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Harbourfront Centre

Staff Picks: 5 Fun Activities for Canada Day

photo by Michelle Lee

Sunday, July 1 marks our country’s 145th birthday. It’s easy to celebrate the nation’s diversity and heritage in Toronto, thanks to a number of excellent events and outdoor activities! (more…)

Weekend Roundup: June 22 to 24

Friday: Janelle Monae offers a high-energy set at the Toronto Jazz Festival

Friday, June 22
More than 1,500 musicians are crowding into the city over the next 10 days for this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival. The much-anticipated event’s opening-night concerts include one-of-a-kind guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel take the stage for a solo performance, while modern-day R&B/soul/funk phenom Janelle Monae gets everyone grooving at the Nathan Phillips Square mainstage.

Celebrity air hostess Pam Ann touches down at the Panasonic Theatre for three uproarious nights of comedy. Fasten your seatbelts and follow Ann back to the glitzy golden age of flight—her huge hairdo, candy-pink uniform and disco boots certainly hearken back to that “glamorous” era!

Francophones and Francophiles come together to celebrate the diversity of French culture at this weekend’s Franco-Fête festival. Voila! Harbourfront Centre offers culinary delights, dancing and musique from Canadian artists like Ariane Moffatt and Samian et Anodajay, performing tonight on the WestJet Stage. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: May 25 to 27

Sunday: Akosua Amo-Adem and Soulpepper Academy artists perform Dirt (photo by Nathan Kelly)

Friday, May 25
More than 75 bags of dirt fill the Tank House Theatre stage (at the Yonge Centre for the Performing Arts) as the Soulpepper Academy performs Dirt, their theatrical production that revolves around the literal and metaphorical use of, well, dirt. Whether it’s the substance under your fingernails or a dirty secret, the show explores the use of dirt through stories, movement and technology.

Mayer Hawthorne, known for mixing “old school” soul with “new school” sounds, draws inspiration from classic singers like Smokey Robinson. He’s currently on tour with his second album How Do You Do? and swings into T.O. tonight for a show at The Hoxton.

Head to Harboufront Centre tonight for Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre’s Arena, a dramatic program of six contemporary works. Among the dynamic offerings are two premieres, one choreographed by the 2012 resident guest artist Sylvie Bouchard, the other by Deborah Lundmark, the company’s founding artistic director. (more…)

Hot Date: Esmeralda Enrique’s Decades of Steps

APRIL 19 TO 22 Experience the costumes, choreography and consummate artistry of the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company as it celebrates its 30th anniversary with a mix of musicians, singers and dancers trained in the vibrant art of flamenco. Founder Esmeralda Enrique is counted among the world’s foremost flamenco artists, and has assembled a troupe of passionate, expressive dancers that continue to mesmerize audiences in Toronto and around the world. Its four shows this month feature guest dancer Juan Ogalla as well as singers from Spain. Harbourfront Centre, Thursday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m., $25-$43; call 416-973-4600 or visit here to reserve tickets.

Weekend Roundup: April 6 to 8

Friday: See Hudson the polar bear, then enjoy some Easter-themed family fun (photo courtesy of the Toronto Zoo)

Friday, April 6
Treat the kids this long weekend with a trip to the Toronto Zoo. In addition to admiring animals from around the world, including a brand new baby polar bear named Hudson, kids can take part in the annual Easter Egg-Stravaganza, which offers a lineup of fun activities as well as the Beary-Bunny Easter Parade at noon and 2 p.m.

Hilarious comedy troupe The National Theatre of the World brings back its side-splitting Carnegie Hall Show to The Second City. The award-winning improv production features four of Toronto’s best comics acting out scenes based on mundane everyday activities. Also enjoy special performances of dance, Burlesque and even acrobatics.

Calling all music lovers! Grammy-nominated British duo The Ting Tings are set to rock the Phoenix Concert Theatre tonight, in promotion of their latest album, Sounds from Nowheresville. Perhaps you’ve heard of their hit, “Shut Up and Let Me Go”?

Saturday: Examine the patterned works of Marlis Saunders at the Design Exchange

Saturday, April 7
There are more than 100 colourful works to view in Marlis Saunders’ exhibition, entitled Stop, Drop, Repeat, at the Design Exchange. The German-Canadian artist is recognized as a pioneer of the Bauhaus school, and her patterned works are exemplars of that style.

A response to the classic play A Raisin in the Sun, Clybourne Park is a story of race and real estate set in a Chicago neighbourhood and spanning two generations. The dark comedy starts out in 1959, as a black family looks to move into an all-white neighbourhood, then fast-forwards to 2009, when a white family moves into the same house in what has become an all-black area.

Enjoy homegrown drama as renowned Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor brings Was Spring to the Tarragon Theatre. It’s a story of three generations of women who confront each other about a tragic event from their past.

Sunday: Ajax and Little Iliad is on stage at Harbourfront Centre

Sunday, April 8
The latest production in Harbourfront Centre’s popular World Stage series, Ajax & Little Iliad sets out to define the “theatre of war” for civilian audiences. Only 30 seats are available for each performance of this intimate show; each audience member listens through a pair of headphones for a truly personal experience.

The end is near! The end of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Maya exhibition, that is. After calling the institution home for the past four months, the Maya: Secrets of Their Ancient World mega-show moves on Monday. Take advantage of your last chance to discover priceless Mayan artifacts, learn about their sophisticated rituals and explore the mysterious end-of-days legend.

And if you don’t feel like venturing into the kitchen this Easter weekend, Toronto has plenty o’ places that’ll do the work for you, especially for that most comforting of meals—brunch. Check out some of the restaurants offering a holiday-Sunday repast here.

Weekend Roundup: March 9 to 11

Friday: The piano at Hugh's Room is sure to get a workout

Friday, March 9
Be at Hugh’s Room when an all-star cast of musicians perform the work of songwriting great Randy Newman. The wit and lyrical brilliance that infused songs by Etta James, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker will be in full force at this tribute.

It’s bound to be an evening chocful of blonde hair and pink accessories at the Lower Ossington Theatre when Legally Blonde: The Musical struts onstage. You’ll cheer as Elle Woods, sorority-girl extraordinaire, enrolls in law school and silences naysayers.

Ballet Jorgen unites the lyricism and innovation of ballet throughout the ages in this weekend’s production of classical and contemporary ballet. This two-show run by one of Canada’s leading modern dance companies is sure to inspire and delight as it glides across the Betty Oliphant Theatre stage. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: March 2 to 4

Friday: Entity offers provocative dance (photo by Ravi Deepres)

Friday, March 2
A stunning yet spare staging of contemporary dance awaits Harbourfront Centre audiences, as England’s Random Dance Company and acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor perform Entity, featuring music by the likes of Coldplay, Massive Attack and Jon Hopkins.

The National Ballet of Canada’s winter season opened this week with the lighthearted, romantic and slightly comical La Fille mal gardee. This classic pastoral ballet tells the story of Lise, who wishes to marry a young farmer. Her mother, however, has other plans, and promises Lise to a wealthy but buffoonish landowner.

The Artist Project Toronto entices creators, collectors and enthusiasts to Exhibition Place’s Queen Elizabeth Building this weekend. Admire contemporary works of photography, painting, textile art, digital media and more by independent artists Canada and around the world. While there, take a trip down Installation Alley to view large-scale sculptures and conceptual art projects, too. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: February 17 to 19

Friday: Only a few shows remain for Cruel and Tender (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Friday, February 17
Don’t miss one of your final opportunities to see Atom Egoyan’s return to his theatre roots as he directs his wife, Arsinee Khanjian, in Martin Crimp’s tour-de-force Cruel and Tender. This drama, which contrasts private battles and public wars, is on stage at the Bluma Appel Theatre until February 18.

Independent music showcase Wavelength celebrates its 12th anniversary with a four-night extravaganza of the newest and brightest in pop, rock and electronic music. Tonight’s lineup features Toronto’s own critically lauded hardcore band F*cked Up.

Virtuosic pianist Leon Fleisher commands the attention of the audience at Koerner Hall, as he and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra perform a bold selection of works by such masters as Ravel, Beethoven and Prokofiev.

Bonus Pick! Make your way to Indigo’s Manulife Centre location tonight to hear newly minted Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan discuss her acclaimed novel, Half-Blood Blues, with the Globe and Mail‘s Sandra Martin. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: February 10 to 12

Friday: War Horse gallops on to the stage (photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

Friday, February 10
Mirvish Productions sounds the charge tonight as the highly anticipated play War Horse begins its run at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Follow the touching story of Joey, a horse sold to the British cavalry at the outbreak of World War One, and the lengths to which his young friend Albert goes to bring home his beloved stallion.

Juno Award-winning musician Dallas Green, better know as City and Colour, kicked off his cross-Canada tour in January; he makes a stop at Massey Hall this evening to perform tracks from his latest album, Little Hell.

Treat yourself to Cantabile: An Evening of Live Italian Music at the Enwave Theatre, where the Art of Time Ensemble offers up a range of music, including familiar classics by Verdi and Puccini, as well as popular songs by Lucio Battisti.  (more…)

Weekend Roundup: February 3 to 5

Friday: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre performs Revelations and more (photo by Christopher Duggan)

Friday, February 3
Witness the legacy of one of the world’s finest choreographers in action when Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visits the Sony Centre to perform some of Ailey’s best-loved modern dance pieces, including Revelations.

Explore the movement, folklore and theatrical traditions of Africa with COBA, the Collective of Black Artists, when the group brings traditional dances from Guinea and Senegal to Harbourfront Centre this weekend.

Embrace African culture even more broadly at Harbourfront Centre’s Kuumba festival, which celebrates Black History Month. All manner of family-friendly activities are on offer—from film screenings and dance performances to a fashion workshop and drum exhibit. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: January 27 to 29

Friday: Get a dinner deal during Winterlicious (photo courtesy of Pangaea)

Friday, January 27
Start the weekend off with a Winterlicious meal as the citywide culinary extravaganza celebrates 10 years of tickling Torontonians’ taste buds. Approximately 175 restaurants are taking part; there are probably a few that aren’t entirely booked up this weekend.

Relive two of the most celebrated records of all time, as Classic Albums Live performs the Beatles’ seminal 1965/66 hits Rubber Soul and Revolver at Massey Hall.

See a real-life mother and son reenact their story of the culture clash between Indian heritage and Canadian lifestyle in Tarragon Theatre’s A Brimful of Asha. Follow Ravi on his trip to the motherland, where his parents decide it’s the perfect time to talk him into an arranged marriage. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: January 6-8

Friday: Demar DeRozan looks to lead the Raptors to a third straight victory

Friday, January 6
The NBA lockout finally concluded on Christmas day, the shortened basketball season is starting to pick up and our hometown Raptors are on a two-game winning streak. Cheer them on tonight as they take on the New Jersey Nets (including former “Mr. Kardishian” Kris Humphries) at the Air Canada Centre.

The Next Stage Theatre Festival is back for another year at Factory Theatre. The festival’s first weekend features top independent stage shows including The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go! and Living with Henry.

Drama meets punk rock as Broadway smash American Idiot continues its short-term run at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Featuring tunes such as “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from Green Day’s Grammy-winning album, this contemporary musical is not to be missed.

(more…)