apiece.

Feast right on the field of the Rogers Centre during the exclusive Scotiabank 100th Grey Cup Gala on November 21. Celebrated chefs Mark McEwan of Bymark and Rob Gentile of Buca team up to offer a sophisticated menu while chart-toppers Chris Willis and Brad Mates provide the dinner music.  —Linda Luong