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Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival

Weekend Roundup, June 24 to 26

Friday: Show Aretha Franklin some respect at David Pecaut Square

Friday, June 24
Start the weekend on a high note as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, opens the TD Toronto Jazz Festival with a free show at David Pecaut Square. The festival continues until July 3, and promises performances by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Branford Marsalis, and even hip-hop outfit The Roots.

One of the largest GLBT celebrations in the world, Toronto’s Pride Week begins this weekend with events throughout the city. Tonight the Gladstone Hotel hosts a Gay-Straight Alliance Dance Party, with DJs including Cosmic Cat and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, spinning tunes. The festival culminates with the annual Pride parade on July 3.

Enjoy an evening of timeless classics and traditional swing-jazz numbers at a Roy Thomson Hall performance by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Directed by renowned trombonist Gary Tole with special guest Susie Arioli, the big band’s setlist includes all-time favourites like “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Saturday: Sway to the sweet sounds of folk crooner James Taylor

Saturday, June 25
The sweet sounds of acoustic folk music fill the open-air Rexall Centre at York University as James Taylor makes an appearance at the BlackCreek Summer Music Festival. Fans of the Grammy-winning troubadour can expect to hear his hits including “Fire and Rain”, “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Carolina in my Mind.”

Cheer on all the competitors at the 23rd Annual Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival. The two-day event at Centre Island offers multicultural food and entertainment, plus more than 180 teams paddling teams competing for glory.

Calling all cycling enthusiasts! Join the fun at Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Bike Fest in the Distillery Historic District, featuring clinics and seminars, demonstrations, a scavenger ride and even live local bands.

Sunday: Les Chiclettes and other francophone artists perform at Franco-Fete.

Sunday, June 26
Round out the weekend by celebrating Canada’s other official culture at Harbourfront Centre’s Franco-Fete. The city’s only francophone festival presents a bevy of family-friendly performances, culinary demonstrations and much more. Très bien!

The Toronto Zoo marks the occasion of the International Indian Film Academy Awards being held downtown with it’s own Bollywood party. The festivities include music and dancing for children, as well as storytelling, henna tattoos and more.

Welcome the start of summer with a 1920s-style garden party at Spadina Museum: Historic House and Gardens. Guests can marvel at the mansion’s decor—recently restored to its Jazz Age heyday—dance to jazz rhythms, enjoy period-appropriate refreshments, and even solve a murder mystery.

Weekend Roundup, June 19 to 21

This weekend marks the summer solstice and features the longest day of the year. Toronto offers enough music, street festivals and family fun to keep you occupied for the duration.

Friday: Wintersleep provide the tunes at Yonge-Dundas Square (photo by Reie Nakagawara).

Friday: Wintersleep provide the tunes at Yonge-Dundas Square (photo by Reie Nakagawara).

Friday, June 19
Ring in this year’s Pride Week with DiverCiudad, an exhibition of Latin American queer artists on display at Naco Gallery Café (1665 Dundas Street West., 647-347-6499)—savour spicy Mexican fare and coffee while you admire the artwork.

Take advantage of free concerts at Yonge-Dundas Square presented by the North By Northeast music festival. This evening offers the ethereal ballads of Wintersleep.

Stroll the cobbled streets of the Distillery Historic District for cocktails and conversation during the Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival.

Saturday: Take in the dragon boat races (photo by Linda Luong).

Saturday: Take in the dragon boat races (photo by Linda Luong).

Saturday, June 20
Head to Downsview Park and party with Edgefest’s stellar lineup including Canadian indie-rock faves Metric.

Fall in love with Franco-Fete, the Harbourfront Centre festival celebrating French heritage through cooking classes, music performances and family activities.

Spend the day dancing in the streets as the Big on Bloor festival spreads a wave of joy with artwork, music and patios a-plenty in downtown’s west end.

Climb aboard the ferry to the Toronto Islands to cheer on the many teams paddling for victory through Lake Ontario during the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival.

Sunday: See intricate Aboriginal footwear at the Bata Shoe Museum (photo by Matthew Plexman).

Sunday: See intricate Aboriginal footwear at the Bata Shoe Museum (photo by Matthew Plexman).

Sunday, June 21
Combine fashion with history and head to the Bata Shoe Museum for National Aboriginal Day. The museum has a renowned collection of moccasins and other indigenous footwear.

Experience Mozart’s classic battle of the sexes as two young men test the honour of their fiancées’ love in Cosi fan tutte, presented by the Canadian Opera Company.