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Old Town Toronto

Pan Am Games: Neighbourhoods to Explore During Your Downtime

EVEN MULTI-SPORT FANATICS NEED AN OCCASIONAL BREAK FROM THE NEAR-CONSTANT COMPETITION DURING THE PAN AM GAMES’ 17 DAYS. A FEW HOURS SPENT EXPLORING THE HOST CITY’S MYRIAD NEIGHBOURHOODS IS JUST THE TICKET!

Pan-Am-Games-Toronto-Neighbourhoods-West-Queen-West

La Cubana and Fonda Lola are among Toronto’s top Latin American restaurants (photos: Craig Moy)

Although they’re definitely the summer’s main event, the Pan American Games are hardly the only, well, game in town. Get the most out of your visit by setting aside some time—between checking out the basketball tournament, cheering on the triathletes and being wowed by wakeboarders’ stunts—to get to know Toronto’s compelling history, shopping hubs and cosmopolitan restaurant scene through these four downtown neighbourhoods.

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Hot Date: Feats on the Street at BuskerFest

Pancho Libre is back to wow the crowds

AUGUST 23 TO 26  Magicians, mimes, sword swallowers and stilt dancers—they’re all here for another year of Scotiabank BuskerFest, North America’s largest and most outlandish gathering of street performers. More than 100 unique and talented entertainers from around the world occupy the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood to amuse and amaze audiences while raising funds and awareness for Epilepsy Toronto. This year’s mind-boggling artists include America’s Got Talent contestants the Chicago Ultimate Tumblers, Australian contortionist Alakazam and Mexico’s Pancho Libre. Along Front Street East between Yonge and Jarvis streets. Admission by donation; visit here for more information.

Hot Dining: Culinary Beginning

Photo by Paul Wilson

Claudio Aprile has long been renowned for the scientifically sophisticated haute cuisine he creates at Colborne Lane. Barely a block from that still-hot spot, the super-chef now offers Origin, a more relaxed restaurant that caters to the global gastronome in everyone. The large, historical-chic space is anchored by an open kitchen that ably turns out numerous small plates of diverse flavour and geographic provenance, including wild striped bass with candied yuzu ($14) from the raw bar, Bangkok beef salad ($14) and grilled rock hen with dates, olives and harissa ($15). Balancing affordability with culinary flair—and designer digs with a welcoming atmosphere—Origin is well positioned to become one of Toronto’s most popular new dining destinations.

Weekend Roundup, August 28 to 30

Friday: See pyrotechnic performers at Buskerfest.

Friday: See pyrotechnic performers at Buskerfest.

Friday, August 28
Try making Chia-A-Noodle, a dish going back to the days of a mostly poor, agricultural Taiwanese society, at Taiwanfest. While slurping up your fresh-made noodles, take in art exhibitions, fashion, music, demonstrations and films at two festival venues: Harbourfront Centre and the Distillery Historic District.

Ooh and ahh as Dream State Circus, The Fast Horses, Trulee Odd, PyRomeo and Circus Orange light it up in a nighttime fire show, the “hottest” gala performance at the 10th annual BuskerFest in Old Town Toronto.

Lose yourself in your thoughts while walking the Toronto Public Labyrinth in Trinity Square (between Queen and Dundas streets, entrance off Bay Street), an oasis of peace in the heart of the bustling city.

Saturday: The historic Sunnyside Pavilion hosts an art show.

Saturday: The historic Sunnyside Pavilion hosts an art show.

Saturday, August 29
Taste specialties of African cuisine at the Toronto African Film & Music Festival marketplace on Bloor Street, between Ossington and Christie Streets.

Get ready for dark humour as Soulpepper Theatre Company opens Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? Edward Albee’s 1962 boundary-crossing masterpiece provides an honest glimpse into married life at the time.

View paintings, photography, sculptures and fashion (and meet the artists!) showcased in the annual Sunnyside Beach Juried Art Show & Sale at the historic Sunnyside Pavillion.

Sunday: Hear music at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sunday: Hear music at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Sunday, August 30
Make yourself comfortable amongst the graves and gardens at Mount Pleasant Cemetery for its Music at Mount Pleasant series. Today, a Royal Conservatory of Music brass quintet performs Bach and other classical works.

Take a walking tour of the city’s most eco-friendly sites and spaces as part of the Live Green Toronto Festival. Be sure to return to the festival hub at at Yonge-Dundas Square to check out over 100 green exhibitors and hear live music by The Philosopher Kings, Samba Squad, Carly Rae Jepsen and more.

Blow bubbles in the streets at today’s air-themed Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington Market. With cars banned for the day, it’s easy to experience the multicultural neighbourhood’s many charms.