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Weekend Roundup: November 16 to 18

The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is an epicurean’s dream

Friday, November 16
Nothing warms a cold November day quite like good food and a stiff drink. With more than 1,500 wines, beers and spirits to sample, as well as a selection of gourmet food tastings from Toronto’s top chefs, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo delivers. The weekend-long event offers access to top winemakers and craft brewers, cooking demos, tasting workshops and much more.

The Design Exchange relaunches as “Canada’s Design Museum” while celebrating the work of cultural “game changer” Douglas Coupland tonight at DX Intersection, its annual fundraiser. Multiple DJs, performers and a silent auction of artist-reimagined Ikea products provide entertainment, while the Food Dudes food truck keeps mouths and stomachs full well into the night.

The Royal Ontario Museum’s Friday Night Live event series brings you good eats, good tunes, and, tonight, a screening of the 1972 Summit Series hockey final in honour of the 40th anniversary of this legendary game. Bite into a sandwich care of Fidel Gastro’s Matt Basile or savour delicious treats by Waffle Bar’s Valerie Bain while you toast the T-Rex skeleton to your left. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy the hockey action you’ve been missing, all while exploring the ROM’s hallowed halls after hours.

The Cavalcade of Lights kicks off the holiday season with music and more

Saturday, November 17
Ring in the holiday season with Toronto’s annual Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square. Dragonette and Suzie McNeil are just two of the performers who will grace the stage as City Hall is illuminated and fireworks mark the lighting of Toronto’s official Christmas tree.

Festivities for the 100th Grey Cup have also taken over Nathan Phillips Square. The event’s Adrenaline Zone dares you to take a leap with North America’s tallest urban zip line while Yonge-Dundas Square’s Nissan Family Zone gives you an opportunity to teach your little one how to throw a ball. Later, gather everyone together and check out a screening of Jerry McGuire at the Rushes Football Film Festival at Scotiabank Theatre. How’s that for a touchdown celebration?

To locals, a trip on the 501 Queen streetcar can sometimes feel unbearably long. But for visitors, a trip on North America’s longest surface public transit route is a great way to see the city. Today it’s also a great way to get some grub. Sign up for Foodies On Foot’s Streetcar Food Tour, a six-neighbourhood restaurant-hopping taste-a-thon that’s will help you travel the path from Toronto-dining neophyte to expert in just one night.

Santa makes his triumphant return to downtown Toronto (photo: Gabriel Perez)

Sunday, November 18
Bundle up the kids and head on down to the Santa Claus Parade for an afternoon of elves, upside-down clowns, marching bands, floats and more. Be on the lookout for a Grey Cup float with a four-metre replica of the trophy and Mike “Pinball” Clemons at the helm, as well as a One Direction float inspired by the popular British Boy Band.

Christmas comes early for the canine in your life with Winter Woofstock at the Direct Energy Centre. Lavish your pooch with fashion, food, furnishings and accessories and get their picture taken with Santa. Dog pageants, races and a dating soirees are just some of the fun events that are sure to keep tails wagging.

Matinee and evening shows today offer one last chance to catch the pre-Broadway run of Jekyll and Hyde. The intriguing and dark story of a man fighting multiple identities stars former American Idol contestant Constantine Maroulis and R&B diva Deborah Cox, who deliver performances that are not to be missed.

Hot Date: Woofstock Promises a Barking Good Time

JUNE 9 & 10 The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood goes to the dogs this month as Woofstock returns for a weekend of canine frivolity. North America’s largest outdoor festival for dog lovers, the event features more than 250 vendors of pooch paraphernalia marking their territory with everything from toys and clothing to food and furnishings. And there’s even more for your four-legged friends: hounds in haute couture can strut down the dogwalk or perform their “stupid dog tricks” for a chance to win prizes, while registered participants—outfitted in posh attire, of course—can enjoy a Doggy Diamond Jubilee high tea in the King Edward Hotel’s Windsor Ballroom. Along Front Street East, between Yonge and Jarvis streets, free admission; call 416-234-9663 or visit here for more information.

Weekend Roundup, November 18 to 20

Friday: The National Ballet of Canada interprets Romeo and Juliet (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Friday, November 18
See one of the greatest dance dramas in a brand new light when the National Ballet of Canada presents Romeo and Juliet. Choreographer Alexi Ratmansky gives the classic tale with a modern edge for a fresh show at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

One of Canada’s best-known musical voices, Steven Page, interprets the tunes of Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and others in Songbook 6. The always innovative Art of Time Ensemble accompanies the singer at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre.

Find unique Aboriginal arts, crafts and fashions at the Thunderbird Centre’s presentation, Very Beautiful Things. The exhibition and sale at the Gladstone Hotel will be a trove for discerning gift buyers and Aboriginal art collectors.

The rest of the weekend is just a click away!

Weekend Roundup, June 11 to 13

This weekend kicks off a couple of annual Toronto traditions—the Luminato arts festival, as well as the start of a new Argonauts football season. In between, you can pull up a chair, order a pint and roar for your favourite side while watching the FIFA World Cup.

Friday: Arcade Fire! (photo by tammylo)

Friday, June 11
Gather your sports buddies and crowd into the bustling Football Factory to catch the much-anticipated opening matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Catch Canadian Idol’s Sass Jordan and R&B singer Melanie Fiona at Yonge-Dundas Square for Luminato First Night. This free showcase of pop-music divas is the first of many events comprising the Luminato Festival.

Get in line early for one of two last-minute chances (today and Saturday) to see Montreal-based mega-band Arcade Fire rock The Music Hall with old favourites and new tunes from their upcoming album, The Suburbs.

Saturday: Malkovich!

Saturday, June 12
You’re almost certain to shiver as John Malkovich takes to the stage as Jack Unterweger, a real-life serial killer-turned-literary celebrity, in Luminato’s The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer.

Enjoy the penultimate day of performances for Fiddler on the Roof, the feel-good story of humble Tevye (portrayed by Broadway star Harvey Fierstein), who strives to protect his family’s traditions despite the allure of outside influences.

Who let the dogs out? And what about their owners? This weekend, the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood goes canine for Woofstock, North America’s largest outdoor festival for dogs. Check out the pooch couture fashion show and many other fun events.

Sunday: Argos! (photo by ethanf_15)

Sunday, June 13
Cheer on the Toronto Argonauts—this city’s CFL football team—as they battle provincial rivals the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in pre-season action this afternoon at the Rogers Centre. 

Don’t miss your last opportunity to applaud the National Ballet of Canada’s West Side Story Suite, which features musical and dance highlights from the timeless love story. The production is complemented by Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/Dreamer and Pur ti Miro, a world-premiere by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo.

Help make hunger history at the Royal Ontario Museum, where a $250 ticket helps Second Harvest feed those in need—and also nets you an exquisite meal. Toronto Taste unites 60 of the city’s top chefs and 25 beverage providers for an evening of epicurean delights.

Weekend Roundup, June 4 to 6

This weekend, feast your eyes on some exceptional artistic showcases and don’t miss a ton of fun festivals.

Friday: The National Ballet of Canada dances the West Side Story Suite (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Friday, June 4
Reflect upon the media’s influence over our understanding of history, images and identity at the debut of Monitors, an exhibition by Steve Lyons and Susan Lakin at Gallery 44. The show opens at 6 p.m., with an artist’s talk at 6:30.

Celebrate a timeless story of star-crossed lovers, presented through music and movement in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. The National Ballet of Canada performs the graceful yet powerful work at the Four Seasons Centre, complemented by Robbins’ Opus 19/Dreamer and an untitled world-premiere piece by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo.

Sing along with Sugarland, the dynamic country music duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. They take to the Molson Amphitheatre stage tonight, with special guests George Canyon, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. Make a day of it by exploring Ontario Place before the concert starts.

Saturday: Fenulla Jiwani looks for love in 30 Dates

Saturday, June 5
An artistic opportunity beckons this weekend as the Riverdale Art Walk returns. See works by more than 100 local artists in this charming neighbourhood—both at the outdoor show at Jimmie Simpson Park and at studios in the area.

Witness 35-year-old Priti struggle through a string of bad dates in an attempt to end her singledom in the hilarious play 30 Dates. Local playwright and actor Fenulla Jiwani stars in this feel-good show at Berkeley Street Theatre.

Music is a lovely way to end the day at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio. Tonight, the United Sounds Project presents a host of local performers, including Antonitas D’Havila, one of the world’s most unique gypsy flamenco guitarists.

Sunday: Witness a cutesy pooch parade (photo by E3000)

Sunday, June 6
Try seeing movies in a new light; don’t miss the final day of the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, which offers internationally produced short films that run the gamut from celebrity shorts and animated tales to documentaries and music videos.

Head out to a different kind of festival at Woodbine Park, where you can snack on scintillating barbecued fare while bopping to live music. The weekend-long Waterfront Blues Festival continues today with performances by likes of Blackburn and the Canadian debut of the Alexis P. Suter Band.

Travelling can really make you miss your dog, or make you wish you had one (you know, to keep you company as you explore the vast city). Take solace in the surreal sight of 60 dogs dressed like your favourite celebrities as they trod Le Méridien King Edward Hotel’s red carpet for the launch of Woofstock, North America’s largest dog festival.