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Toronto Zoo

Weekend Roundup, November 12 to 14

There’s a little bit of something for everyone happening this weekend! Enjoy everything from theatre and sports to wildlife and winter fun!

Friday: View Suite Suite Chinatown at the Reel Asian Film Festival

Friday, November 12th
Parents and parents-to-be can check out the Baby Time Show, ongoing all weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Get insider tips on everything baby-related and entertain your kiddos with sing-a-longs and live shows on the main stage. Today there are seminars throughout the day on such topics as breastfeeding and keeping your children safe around dogs.

The University of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre premieres Equus, the second production of its 2010/11 season. Recently re-popularized when Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe performed its  lead role in London, the Peter Shaffer-penned classic tells of a psychiatrist’s attempt to understand the sexual and religious connotations of a boy who blinds horses.

Celebrate the cinema of the Far East at the Reel Asian Film Festival, which continues this weekend. Along with screenings taking place throughout the day—including Suite Suite Chinatown—there’s also a special Karaoke Party tonight at 9 p.m. at The Abbey Pub.

Saturday: Fall in love with the Toronto Zoo's red pandas (photo by Peter Meenen)

Saturday, November 13th
Like its black and white counterpart the red panda is facing extinction. To raise awareness, the Toronto Zoo celebrates International Red Panda Day. Learn all about this gorgeous animal at the zoo’s dedicated red panda exhibit. All proceeds go to the Red Panda Network which helps conservation efforts to save these furry little creatures.

Let your imagination soar at the National Ballet of Canada’s performance Cinderella tonight. The timeless fairytale is given a slightly modern twist in this production, which focuses on the allegorical elements of the traditional rags-to-riches tale.

Take in some ice carving, live music, and fire performers this Saturday at the Ice, Wine & Dine event, part of the Downtown Yonge BIA’s Winter Magic festival. There will also be food and wine tasting as well as ice martinis and so much more.

Sunday: See Leafs stars like Phil Kessel test their skills

Sunday, November 14th
It’s the final day of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! See this annual celebration off in good humour by attending its Woof and Hoof event—where canine is pitted against equine in numerous challenges including barrel racing. The Trick Riding Championship also takes place today, plus cattle penning, mini chuckwagon racing and much more.

The Toronto Maple Leafs throw down the gauntlet at 11 a.m. for their Skills Competition. See some of your favourite players go head to head in shootouts, skate offs, and many other mettle-testing events. For tickets, click here.

Experience the glitz and glamour of Indian entertainment in The Merchants of Bollywood, which wraps up its Toronto run this evening. The costumes, music, and beauty of Indian cinema come alive in this fabulous production.

Weekend Roundup, October 29 to 31

It’s Halloween! Grab your costume and make it a wicked weekend with some of these hair-raising events.

Have a Wicked weekend (photo by Joan Marcus)

Friday, October 29
Start your Halloween weekend with a bow to the past at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. See the classic film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while award-winning composer Andrew Downing performs its original score. The tale of a mad carnival showman and his sleepwalking slave, this 1920s masterpiece is considered by many to be the first horror film. It will give you chills!

Toronto can’t get enough of the hit Broadway musical Wicked! Return to Oz to hear the story of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West—long before Dorothy dropped in. Enjoying it’s third engagement at the Canon Theatre, grab your tickets before they sell out—again!

Head to Second City for an evening of hilarious comedy. The troupe’s latest show, Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes, has garnered rave reviews thanks to its smart comedy sketches and songs. This performance delivers non-stop laughs!

Saturday, October 30
Crime and mystery fiction get their due at the International Festival of Authors, which celebrates the timeless genre at the IFOA Noir Round Table. Join authors and critics as they discuss the mystery novel!

Get your pulse racing at the Creepy Classics concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Pianist Todd Yaniw plays some of the most well-known “spooky” pieces, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Bach’s Toccata in D Minor.

Head to the Drake Hotel for its Halloween party! Come dressed as your favourite music-video star and dance the night away to DJ duo Flosstradamus. The best costume wins $500. This just begs for an extravagant Lady Gaga outfit!

Sunday, October 31
Bring the kids to the Toronto Zoo this weekend for Boo at the Zoo. There are tons of kid-friendly attractions like the hay maze, the animal meet and greet and live performances all day long. Kids in costume get in free!

Get a terrifying tour of Casa Loma! Professional ghost trackers show videos and tell their stories about nights spent in the historic castle. Visitors are then left to explore the grounds to do some ghost tracking of their own!

For the biggest Halloween bash in the city, head to Church Street for their annual Halloween Block Party! Costumed revelers take over the Gay Village, with an expected turnout of 50,000 people. The streets are closed and clubs open their doors, from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. You’ve never been to a Halloween party like this!

Weekend Roundup, September 3 to 5

Though autumn is just around the corner, summer’s still trying to keep up the heat. There are plenty of events and entertainment options this weekend!

Friday: The Jonas Brothers rock Toronto

Friday, September 3rd
Brace yourself for screaming teens as pop sensations the Jonas Brothers play their second show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre. Expect to hear big hits from the boys’ latest album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, and their new movie Camp Rock 2.

Big, trippy beats are on order as Flying Lotus fills the Opera House with his special brand of experimental techno. The talented producer’s most recent record, Cosmogramma, has been getting rave reviews, and his ability to remix other artists’ chart-topping tracks is also renowned.

Enjoy your last days of summer at the Toronto Zoo. Today marks its final Frozen Friday—a great opportunity to see the arctic polar bears up close during their feeding and learn about these beautiful creatures from the keeper.

Saturday: Laugh for a final time with Mrs. Brown

Saturday, September 4th
Step into the hilarious world of a Dublin family at the final performance of How Now Mrs. Brown Cow. Starring the talented Brendan O’Carroll—who also wrote and directed this comedy—the show follows a nosy mother as she brings her family together for Christmas.

Look to the sky! The Canadian International Air Show begins today. Watch death-defying aerobatic performances and marvel at the power of some of the world’s most advanced military aircraft. And don’t miss the 40th anniversary of the famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Surround yourself with both art and history. The Artisans at the Distillery Art Show offers exceptional works in varying media by Canadian artists. The 19th-century Distillery Historic District is taken over by sculptures, photographs, paintings and metallic structures as these artists display their greatest pieces in the outdoors.

Sunday: See Julian Schnabel's untitled self-portrait and much more at the AGO

Sunday, September 5th
Take your kids to Ontario Place for family fun. Today, favourite children’s television characters from Sesame Street make an appearance to meet and greet their young fans. Be sure to take your camera for the wonderful picture opportunities available with these life-size characters!

See how one art form can inspire another by viewing Julian Schnabel: Art and Film at the Art Gallery of Ontario. More than two dozen enormous paintings by the New York-based artist and director (of such movies as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) imply a fruitful relationship between visual art and filmmaking.

Enjoy this summer’s final “World Routes” festival at Harbourfront Centre. At the 15th Anniversary Ashkenaz Festival, you’re sure to find plenty of music, food, apparel and products celebrating Jewish art and culture.

March Break Manual

School’s Out, springs a tease and the babes need boredom-busting adventures. Where Toronto offers a dozen ideas to keep the kids—and your entire family—happy during March Break.
By Naya Valdellon

The gang from High School Musical head back to class in a stage production (photo by Joseph Hammond)

TIPS FOR TWO HOURS

Ice Breakers
MARCH 3 TO 7 See your favourite Disney characters come to life with Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate!. The magical, action-packed skating party features a Halloween haunt with the Disney villains, a royal ball with princesses like Cinderella and Belle, and a winter wonderland with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Monstrous Fun
OPENS MARCH 8 Youngsters—and the young at heart—can both enjoy The Monster Under the Bed, presented by Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. Penned by Kevin Dyer and directed by Nina Lee Aquino, the comedy dramatizes the fears and fantasies of a young boy named Ben who swaps lives with the scary creature hiding beneath his mattress.

Teenage Drama
MARCH 17 TO 21 Real high school, with its intrigues and cliques, is no song-and-dance number. But the Disney phenomenon High School Musical 2 makes us remember how fun it could be. A new 70-minute stage version has Troy, Gabriella, Chad and the rest of the gang landing summer jobs and singing original songs from the movie, including “You Are the Music in Me.”

Middle Ages for All Ages
ON NOW Get whisked away to the 11th century as the royal guests of King Philippe and Princess Leonore at Medieval Times. Walk through a majestic castle, feast on a four-course banquet with your bare hands and cheer for your knight in shining armor at an authentic jousting tournament.

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Holiday Happenings: New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Year's at Nathan Phillips SquareWhether you’re looking to take in a stage show, indulge in a culinary celebration, or dance into the wee hours—we’ve got plenty of party ideas to help you ring in 2010.

Scottish Traditions
Step back in time on December 28 for an evening of Scottish food and music during Hogmanay (the Scots word for “new year”) celebrations at Mackenzie House . The decorated 19th-century row house will be illuminated with gaslight while traditional musical group Gin Lane performs popular tunes, including a musical rendition of Auld Lang Syne, the famed verse by Scottish poet Robbie Burns. 82 Bond St., 7 to 9 p.m. $20 per person; call 416-392-6915 to reserve.

On December 29, bring the family to Gibson House for a candlelit evening celebrating the Scottish New Year at the Hogmanay Party for Families. Visitors are greeted at the door by the legendary “First Footer” and are soon immersed in Hogmanay customs through hands-on crafts, stories and sing-alongs. On December 30, enjoy a scrumptious meal at a traditional Hogmanay dinner party.  Wine and dine by the fireside while watching a dramatic re-creation of a New Year from a bygone time. 5172 Yonge St. Hogmanay family party 7 to 9 p.m. Adults $20, children $12.50. Hogmanay Dinner 7:30 to 10 p.m. $50; call 416-395-7432 to pre-register for either event.

Stage Performances
Stand up and cheer for some of the most passionate operatic music ever written as Bravissimo! Opera’s Greatest Hits returns to Toronto for a spectacular New Year’s Eve concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Delight in dazzling performances of beloved arias, duets and more from Carmen, Madama Butterfly, La bohème and other classics from opera’s golden age. 60 Simcoe St. 7 p.m., $75 to $155; call 416-872-4255 or click here to buy.

Laugh, cry, and kiss the New Year goodbye as Yuk Yuk’s founder Mark Breslin presents the annual New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza at Massey Hall. Hilarious host Gerry Dee is joined on stage by the city’s funniest stand up and improv artists. Special guest performers include Nikki Payne and “That Canadian Guy” Glen Foster. 178 Victoria St.
7:30 p.m. $39.50 to $59.50; call 416-872-4255 or visit here to purchase tickets.

The Toronto Operetta Theatre‘s New Year’s Eve Gala features dinner, dancing and a rousing performance of Countess Maritza, an operetta known the world over for its combination of Viennese elegance and Hungarian passion. This fundraising event, which has sold out for 12 years in a row, includes a pre-performance sit-down dinner and a late-night reception and dance party to benefit the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. 27 Front St. E.
5:30 p.m., $145 and up; call 416-366-7723 or click here to buy.

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Holiday Happenings: Outdoor Attractions

It can be tempting to hibernate the holidays away. But if you bundle up and face the wintry winds outdoors, you’ll be rewarded with lights, treats and high spirits this season.

Walk the Trail of Lights at Downsview Park (photo by Bensonkua)

Northern Lights
If you’ve never had a reason to head north to Downsview Park (at Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue), the “Trail of Lights” provides more than 400,000 radiant reasons to do so. Open from 6 to 11:00 p.m. every night until January 3, the three-kilometre trail winds through illuminated arches into 16 themed areas and the park’s Canada Forest, amazing visitors with energy-efficient LED lights in the form of blizzards, reindeer, Santa Claus and the country’s largest walk-through Holiday Tree. Whether you drive or walk the sparkling route, you’re sure to be spellbound. 1–35 Carl Hall Rd., $7 per person on Walk-Through Wednesdays, $20 to $50 per vehicle on other days; call 416-952-2222 or click here for tickets.

Luxe Cruise
Maybe a night aboard one of the heated, beautifully decorated Mariposa Cruise Line ships doesn’t technically count as an outdoor activity, but with its breathtaking views of Toronto’s harbourfront and skyline, the four-hour Holiday Dinner Cruises on December 5, 12, 18 and 19 afford a unique, luxurious way of celebrating with loved ones as you enjoy the city’s beauty from afar. Feast on a sumptuous buffet-style dinner featuring prime rib, roast turkey and other holiday mains while listening to ambient music guests can dance to. Boards at Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., $72.95; call 416-203-0178 or click here for tickets, as reservations are required.

White Nights
Head outside on any night this December and be dazzled by the Cavalcade of Lights in diverse neighbourhoods across the city. See Chinatown’s dragons, Little Italy’s trumpeting angels, Koreatown’s tiger, Yorkville’s sparkly storefront displays and Yonge-Dundas Square’s polar bears. On Saturday nights, end up at Nathan Phillips Square, where Toronto’s official Christmas tree towers over revelers waiting for fireworks and free concerts. Live performances by State of Shock on December 12 and Faber Drive December 19 entertain music-lovers, followed by DJ’s spinning alternative music for the skating fanatics. Call 416-338-0338 or click here for more information.

The Natrel Rink (photo by Jennifer Hart)

The Natrel Rink (photo by Jennifer Hart)

Get Set, Skate!
You won’t wish for a river you can skate away on if you find your way to the Harbourfront Centre’s Natrel Rink. The country’s largest artificially refrigerated outdoor rink boasts a good view of the waterfront and is a great venue for free DJ Skate Saturday Nights, when different DJ’s play house music, blues, jazz and even ambient electronica while skaters glide across the ice every Saturday from December 5 to February 13 (except December 26). For beginners, rink offers several learn-to-skate classes, drop-in clinics and private lessons. Afterwards, you can enjoy warming drinks by one of the controlled fireplaces overlooking Lake Ontario. 235 Queens Quay W., free ($7 for skate rental); call 416-973-4093 or click here for more information on skating classes.

Away in a Manger
Here’s a unique way to spend the morning after an indulgent holiday banquet: join fellow animal-lovers in pampering the creatures that delight Toronto Zoo patrons all year long. From 10 to 11 a.m. on December 26, the 34th annual Christmas Treats Walk lets visitors feed treats and seasonal goodies to the zoo’s resident reindeer, Siberian tigers, polar bears and other beasts. Participants will be treated to free hot chocolate at the new Tundra Trek and entertained by carol singers during the walk. On Meadowvale Rd., north of Hwy. 401, half-price admission all day; call 416-392-5929 or click here for further details.

Weekend Roundup, October 30th to November 1st

Too old for trick or treating? Try out some of these spooky Halloween-themed activities. . . if you dare!

Friday: enter a pumpkin carving contest (photo by Plutor).

Friday: Enter a pumpkin carving competition (photo by Plutor).

Friday, October 30th
Go on a frighteningly cool auditory treasure hunt at Sounds Scary, a Halloween-themed multimedia installation at the Artscape Wychwood Barns.

Show off your pumpkin carving skills or cheer on your favourite team in the third annual Church Street Jack-O-Lantern competition, part of Halloweek celebrations in the Church-Wellesley Village.

Forget candlelight, try dining in the dark at O’Noir—for daring dinner patrons, the pitch-black surroundings can help to enhance the senses of taste, smell and touch.

Saturday: Kids can be animals at Boo at the Zoo.

Saturday: Kids get to be animals at the annual Boo at the Zoo.

Saturday, October 31
Throw on your favourite pair of animal ears and head to Boo at the Zoo, where critters and costumed humans will be on parade along with lots more spooktacular kid-friendly entertainment.

Listen to the large scale sound of twenty classical pianists simultaneously performing on ten grand pianos at the annual Halloween Monster Concert at Massey Hall.

Dress to impress in Casino Royale–style costume garb at the Distillery District’s Halloween Howl, a devilishly chic Monte Carlo-themed fundraiser to support Canadian Opera Students.

Sunday: Cheer for a mutant superhero in The Toxic Avenger.

Sunday: Cheer for a mutant superhero in The Toxic Avenger (photo by Carol Rosegg).

Sunday, November 1
Snack while you shop at the Drake Hotel’s first urban market, a combination of yard sale and bake sale featuring handmade crafts, vintage clothing and an assortment of Halloween-related goodies.

Get grossed out at new musical The Toxic Avenger. Louise Pitre (of Mamma Mia fame) stars in this hilarious tale of an unlikely mutant superhero from New Jersey.

Take a photographic journey back in time at the Stephen Bulger gallery’s new exhibit, Lieux Mêmes, featuring hauntingly beautiful images by Bertrand Carrier.