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Aretha Franklin

Weekend Roundup, June 24 to 26

Friday: Show Aretha Franklin some respect at David Pecaut Square

Friday, June 24
Start the weekend on a high note as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, opens the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a free show at David Pecaut Square. The festival continues until July 3, and promises performances by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Branford Marsalis, and even hip-hop outfit The Roots.

One of the largest GLBT celebrations in the world, Toronto’s Pride Week begins this weekend with events throughout the city. Tonight the Gladstone Hotel hosts a Gay-Straight Alliance Dance Party, with DJs including Cosmic Cat and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, spinning tunes. The festival culminates with the annual Pride parade on July 3.

Enjoy an evening of timeless classics and traditional swing-jazz numbers at a Roy Thomson Hall performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Directed by renowned trombonist Gary Tole with special guest Susie Arioli, the big band’s setlist includes all-time favourites like “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Saturday: Sway to the sweet sounds of folk crooner James Taylor

Saturday, June 25
The sweet sounds of acoustic folk music fill the open-air Rexall Centre at York University as James Taylor makes an appearance at the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival. Fans of the Grammy-winning troubadour can expect to hear his hits including “Fire and Rain”, “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Carolina in my Mind.”

Cheer on all the competitors at the 23rd Annual Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival. The two-day event at Centre Island offers multicultural food and entertainment, plus more than 180 teams paddling teams competing for glory.

Calling all cycling enthusiasts! Join the fun at Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Bike Fest in the Distillery Historic District, featuring clinics and seminars, demonstrations, a scavenger ride and even live local bands.

Sunday: Les Chiclettes and other francophone artists perform at Franco-Fete.

Sunday, June 26
Round out the weekend by celebrating Canada’s other official culture at Harbourfront Centre’s Franco-Fete. The city’s only francophone festival presents a bevy of family-friendly performances, culinary demonstrations and much more. Très bien!

The Toronto Zoo marks the occasion of the International Indian Film Academy Awards being held downtown with it’s own Bollywood party. The festivities include music and dancing for children, as well as storytelling, henna tattoos and more.

Welcome the start of summer with a 1920s-style garden party at Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens. Guests can marvel at the mansion’s decor—recently restored to its Jazz Age heyday—dance to jazz rhythms, enjoy period-appropriate refreshments, and even solve a murder mystery.

Hot Date: Aretha’s In Town for the Toronto Jazz Festival

Aretha Franklin

JUNE 24 TO JULY 3 To mark its 25th season, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival stages 350 concerts at more than 40 venues with 1,500 musicians. But the only one big enough to kick off the event’s silver anniversary is Aretha Franklin, who gives this city some free opening-night R-E-S-P-E-C-T at David Pecaut Square. Fans can then find all the right grooves at shows by the Dave Holland Quintet, Kurt Elling, power trio The Bad Plus, and pianist Kenny Barron. Various venues and showtimes; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit here to buy.

November Hot Date: The Queen of Soul

Aretha FranklinNOVEMBER 6 Soul, gospel and R&B songstress Aretha Franklin belts out such acclaimed hits as “Chain of Fools” and “Natural Woman.” With almost 40 albums and numerous Grammys to her credit—plus top spot on Rolling Stone’s reckoning of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time—the Queen of Soul deserves more than a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m., $79.50
to $169.50; call 416-872-4555 or visit here to order.