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Dario Franchitti

Hot Date: High-Speed Spectacle at the Hondy Indy

photo by John Steadman

JULY 6 TO 8 Shift into top gear as Canada’s largest motorsport event, the Honda Indy Toronto, roars into town with fast cars and a bevy of big-name drivers—including 2011 winner Dario Franchitti, Graham Rahal, and Canadians James Hinchcliffe and Alex Tagliani—competing to be first to see the checkered flag. In addition to Sunday’s big race along the waterfront, the Indycar Fan Village offers the chance to chat with drivers, while the Ferrari Challenge showcases the Italian company’s iconic automobiles. Exhibition Place, $30 to $45 (reserved grandstand seating $50 to $185); call 416-588-7223 or visit here for more information.

Hot Date: Honda Indy’s Toronto Milestone

Danica Patrick

JULY 8 TO 10 Celebrate 25 years of speed at the Honda Indy Toronto. On top of Sunday’s big race along the shores of Lake Ontario—including drivers Dario Franchitti, Alex Tagliani, Will Power and Danica Patrick—there is also a slew of other features for fans, such as the new Ferrari Challenge, in which these legendary cars are showcased in their natural racing environment. Since its first running in 1986, the Honda Indy has become one of the largest sporting events in Canada. Exhibition Place, general admission $30 to $45, reserved grandstand $60 to $423; call 1-877-503-6869 or visit here for a complete schedule of events.

Weekend Roundup, July 16 to 18

A weekend filled with festivals, concerts, theatre and culture! Toronto’s multiculturalism openly displayed right in front of your eyes. Lots to choose from, so little time…

Friday: Revel in Shakespearean derring-do under the stars at High Park (photo by Chris Gallow)

Friday, July 16
Spend your evening at the launch of the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival at Woodbine Park, where you can enjoy some fresh air while listening to top acts like Digging Roots and Jay Douglas & The All-Stars. Bring a blanket or some chairs, recline on the grass and celebrate the weekend with free music. If you like what you hear, be sure to come back Saturday and Sunday for more.

Fall in love with Shakespeare under the stars at the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park, which offers a pay-what-you-can performance of Romeo Juliet with a modern twist—the story of the star-crossed lovers is told using iPods and other contemporary props.

Tantalize your taste buds for less thanks to Summerlicious. The popular dining sees restaurants offering three-course meals at a fixed price. Make a reservation to sample the cuisines of the world at such Toronto favourites as Alize (Italian), Bangkok Garden (Thai), Célestin (French), Jaipur Grille (Indian) and Katsura (Japanese).

Or, try a different kind of ‘licious menu at Lee. Its “Susur-licious” menu, named for star chef and owner Susur Lee, is a three-course prix fixe featuring dishes from Lee’s tenure on the Food Network’s Top Chef Masters.

Saturday: See Geddy Lee and the rest of Rush (photo by ceedub13)

Saturday, July 17
Forget the 19-hour flight to the other side of the world. Today you can experience Indian culture on Toronto’s Centre Island, which hosts the annual Festival of India. Your immersion includes Indian music, dance, food and dramatic performances, plus crafts and souvenirs available from the bazaar. An exhibition reflecting the country’s history offers further enlightenment.

Swing by the Distillery Historic District to grab a bite from one of its many restaurants or cafés, then be sure to check out one of two Soulpepper Theatre Company shows at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Turgenev’s romantic comedy A Month in the Country is sure to stir up your emotions, and David French’s original and acclaimed Jitters also draws guffaws today.

Sing along with Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart as they bring their Rush classics back to the Air Canada Centre. The legendary Canadian prog rock band‘s Time Machine tour is guaranteed to have you reminiscing about the glory days.

Come face to face with some of the world’s most celebrated historical artifacts at the Royal Ontario Museum’s landmark exhibition, The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army, featuring full-sized clay warriors from the tomb of Chinese emperor Ying Zheng.

Sunday: Don't forget your earplugs! The Hondy Indy zooms through Toronto

Sunday, July 18
There’s more musical nostalgia on offer at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, as Rock of Ages continues its successful run. This engaging show sets a rock ‘n’ roll love story to a soundtrack of ’80s hits by Journey, REO Speedwagon and many others.

South America’s largest nation gets a showcase this weekend at the Expressions of Brazil festival, part of Harbourfront Centre’s summer-long “world routes” programming. Today’s cultural mix includes samba performances, a drumming workshop, cooking and capoeira demonstrations and much more.

It’ll be easy to find Exhibition Place today—just head toward the sound of revving engines at the much-anticipated Honda Indy car race. Cheer on professional drivers like Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti as they speed toward the checkered flag.

Indulge in a decadent taste from the briny deep at the annual Ontario Oyster Festival hosted by Rodney’s Oyster House. For $30, guests can feast on some exceptional oysters, hear live music, cheer on competitive oyster shuckers and much more. All proceeds go to Environmental Defence, a charitable organization.

Hot Date: Get Your Motor Running

Paul Tracy

JULY 16 TO 18 Shift into high gear as the Honda Indy roars back into town. Toronto’s own Paul Tracy and Montreal-based Alex Tagliani take on the twisting track against defending champion Dario Franchitti and drivers from as far as England and New Zealand. This IndyCar Series race features a 2.824 km street circuit that laps along Lake Shore Boulevard. Practice and qualifying runs are Friday and Saturday; the checkered flag waves on Sunday to crown a new champion. Exhibition Place, $42 to $423; call 1-877-503-6869 or click here for more information and to purchase tickets.