Tirgan Festival

  • Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • All day

Tirgan, the world’s largest Iranian festival, is making its summer return to the Harbourfront Centre to bring you a weekend of arts and culture showcasing Iranian diversity. Some of the highlights include a performance by Vancouver Pars National Ballet, short films by Shirin Neshat (with a Q&A), learning to cook Iranian cuisine with Najmieh Batmanglij, and a variety of art projects happening all weekend long. Click here for the full itinerary.

Details: Tirgan Festival

UNITY Festival Puts Big Names Beside Toronto Youth

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

This year’s edition of UNITY Festival is a little flashier than those in years past.

The annual festival is put on by UNITY Charity, which works in communities across the country to help at-risk young people channel their anger and frustration into the arts. The festival is a four-day celebration of the organization’s work. This year, UNITY participants will get to both open for and perform in front of some of their heroes, including MC Talib Kweli, who will be playing a free show at Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday night, and beatboxing legends Rahzel and Scratch.

Details: UNITY Festival Puts Big Names Beside Toronto Youth

Riverdale Farm Fundraiser

  • Riverdale Farm (201 Winchester Street)
  • 5:30 p.m.

Riverdale Farm, a beloved hotspot for families and schools, was recently in danger of being closed down. Luckily, the farm was allowed to power on, but not without the help of the community. The Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group is holding a fundraiser in the hopes of collecting $25,000. It’s an opportunity to support the farm and spend an evening with neighbours.

Details: Riverdale Farm Fundraiser

CineMacabre: You’re Next

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • 9 p.m.

The horror fiends at Rue Morgue have paired up with Entertainment One for July’s CineMacabre, presenting a free screening of Adam Wingard’s You’re Next. Follow a wealthy family on a weekend trip to their country mansion where, naturally, they’re preyed upon by a group of killers donning animal masks. If an on-screen bloodbath isn’t tempting enough, there will also be all sorts of prizes up for grabs. Arrive early, seating isn’t guaranteed!

Details: CineMacabre: You’re Next

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged

  • Casa Loma (1 Austin Terrace)
  • 9:30 p.m., 7 p.m.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged is back again for a three-day stretch of hilarious insanity. For the uninitiated, this performance does exactly what’s promised in its name. It performs all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in just 87 minutes. It sold out all last summer so consider picking up your tickets while you can.

Details: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

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While the Toronto International Film Festival may have shifted into a more relaxed mode, it’s still offering plenty of opportunities to gawk at movie stars—they’re just a little more spread out. Midweek, fans could catch the premieres of Good Kill (Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot), Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg’s new bit of oddness), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II cryptographer Alan Turing), Jauja (Viggo Mortensen, and we don’t know much else really), Laggies (Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley in a comedy about people taking their sweet time to grow up), October Gale (Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman in a thriller/drama set in a remote cabin), Pawn Sacrifice (about the chess duels between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer), The Cobbler (Adam Sandler’s latest) and Escobar (Benicio Del Toro is the famous drug kingpin).


Want more TIFF coverage? Torontoist‘s film festival hub is right over here.
Details: TIFF 2014 Scenes: Tuesday–Thursday Nights, Featuring Good Kill, Maps to the Stars, The Imitation Game, Jauja, Laggies, and More

A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Scott Wentworth as Tevye, with Jacquelyn French (Hodel), Keely Hutton (Chava) and Jennifer Stewart (Tzeitel) in Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Scott Wentworth as Tevye, with Jacquelyn French (Hodel), Keely Hutton (Chava) and Jennifer Stewart (Tzeitel) in Fiddler on the Roof. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

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.

Details: A Sampling of the Stratford Festival

Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

  • Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street)
  • All day

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.

Details: Flight: A Thrilling History of an Idea

TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Will Ferrell finds out it's so good once it hits the lips in Old School. Image courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

Will Ferrell finds out it's so good once it hits the lips in Old School. Image courtesy of the TIFF Film Reference Library.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

When Animal House first turned the toga into suitable party attire in 1978, the landscape of the film comedy was forever altered. TOGA! The Reinvention of American Comedy, a new film series that kicked off Wednesday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, seeks to chart the changing comedic sensibilities that have occurred in the years since the film’s release. From big budget blockbusters, to libido-fuelled sex romps, to carefully calibrated exercises in nuance and timing, the selections in the program are some of the funniest films ever made.

Details: TIFF Throws A Toga Party For Comedies

Entertaining Mr. Sloane

David Beazely and Stuart Hughes in rehearsal for Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

David Beazely and Stuart Hughes in rehearsal for Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)

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.

Details: Entertaining Mr. Sloane

Tasty Thursdays

  • Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West)
  • 11 a.m.

If you enjoy great variety in your food as well as live music then be sure to check out Tasty Thursdays at some point this summer. This weekly Nathan Phillips Square event brings different international dishes and music to City Hall to add some much needed delicious fun to your lunch break. Some of the styles you’re likely to see include reggae, rock, tribal rhymes, soul, and cuban salsa.

Details: Tasty Thursdays

Margin of Eras

  • Abandoned convenience store (Queen St. W. and Gladstone Ave.)
  • 12 p.m.

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.

Details: Margin of Eras

Toronto Summer Music Festival

The rising stars of 2012's Toronto Summer Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

The rising stars of 2012's Toronto Summer Music Academy. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Summer Music Festival.

  • Multiple venues
  • 1:30 p.m.

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.

Details: Toronto Summer Music Festival

Dancing on the Pier

  • Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 7 p.m.

Dancing on the Pier is back for its third year! If you didn’t participate in this great dance series last year, be sure not to miss out this time around. For the uninitiated, this weekly series offers different live bands and instructors to help you find your groove along the waterfront all summer long. Featuring music by the Toronto All-Star Big Band and Ricardo Barboza.

Details: Dancing on the Pier

Yoga in the Town Square

Shop till you drop, then stretch it out with a free yoga class in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

Shop till you drop, then stretch it out with a free yoga class in the Town Square. Photo courtesy of the Shops at Don Mills.

  • Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road)
  • 7 p.m.

Some people unwind with retail therapy, others do yoga. Now you can combine both activities with free yoga in the Town Square at The Shops at Don Mills. Regardless of your skill level, bring a mat and join the group for sessions twice weekly, courtesy of Titika.

Details: Yoga in the Town Square

New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

Cats Ensemble. Photo by Racheal McCaig.

  • Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street)
  • 7:30 p.m.

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.

Details: New Toronto Production of Cats Meets Expectations