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Toronto Blue Jays

Weekend Roundup, September 16 to 18

Friday: Paul Gross and Kim Cattrall debut in Noël Coward's Private Lives

Friday, September 16
Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross trade the silver screen for the big stage in the Toronto engagement of Private Lives. This straight-from-London production of Noël Coward’s comedy classic opens tonight at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Discover Ukrainian culture at the Toronto Ukrainian Festival. The event kicks off tonight and runs all weekend in Bloor West Village. Watch dancers and musicians, taste authentic Ukrainian food and drinks, and shop the sidewalk sale.

Cheer on slugger Jose Bautista, rising star Brett Lawrie, and the rest of the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, as they open a three-game  series against the New York Yankees (and look to spoil the Bronx Bombers’ hopes of another division title).

Saturday: Celebrate the season at Black Creek Pioneer Village

Saturday, September 17
Press some cider, bid on handmade quilts, and take a horse-drawn wagon ride at the 55th Pioneer Festival at Black Creek Pioneer Village. This year’s event celebrates local food and the history of the harvest with fresh-baked pies and a team of volunteers producing 1,000 pounds of sausage throughout the day.

Don your red threads and head over to BMO Field for some Major League Soccer action. See if Torsten Frings and Julian de Guzman can lead Toronto FC to victory against the visiting Colorado Rapids.

Listen to the folk-rock melodies of Wilco at Massey Hall. The Chicago-based band is following up on its 2009 Grammy-nominated, self-titled record with the release of its eighth studio album, The Whole Love, due out later this month.

Sunday: Cheer on the thousands of runners keeping Terry Fox's dream alive (photo by Logantech)

Sunday, September 18
Carry on the legacy and spirit of national hero and support cancer research. Running, walking, and cycling paths of various lengths will be set up at Terry Fox Run sites around the city.

Celebrate “Hangawi,” also known as the Korean Thanksgiving at the Korean Harvest Festival. Concerts, a Korean culture show, and a singing competition are all part of the festivities taking place at Mel Lastman Square in North Toronto.

Polka your way over to Roncesvalles Village for the Roncesvalles Polish Festival. Experience the heritage, art, music, and food of Poland, along with a soccer tournament, and film screenings at the Revue cinema.

Weekend Roundup, April 22nd to 24th

Friday: See Measha Brueggergosman in La Clemenza di Tito (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Friday, April 22
Opening tonight at the Elgin Theatre, Opera Atelier‘s production of La Clemenza di Tito features star soprano Measha Brueggergosman, male soprano Michael Maniaci and dramatic tenor Kresimir Spicer. Known as Mozart’s “most perfect work,” this opera has everything, from unrequited love to assassination plots.

In celebration of Good Friday, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir performs “Sacred Music for a Sacred Space” at St. Paul’s Basilica this evening. The concert features sacred works by renowned Canadian choral composer, Healey Willan.

All weekend long, Easter EGGstravaganza: Toronto’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt takes place on Centre Island. From 11 a.m.  to 5 p.m., children and families can join in the Easter Bunny for activities and games like basket-making, bouncy castles, face painting, egg painting, a petting zoo and Centreville rides.

Saturday: Get a scare at Ghost Stories (photo courtesy of Mirvish Productions)

Saturday, April 23
Halloween isn’t for another six months, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing Ghost Stories at the Panasonic Theatre. Not for the faint of heart, this is a thrilling, live horror show best suited for audiences 14 years of age or older. Are you brave enough?

Head out of the city for a day trip to Stratford, Ontario and catch the first of the Stratford Festival’s plays for the upcoming season. Previewing this weekend are Grapes of Wrath, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, and Camelot, the renowned musical about the King Arthur and his questing knights.

Free Earth Day Celebrations take place at Todmorden Mills Heritage Museum and Arts Centre, from noon to 4 p.m. today. Children and families are invited to learn what they can do to help the planet, create environmentally friendly artwork, tour the wildflower preserve, and learn about the impact of industrialization on the Don Valley’s natural landscape.

Sunday: Cheer on Adam Lind and the rest of the Blue Jays

Sunday, April 24
Catch the last of a three-game tilt between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rogers Centre on Sunday at 1 p.m. Before filling up on cracker jacks and hot dogs, go for a casual Easter Sunday brunch at Cora Breakfast & Lunch, just steps away from the stadium.

For something a little fancier, Casa Loma hosts its annual Easter Sunday Royal Brunch, with a smorgasbord including pastries, leg of lamb, salad, pancakes and waffles, pasta, seafood and dessert. There’s even a children’s buffet. Kids can also take part in the “Egg”-citing Hunt on at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.

Don’t miss your last chance to see In Search of Normal Rockwell’s America, which concludes its run at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection on April 25. This collection juxtaposes Rockwell’s work with that of photojournalist Kevin Rivoli, both telling the story of “everyday life.”

Hot Date: Blue Jays Play Ball!

Jose Bautista

OPENS APRIL 1 Cautious optimism reigns as the Toronto Blue Jays kick off their Major League Baseball season at home against the Minnesota Twins. The team continues to nurture a number of rising stars—at press time, hard-hitting catcher J.P. Arencibia and pitcher Kyle Drabek were among the promising young talents hoping to crack the lineup—in hopes of being contenders in the difficult East Division. Returning players like southpaw hurler Ricky Romero and home run king Jose Bautista no doubt wish for a strong start, too. They’ll be tested as the month goes on against the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and others. Rogers Centre, $14 to $73; call 416-341-1234 or navigate here for tickets and times.

Weekend Roundup, April 1st to 3rd

Friday: Peruse funky bowls by Carolyne Brouillard and many other items at the One of a Kind Spring Show

Friday, April 1
Artists, designers and shoppers unite! The always anticipated One of a Kind Spring Show has begun, and runs through to this Sunday at Exhibition Place’s Direct Energy Centre. Here, 450 artisans offer unique, handmade art, clothing, accessories and designs for purchase. This year, the show features a Muskoka Artists Marketplace as well as workshops and seminars on home design.

In the same vein, the International Home & Garden Show also takes place this weekend at the International Centre, just west of Toronto. Hundreds of home experts, interior designers and landscaping professionals will be on hand for consultation, offering thousands of products and ideas to help freshen up your home this spring.

A new Major League Baseball season begins tonight as the Toronto Blue Jays go to bat against Minnesota Twins. The game at the Rogers Centre is officially sold out (yes, all 50,000 seats), but you can catch the game with the locals at Real Sports Bar & Grill or Wayne Gretzky’s.

Saturday: Rod Steward joins Stevie Nicks for an evening of song (photo by Mark Seliger)

Saturday, April 2
Catch Toronto FC in the second game of its fledgling Major League Soccer season, as the boys in red square off against Chivas USA from Carson, California. The match starts at 1 p.m. at BMO Field, just steps from the popular Liberty Village neighbourhood. Before the game, fill up on some comforting brunch dishes at School Bakery & Café or Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts offers two chances (at 2 and 8 p.m.) to hear A Little Nightmare Music, with classical musicians and YouTube sensations Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo. The duo has taken the world by storm with their unique and hilarious theatrical show that combines classical music with popular culture.

On Saturday evening, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks bring their Heart & Soul Tour to the Air Canada Centre. A “can’t-miss” concert event, the distinctive singers are slated to perform hits from their catalogs, as well as some duets.

Sunday: Partake in historical fare at Fort York (photo by Webguy63)

Sunday, April 3
History is made fun at Fork York National Historic Site, in the heart of downtown Toronto. The heritage site hosts a Historical Food Tasting and Tea experience from 1 to 3 p.m., including samples of old-fashioned food recipes from the fort’s restored 1826 kitchen, plus tea and the freedom to explore the rest of the site.

Starting today, a new exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario features the evolution of 20th-century Inuit art. Inuit Modern: the Samuel & Esther Sarick Collection showcases more than 175 works, including pieces by David Ruben Piqtoukun, Kenojuak Ashevak, Karoo Ashevak, and Lucy Tasseor.

In support of Raising the Roof’s Youthworks initiative, the All-Star Comedy Cabaret is just one aspect of this weekend’s April Fool’s Weekend of Comedy festival. Taking place at 7:30 p.m. at The Second City, the fundraiser is hosted by Steve Patterson of CBC’s The Debaters and features comedians like CBC’s Pete Zedlacher (Just For Laughs, The Hour), Almost Heroes’ Ryan Bellevill, CityTV’s Jonny Harris, David Merry, Evan Carter and Shaun Majumder.

Hot Dates: Still Swinging

Jose Bautista

ON NOW The final month of this year’s Major League Baseball season has arrived and it’s a great time to find a seat behind home plate. Although the Toronto Blue Jays are out of the playoff hunt, the young team remains competitive and will be battling to spoil the post-season hopes of rivals like the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Another reason to cheer: at press time, Jays’ right fielder Jose Bautista is the league’s home run leader. These games will prove decisive if he hopes to clinch the slugging title. Rogers Centre, various times, $13 to $76; call 416-341-1234 or visit here for tickets.

Weekend Roundup, July 30 to August 2

The Caribbean (plus a whole lot more) comes to Toronto this long weekend!

Friday: Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista swings for the fences (photo courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays)

Friday, July 30
Start your weekend laughing! Catch one of the last shows of the Bad Dog Theater Short Play Festival, which supports emerging and established Canadian comedic talent. With four hilarious plays to choose from, there’s sure to be one that tickles your funny bone.

Dance and sing the night away with an eclectic selection of musicians performing at Disco Lemonade. This concert at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre features Euro-popsters including Keane, Robyn, Ingrid Michaelson, Kelis, Fran Healy from Travis, Dan Black and Far East Movement.

Catch the Toronto Blue Jays’ final 2010 series against the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe swept our Jays in a four-game stand last month; the home team will be looking to dominate this time around.

Saturday: Vibrant costumes draw crowds at the Caribana parade

Saturday, July 31
Lake Shore Boulevard is awash in the colours of the Caribbean today at the annual Scotiabank Caribana Parade. This spectacular display is the culmination of nearly a month of Caribbean cultural activities in Toronto. More than one million tourists are expected to pour into the city for this event. Are you one of them?

Add some art to your weekend by visiting the Art Gallery of Ontario to catch such current exhibitions as “Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theater” and “Playing with Pictures: the Art of Victorian Photocollage.” Or keep with the Caribbean theme by viewing the Royal Ontario Museum’s Caribana-themed exhibit “From the Soul,” with more than 150 works by African-Canadian artists. A trip to one of these institutions is always a great option for the weekend, and as a bonus, they’re both open on the holiday Monday, too!

Enjoy an evening of Beethoven, Schumann and Shostakovich courtesy of the Summer Music Festival, which tonight hosts respected pianist Menahem Pressler and the Grammy-winning Pacifica String Quartet.

Sunday: Catch the final staging of large-scale musical Miss Saigon (photo by Bruce Bennett)

Sunday August 1
Don’t miss this afternoon’s opening reception of Queen Gallery’s 50/50 exhibition. For this juried show more than 80 artists each completed a piece measuring 20” by 20” in size, and the collected works are all on sale for the same price. These restrictions, of course, stand in contrast to the creativity of the artists.

It’s your last chance to relive the days of Beatlemania! Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles is a unique experience. And not only because of the music; the band successfully embodies the Beatles themselves. Incorporating period photos and video footage this show is sure to transport you back to the ’60s.

The curtain falls on Miss Saigon tonight at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Based on the classic opera Madama Butterfly, this tragic tale of doomed love during the Vietnam War deserves your standing ovation.

Monday: See Fiona Byrne and Diego Matamoros in Turgenev's A Month in the Country (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Monday August 2
The Irie Music Festival runs all weekend long with Caribbean cultural events in Queen’s Park, Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge-Dundas Square. With dancing, tunes, food and more, it’s the perfect tropical complement to Caribana’s festivities.

And let’s not forget Harbourfront Centre! It’s Island Soul festival, part of the World Routes Summer Festival series, offers one more day of Caribbean cultural activities. Learn how to make ox tail dumplings, listen to steel pan drummers, and enjoy Caribbean films.

Allow Soulpepper Theatre Company to treat you to A Month in the Country. Its production of the Russian classic seamlessly maneuvers between comedy and tragedy, as characters become tangled in complicated summer-love triangles. It’s the perfect way to end a packed weekend.

Weekend Roundup, May 14 to 16

Cheer up, the sun is coming out! This weekend is particularly promising with a packed lineup of shopping, sports and general merriment.

Friday: Shop for designer frocks and view the latest runway looks at The Clothing Show

Friday, May 14
Get started on summer shopping by perusing the apparel (both contemporary and vintage), jewellery and handbags and other accessories at The Clothing Show . With 300-plus vendor booths featuring designer names and discounts, it’s possible to leave with a whole new wardrobe.

The final launch of the Atlantis space shuttle is scheduled for this afternoon. Watch the historic blast off at 2:20 p.m. from the Hot Zone at the Ontario Science Centre.

Be inspired by a story of culture and discovery told through dance. DanceWorks presents Isolated Incidents, a solo piece performed and choreographed by Nova Bhattacharya at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre.

Saturday: Rock out with John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme as Them Crooked Vultures storm the Air Canada Centre stage (photo by Julio Enriquez)

Saturday, May 15
If you visit the Royal Ontario Museum, you can feast your eyes on sparkling jewels and rare artifacts encased in glass. Look beyond those cases and you’ll glimpse something else entirely, as B-boys and contemporary dancers perform at the ROM in celebration of Asian Heritage Month. Don’t miss this rare treat as dancers, inspired by the museum’s artifacts, weave in and around the exhibits.

Equip yourself with a soft, feather-free pillow and a sleepover-kid mindset because a giant pillow fight is coming to Yonge-Eglinton Square. What better way to relieve stress and let go on the weekend than with a fun, friendly swing of a pillow?

Seize a special opportunity to see Them Crooked Vultures—the rock supergroup composed of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) plays the Air Canada Centre tonight.

Sunday: See slap-soled shoes and more at the Bata Shoe Museum

Sunday, May 16
Follow up your Clothing Show session with a trip to the Bata Shoe Museum. The downtown institution’s current exhibition, On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels, pays tribute to the two most outrageous shoes to touch Western soil: the platform chopine and its descendant, the high heel.

Support the city’s baseball team as the Toronto Blue Jays take to the Rogers Centre field against the Texas Rangers. Tickets start at just $14!

After the game, enjoy a hearty Texan meal at Lone Star Texas Grill. Dig into mesquite-grilled steak and ribs or fill up on fajitas, but don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Building a Better Ball Team

The Rogers Centre hosts the Blue Jays' home opener on April 12.

And so it begins. After a promising start turned dramatically sour last year, the Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2010 Major League Baseball season with the lowered expectations of a team in the first tentative stages of a long-term rebuilding process.

Some recent history: Since their wistfully remembered early-‘90s World Series championships, this city’s boys of summer have been unable to return to the playoffs. Despite a few modestly successful regular-season campaigns, the Jays have played a consistent second (or third, or fourth) fiddle to powerful division rivals the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, as well as the once-lowly Tampa Bay Rays. A stellar 27–14 start to the 2009 campaign proved to be a false fount of confidence—the team was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play, and ultimately finished with a losing 75–87 record. Underperforming stars Alex Rios and B.J. Ryan were summarily released, much-maligned General Manager J.P. Ricciardi was given his walking papers, and in December, ace pitcher Roy Halladay was unsurprisingly traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

(more…)

Weekend Roundup, September 4 to 7

Labour Day on Monday makes for a long weekend, so we bring you a special four-day guide of what to do in the city.

Friday: Vernon Wells and his Blue Jays teammates take on the New York Yankees.

Friday: Vernon Wells and the Blue Jays take on the New York Yankees.

Friday, September 4
Root for the home team as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the New York Yankees in today’s Major League Baseball game at the Rogers Centre.

Howl with laughter at The Second City’s final performance of Are We There Yet?, a sketch comedy revue about families and the summer, shaken up with some improv. Kids age six and older are welcome—and may be invited on stage to participate in the antics.

Move your hips to the mariachi sound of violins, guitars, mandolins and trumpets at the Hispanic Fiesta.

Saturday: Look for local produce at the Evergreen Brick Works farmers market.

Saturday: Look for local produce at the Evergreen Brick Works farmers market.

Saturday, September 5
It’s the opening day of the 60th annual Canadian International Air Show! Peer into the sky to find the Canadian Forces’ famed Snowbirds roar across the blue, twisting and turning in a display of aerial stunts.

Pick up Hot & Savoury pickles, preserved locally in Toronto, from the Toorshi Foods table at the Evergreen Brick Works farmers’ market.

If the pickles aren’t spicy enough for your palate, turn up the fire at the Hot + Spicy Food Festival, where you can purchase a variety of spices, sauces, marinades and dips from the Red Hot Marketplace.

Sunday: See Karen Robinson in <em>The Tempest</em>.

Sunday: See Karen Robinson in The Tempest.

Sunday, September 6
It’s the last night of the Canadian Stage Dream in High Park. Cozy up to your date on a blanket and watch Shakespeare’s The Tempest under the stars.

Treat yourself to Sunday brunch on the intimate patio at Live Organic Food Bar, where you can get dejeuner served up raw and vegan—try the walnut crepes with shaved pear and strawberry compote and cashew chantilli cream.

Unearth some of the best spots for dim sum on the Tour Guys‘ Culture, Cuisine, and Colours free tour of Chinatown and Kensington Market.

Monday: Ride the ferris wheel on the CNE's last night.

Monday: Ride the ferris wheel on the CNE's last night.

Monday, September 7
Recognize and celebrate workers’ efforts and rights at the Labour Day Parade. This year’s theme is “Good Jobs For All.”

Get a glimpse into the indulgent diversions of the affluent people of Zabid in the Royal Ontario Museum’s exhibition, Coffee & Smokes in Medieval Yemen. (Take the kids—each child for every adult gets free admission to the ROM this weekend!)

The Canadian National Exhibition closes today, so it’s your last chance to down a bag of mini doughnuts, catch an illusionist show, and view the sun setting over the city from atop a ferris wheel.

Weekend Roundup, August 7 to 9

Friday: Whimsical contemporary art at MOCCA.

Friday: Whimsical contemporary art at MOCCA.

Friday, August 7
Gawk, Giggle and admire the quirky, psychedelic cartoons and drawings that make up the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s Pulp Fiction group exhibition.

Get messy! It’s rib night at Toronto’s new favourite smokehouse, Stockyards BBQ. Here, the scrumptious ribs—of both beef and pork varieties—are smoked for 8 hours, which ensures an excellent meat-falling-off-bone factor.

Cheer on the hometown heroes of yesteryear as more than 30 players and coaches from the Toronto Blue Jays’ 1992 and 1993 World Series-winning teams are honoured prior to tonight’s game. Among the champions in attendance: Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, John Olerud and Tom Henke.

Saturday: Souvlaki and more at the Taste of the Danforth.

Saturday: Souvlaki and more at the Taste of the Danforth.

Saturday, August 8
Listen to indie songstress St Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark) play her signature brand of cabaret-pop at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern.

Sample tasty Greek treats, meet some local celebrities and dance to traditional bouzouki music during the weekend-long Taste of the Danforth.

Savour South Asian cuisine at Zaika, a food festival serving up regional tastes at Harbourfront Centre.

Sunday: The funky sights of east Chinatown (photo by Wyliepoon).

Sunday: The funky sights of east Chinatown (photo by Wyliepoon).

Sunday, August 9
Find out why Bob Wiseman will never become a Canadian Idol in the Summerworks Theatre Festival show, Actionable. The former Blue Rodeo guitarist dissects his work using powerpoint, accordion, guitar and a casio keyboard in a show for mature audiences.

Spend an afternoon in east Chinatown. It might not be as grand as its Spadina Avenue counterpart, but you can’t beat the dim sum at the Pearl Court restaurant (633 Gerrard Street East, 416-463-8778). After lunch, head north on Broadview Avenue to Riverdale park for a picturesque view of the city’s skyscrapers.

June 2009 At A Glance

—By Danielle Milley

Weekend Roundup, May 29 to 31

The weekend arrives once again. Enjoy it!

Friday: Embrujo Flamenco's paella festival

Friday: Embrujo Flamenco's paella festival

Friday, May 29
Explore how the shape of a garment communicates cultural beliefs and outlooks in The Cutting Edge, a feature exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada.

Savour the exotic flavours of Embrujo Flamenco’s paella festival, featuring various takes on the filling, authentically Spanish dish. A gazpacho starter, one of four daily paellas like the arroz negro—black rice and seafood cooked in squid ink—and dessert are just $49.

Sing along to the roots-rock hits of eclectic British band Gomez as they storm the Pheonix Concert Theatre stage.

Saturday: Sommelier Taylor Thompson offers wine expertise at Reds (photo by Daniel Shipp).

Saturday: Sommelier Taylor Thompson offers wine expertise at Reds (photo by Daniel Shipp).

Saturday, May 30
Spend the day discovering the art of food-and-wine pairing by participating in historic Campbell House Museum’s Global Wine Tour: Fundamentals of Food and Wine course.

Combine food and fashion while celebrating South-Asian music and culture at DesiFest.

Marvel at the poise of performers from the Canadian Children’s Opera Company as they stage Hansel and Gretel Go Into the Woods: A Fairy Tale.

Choose your favourite tipple from more than 90 wines available by the glass at Reds Bistro & Wine Bar—or, seek the advice of Taylor Thompson, the restaurant’s expert sommelier.

Tuck into brunch at the Drake Hotel's eclectic Corner Café

Sunday: Tuck into brunch at the Drake Hotel's eclectic Corner Café

Sunday, May 31
Relax at The Rex with enough jazz, blues and beer to keep you occupied between lunch and dinner.

Take in the Drake Hotel’s trendy ambience as you chomp down on a hearty breakfast burrito from its lauded brunch menu.

Catch the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox—or perhaps even a foul ball—as these Major League Baseball rivals do battle at Rogers Centre.