Urban Planner: February 4, 2010
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Urban Planner: February 4, 2010

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 all of its details—as well as images, if you’ve got any—to [email protected].

Gordon Lightfoot performs with Gord Downie tonight at Toronto Centre for the Arts. Photo courtesy of Liberty Ink.

MUSIC: Canadian music icons don’t get much more legendary than Gordon Lightfoot. His gentle baritone, warm melodies, and poetic lyrical sensibility helped craft the Canadian folk scene in the ’60s and ’70s, and his work hasn’t gone unnoticed south of the border, either—over the years, his songs have been covered by Elvis Presley; Bob Dylan; Peter, Paul, & Mary; and Barbra Streisand. Tonight, Lightfoot will take the stage with another talented Canadian Gord, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, for the first installment of If You Could Read My Mind, a series of concerts presented by the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. The series strives to explore Canada’s legacy as a breeding ground for extraordinary songwriting talent. The concert will be hosted by CBC Radio’s Laurie Brown, and will feature both Gords in performance and conversation. Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge Street), 8 p.m., $25–$45.
PHOTOGRAPHY: These days, Toronto prides itself on being a cultural mecca, but it wasn’t always this way. In the nineteenth century, Toronto was a leader in industry, pioneering Canadian production in the railway, pulp-and-paper, and steam-power sectors. The twentieth century saw manufacturing shift outwards toward the suburbs, leaving the city strewn with abandoned factories, mills, and plants. This month, Building Storeys (running today until February 27) strives to keep these relics of the city’s history fresh in our minds. The exhibit is a collaborative effort between Heritage Toronto and members of Shadow Collective and DK Photo Group, and uses photography to document both the history and the lost beauty of these forgotten industrial sites. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 12 –5 p.m., FREE.
LECTURE: Angela Davis‘s life has been nothing if not eventful. In the late ’60s, when she began her career as a professor at UCLA, the radical feminist was also known to be a member of the Communist Party and affiliated with the Black Panthers. In the ’70s, she was arrested for the abduction and murder of a Superior Court judge, and became the third woman to be put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. Eventually, Davis was acquitted and has continued her career in activism, focusing on racism and advocacy for prison abolition. Tonight, she will speak at the Bloor Cinema as part of Xpression Against Oppression Week, and guests will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with Davis after her talk. Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor Street West); 6:30 p.m.; $12.50/students, $17.50/non-students.
WORDS: Black History Month festivities continue tonight with Big Voices, New Voices, an event offered by the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon to showcase the talents of black Canadian writers, both established and emerging. Headlining the event will be George Elliott Clarke, renowned poet, playwright, and professor; and Austin Clarke, the Giller Prize–winning novelist and short-story writer. Joining the two Clarkes will be newer writers Yvette Trancoso and Stacey Marie Robinson, all of whom, along with host Dalton Higgins, will engage in a discussion on the topic of being black and writing in Canada. As a bonus, there will be music from The Ron Westray-Adam Solomon Duo before the show. Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), 7 p.m., FREE.