In this Weekend Planner: a festival of sweets at Sugar Beach, a music festival in the Junction, and back-to-school comedy.
- Festivals: Why don’t we have more of these kinds of festivals in Toronto? The first ever Sweets & Treats Festival at Sugar Beach celebrates ice cream, desserts, and your sweet tooth—and all for a very good cause. The festivities—which include a Kids Fun Zone, an exotic petting zoo, rides, and, of course, food trucks and vendors offering all things sweet and tasty—is in support of the SickKids Foundation. You’ll likely never find a better reason to indulge yourself. Sugar Beach (25 Dockside Drive), all day, FREE. Details
- Offbeat: Are you a yoga head? Then you certainly won’t want to miss Harbourfront Centre’s Yogapalooza, a free outdoor yoga festival. The weekend features various activities that will help you reach that inner serenity: there will be drum circles, martial arts and dance performances, and plenty of yoga classes for the whole family to enjoy. There will also be a kids’ yoga space, a marketplace, community booths, and live music. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen’s Quay West), all day, FREE. Details
- Festivals: Fort York’s On Common Ground festival will celebrate the transition to fall, the International Day of Peace, and Toronto’s diverse arts and culture community. Visitors will be treated to performances by Jane Bunnett and Carnivalissimo, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and the Pan Fantasy, among others. There will also be a puppet theatre, multimedia installations, storytelling, and a farmers’ market. Fort York National Historic Site (250 Fort York Boulevard), all day, FREE. Details
- Talks: Ever wanted to study, work, or volunteer abroad, but weren’t sure what questions to ask? The Go Global Expo has you covered. You’ll be able to check out seminars, keynotes, exchange programs, travel companies, teach-English-abroad programs, and many other helpful resources. Note: this isn’t just for students or young folks—there’s no age limit. Sheraton Centre (123 Queen Street West), Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m., FREE. Details
- Festivals: The summer music-festival season may be in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean the good times have to end. The Junction Music Festival offers independent music for the whole family to enjoy. Performers will include Zeus, Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and Cuff The Duke. And it’s not all about music—the festival will also offer many workshops (on topics as varied as yoga and belly dancing), as well as the always-pleasing opportunity to explore the Junction itself. Multiple venues, Saturday at 12 p.m., Mostly FREE. Details
- Comedy: It’s been a few weeks now since school started again, so if you’re a student you’re probably in need of some laughter. Perfect 10 Comedy Presents: Back To School is a pleasant way to forget about those textbooks and midterms and laugh it up with comics like Craig Fay, Rhiannon Archer, Amanda Brooke Perrin, headliner Bob Kerr, and others. Also, be on the lookout for a special guest. Plus: student discounts. Lot Comedy Club (100 Ossington Avenue), Saturday at 9:30 p.m., $15 advance, $20 door. Details
- Books: This Sunday, Queen’s Park Circle will once again be positively festooned with books and magazines. Word on the Street, an annual (and national!) festival dedicated to the printed word, is back for another year. Queen’s Park Circle (Bloor Street West and Avenue Road), Sunday at 11 a.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), all day, $27 (Includes general admission). 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, all day, $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), all day, FREE. Details
- Art: BEARS IN THE STREETS *the world as I’ve seen it is a solo art exhibition by Jeff Blackburn featuring works that involve bears, which act as guides through various cityscapes (see above for example). Visitors will have the chance to see different public spaces from around the world (with bears!). The opening reception will be held on September 1st and will start at 7 p.m. Gallery 431 (431 Roncesvalles Avenue), all day, FREE. Details
- Food: There are plenty of weeks that involve the consumption of beer in Toronto, but there’s only one true Toronto Beer Week. As craft beer’s popularity continues to grow along with the roster of brewers in this city, Toronto Beer Week is a good opportunity to take the pulse of a thriving scene—or, just to knock back a few good brews and have some fun. Whichever you prefer. Here are a few events to look out for. Multiple venues, all day, Various prices. Details
Festivals: For their event’s seventh anniversary, the minds behind the Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture did some thinking on the theme of evolution.
“The number seven is a very sacred number, and really tied into the idea of regeneration,” says Manifesto chair Che Kothari. “Every seven years, every cell in the human body regenerates itself, and we’re kind of born again, and right now we’re kind of going through that as an organization.” Multiple venues, Thursday at 12 a.m., Various prices. Details
Comedy: The planners behind Just For Laughs 42 sure do have a good sense of humour. For starters, the name is a little bit of a joke. Anyone thinking that the “42″ refers to the number of years the comedy festival has been in operation would be sorely mistaken—it actually denotes the number of events taking place during the ten days of the festival’s run.
This year’s JFL42 will feature three headline events: appearances by Sarah Silverman and Aziz Ansari, and a live reading of an episode of Family Guy—complete with cast members and a 40-piece orchestra. But there’s plenty more worth checking out. Multiple venues, all day, $69–$299. Details
- Festivals: Christie Pits and surrounding local venues will host more than 40 bands and music acts over three days during the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, and it’s all free. Starting on Friday evening at venues like Saving Gigi and Studio 835, and expanding to all-day programming at Christie Pits on Saturday and Sunday, the festival lineup includes Julie Doiron, By Divine Right, catl., and many more (the festival’s criteria for “folk” being, more or less, local music). Local craft and food vendors and a festival beer garden will round out the experience—and again, all the bands are free. Multiple venues, all day, FREE. Details
- History: Looking to brush up your cultural and history knowledge on all things Toronto? Heritage Toronto 2013 Tours offers you an enormous chance to learn tons and tons about the city you love via walking tours, bike tours, and more. Some of the events on the agenda of this weekly series include tours of Fort York, Korea Town, Don Valley, and Black Creek. It’s running all summer long so don’t miss out! Multiple venues, all day and all day, FREE. Details
Art: Ai Weiwei is a 56-year-old artist confined to his home in Beijing for creating work critical of the Chinese government and Chinese culture. There are video cameras outside his house, his phone lines are tapped, his blog was deleted, his Shanghai studio was destroyed in 2010 by authorities, and his passport was confiscated in 2011. To this day, he’s unable to leave his country. Even so, Ai Weiwei has had a large presence in Toronto over the past few months.
This past June, he did a performance piece with artist Laurie Anderson during the Luminato Festival, using Skype. His Zodiac Heads have been installed, temporarily, in the reflecting pool in front of City Hall. At this year’s Nuit Blanche, a large-scale version of his sculpture of bicycles, Forever, will take over Nathan Phillips Square. And beginning August 17, the Art Gallery of Ontario is displaying “Ai Weiwei: According to What?”, a retrospective of the work he produced before and after the Chinese government’s crackdown on his activities helped him find new international acclaim. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m., $25 (Includes general admission). Details
- Theatre: Bruce Hunter writes and stars in Dine Her, a zombie comedy set in the authentic George Street Diner. This undead spin on dinner theatre features a special menu by Ash Farrelly, music by Sean Fisher, and zombie dancers from One Immigrant Productions. George Street Diner (129 George Street), Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m., $39.95. Details
- Theatre: Many people now routinely consume television series in marathon benders, blowing through DVDs or Netflix downloads in a few evenings or a weekend. It’s that sort of experience—but live, of course—that awaits audiences at Soulpepper’s production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which offers over six hours of impeccably staged and performed theatre either in two long evenings or over the course of one full day, with multiple intermissions and a meal break. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Various prices. Details
- Comedy: You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding. Second City (51 Mercer Street), Saturday at 7:30 p.m.,10 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., $24–$29. Details
- Theatre: Tapestry Briefs is a series of new opera scenes developed by a number of talented people, including composers Jocelyn Morlock and Chris Thornborrow, playwrights Morris Panych and Julie Tepperman, and singers Carla Huhtanen and Krisztina Szabó. Studio 315 (9 Trinity Street, Distillery Historic District), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $35. Details
- Theatre: The Tarragon Theatre opens its 2013/2014 season with Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers [PDF], in which polar-opposite brothers Hamilton and Kyle Best are brought together to plan the funeral of their mother. The older, unadventurous, and conservative Hamilton naturally doesn’t see eye to eye with the free-spirited Kyle, whose boyfriend is a sex worker. Grappling with the ridiculous circumstances leading to their mother’s death (a drag queen, a loudspeaker, and Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade), the brothers must deal with each other, as well as some tough questions concerning love, family, and who should get the family dog. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $21–$53. Details
- Theatre: FeverGraph Theatre Company wants you to get mad (and perhaps go mad) over their new stage production. Look Back in Anger focuses on four people, and the anger that cripples each of them. Rather being a study of hot tempers, the play examines our common desire to feel something deeper than what reality delivers, our sense of futility, and the anger that ensues. Directed by Anita La Selva, the piece was co-conceived by its performers: Eli Ham, Adriano Sobretodo Jr., Tosha Doiron, and Zoë Sweet. Thrush Homes Empire Gallery (1093 Queen Street West), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $20, $15 for students/seniors/arts workers. Details
- Theatre: Evergreen Brick Works may be a cool place to ride a bike or check out a farmer’s market, but it also has a rich history that many people don’t know about. Memory in the Mud brings light to these stories with a unique style of roving, interactive theatre courtesy of Words in Motion. Learn about the people who lived and worked at Brick Works throughout the years, including German prisoners of war and those who were left homeless during the Great Depression. Young Welcome Centre, Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue), Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $5 children, $10 adults. Details
- Theatre: The Company We Keep cabaret series is a brand-new monthly event that features an evening with Theatre 20′s founding artists. Some of the upcoming performances include a tribute to musical theatre, an evening of entertainment in French and English, and an “At Your Request” evening. Also, if you’re willing to pay more, you can get a Prix Fixe dinner before the show starts. Jazz Bistro (251 Victoria Street), Sunday at 7 p.m., $20. 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.