Long Weekend Planner: August 4–6, 2012
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Long Weekend Planner: August 4–6, 2012

This long weekend, the Islands take over with Caribana festivities, join a Charles Dickens tour of Toronto, Justice and M83 rock out in Fort York, see if NASA's Mars rover arrives in one piece, and much more.

All aboard the Art Train–and free trips to Barrie this Sunday on GO. Photo courtesy of Natalie Petozzi.

FESTIVAL: Have you gotten into the Caribbean spirit yet? Harbourfront Centre is keeping up with the current cultural celebration with a festival called Island Soul. This year, Jamaica and Trinidad are both taking centre stage (thanks to their 50th anniversaries of independence) with reggae and dance performances, an international marketplace, and more. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Friday–Monday, times vary, FREE.

CARIBANA: Let’s get this out of the way. Scotiabank wants to rebrand our Caribbean Carnival with a name that’s a bit more commercial, but there’s really only one name for this massive parade. The return of Caribana culminates in its annual parade this weekend. Expect colourful and shimmering dancers, floats, pan and drums, and music as far as the ear can hear to celebrate Island culture in Toronto. Exhibition Place & Lake Shore Boulevard, Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., prices vary.

TOUR: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. But seriously, though. We all know that Charles Dickens would have only had the best of times during his stay in Toronto. If you’re curious as to where the renowned author spent his days while visiting our great city, check out this walking tour, called “In the Footsteps of Charles Dickens,” during which you’ll get to see where he ate and slept when he visited back in 1842. St. Lawrence Market middle door (93 Front Street East), Saturday, 3 p.m., $25.

MUSIC: It’s August already, and the last of the summer music festivals are coming into view. This weekend, you’ll find a particular wealth of music-related goodies, but the one that promises to rock Fort York like never before features mega-acts Justice and M83 in dual headlining performances. Austra, Buraka Som Sistema, and Charli XCX will open. Fort York: Garrison Common (250 Fort York Boulevard), Saturday, doors open at 4 p.m., $49.

GAMES: The only slight downside of the annual city-wide Capture the Flag event is that it usually takes place when it’s already rather chilly outside. Take advantage then of Manhunt Toronto’s upcoming CTF game, which takes place in High Park. At least here you don’t have to worry about kids running into cars just to escape the enemy team. Meet at the corner of High Park Avenue and Bloor Street, Saturday, 8:30 p.m., FREE.

ART: Choo, choo, everybody! Make way for Art Train Conductor No.9, a moving, zooming public-art project. The train (not that you can miss it) is wrapped in colourful vinyl, while the inside is decorated with a similar look and feel. Passengers will be encouraged to discuss sustainable public transit via a mobile app called tetAtet. And in celebration of this project and the long weekend, GO will be offering free trips to Barrie all Sunday (where you can catch the Art Train). GO Transit Barrie Line, Sunday, FREE.

SPACE: EVERYBODY STOP LAUGHING AT NASA. All jokes aside about the ludicrous landing proposal for NASA’s $2.5 billion Curiosity Mars Rover, the day has finally arrived to see if it arrives in one piece–and you’d probably be lying if you weren’t the least bit curious to check it out for yourself. Join Hotel Ocho for a night of space-related activities and a live stream of the landing itself. Hotel Ocho (195 Spadina Avenue) Sunday, 8 p.m.–2 a.m., $2.5 billion $25.

MUSIC: You may have caught this group at this year’s NXNE or Edgefest, but, if not, you’ve still got another chance to catch up-and-comers The Balconies as they storm Lee’s Palace with their killer live show. They’ll be playing in support of their latest EP, Kill Count (of which you can listen to the title track here), while the show also features the Aggrolites. Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West), Sunday, 8 p.m., $20.

TALK: So another long weekend has come and gone and you’re looking for one last hurrah to push you back into the work week? Look no further than Eyes on Queen West. This interactive talk show which features host Gladstone bartender Stephen Eyes, who sits down with various personalities including Ennis Esmer and Joe Dinicol from The LA Complex, comedian Debra DiGiovanni, musical guest Vag Halen, and much more. Booze and talk together again. Gladstone Hotel Ballroom (1214 Queen Street West), Monday, 8 p.m., $13.

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].