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princess of wales theatre

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


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.


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.

Now in Toronto, The Book of Mormon Boasts Broadway Blasphemy

The Book of Mormon (photo: Joan Marcus)

The Book of Mormon (photo: Joan Marcus)

APRIL 30 TO JUNE 9  The story seems simple enough: a pair of young Americans journey to Uganda to perform missionary work for the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. But in the hands of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon becomes an utterly berserk, shockingly un-PC and uproariously funny romp. Though unafraid to satirize some of the more divisive cultural issues of our time, this multiple Tony Award winner is also an all-singing, all-dancing spectacle in the grandest Broadway tradition. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $59 to $200; call 416-872-1212 or visit mirvish.com for more information.  —Anna Marszalek

Hot Date: Sound the Charge to War Horse

OPENS FEBRUARY 10 After his horse is sold to the British Cavalry at the outbreak of World War I, young Albert begins a perilous mission to bring him home in War Horse. This acclaimed play, based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo—and recently turned into a film by Steven Spielberg—is a poignant tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, rounded out by rousing music. The visual showpieces are a set of full-size, incredibly life-like horse puppets, created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which gallop and charge on stage. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1:30 p.m., $45 to $150; call 416-872-1212 or visit here to reserve seats.

Weekend Roundup, December 2 to 4

Friday: Diana Thorneycroft's Group of Seven Awkward Moments is among the images at Gallery TPW's Photorama

Friday, December 2
‘Tis the season to deck the halls with quality artwork. Photography enthusiasts need look no further than 25th anniversary of Gallery TPW’s Photorama show and sale, which has its public opening tonight. Then drop into Gallery 44 for its annual Wall-to-Wall sale, featuring framed and unframed works by Toronto artists.

Inject a bit of spirit into your holiday season with the Soulful Messiah, Quincy Jones’ award-winning R&B rendition of Handel’s classic. At Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre, Ballet Creole celebrates its 10th year of performing this work with their signature blend of ballet, modern and African-Caribbean dance.

La Bohème’s timeless tale of artists grappling with love, death and paying the bills is well-suited to its new incarnation by theatre company Against the Grain. Puccini’s infamous opera is pulled into the present-day, translated into English and set entirely within the confines of bohemian hangout Tranzac.

There’s more to do after the jump!

Hot Date: Mary Poppins Pops In

The cheery chimney sweep kicks up some dust in Mary Poppins (photo by Joan Marcus)

NOVEMBER 10 TO JANUARY 8 The Broadway magic of Mary Poppins has already enchanted six and a half million people worldwide with its endearing story, unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers. Now Toronto audiences have their chance to see the singing wonder-nanny on stage in this latest offering from Mirvish Productions, which includes tunes such as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Rachel Wallace descends with her magic umbrella as the show’s title character, while Canadian Nicolas Dromard takes on the role of Bert, the Cockney jack-of-all-trades. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or visit here for tickets.

Hot Date: Chess Strategy in Song

photo by Keith Pattinson

OPENS SEPTEMBER 24 The Queen’s Gambit and Perenyi Attack aren’t the only moves in Chess the Musical, which uses song and dance to tell of an American and a Russian competing for the world chess championship. Their contest is both a backdrop for a burgeoning love triangle and an allegorical symbol of political strain during the Cold War. Set to music by ABBA songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, with lyrics by Tim Rice, this exciting British production comes to Toronto straight from a sold-out tour of the United Kingdom. Princess of Wales Theatre, $35 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or visit here for showtimes and to purchase tickets.

Weekend Roundup, July 22 to 24

Friday: Les Ballets Persans perform at the Tigran Iranian Festival

Friday, July 22

Get a taste of exotic art, culture and entertainment at the Harbourfront Centre this weekend with the Tigran Iranian Festival. Explore the concept of “Visions of Eternity” through the work of participating artists and writers, and take in live music from the Paradis Orchestra, Rana Farhan, and the Iranian National Choir.

Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival is more than just a parade—celebrate the salacious sights, sounds and flavours of the Caribbean with an elegant night at the event’s Gala. Dress your best for a night of masquerade models, music and exotic food at the elegant Liberty Grand.

“Do It Again” while “Reelin’ In The Years” when Steely Dan hits the stage at the Molson Amphitheater. The American jazz band still has a commanding stage presence with a slew of hits to play, including “My Old School” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”.

Saturday: The Blue Men Group strike up a charging show at the Princess of Wales Theatre

Saturday, July 23

They’re shocking, comedic, and blue—catch the Blue Man Group when they electrify the Princess of Wales Theatre tonight. The multi-media performance with the bald blue men is centered on a large LED curtain and high-resolution screen for a unique theatrical performance.

After starting their regular season on the road, the Toronto Argonauts finally return to the Rogers Centre for their first game of the season. Cheer on the Boatmen as they take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers looking for a win in front of a home crowd.

Cool down with the sound of the soothing melodies of the Forgotten Romantics at Walter Hall as the Toronto Summer Music Festival continues. The Vienna Piano Trio teams up with Canada’s leading chamber musicians to perform The Suite by Moszkowski, the masterful sextet by Louis Spohr, and the piano quintet by Karl Goldmark.

Sunday: Celebrate The Wiggles' 20th Birthday at Ricoh Colliseum (Photo courtesy of Ben Pharr)

Sunday, July 24

Wiggle on down to the Ricoh Colliseum to join in on The Wiggles’ Big Birthday Tour. The 20th birthday celebration will be packed with action including the four Wiggles, Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, and Wags the Dog.

Celebrate over 500 artists at Yonge-Dundas Square this Sunday for a day filled with high-spirited performances and art on display for Youth Day 2011. The square will be filled with inspiring music, dance, art, photography, food, and vendors to keep you entertained all day long.

The Big On Bloor Street festival continues on Sunday with stores along the Dufferin and Lansdowne stretch offering special in-store events, sales and menus. Have a taste of the diverse art, culture, and food that this neighbourhood has to offer.

Hugh Jackman Goes from Screen to Stage

Direct from Tinseltown—by way of Australia, London and Broadway—Hugh Jackman brings his all-singing, all-dancing, all-dramatizing act to T.O. from July 5 to 17.

Following a sold-out premiere engagement in San Francisco, Hugh Jackman returns to the city where he filmed his first Hollywood movie, and he’s brought with him song, dance, drama and tales of life in the spotlight—all part of his show, Hugh Jackman in Concert.

The Australian star is a man of many roles, from the aggressive Wolverine in the X-Men series to an ambitious scientist in The Fountain, so it’s only fitting that he would treat his fans to a unique show that reflects an extensive performance history and his varied talents. Jackman’s career has taken him from productions of Beauty and the Beast and Sunset Boulevard in his native land to a critically acclaimed staging of Oklahoma! in London. More recently, Broadway audiences were captivated by his performance as Peter Allen in The Boy from Oz, which earned him a Tony Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. He’s even garnered praise as a host of both the Oscars
and Tony Awards.

During this 90-minute show, Toronto viewers can expect the same charm, exuberance and derring-do that Jackman has displayed time and again. His hit-filled repertoire, backed by an 18-piece orchestra, includes such musical-theatre classics as “O What a Beautiful Morning,” “As Time Goes By,” “Staying Alive,” and “Over the Rainbow,” plus an extended Billy Bigelow soliloquy from Carousel. The effusive actor also interacts one-on-one with audience members and offers poignant anecdotes about growing up in Australia, family life and a career spent trodding the boards and in front of the camera.

Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King St. W.), Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $49 to $130; call 416-872-1212 or click here to purchase tickets.

The Lion King Has Returned

photo by Joan Marcus

APRIL 19 TO JUNE 12 Get ready—or should we say “Be Prepared”—to prowl the pride lands as the beloved Disney musical The Lion King roars into Toronto for a limited engagement.

Based on the 1994 animated film of the same name, this enthralling stage show follows an exiled cub named Simba, who must undertake a journey of self-discovery in order to avenge the death of his father. The coming-of-age tale is set to the songs of Tim Rice and Elton John—with additional music by Hans Zimmer, Lebo M and Mark Mancina—including the memorable “Hakuna Matata” and “The Circle of Life.” But what really marks The Lion King as one of modern musical theatre’s most breathtaking achievements are its dazzling sets, colourful costumes, complex choreography and novel use of puppets. Against such backdrops as an elephant graveyard and a wildebeest stampede, actors embody giraffes, gazelles, hyenas and many other animals to bring the Serengeti’s menagerie to vivid life.

photo by Joan Marcus

These elements conspire to ensure the groundbreaking stage show remains enormously popular with audiences around the world. Among its accolades are six 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and status as one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. More than a decade removed from its debut, the New York City production continues to draw sell-out crowds. (In Toronto, The Lion King’s original run began in 1999 and lasted almost four years.) Its success also earned director Julie Taymor a permanent place on theatre’s A-list. Innovative and inspiring, The Lion King is a not-to-be-missed theatrical event that’s bound to have the entire city singing the songs of the savannah.

Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King St. W.), Tuesday to Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday
2 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1 and 6:30 p.m., $25 to $120; call 416-872-1212 or click here
to purchase tickets.

Hot Date: Mrs. Brown Leaves Audiences Laughing

Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs. Brown

MARCH 8 TO 19 Irish comedian Brendan O’Carroll’s elderly Agnes Brown, one of the funniest theatrical characters in recent memory, returns to Toronto just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Good Mourning Mrs. Brown sees Grandad Brown fretting about what will happen after his death. Mrs. Brown and her mischievous sons join forces to plan an early funeral for the family patriarch, in which much hijinx and hilarity ensues. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m., $25 to $75; call 416-872-1212 or click here for tickets.

You Are Here: Entertainment District

Day or night, the glow of marquee lights and cheering spectators ensures Toronto’s central hot spot is full of life. From the first pitch on the ball diamond to the final curtain call, this area’s top attractions, theatres and stadiums—not to mention restaurants, bars and clubs—are the city’s crowning glory.
View You Are Here: Entertainment District in a larger map

TREAD LIGHTLY Spread across 13 blocks, Canada’s Walk of Fame is a tribute in granite to the country’s finest. More than 120 Canadians have been honoured since 1998, including actors William Shatner and Mike Myers, directors David Cronenberg and Ivan Reitman, singers Joni Mitchell and Diana Krall, and comedian Eugene Levy.

Princess of Wales Theatre

FIT FOR ROYALTY Named in part for the late Princess Diana, the horseshoe-shaped Princess of Wales Theatre is an example of superior craftsmanship: Venetian terrazzo floors, mahogany from Africa adorning the arches and handrails, glass and tile mosaics, and more than 10,000 square feet of murals by American artist Frank Stella covering the ceiling, proscenium arch, lounges and lobbies. Over the years, Tony Award–winning productions such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon have played here to rousing applause. Next month the curtain rises on Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical.

A CENTURY OF SHOWS The oldest continuously operating theatre in North America, the Royal Alexandra Theatre is as known for its beaux-arts style architecture as it is for the esteemed names who have taken to its stage: Édith Piaf, Orson Welles and Martin Short have all made audiences laugh, cry and burst into thunderous applause. The venue itself is impressively appointed with Italian marble, carved walnut and cherrywood, gilded plaster and crystal chandeliers. Presently, the 1980s hair-metal love story Rock of Ages is bringing down the house.

Roy Thomson Hall

APPEALING TO THE EARS The unique, curvilinear glass exterior of Roy Thomson Hall makes it an oft-photographed site. But the home of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is more than just a pretty facade. Renovations in 2002 made it one of the city’s most acoustically stellar concert halls. The TSO kicks off its 89th season with Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony no. 2 on September 23. Soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir help bring the piece to life.

SYMBOL IN THE SKY The CN Tower may have lost the title of world’s tallest free-standing structure, but it remains the pinnacle of this city’s unique skyline. At a commanding 553.33 metres tall, this communication tower—built by the Canadian National Railway in 1972—offers aerial views from several vantage points. The SkyPod presides over an unparalleled view at 447 metres, while upscale restaurant 360 dishes up a revolving panorama at 351 metres.

SPORTS CENTRAL Adjacent to the CN Tower is another iconic element of Toronto’s downtown landscape. The multi-purpose Rogers Centre is home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, and was the world’s first stadium with a retractable roof. In addition to cheering sports fans, music lovers also pack the field for raucous concerts by such bands as Bon Jovi and the Jonas Brothers. Take a one-hour guided tour to see a luxury suite, press box and the Blue Jays Hall of Fame.

Hot Date: Blonde Ambition

Photo by Joan Marcus

JULY 7 TO AUGUST 8 Go to the head of the class with Elle Woods in Legally Blonde The Musical. In this screen-to-stage adaptation of the movie that starred Hollywood sweetheart Reese Witherspoon as the sassy sorority girl, Elle does what no Delta Nu sister has done before—study. After getting dumped by her boyfriend, Elle, with her stylish sidekick chihuahua Bruiser in tow, heads to Harvard Law School. Amidst sequins, bows, summonses, and cheeky melodies like “Bend and Snap,” Elle learns the importance of being true to herself. Princess of Wales Theatre, Tuesday through Saturday 8 p.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m., $28 to $124; call 416-872-1212 or click here for further details and tickets.