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Alice in Wonderland

Weekend Roundup, May 20th to 22nd

Friday: Gluck's Orfeo is enthralling (photo by Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Friday, May 20
Follow the critics’ raves to the Four Seasons Centre, where the Canadian Opera Company stages the heart-wrenching Orfeo ed Euridice. Compsed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, this opera tells of Orfeo who, after losing his beloved Euridice, literally goes to hell and back to find her.

Take a scenic drive west of Toronto to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where two new plays begin previews. Shakespeare’s classic Richard III tells the dark story of a man trying to seize the English throne by dispatching all those who stand in his way. For something a little lighter, the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar brings the story of Judas Iscariot to life through rock opera.

Running to May 29, Inside Out, the 21st annual Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival, screens throughout the city. Tonight at 9:30 p.m. (at the TIFF Bell Lightbox), catch Bloomington, a story about a television actress who begins to question her sexuality while trying to lead a normal life as a freshman at Bloomington University.

Saturday: See Aussie troupe Circa among many other acts at Harbourfront Centre (photo by Leif Norman)

Saturday, May 21
Celebrate the weekend at Harbourfront Centre, which hosts the Toronto International Circus Festival, a three-day event beginning today and featuring extraordinary circus artists from the around the world. Catch eye-popping acrobats, gravity-defying rope walkers, fire-eaters, clowns and much more.

What’s black and white and coming back to the Toronto Zoo? Endangered African Penguins! The zoo’s new 6,000-square-foot penguin exhibit opens today with a state-of-the-art underwater viewing area so you can come face to face with the penguins.

Also starting today, the Alice in Wonderland experience takes over Black Creek Pioneer Village with events like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, a “Through the Looking Glass” Maze and the Queen of Hearts’ Field of Games. Families can also enjoy all that the historic village has to offer, including farm animals, Victorian dancing lessons, and the interactive history centre.

Sunday: See cosmopolitan indie artist Lykke Li at the Phoenix (photo by SpoiltCat)

Sunday, May 22
The unique sounds of alternative rock-pop artist Lykke Li pervade the Phoenix Concert Theatre on tonight. Influenced by her nomadic past—having lived in Portugal, Sweden, India and New York City—Li’s quirky use of harpsichords, flutes and Theremins makes her music all the more mesmerizing.

The Kids’ World Energy Festival wraps up today at the Evergreen Brick Works, with family-friendly activities focusing on renewable energy, climate change and the science of energy. Together, parents and kids can learn what they can do to contribute to a sustainable future.

Celebrate the long Victoria Day weekend by catching some fireworks. Weather permitting, Canada’s Wonderland offers a show starting at 10 p.m., or make your way to Ashbridge’s Bay on Monday at 9:45 p.m. for a dazzling display of lights over Lake Ontario.

Weekend Roundup, May 21 to 24

Toronto certainly knows how to commemorate a festive occasion. Your Victoria Day weekend will be a memorable one filled with festivals, music and, naturally, fireworks.

Friday: See Elmo and his Sesame Street friends (photo courtesy of VEE Corporation; TM/© 2010 Sesame Workshop)

Friday, May 21
Don’t miss country singer and songwriter Taylor Swift at the Air Canada Centre, as she belts out her hits. American Idol performer Kellie Pickler provides additional vocal firepower as a special guest.

Families are sure to be drawn to the Rogers Centre this weekend. Watch the Sesame Street gang in Elmo’s Green Thumb, a theatrical story in which everyone’s favourite red furball attempts to speed the growth of a sunflower with a spell that, consequently, shrinks him and his friends. Learn a thing or two about patience and our ecosystem and be entertained as the muppets dance, sing and set your sides in stitches.

Seek out art of philosophical meaning and technical precision at the Alison Smith Gallery, a chic gallery in the emerging Dundas West art district.

Saturday, May 22
Peer through the looking glass and behold the world of Alice in Wonderland at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where the beloved story comes to life for an entire weekend of Cheshire Cat crafts, a Mad Hatter’s tea party and much more.

His name was all over the newspapers and now they’ll be writing about his visit to Massey Hallcomedian and erstwhile talk show host Conan O’Brien will have you roaring with laughter alongside Andy Richter and the former Tonight Show band.

Don’t miss your last chance to experience the moral thriller Death and the Maiden at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Watch as this intriguing tale—about a woman who encounters a doctor who may have tortured her in the past—unfolds before your bewildered eyes.

Sunday: Enjoy the Cinesphere and other attractions at Ontario Place

Sunday, May 23
Explore architectural wonders and historic districts on a relaxing yet educational walking tour hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum. This afternoon’s ROM Walk sets off at 2 p.m. for an adventure detailing Sacred Stones and Steeples.

What would Victoria Day weekend be without fireworks? Mark the festive occasion at Ontario Place or Canada’s Wonderland with a day of rides and an evening showcase of bursting, streaming, shimmering lights.

Enjoy a decadent meal aboard the Jubilee Queen cruise ship. Float serenely among the Toronto Islands as sparkling stars—and, of course, those festive fireworks—illuminate the night sky.

Monday, May 24
Celebrate the queen’s birthday at Gibson House, the historic home of one of Willowdale’s founding families. Snack on a treat in the  kitchen, view old-fashioned toys in the parlour or engage in hands-on activities in the Discovery Gallery.

Behold gravity-defying stunts and incredible acrobatics at the Toronto International Circus Festival. World-class acrobats, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and balloon sculptors gather at Harbourfront Centre to amaze and entertain you.

Meander through the Distillery Historic District and feast your eyes on displays of Canadian crafts—including handmade jewellery, sweet-smelling soaps, wood furniture and photographic art—at the Distillery Spring Arts Show.

Hot Shopping: Off with Their Crystals

Swarovski's Cheshire Cat pendant

You don’t have to fall down a rabbit hole to find yourself in the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. On March 5, director Tim Burton brings the book to life with his own gothic twist; his new movie sees Alice reuniting with the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen 10 years after her original tumble. Inspired by the film, crystal purveyor Swarovski has introduced a collection of whimsical baubles representing the characters and themes of the classic children’s novel, including a Cheshire Cat pendant with black diamond, indicolite and light rose pointiage crystals ($165). If you’re looking for more tributes to Alice and her friends, Indigo carries tea cups and pots as well as an illustrated version of the book, while OPI has four bold lacquer hues with cheeky names like Off With Her Red!, available at Caryl Baker Visage.