THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN AUGUST!
Among this month’s things to do in Toronto: An Evening in July is on stage at the SummerWorks Performance Festival; Drake brings back OVO Fest; and Buskerfest features Silver Elvis and many other street performers
AUGUST 1 & 2 Outspoken funnyman and film star Kevin Hart is slated to perform three stand-up sets over two nights at the Air Canada Centre.
AUGUST 2 & 3 Toronto-born hip-hop star Drake’s OVO Fest returns to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre for another year. J. Cole is the announced special guest, but if history is any indication, there will no doubt be many other surprise appearances.
AUGUST 4 The Molson Amphitheatre presents a double-bill of 1990s rock heroes: The Smashing Pumpkins (well, Billy Corgan plus three other non-original band members) riff on their latest record, while Marilyn Manson promotes the new tunes of his The Pale Emperor album.
AUGUST 6 TO 16 What began in 1991 as a means for five friends to help smaller theatre companies mount their works is now a bona fide success story as the SummerWorks Performance Festival marks its 25th anniversary. Although the festival’s initial productions were chosen via lottery, today it’s the largest juried event of its kind in Canada, presenting works in four disciplines: theatre, dance, music and live art, plus a series of special showcases. The silver anniversary lineup includes MacArthur Park Suite: A Disco Ballet, a fusion dance hybrid set to music by Donna Summer; an interactive performance art experiment titled Speed-Dating for the Senses (and the Sensitive), in which blind-folded participants explore what they find attractive through sound, smell, taste and touch; and An Evening in July, which invites audiences to be the guests at a re-creation of Helene de Rothschild’s 1972 Surrealist Ball, based on the Grey Gardens documentary.
THE SCOTIABANK TORONTO CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL AND ISLAND SOUL FESTIVAL ADD SOME SPIRIT TO SUMMER IN THE CITY
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is always a lively affair (photo: Andrew Weir)
Dance in the Streets
The always colourful Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival—affectionately known as Caribana—is one of summer’s liveliest street parties. More than 15,000 people are expected to take part in the August 1 parade, which wends its westerly way along Lake Shore Boulevard from Exhibition Place. Donning extravagant, and yes, sometimes barely-there costumes, revelers march and dance to the sounds of steel drums and Calypso singers. This year, in the spirit of the Pan Am Games, a number of floats celebrate the cultural heritage of such nations as the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad.
Thor and a host of other beloved Marvel superheroes quest to stop Loki from destroying the universe. (Photo: Feld Entertainment)
JULY 31 TO AUG. 2 Marvel Universe Live brings all your favourite superheroes to the stage for an action-packed spectacle. Loki, the trickster god and brother of superhero Thor, plots to use the Cosmic Cube to obliterate the universe. With a bevy of beloved Marvel characters in tow, including Iron Man, Captain America, and the Hulk, Thor embarks on a quest to stop him, encountering other Marvel villains along the way.
•Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., 613-599-0100. canadiantirecentre.com
BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
Toronto’s Union Duke performs their upbeat bluegrass songs at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night. Expect banjos — lots of banjos.
Smell that? It’s the tantalizing aroma of ribs — lots of ribs! — slathered with barbecue sauce and smoking on an outdoor grill. Brought to you by Capital Ribfest, this meaty smorgasbord features a half dozen ribbers and grillers from Canada and the United States who, over the course of the long weekend, are cooking up a feast of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches. You can also treat yourself to corn on the cob, salads, pizza, fries, doughnuts, ice cream, and a handful of gluten-free and vegetarian treats.
Up on stage, entertainment includes old-time jazz band the Boxcar Boys, local indie rockers Amos the Transparent, country rock duo Sons Command, and much more.
The festival is on at City Hall’s Festival Plaza from Thursday, July 30 until Monday, Aug. 3. Admission is free, but you pay for what you eat. The event is cash-only, with an ATM on site. See website for more info. Festival Plaza, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., capitalribfest.ca.
VENERABLE BAY STREET RESTAURANT FAR NIENTE BOASTS A HUNGRY NEW CHEF AND A REVITALIZED MENU
Chef Jun Geem presides over the kitchen and new menu at Far Niente (photos: Craig Moy)
For two decades, fine dining room Far Niente has been pleasing power lunchers, pre-theatre patrons, and post-work patio goers in the Financial District. It’s a well-liked, reliable place to eat. A new chef and updated menu, however, have given the institution a bit of a shake-up. Now heading the restaurant’s kitchen (as well as that of Four, Far Niente’s more casual PATH-level counterpart) is executive chef Jun Geem, an alumnus of George Brown College’s culinary program who’s cooked everywhere from London’s Fat Duck and Nobu to luxury hotels in Dubai, Mexico and Bermuda.
Embark on a wilderness adventure right in the heart of the city with Ottawa City Rafting.
One of Ottawa’s greatest strengths is its proximity to the Ottawa River, and Wilderness Tours takes full advantage of this fact. The Ottawa City Rafting packages let you brave the currents of the Ottawa River without leaving the city proper. Each three-hour excursion begins at Britannia Bay, takes you downstream through the Deschenes Rapids, and ends with a stunning view of Parliament Hill from the river.
•Ron Kolbus Centre, 102 Greenview Ave., 1-844-688-7238. ottawacityrafting.com
The Scone Witch conjures up delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch.
Looking for breakfast on the run without sacrificing quality or flavour? The Scone Witch is the place to go. The cute café offers a variety of sweet and savoury scones, with the option of converting the latter into their signature “sconewich.” From poached salmon to gruyere cheese to a BLT with pesto, there’s no end of delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunchtime options for you to choose from.
•150 Elgin St., 613-232-2173 and 35 Beechwood Ave., 613-741-4141, sconewitch.ca
BY AMY ALLEN AND MATT HARRISON
This collage of singer Lana Del Rey is part of Ways of Something, a video art exhibition pulled together by artist Lorna Mills. (Artist: Georges Jacotey)
Ways of Something
“When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image. As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies, fragments into many meanings.” — John Berger, 1972, Ways of Seeing
More than four decades later, Berger’s observations — taken from his iconic four-part BBC mini-series, Ways of Seeing — is being reexamined by Canadian and other international artists: 110 of them, to be exact. Culled together by Toronto-based artist Lorna Mills, her mammoth art project, Ways of Something, will present video, 3D renderings, animated gifs, live web cams, and digitally manipulated visuals in the context of the 21st century (hence the Lana Del Rey collage), along with Berger’s original narrative and voiceover, in an effort to ask the question: is Berger’s ground-breaking 20th century presentation still relevant in the 21st century? Find out this Thursday, July 23 at SAW Video from 6pm to 11pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit website. SAW Video, 67 Nicholas St., 613-238-7648, sawvideo.com.
Tap in to your adventurous side at Lusk Cave, a series of passages located right in Gatineau Park. (Photo: National Capital Commission)
Adventure awaits at Lusk Cave, a natural geological phenomenon that offers the spelunking experience right in Ottawa’s backyard. Roughly 12,500 years old, the caves were created during the Wisconsin glaciation, when water from the melting ice tunneled through a patch of soft marble in the surrounding Canadian Shield. Bring comfortable footwear, a flashlight, and appropriate clothing — the hike to the site is approximately 12 kilometres and the water levels inside the cave can fluctuate dramatically.
•Lusk Cave, Gatineau Park, 819-827-2020. gatineaupark.ca
•Map and reviews
THE POPULAR FREE SHUTTLE BUS FROM DOWNTOWN TORONTO TO VAUGHAN MILLS SHOPPING CENTRE HAS RETURNED FOR SUMMER 2015
Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, the outlet mall north of Toronto, makes it even easier to score big bargains at its 250-plus stores. A free shopping shuttle is offered through to the end of September with two daily trips from the downtown core. Wristbands are provided at the City Tours Attractions Desk at Union Station (65 Front St. W.) on a first-come, first-served basis for morning trips that depart at 10 a.m. (leaving Vaughan Mills at 3 p.m.) or afternoon treks that commence at 1 p.m. (leaving Vaughan Mills at 6 p.m.). Once at the mega mall, you’ll find outlets for the likes of Calvin Klein, UGG Australia, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Harry Rosen, as well as designer emporium hr2. The flagship Bass Pro Shops is also on site, as are family-friendly attractions like Legoland Discovery Centre and Lucky Strike Lanes. —Linda Luong
• Vaughan Mills, 1 Bass Pro Mills Dr., 905-879-2110; vaughanmills.com
• Map and reviews
CABBAGETOWN BOUTIQUE PIPLER ACCESSORIES EXCLUSIVELY FEATURES ARTISAN-MADE PRODUCTS, MANY OF WHICH ARE FROM TORONTO-BASED CRAFTSPEOPLE
Pipler Accessories owners Alice Clarkson and Léonie Lilla
Before any item can hit the shelves at Pipler Accessories, that piece has to meet at least one of the following benchmarks: it must be handmade, sustainable, locally produced or charity-driven. A tall order for a single object, but the boutique’s co-owners, Léonie Lilla and her wife Alice Clarkson, feel strongly that everything must have a story and an impact on the community. As such, the pair carefully vets the wares at their Cabbagetown shop, which include recycled and salvaged leather bags from Rachel F, handmade necklaces and bracelets from Hen Jewellery, and from Toronto purveyors, watches from May 28th, plus iPhone cases from both Felony Case and Keyway. —Linda Luong
• Pipler Accessories, 453 Parliament St., 647-346-2324; shoppipler.com
• Map and reviews
POPULAR INTERNET RETAILER BRIKA HAS MOVED INTO THE MATERIAL WORLD BY OPENING A QUEEN WEST BOUTIQUE
Just some of the stylish home products available at Brika
Success as a Hudson’s Bay–hosted pop-up shop has translated into a permanent Queen West home for Brika. Originally an online retailer of curated artisan-made goods, the new bricks-and-mortar version of Kena Paranjape and Jen Lee Koss’s brainchild features several dozen North American designers on a rotating basis. Toronto creators are represented in throws by Pehr, towels by Pamuk & Co., and jewellery from Biko. An assortment of giftware, serveware, accessories, art prints, paper goods and baby items are also available from the likes of Thimblepress, Mi Cielo, Neighborwoods, Wind and Willow and Nicole Tarasick. —Linda Luong
• Brika, 642 Queen St. W.; brika.com
• Map and reviews