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Taylor Swift

Weekend Roundup, July 15 to 17

Friday: Hear all manner of music as the Beaches International Jazz Festival begins

Friday, July 15
Kick off your weekend at the 23rd annual Beaches International Jazz Festival, which begins tonight at Woodbine Park. With acts ranging from jazz, blues, calypso and more—legendary Toronto rocker Carole Pope is even part of this evening’s bill—the festival offers ear candy for a wide variety of listeners.

The Colombian Colours Il Diaspora Festival also starts this evening an continues all weekend long. Part of Harbourfront Centre’s summer line-up of cultural celebrations, it features performances by Colombian musicians, dancers and other artists proudly representing their distinct heritage.

Do you have tickets to see Grammy-winning sensation Taylor Swift belt out her hits at the Air Canada Centre? The contemporary country singer’s Speak Now Tour brings one of 2011’s hottest concerts to Toronto for one night only.

Saturday: Sarah Harmer and other artists celebrate Parks Canada's 100th anniversary

Saturday, July 16
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada—the world’s first national park service—with a free festival on Centre Island. Starting at noon, the special Parks Day event showcases the country’s diverse natural heritage, and boasts live performances by musicians including Serena Ryder and Sarah Harmer.

Yonge-Dundas Square also offers an event for the environmentally aware—the Live Green Toronto Festival features hundreds of vendors with eco-friendly products, live music and more.

Sit back and relax with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre. The “Margaritaville” singer instills a beachy state of mind as part of his Welcome to Fin Land tour.

Sunday: Slurp up some seafood at the Souther Ontario Oyster Festival

Sunday, July 17
Foodies are invited to take part in a truly succulent tasting at the much-anticipated Southern Ontario Oyster Festival hosted by Toronto’s mollusk mecca Rodney’s Oyster House. Attendees can enjoy live music, cheer on the oyster shucking contest, and, of course, indulge in fresh oysters. Tickets are $30 and help benefit the Environmental Defense organization.

Spend your Sunday night with British indie-rock band Gomez as they fill the Phoenix Concert Theatre with their distinctively rootsy sound.

Experience the rich culture of the Asian subcontinent at the 39th annual Festival of India, taking place on the Toronto Islands. This free event, celebrating Toronto’s large Indian community, includes an arts and culture showcase, a South-Asian bazaar, and much more.

Weekend Roundup, May 21 to 24

Toronto certainly knows how to commemorate a festive occasion. Your Victoria Day weekend will be a memorable one filled with festivals, music and, naturally, fireworks.

Friday: See Elmo and his Sesame Street friends (photo courtesy of VEE Corporation; TM/© 2010 Sesame Workshop)

Friday, May 21
Don’t miss country singer and songwriter Taylor Swift at the Air Canada Centre, as she belts out her hits. American Idol performer Kellie Pickler provides additional vocal firepower as a special guest.

Families are sure to be drawn to the Rogers Centre this weekend. Watch the Sesame Street gang in Elmo’s Green Thumb, a theatrical story in which everyone’s favourite red furball attempts to speed the growth of a sunflower with a spell that, consequently, shrinks him and his friends. Learn a thing or two about patience and our ecosystem and be entertained as the muppets dance, sing and set your sides in stitches.

Seek out art of philosophical meaning and technical precision at the Alison Smith Gallery, a chic gallery in the emerging Dundas West art district.

Saturday, May 22
Peer through the looking glass and behold the world of Alice in Wonderland at Black Creek Pioneer Village, where the beloved story comes to life for an entire weekend of Cheshire Cat crafts, a Mad Hatter’s tea party and much more.

His name was all over the newspapers and now they’ll be writing about his visit to Massey Hallcomedian and erstwhile talk show host Conan O’Brien will have you roaring with laughter alongside Andy Richter and the former Tonight Show band.

Don’t miss your last chance to experience the moral thriller Death and the Maiden at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Watch as this intriguing tale—about a woman who encounters a doctor who may have tortured her in the past—unfolds before your bewildered eyes.

Sunday: Enjoy the Cinesphere and other attractions at Ontario Place

Sunday, May 23
Explore architectural wonders and historic districts on a relaxing yet educational walking tour hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum. This afternoon’s ROM Walk sets off at 2 p.m. for an adventure detailing Sacred Stones and Steeples.

What would Victoria Day weekend be without fireworks? Mark the festive occasion at Ontario Place or Canada’s Wonderland with a day of rides and an evening showcase of bursting, streaming, shimmering lights.

Enjoy a decadent meal aboard the Jubilee Queen cruise ship. Float serenely among the Toronto Islands as sparkling stars—and, of course, those festive fireworks—illuminate the night sky.

Monday, May 24
Celebrate the queen’s birthday at Gibson House, the historic home of one of Willowdale’s founding families. Snack on a treat in the  kitchen, view old-fashioned toys in the parlour or engage in hands-on activities in the Discovery Gallery.

Behold gravity-defying stunts and incredible acrobatics at the Toronto International Circus Festival. World-class acrobats, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and balloon sculptors gather at Harbourfront Centre to amaze and entertain you.

Meander through the Distillery Historic District and feast your eyes on displays of Canadian crafts—including handmade jewellery, sweet-smelling soaps, wood furniture and photographic art—at the Distillery Spring Arts Show.