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James Taylor

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: 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.

Hot Date: Dynamic Duo

James Taylor and Carole King (photo by James Omara)

MAY 28 Long-time friends and collaborators Carole King and James Taylor join forces for their highly anticipated Troubadour Reunion Tour. For the first time in 40 years, these multiplatinum-selling artists and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers hit the road with their original bandmates, including guitarist Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, drummer Russ Kunkel and bassist Lee Sklar. The pair’s playlist is sure to include chart-topping songs by each songwriter and singer, including King’s “So Far Away” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” along with Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind.” Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m., $49 to $125; call 416-870-8000 or visit Ticketmaster to purchase.