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].
In this Weekend Planner: arguably the biggest, best-attended food festival of the summer; a walk through one of Toronto’s northwest neighbourhoods; a rugby match between Canada and the U.S.; a film about John Lennon’s early years as a struggling musician; music inspired by the underdog; a classic story, set to classical music, read by one of the former Barenaked Ladies; a bike tour around some really cool hidden locations; and plenty of theatre to choose from at SummerWorks.
FOOD: The Pilaros Taste of the Danforth is just about the biggest food festival in Toronto in the summer, attended every year by more than a million people sampling Greek cuisine and other fare. The massive amounts of people gives this festival its great atmosphere, but note that it can get pretty packed on the street, especially in the late afternoon and evening. But the food: so worth it. Danforth Avenue (between Broadview Avenue and Jones Avenue), Saturday 12 p.m.–12 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m.–8 p.m., FREE.
WALK: While it’s still warm, take advantage of Heritage Toronto’s Free Walking Tours, which are a great way to discover the people, places, and history of the city. Led by people who know the city inside and out, this weekend’s walk is through Mount Dennis, near Black Creek and the Humber River. Once upon a time, this area hosted a sawmill, brickyards, and factories, and now it has grown to become an affordable unplanned suburb with a diverse population of residents. Northwest corner of Eglinton Avenue West and Weston Road, Saturday 1:30 p.m., FREE.
SPORTS: What happens when Canada and the United States play a sport that is loved in many other countries but sometimes neglected in our part of the world? Find out by watching Canada vs. USA in Men’s International Rugby, when our National Senior Men’s rugby Team will play their first ever game in Toronto against the USA Eagles in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. BMO Field, 200 Princes’ Boulevard), Saturday 2 p.m., $25.50–$95.50.
CLASSICAL MUSIC: Remember the kids’ show Babar the Elephant, based on the classic French tale from the 1930s? Well, there’s a piece of classical music that was written by a French composer in 1940, when his daughter challenged him to play music set to the original Story of Babar, where the titular character travels from the jungle to visit the wonders of the big city. Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies, narrates the tale as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s What’s Classical? Festival, running until August 7. Brigantine Room, York Quay Centre, Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Saturday 3 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m., FREE.
SUMMERWORKS: The annual SummerWorks Theatre Festival continues to bring edgy independent theatre and music acts to audiences eager to get a sneak peek at next year’s biggest hits. Check out our top 10 theatre picks and our music series guide for suggestions. Also on the slate this weekend is the collaboration between Volcano Theatre and Necessary Angel Theatre Company (who last dazzled us with Luminato’s Andromache), called White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. It’s by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour and will be performed cold every night by a new actor, such as Eric Peterson, Yanna McIntosh, or Gord Rand. The Theatre Centre (1087 Queen Street West), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $15.
FILM: The Open Roof Film Festival presents Nowhere Boy, a biopic about John Lennon’s younger years, his early dabbling in music, his chance meetings with the future Beatles, and his life with his authoritative Aunt Mimi. The Wilderness of Manitoba opens the night with their gentle folk tunes. Amsterdam Brewery (21 Bathurst Street), Saturday band at 8 p.m., movie at 9 p.m., $15.
MUSIC: Is it getting popular to name your band after a Simpsons character? We hope so! Indie rock act Ralf Wiggum will be playing with Toronto’s subtly clever underdog group The Danger Bees at Bread and Circus, which sadly will be closing its doors on August 28. Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Avenue), Saturday 9 p.m., FREE.
BIKE: The Laneway Bike Tour led by Graeme Parry takes you to Trinity Bellwoods, Little Italy, and Queen Street West to see the many newly built and wonderfully creative laneway houses popping up in small spaces and somewhat hidden locations. Bring your bike and meet at the southeast corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park (intersection of Gore Vale Avenue and Queen Street West), Sunday 11 a.m., FREE.