In today's Urban Planner: a family nature walk through High Park, Settlers of Catan at the Gladstone, and Sopranos trivia.
- Outdoors: School may be out, but that doesn’t mean young minds can’t stay active while enjoying the outdoors. Gather the kids up for a Family Nature Walk in pursuit of fairies and gnomes. Follow their trails through the mystical woods of High Park and offer them help. Appropriate for children of all ages. High Park Nature Centre (440 Parkside Drive), 1 p.m., $2 or PWYC. Details
- Outdoors: LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests), Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA), and Highland Creek Green Team have joined forces to provide guided Tree Tours to the public. Tour the tree canopy along Highland Creek in Morningside Park, while learning about the history of the region, as well as the tree planting programs available in residential areas. East Scarborough Storefront (4040 Lawrence Ave East), 6 p.m., $5 suggested donation. Details
- Games: If you’ve never played Settlers of Catan, you’re probably wondering what could be more dull than spending your evening playing a board game about old-timey landowners. But that’s because you haven’t played it, yet. Gladstone Hotel aims to change that with their Summers of Catan program. Every Wednesday, gather with other Catan-fans, drink specially discounted beer, and get settled! Bring your own boards, or use those provided. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 6 p.m., FREE. Details
- Trivia: As a mild-manned, law-abiding, office-jobbed Canadian, do you know far too much about the Italian mob? Chances are then, you’ll do well at The Sopranos/James Gandolfini Trivia Night. Brush up on your show knowledge (as if you needed an excuse to bust out your box set), and prepare to take out your opponents trivia-style to celebrate the life of a great actor and his legendary show. The Ossington (61 Ossington Street), 7:30 p.m., FREE. Details
History: The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.
Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), 12 a.m., $27 (Includes general admission). Details
- Art: “To Be Near You” is a new art exhibition that explores the relationship of colours and experiences to our existence. These uniquely abstract pieces of art come to you via artist Christina Wollesen. The opening reception is on July 4 at 7 p.m. While you’re at Hashtag, you also have the chance to check out their “Send-A-Postcard Wall”, which lets you send art to anyone in the world so they can enjoy the show too. #Hashtag Gallery (801 Dundas Street West), 12 a.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: Soulpepper Theatre collaborates on a Joe Orton play, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s artistic producer Brendan Healey. Guest director Healey has coached some Soulpepper theatre stalwarts—Stuart Hughes, Fiona Reid, Michael Simpson, and David Beazley—for this dark comedy about a charming lodger who incites illicit passions among his other housemates. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 8 p.m., $5-$68. Details
- Theatre: If Fringe and SummerWorks aren’t enough to satisfy your summer theatre cravings, the world-renowned Stratford Festival is now only a bus ride away from downtown Toronto, thanks to the new Stratford Direct bus route (“the best thing [the Festival] has done in years” according to one usher at the Avon Theatre). Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino has put together a season to please tastes from the traditional to the extravagant. Here’s what we think about five of Stratford’s current productions. Multiple venues, 12 a.m., $25–$175. Details
- Art: Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea is a new exhibition from the Toronto Reference Library that gathers a number of rare items that explore the theme of the possible and the impossible. Some of the highlights on display are La vingtième siècle: la vie électrique (a rare French book that shows how scientific discoveries would have affected people in 1955), Tame (a sci-fi pulp magazine), and Worldly Wisdom (watercolour that depicts a Leonardo da Vinci-like figure creating a winged flying machine). You’ll find the exhibition in the library’s TD Gallery. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), 12 a.m., FREE. Details
- Art: CUE, a non-profit arts organization that encourages artistic expression from the city’s fringes, hosts ”Margin of Eras.” The exhibit gathers over 20 different artists’ work for display in a pop-up gallery on Wednesdays to Sundays for two weeks in July. For the launch party on Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m., there’ll be a live New Orleans jazz band, and more. Abandoned convenience store (Queen St. W. and Gladstone Ave.), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
- Music: Go on, escape the office for an extended lunch break and take in the tastes and sounds of Fresh Wednesdays. Each week, a different Canadian artist performs as you purchase baked goods and locally-grown produce from the farmer’s market. Pop singer-songwriter Justin Dubé kicks off the concert series, followed by Beat Café featuring poetry by Raine Maida (July 17), rising folk-pop stars Emma Lee and Peter Katz (August 7), and more. Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), 12:30 p.m., FREE. Details
- Performing Arts: Cats is a challenging musical to stage for a number of reasons. The narrative is thin and strange; the lyrics are drawn primarily from T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, with more borrowed from some other Eliot poems, “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” (which original director Trevor Nunn adapted into the song “Memory”) and “Moments of Happiness.” The result is not so much a story as ideas and character sketches. Old Deuteronomy, patriarch of the Jellicle Cats, calls the creatures together once a year to celebrate, and for one cat to be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer (essentially, to die and be reincarnated). Most of the songs detail the adventures and virtues of a single cat in particular, essentially serving as that cat’s audition for the honour of ascension. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $60–$110. Details
- Music: Travel back to turn-of-the-century Paris—La Belle Époque—with the Toronto Summer Music Festival. Established and up-and-coming classical musicians gather for this three-week festival to celebrate works by French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, and Fauré. Lectures, workshops, interviews, and concerts will take place in various venues across the city. Multiple venues, 1:30 p.m., Various prices. Details
- Dance: Like something out of a movie (except, you know, Footloose), you can spend your summer nights dancing in the open air of the Town Square. Join Dexter and Janice of DjDance as they lead Latin Salsa classes twice a week, all summer. Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Film: Do you feel guilty about staying indoors in front of your TV when it’s nice outside? There’s a way around that—sitting by the lake and catching great films every week with Harbourfront’s Free Flicks. This year, NOW Magazine’s Norm Wilner has chosen a crop of imagination-stretching films from notable directors and writers. From Little Shop of Horrors, to The Triplets of Belleville, and That Thing You Do!, each title resides, at least a little bit, in the fantasy world. Harbourfront, WestJet Stage (235 Queens Quay West), 9 p.m., FREE. Details
- Film: Love is in the air this summer as TIFF in the Park returns for another season of outdoor film screenings, showcasing the best romances from across the decades. Bring a blanket and get comfy on the lawn (yes, the Entertainment District has green space, too) to enjoy everything from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, to Casablanca, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Notebook. David Pecaut Square (221 King Street West), 9:15 p.m., FREE. Details
- Theatre: The Bad Dog Theatre Company is celebrating the return of TV’s Breaking Bad in their own special way—by putting on a tribute show. A five-week improv comedy serial, Faking Bad, follows the trials and tribulations of a high school home economics teacher looking to make easy money in the drug world. Featuring performances from Bruce Hunter, Conor Holler, Dan Beirne, Dale Boyer, Nigel Downer, James Gangl, and Craig Anderson. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), 9:30 p.m., $12 adults, $10 students. Details
Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.