Urban Planner: August 21, 2009
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Urban Planner: August 21, 2009

Urban Planner is Torontoist’s daily guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every morning. If you have an event you’d like considered, email all of its details—as well as images, if you’ve got any—to [email protected].

The sweet spot: an empty CNE midway awaits opening-day crowds. Photo by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.

RECREATION: Standing on the empty grounds of the Ex in the days leading up to its annual opening, you can almost hear the drawl of the carny trying to entice you over to his booth. Smell the decadent deep-fried batter on a corn dog before you douse it with mustard, devour it, then regret it later. Feel the leftover stickiness on your fingers after an intense candy-floss-induced sugar high. And no doubt you can recall emptying a wallet full of bills to eventually win a really crappy prize (this year, my money’s on stuffed Obama dolls and kitschy Twilight-related iconography). There’s something so alluring about a carnival, especially after sundown when its midway lights up the sky and hordes of giddy teenagers scream their face off on rides that probably shouldn’t be in operation at all. And the Canadian National Exhibition, now in its 130th year, offers so much more than a carnival: world-class animal shows, product demonstrations, live music, air shows, Elvis impersonators. To celebrate Toronto’s 175th anniversary, entry to the grounds for today’s opening day rush is only $1.75. That’s worth it just for lunch at the food building! The Canadian National Exhibition (Exhibition Place), $1.75 for entry only, check hours online.
FILM: The Tour d’Afrique is the world’s longest bicycle race and expedition, with participants making a long and arduous cycle from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. Where Are You Go, directed by (Canadian) Benny Zenga and Brian Vernor, is the first film to document the tour. Joining the tour for the course of the movie, the filmmakers swap stories and experiences with those they meet along the journey—everyone from roadside mechanics and racers, to random characters they chance upon. Screening as part of the Bicycle Film Festival, Where Are You Go celebrates the bicycle and takes its audience on one hell of a road trip. The Royal Cinema (608 College Street West), 7 p.m., tickets available online.
PARTY: Founded over ten years ago and producing four print issues a year (alongside a website), Broken Pencil is one of Toronto’s most popular zines, and the only one devoted to underground culture and the independent arts. Although they just closed a contest to win entry to the BP bash tonight, you can still get in if you’re lucky enough to score one of the hundred tickets they’ll be selling at the door. As well as rubbing elbows with Toronto’s über-hip set, enjoy live performances by musical acts Whale Tooth and Dinosaur Bones, readings from contributors, and an all-you-can-eat vegan buffet. Whippersnapper Gallery (587A College Street), 9 p.m., $10 (entry includes latest issue).
MUSIC: While the Cloak & Dagger may well be one of Toronto’s smallest pubs, it hosts a wide variety of excellent theme nights. Chris Way’s monthly Unknown Pleasures is no exception. Since they’re playing a wide range of new and nostalgic post-punk, indie, and Brit pop over the course of the night, you can be sure that if there’s any floor space at all, someone will be dancing on it. The Cloak & Dagger (394 College Street), 9:30 p.m. to close, FREE.