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Celebrate Summer

Halifax’s festival season heats up with music, art, culture, food and more

By Trevor J. Adams


A busy month of festivals and cultural celebrations begins with the Scotia Festival of Music. Continuing through June 7 at venues around the city, this event is a must for serious music fans, showcasing the best in Chamber music. This year, the lineup includes coductor Kenneth Woods, cellist Denise Djokic, violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Simon Docking. A gala matinee concert at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on June 7 concludes the festival, featuring works by Elgar, Beethoven and Benjamin. Concurrently, Halifax’s vibrant Lebanese community celebrates its roots with Cedar Festival from June 4 to 7 at Our Lady of Lebanon Parish on Joseph Howe Drive. Festivities include a special mass, musical performances, art exhibitions, food tastings, games, dancing and more. June also sees the return of one of Halifax’s biggest and most popular festivals. Running this year from June 11 to 14, Halifax Greek Fest always attracts thousands to Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Purcell’s Cove Road.June---Antique-Car-Show_admirers Lively music and dancing abound, along with cultural exhibitions and Greek cuisine aplenty. This year’s schedule features the Poseidon live band, a screening of FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (Greece vs. Colombia), Greek language classes, a sommelier-hosted Greek wine and food tasting, and more. That same weekend, Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte hosts the Father’s Day Antique Car Show. Scheduled for June 21, (rain date June 29), the show is a rite of Father’s Day. There are dozens of lovingly restored classic cars, plus live entertainment and Kub Kar races. This month also features one of Halifax’s longest-running summer events: the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival. Running from June 26 to 28 at the Halifax Seaport Harbourwalk at the corner of Terminal and Marginal roads, the festival showcases Nova Scotia’s many traditional-dancers2cultural communities with music, food, art, cultural exhibitions and more. The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo closes out the month. Running from June 30 to July 7 at Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street, it’s the world’s largest annual indoor show of its type. The lineup includes an exciting mix of military and civilian drill teams, bands and performers from around the globe. This year’s highlights include the Halifax debut for Sweden’s Home Guards Band of Eslöv, His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway, the Gym Wheel Team Taunusstein of Germany and the Paris Police Gymnastics Team.



Hot Date: The Caribbean Carnival Parade

AUGUST 4  Don your most colourful outfit for the summer’s hottest cultural celebration—the 45th annual Caribbean Carnival parade. Starting at the Exhibition Place grounds and heading west, a 3.5-kilometre stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard erupts with a vibrant procession of elaborate costumes and calypso, steel pan and chutney bands, plus tens of thousands of spectators dancing on the sidelines. The revelry continues on August 5 at Ontario Place, which hosts Beyond de Lime, a noon-to-night party with island-inspired food and concerts. Call 416-391-5608 or navigate here for further details.

Hot Date: Show Your Stripes at the Pride Parade

photo by Karen Chapelle

JULY 1 Celebrate diversity with the city’s huge lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community as a week of festivities culminates in the annual Pride Toronto parade. Drawing tens of thousands of spectators and participants from across Ontario and even farther abroad, the boisterous bash honours openness and acceptance with over-the-top costumes, music and decorative floats as revellers make their way down Yonge Street, from Bloor Street south to Gerrard Street. 2 p.m.; call 416-927-7433 or see here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, March 11th to 13th

Friday: The Kodo Drummers of Japan bring their forceful rhythms to the Sony Centre

Friday, March 11
Enjoy the dazzling showmanship and primal rhythms of the world-famous Kodo Drummers of Japan as they take the stage for the Toronto stop of the group’s 30th-anniversary tour. This dazzling display of speed, dexterity, precision, and muscular endurance takes place tonight at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

The Canadian Music Week Film Festival—just one of many events comprising Canadian Music Week, from March 9 to 13—screens today and Saturday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The festival showcases 10 features and a handful of shorts, including rock docs, concert films, band biographies, and musicals.

Dog lovers and pet owners are advised to make tracks to the Purina National Dog Show, which opens today at the International Centre in Mississauga, and features hundreds of purebred canines strutting their stuff in competition. A number of vendors are also on-hand with the latest in doggie gear and accessories.

Saturday: Janet Jackson offers an intimate, all-hits concert

Saturday, March 12
Ms. Janet Jackson herself strides onto the Sony Centre stage for her international “Number Ones, Up Close and Personal” tour. The accomplished singer is set to perform top tracks from her Number Ones album in a personal, intimate setting.

Stroll through the bustling streets of Kensington Market on the Kensington Foodies Roots Walk, which has been featured on CNN and in National Geographic Traveler. From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., you’ll be able to savour the diverse foods from the ethnic markets, stalls and restaurants.

Start March Break on a high note by making your way to the Toronto Zoo. Starting today and continuing through the week, the zoo offers additional family-fun activities, events, and keeper talks.

Sunday: Enjoy a day at Spring Fling

Sunday, March 13
An excellent daytime activity to kick off your March Break is Spring Fling, Canada’s largest indoor carnival. Enjoy the midway with rides, family entertainment, and exotic animals. All-day ride tickets at this Rogers Centre event are $20, and the fun continues to March 18.

Satisfy Harry Potter fantasies at the Wizard World Indoor Family Fun Park, which opens today and runs to March 20 at Exhibition Place’s Better Living Centre.  The park features 150,000 square feet of indoor fun: food and drinks, professional stage shows, 20 carnival rides, free loot bags for kids under 12, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, and much more.

Put on your best green outfit and shamrock buttons to engage in a little Irish revelry. The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins today at noon. The annual procession starts at Bloor and St. George streets, marches east to Yonge, and then south toward Nathan Phillips Square.

Hot Date: Caribana Heats Up

The colourful Caribana Parade

JULY 15 TO AUGUST 15 The colourful sights and sounds of the Caribbean arrive as part of the Scotiabank Caribana Festival. On top of its massive Caribana Parade (July 31), which packs Lake Shore Boulevard with pageantry, the annual celebration offers many ways to enjoy tropical culture. Preview the festivities at the official Yonge-Dundas Square launch party (July 15), or visit the Royal Ontario Museum to see more than 100 works by African-Canadian artists (opens July 22). For music lovers, Pan Alive (July 30) showcases the talents of steel pan drummers from across Ontario. Various venues and times; call 416-391-5608 or visit here for more information.

Hot Date: Pride Week Wraps Up

There's much to ogle at the Pride Parade

JUNE 25 TO JULY 4 Celebrate three decades of sexual diversity at Pride Toronto, which honours gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered lifestyles. Join thousands of participants for this festival that includes a free concert by pop diva Cyndi Lauper on July 3 at the Queen’s Park stage at 9 p.m. On July 4, the much-exalted Pride Parade wraps up the 10-day event with raucous, brightly—and often scantily—clad men and women winding through the streets starting at 2 p.m. The route begins at Bloor and Church streets and ends at Gerrard and Church streets with assorted floats and costumed participants to get everyone in the mood. Call 416-927-7433 or click here for a schedule and ticket information.

June Hot Date—Pride Toronto

Toronto's Pride Parade is a colourful spectacle (photo by Kevin Lam).

Toronto's Pride Parade is a colourful spectacle (photo by Kevin Lam).

JUNE 19 TO 28 Pride Toronto colourfully descends upon the city with the theme of Can’t Stop: Won’t Stop. Ten days of frivolity, family programming and one of the world’s largest street fests makes it an annual bash not to miss. The Pride Parade, the signature closing event, takes place on June 28 at 2 p.m. (Its tamer—though no less spirited—sister parade, the Dyke March, takes place on June 27 at 2 p.m.) Call 416-927-7433 or visit www.pridetoronto.com for a complete schedule and the parade routes.