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BlackCreek Summer Music Festival

Hot Date: Barry Manilow Plays BlackCreek

AUGUST 24 It may not be the Copacabana, but York University’s open-air concert stage is sure to heat up when Barry Manilow croons his hits at the BlackCreek Music Festival. Rexall Centre, $64 to $156; call 1-888-860-7888 or visit here for tickets.

Weekend Roundup, July 8 to 10

Friday: Grab some prix fixe grub at Brassaii and other Summerlicious restaurants

Friday, July 8
Sample the food of your favourite restaurants in the city—or discover a new favourite—when Summerlicious begins this Friday. Dine for less with specially created prix-fixe menus at over 100 eateries throughout the city such as Canoe, Pangaea, and Brassaii.

Experience the eclectic sights and sounds of Mexico as the Corazon de Mexico arts fiesta begins its weekend-long stint at Harbourfront Centre. Traditional and modern performances happening along the lively waterfront include cumbia musician Celso Piña and high-energy salsa band Sugar Heat. If the dancing makes you hungry, make sure you grab some authentic Mexican tostadas with lime and chia agua fresca. (more…)

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.

Weekend Roundup, June 3rd to 5th

Friday: View Craig C. Cochrane's burlesque photos, including Tea with Mussolini.

Friday, June 3
For one sassy and sultry week (from June 2 to 7), Yorkville’s Liss Gallery presents Canadian photographer, Craig C. Cochrane’s Toronto Burlesque Photography exhibit. The collection features male and female burlesque performers shot on stage as well as in studio.

Meet one of Hollywood’s original stars at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which presents the exhibition Mary Pickford & the Invention of the Movie Star in its Canadian Film Gallery. The display chronicles the life and career of the Canadian-born silent film actor, once dubbed “America’s Sweetheart.” Once your interest is piqued, catch a program of four of Pickford’s greatest films.

Marvel at them before they’re gone! There’s just one week left to ogle the late Princess Diana’s famous collection of dresses at the Design Exchange. This exclusive showcase marks the last time the gowns will be shown together publicly, as they’re slated for auction at the end of the month.

Saturday: Plácido Domingo sings beneath the stars

Saturday, June 4
Masterful tenor Placido Domingo is sure to enthrall the audience at Toronto’s new BlackCreek Summer Music Festival, which kicks off tonight at York University’s open-air Rexall Centre. This beloved “King of Opera” will be joined on stage by soprano superstar Sondra Radvanovsky.

Celebrate rhythm at the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival, taking place today and tomorrow at Queen’s Park. Drummers representing Africa, North America, South America, Europe, India, Japan, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, South Korea and the Middle East are set to beat their hearts out at this family-friendly event.

The Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival continues this weekend, screening more of its 275 films from 36 countries (including 77 Canadian flicks). Among today’s offerings: a set of short films from New Zealand in a program called “New Zealand’s Got Talent” at the Royal Ontario Museum, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday: Be entertained at the Toronto Festival of Clowns (photo by Kathleen Finlay)

Sunday, June 5
The city is also overrun with clowns this weekend, courtesy of the Toronto Festival of Clowns. The event includes full-length shows featuring clowns, physical performers, mimes, buskers and more. Today at 6:30 p.m., catch The Last Man on Earth, a play in the style of a silent that tells of the Devil and his minion as they try to corrupt the last man on the planet.

It’s like a farmer’s market but with beer! Spend a relaxing afternoon at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, which hosts a Brewery Market throughout the summer. Enjoy a slice of pizza from the barn’s outdoor oven while sipping a brew from this week’s featured brewer, Toronto’s Denison’s Brewing Company, best known for its German-style beers. Partial proceeds from the event support The Stop Community Food Centre’s initiatives.

The annual Waterfront Blues festival, one of the only genuine blues-music events in Toronto, wraps up today at Woodbine Park in the city’s balmy east end. Admission is free to watch a dozen performers, including The Gary Kendall Band, Larry McCray and Curtis Salgado.

Hot Date: Plácido Domingo Stars on Stage

Placido Domingo

OPENS JUNE 4 Toronto’s artistic offerings get a little classier as the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival launches its inaugural season with a performance by world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo plus special guest soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Later in the month, as part of the festival’s 14-week schedule, the likes of James Taylor (June 25) and Lionel Richie (June 28) sing beneath the Toronto stars, while Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons recite Shakespeare’s most famous verses with live orchestral accompaniment (June 29). York University, Rexall Centre; call 1-888-860-7888 or click here for more information.