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International Festival of Authors

What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events this October

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT EVENTS AND CONCERTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY THIS MONTH!

Gavin Creel in The Book of Mormon, North American Tour. © Joan Marcus, 2012.

Gavin Creel in The Book of Mormon, North American Tour. © Joan Marcus, 2012.

ALL MONTH LONG  Tony Award–winning musical The Book of Mormon is back at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The story centres on two missionaries who travel to Uganda in hopes of spreading the gospel but who experience a disconnect with the villagers who are dealing with AIDS, famine, poverty and war. Tickets are $49 – $200; visit mirvish.com for more information and to purchase.

ALL MONTH LONG This season at the Design Exchange, guest curator Jeanne Beker peeks into the wardrobes of iconic fashion designers and pulls out pieces that have made important political statements over the past 50 years for the exhibition “Politics of Fashion.” The striking garments lend both style and substance to longstanding ethical debates, gender issues, anti-war activism and more. General admission is $9.25 – $18.50; visit dx.org for more information and to purchase.

STARTS OCTOBER 3 Known for vibrant, thickly textured canvases that explore the physical and psychological connections between artist and landscape, artist Kim Dorland offers a series of new works for display at Angell Gallery. Expect pieces that continue to expand on the artist’s signature style and thematic concerns, further entrenching his position as Canada’s painter of record. Angell Gallery; 12 Ossington Ave., 416-530-0444. Open Wednesday to Saturday.

STARTS OCTOBER 12 Helen Lawrence, a new media production by visual artist Stan Douglas, mixes theatre, visual art, live action filming and computer-generated simulation in this story set in post-World War II Vancouver. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., 416-366-1656. Tuesday to Thursday 8 p.m., Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 1 & 8 p.m., Wednesday & Sunday 1 p.m.; $30-$99; visit canadianstage.com or call 416-368-3110 to charge.

OCTOBER 17 TO 19 If you’ve ever longed to taste the recipes being made by TV chefs, the Delicious Food Show is your meal ticket. Whether you hunger for the inside scoop on trendy cuisine, advice on grilling the perfect steak, or simply a sinful chocolate cake recipe, celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Mario Batali have you covered. Join them, plus local chefs like DaiLo’s Nick Liu and Yours Truly’s Lachlan Culjak for a feast of workshops, cooking demos and food pairings. Direct Energy Centre, Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., general admission is $22; visit deliciousfoodshow.com for details.

STARTS OCTOBER 23 Giants of the literary world descend upon the waterfront for 35th edition of the International Festival of Authors. A global roster of 200-plus novelists, poets, essayists and more share their passion for the written word during 11 days of readings, panel discussions, interviews and book signings. CanLit darling Ann-Marie MacDonald, poet Dionne Brand, crime fiction novelist James Ellroy, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, Irish scribes Colm Tóibín and John Boyne, and critically acclaimed Emma Donoghue are among the expected participants. Harbourfront Centre, general admission $18 for most events; call 416-973-4000 or visit ifoa.org for a schedule and to purchase tickets.

Opera Atelier Alcina. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Opera Atelier’s Alcina starts October 23. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

STARTS OCTOBER 23  Sorceress sisters weave romantic entanglements in Alcina, the latest offering from Opera Atelier. In the company’s new, period-appropriate production of Handel’s 18th-century masterwork, the handsome Ruggiero finds himself on an island in search of the seductress Alcina; his true love, Bradamante, follows, disguised as a knight, and immediately draws the gaze of Alcina’s sister Morgana. But on this island of illusion, it’s true love that proves to be most magical. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., evenings at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.. Tickets are $38 – $181; call 1-855-622-2787 to charge or visit operaatelier.com for details.

OCTOBER 24 TO 26 Cask Days brings unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated brews to the masses, allowing breweries the chance to show off their hops. This year’s event has about 300 different cask-conditioned ales by 100-plus breweries from across Canada, the United States and the U.K., including Niagara Oast House, Nelson Brewery, Grizzly Paw, Microbrasserie Le Castor and Grand River Brewing. A special focus on California includes 30-plus breweries from the state. Not into ale? A number of ciders are available, too, as well as gluten-free beer options. Evergreen Brick Works, Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and up; see caskdays.com to purchase.

TO OCTOBER 26 Cirque du Soleil is back in Toronto, and this season the famed Montreal troupe presents a kaleidoscope of characters and objects in its latest travelling show, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities. Under the big top, audiences are transported back to the 19th century to meet an inventor who’s able to defy time, space and even gravity—one spectacular scene even features an upside-down dinner party! Grand Chapiteau, 51 Commissioner St., Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 4:30 and 8 p.m., Sunday 1:30 and 5 p.m.; $50 to $160; visit cirquedusoleil.com to purchase tickets.

STARTS OCTOBER 29 Although the Toronto Raptors endured a heartbreaking end to their 2013-14 playoffs this past May, the Dinos have retained their core and begin a new season stronger than ever. Forward DeMar DeRozan, point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard Terrence Ross are among the returning stars who’ll take on the world’s best basketball players this fall. The Raptors start their new season at home against the Atlanta Hawks. Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m., $12.50 and up; call 416-366-3865 to charge.

ALSO THIS MONTH!

Cancer-stricken Swedish Olympic heptathlete Nadja Casadei. Photo by Peter Holgerson, courtesy of World Press Photo.

The training regime of cancer-stricken Swedish Olympic heptathlete Nadja Casadei, photographed by Peter Holgersson. Courtesy of World Press Photo.

TO OCTOBER 21 World Press Photo, the annual juried exhibition of award-winning photojournalism covering events and issues that impacted the world in 2013, is on display at Brookfield Place (181 Bay St.). Admission is free.

OCTOBER 3 The Blue Dot Tour with David Suzuki—promoting clean drinking water, fresh air and healthy food for all Canadians—comes to Massey Hall, with such special guests as Stephen Lewis, the Barenaked Ladies, Chantel Kreviazuk and Raine Maida. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 – $79.50. Visit bluedot.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 4 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the annual all-night art affair, returns with more than 100 public installations, many of which invite visitors to be part of the works themselves. The free sunset-to-sunrise event expands into several new neighbourhoods, including Fort York, Chinatown and Bremner Boulevard, the latter of which hosts a magical night circus. Elsewhere, Máximo González’s installation, Walk Among Worlds, takes on political undertones by way of 7,000 beach balls to visualize first- and third-world states. Visit scotiabanknuitblanche.ca for a list of locations.

OCTOBER 5 TO 7 Part of the National Geographic Live series, award-winning photographer Steve Winter shares his experience travelling the globe in search of tigers, cougars and snow leopards. Tickets are $19.50 – $79.50. Roy Thomson Hall, October 5, 2 p.m.; October 6 and 7, 8 p.m. Visit roythomson.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 6 New York-based indie rockers We Are Scientists take the stage at The Horseshoe Tavern with guests Surfer Blood and Eternal Summers. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.50; visit horseshoetavern.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 7 TO 11 Award-winning actor, director and producer Ravi Jain and his mom Asha star in A Brimful of Asha, a family story about the search for the perfect bride. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill St., 416-203-6264.Tuesday to Saturday 9 p.m., Wednesday & Saturday 2 p.m.; $35-$55; visit soulpepper.ca or call 416-866-8666 to buy.

OCTOBER 8 Indie folk-rock chanteuse Cat Power brings her unique fusion sound to The Danforth Music Hall, 8 p.m. Tickets are $36; visit ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 8 & 9 Pop singer-songwriter Jason Mraz plays at Massey Hall, with the show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55.50 – $75.50; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

Russell Peters

Russell Peters is back bringing the laughs at the Air Canada Centre on October 9.

OCTOBER 9 Brampton, Ontario’s best-known export, Russell Peters, is back with all-new material in his latest headlining show, the Almost Famous World Tour. Hot on the heels of appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Notorious on Netflix, Peters brings his trademark brand of wit and observation to what is sure to be a well-attended show—back in 2007, he was the first comedian to sell out the ACC. Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m. Tickets are $58.50 – $125.75; call 1-855-985-5000 or see russellpeters.com for information.

OCTOBER 10 Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding—who plays both upright bass and cello—brings her distinctive sound to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place. Tickets are 49.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to charge.

OCTOBER 13 Aussie pop star Betty Who—made famous by a flash mob proposal video shot in a Home Depot that went viral—takes the stage at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club, with guests Joywave and Great Good Fine OK. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19.50; visit livenation.com to purchase.

STARTS OCTOBER 14 A musical journey through the short-lived career of the legendary rock and roll pioneer, who died tragically in a plane crash, Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story features “That’ll be the Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Everyday.” Various times. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-314-2901. Tickets are $29 – $120; call 1-855-622-2787 or visit ticketmaster.ca to buy.

OCTOBER 15 Brit rock band Bastille makes a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre during their North American tour. Tickets are $34.50 – $42.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 16 TO 18 Bach and breakdancing may seem an unlikely combination—until you witness the Flying Steps, that is. The seven-member all-male dance troupe arrives in Toronto for one of two Canadian stops on its Red Bull Flying Bach world tour. Also featuring Swedish dancer Anna Holmström, this high-energy performance combines fast-footed jumps, head spins, jackhammers, hand hops and more choreographed to a live piano and harpsichord performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Massey Hall, Thursday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $25 – $70; call 416-872-4255 for tickets; see flying-steps.de for more information.

OCTOBER 18 Christine McVie rejoins her bandmates for a Fleetwood Mac North American tour, making a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets are $49.50 – $199.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 21 Bruce McCulloch, of Kids in the Hall fame, chronicles his life as a rebellious teenager in Alberta to her early days in Toronto to fatherhood in Young Drunk Punk. The show, presented by the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, combines stand-up, live music and anecdotes in the lead up to McCulloch’s new book Let’s Start a Riot: A Series of Bravery and Stupidity. General admission is $39; admission plus a copy of the book and a post-show reception is $55. Visit torontosketchfest.com or call 647-505-1050 to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 21 October is breast cancer awareness month, and Eat to the Beat provides a novel way to help. The 19th edition of this popular fundraiser for Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support has 60 of the country’s best female chefs preparing signature bites like duck breast on polenta cream, grilled cheese, brownies and pies. Local culinary favourites include Doona Dooher of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Trista Sheen of Crush Wine Bar and Bonnie Gordon of Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $175 includes all food and beverages, 7 p.m.; call 416-778-6314 ext. 236 or see eattothebeat.ca for details.

STARTS OCTOBER 21 In the world premiere of The Bakelite Masterpiece, set in Holland following World War II, an artist accused of selling art to the Nazis must prove his innocence by painting a work by Johannes Vermeer in front of a prosecutor and art historian. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $48-$53; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

OCTOBER 22 TO 26 The crafty and DIYers won’t want to miss the fall Creativ Festival, a massive consumer show bringing together sewing, quilting, beading, knitting, needlework, DIY decorating, crafting, scrapbooking and more. Workshops and seminars begin on October 22, while the Show Floor is open October 24 to 26, offering a chance to browse and buy a variety of goods, including fabrics, fibres, papers, beads, patterns, tools, books, kits and equipment. Show Floor hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for one day is $4 – $15, and a three-day pass is $25 ($5 for students with valid ID). Hands-on classes and seminars are an extra cost. Visit creativfestival.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 24 The ever-bold Irish singer Sinead O’Connor brings her incredible voice to Massey Hall. Tickets are $49.50 – $79.50; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

Art Toronto

Art Toronto brings together contemporary art from around the world. Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

OCTOBER 24 TO 27 The 15th annual Art Toronto, a modern and contemporary fine art fair, will feature more than 100 galleries from Canada and around the world. There will be a feature exhibition by Quebec-based collective BGL, as well as fair tours and expert talks. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.; visit arttoronto.ca for ticket info and further details.

OCTOBER 25 Feist, Sarah Harmer, Jason Collett, Hayden, Lou Canon, Kevin Hearn and other musicians will come together for the first annual Dream Serenade Benefit Concert at Massey Hall in support of services for children with developmental disabilities. Tickets are $50 – $200; visit masseyhall.com or call 416-872-4255 to purchase.

TO OCTOBER 26 In the Henrik Ibsen drama An Enemy of the People, a doctor discovers that his town’s baths are contaminated and must decide if he should inform the public of the health risk or keep it to himself to prevent the local economy from collapsing. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $25-$48; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

OCTOBER 27 Canadian synth-pop darling Lights brings her sparkling tunes to The Danforth Music Hall with special guest Rush Midnight. Tickets are $35; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

See and Hear the Biggest Names in Contemporary Writing at the International Festival of Authors

By EVA VOINIGESCU

David Byrne and Cory Doctorow at a recent Harbourfront Centre literary event
(photo: Authors at Harbourfront Centre)

OCTOBER 18 TO 28 As readers, we turn to books to become inspired, to take a walk in someone else’s shoes, to experience new places and let our imaginations run wild. Each October, Harbourfront Centre gives us the opportunity to gain further insight into our favourite literary and non-fiction works—and meet their creators—as some of the world’s most celebrated contemporary writers gather for the International Festival of Authors.

This year, more than 180 participants are scheduled to appear in 70-plus events, including headline interviews with the likes of Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz (October 19), and Canadian essayist and novelist John Ralston Saul (October 21), as well as readings by the finalists for Canada’s most prestigious book awards: the Governor General’s Literary Award (October 22), the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (October 24) and the Scotiabank Giller Prize (October 27). Of course there are dozens of other happenings—from themed roundtable discussions to intimate readings to public book signings in the festival’s bookstore—that make the IFOA a locus for lovers of literature. Below, check out our picks of the fest’s best under-the-radar readings and more.

This year’s 33rd annual gathering also marks the first time that Festival Flex Passes are available, giving attendees the ability to purchase tickets to 10 events for only $120. (Single tickets are $18 and up.) As always, students can access most readings and discussions for free, subject to availability. Visit the festival’s website for further details.

Weekend Roundup, October 21 to 23

Friday: Cirque du Soleil interprets Michael Jackson's greatest hits (photo by Osa Images)

Friday, October 21
Slip on your rhinestone-studded glove to applaud Cirque du Soleil’s highly anticipated Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. For three days only at the Air Canada Centre, the world-famous troupe brings the King of Pop’s world to life, complete with some of his most famous songs and choreography.

Savour the food and entertainment presented by numerous exhibitors at the weekend-long Delicious Food Show. Featuring top chefs from Toronto plus such TV personalities as Padma Lakshmi (from Top Chef), the event promises a filling mix of vendors and workshops for the kitchen. (more…)

Hot Date: Waterside Reading at the International Festival of Authors

Anne Enright (photo by Domnick Walsh)

OCTOBER 19 TO 30 There’s more to Toronto’s lakeside neighbourhood than lapping waters and scenic photo ops. Harbourfront Centre hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year, including the highly anticipated International Festival of Authors, which presents an array of literary talent through readings, round table discussions, signings and other bookish events. One of this year’s festival themes is “Found in Translation,” which highlights the importance of making literature available in various languages and on multiple platforms. Michael Ondaatje, Anne Enright and Russell Banks are among the more than 150 celebrated authors slated to attend. Individual event admission $18 to $25; call 416-973-4000 or visit here for further information and tickets.

Weekend Roundup, October 29 to 31

It’s Halloween! Grab your costume and make it a wicked weekend with some of these hair-raising events.

Have a Wicked weekend (photo by Joan Marcus)

Friday, October 29
Start your Halloween weekend with a bow to the past at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. See the classic film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while award-winning composer Andrew Downing performs its original score. The tale of a mad carnival showman and his sleepwalking slave, this 1920s masterpiece is considered by many to be the first horror film. It will give you chills!

Toronto can’t get enough of the hit Broadway musical Wicked! Return to Oz to hear the story of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West—long before Dorothy dropped in. Enjoying it’s third engagement at the Canon Theatre, grab your tickets before they sell out—again!

Head to Second City for an evening of hilarious comedy. The troupe’s latest show, Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes, has garnered rave reviews thanks to its smart comedy sketches and songs. This performance delivers non-stop laughs!

Saturday, October 30
Crime and mystery fiction get their due at the International Festival of Authors, which celebrates the timeless genre at the IFOA Noir Round Table. Join authors and critics as they discuss the mystery novel!

Get your pulse racing at the Creepy Classics concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Pianist Todd Yaniw plays some of the most well-known “spooky” pieces, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Bach’s Toccata in D Minor.

Head to the Drake Hotel for its Halloween party! Come dressed as your favourite music-video star and dance the night away to DJ duo Flosstradamus. The best costume wins $500. This just begs for an extravagant Lady Gaga outfit!

Sunday, October 31
Bring the kids to the Toronto Zoo this weekend for Boo at the Zoo. There are tons of kid-friendly attractions like the hay maze, the animal meet and greet and live performances all day long. Kids in costume get in free!

Get a terrifying tour of Casa Loma! Professional ghost trackers show videos and tell their stories about nights spent in the historic castle. Visitors are then left to explore the grounds to do some ghost tracking of their own!

For the biggest Halloween bash in the city, head to Church Street for their annual Halloween Block Party! Costumed revelers take over the Gay Village, with an expected turnout of 50,000 people. The streets are closed and clubs open their doors, from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. You’ve never been to a Halloween party like this!

Weekend Roundup, October 22 to 24

Friday: Hear what the Dalai Lama has to say

Friday, October 22
His Holiness the Dalai Lama returns to Toronto to share his personal thoughts on achieving peace in today’s modern world at the Rogers Centre. His speech, titled Human Approaches to World Peace, encourages us to balance material development with spiritual growth.

It’s your last chance to take in a runway show at LG Fashion Week! Today, see Amanda Lew Kee’s nature-inspired designs, the perfectly tailored DUY collection, and textural pieces from Denis Gagnon.

Head to Massey Hall, where comedienne Margaret Cho makes a stop as part of her “Cho Dependent” tour. Her provocative observations are sure to have you rolling in the aisles.

Saturday: Indulge your sweet tooth

Saturday, October 23
The first weekend of the International Festival of Authors brings together the best and brightest of contemporary world literature—including Jonathan Franzen, Nicole Krauss and Yann Martel—at Harbourfront Centre. There are tons of events to check out today, including an interview with legendary Canadian author Farley Mowat.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with the Toronto Chocolate Festival’s city-wide Chocolicious event, where sweet and pastry shops open their doors with tastings and samplings. More delicious happenings are scheduled throughout the weekend.

The countdown to Halloween continues. Get in the spirit at the Powerhouse of Terror! The Powerhouse was built by the patients at Lakeshore Psychiatric Centre in 1936 and is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Toronto. With five terrifying attractions, including the House of Carnage, Zombie Marsh and Cornfield maze, it will put your bravery to the test!

Sunday: Get to know the witches of Oz

Sunday, October 24
The smash-hit Broadway musical Wicked is back for its third engagement in Toronto. Return to Oz and hear the story of Glinda the Good Witch met the Wicked Witch of the West, long before Dorothy dropped in. Grab your tickets before they sell out—again!

It’s the 20th-annual McMichael Autumn Art Sale this weekend. More than 200 works are up for sale, including those by acclaimed contemporary artists Cindy Praakel, Kenneth Kirsh and Lynda Cunningham. The event is expected to attract hundreds of art patrons to the pictureseque site of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Make sure you’re one of them!

The ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, which celebrates the latest film and new-media works by Indigenous peoples from around the world, concludes today. This evening at Bloor Cinema, catch the aptly titled Closing Night, a psychological drama about the scarring legacy of Canadian residential schools.

Hot Date: Book Bonanza

Jonathan Franzen appears at this year's International Festival of Authors

OCTOBER 20 TO 30 Rub shoulders with some renowned writers as they gather for the International Festival of Authors, an annual meet-and-greet of the best and brightest from contemporary literature. Boasting a number of events—from readings and roundtables to interviews and book signings—the event gives due credit to the written word. Award-winning writers including Jonathan Franzen, David Mitchell, Dionne Brand and Yann Martel are expected to attend. Harbourfront Centre, various times, $15 to $25, some events free; call 416-973-4000 or click here for tickets.

October Hot Date: International Festival of Authors

CanLit icon Alice Munro (photo by Derek Shapton).

CanLit icon Alice Munro (photo by Derek Shapton).

OCTOBER 21 TO 31 The International Festival of Authors turns 30 by celebrating more than 50 top names in Canadian and global fiction and non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, children’s literature and everything in between. During 11 days of readings, panel discussions and book signings, catch CanLit staple Margaret Atwood (The Year of the Flood) and American novelist John Irving (Last Night in Twisted River) among others. The PEN Canada benefit gala has everyone buzzing—Man Booker International Prize winner Alice Munro (Too Much Happiness) talks with British publishing maven Diana Athill. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., $8 to $15 (free for students); call 416-973-4000 or visit here for more details.

BONUS! Simultaneously, on October 27, 29 and 30, the YoungIFOA takes place for wee ones who love to read. Book-making workshops and author events are part of the fete for kids in kindergarten to grade eight.