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Things to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events This June

There are always so many things to do in Toronto. Get out and enjoy some of the many great events and concerts taking place throughout the city this month!

Hawksley Workman in The God That Comes

Hawksley Workman in The God That Comes

JUNE 3 TO 29  A ruthless king, a rebellion and a whole lot of hedonism comprise The God That Comes, co-created and performed by Canadian singer Hawksley Workman. In this rockin’ and rollin’ production based on Euripides’ The Bacchae, outlaws, slaves and women seek out new lives in the mountains to satisfy their base desires: drinking wine, having sex, and dancing into an ecstatic existence. Workman’s contemporary take on a Greek tragedy is a joint production with Halifax’s 2b Theatre Company. Tarragon Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m., $40; call 416-531-1827 or visit tarragontheatre.com for tickets.

JUNE 4 TO 15  A magical tale of glass slippers and a pumpkin carriage-ride to the royal ball comes to the stage in a lavish production of Cinderella by the National Ballet of Canada. Art deco-inspired sets and costumes are the eye candy while fleet-footed choreography by James Kudelka tells the tale of a prince who meets and then loses his true love, and so embarks on an international search with only a slipper by which to identify her. An enchanting pas de deux between the maiden and her paramour showcases the dancers’ talents, and there’s even room for a whimsical touch of Canadiana: at one point, the prince encounters a snowshoeing gal in a striped Hudson’s Bay coat. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $244; call 416-345-9595 or visit national.ballet.ca for showtimes and to charge.

JUNE 7 & 8  Toronto’s most identifiable indie recording company, Arts and Crafts, brings back its Field Trip festival for a second year with an even more substantial lineup of performers and other experiences. The two-day event boasts major acts including Interpol, The Kills, Chvrches, Washed Out, and, of course, Broken Social Scene. In between tunes, guests can browse the wares at the Drake General Store pop-up and Etsy marketplace, and grab a bite or two from such food trucks as Buster’s Sea Cove, Caplansky’s Thunderin’ Thelma, and Fidel Gastro. Fort York and Garrison Common, one-day pass $75, two-day pass $125; visit fieldtriplife.com for tickets and more information.

JUNE 12 TO JULY 12  Soulpepper Theatre Company poignantly invokes the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s in its remount of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning Angels in America. The two-part play focuses on the lives of two men battling AIDS—one openly gay, the other a married but closeted homosexual. Each navigates the harsh realities and prejudices associated with his condition in differing ways, struggling with intimate questions of faith and politics. Part one, Millennium Approaches, starts on June 12, while part two, Perestroika, begins on the next night. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, evenings 7:30 p.m., select matinees at 1:30 p.m., $29 to $74; call 416-866-8666 or visit soulpepper.ca to reserve.

Angels in America (photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Angels in America (photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

JUNE 13 TO 21  Hoppy days are here again courtesy of Ontario Craft Beer Week. The annual event celebrates the many excellent small-batch beers now being created and imbibed across the province. In this city, the revelry kicks off early at Session Toronto, a Yonge-Dundas Square gathering on June 13 and 14 that features dozens of breweries, food vendors and live music. For the remainder of the week, expect numerous tours, tastings events and more, presented by a variety of beer makers, restaurants and pubs. Be sure to visit ocbweek.ca for full event listings and more information.

JUNE 13 TO 22  Discover up-and-coming musicians and applaud your favourite big-name bands as NXNE celebrates its 20th anniversary by bringing 800 Canadian, American and international artists to more than 30 Toronto venues, including the Horseshoe Tavern, Lee’s Palace and Massey Hall. This year’s lineup sees indie favourites including Spoon, Swans and Sleigh Bells taking part in free shows at Yonge-Dundas Square, as well as ticketed concerts by the likes of St. Vincent, Rhye, Low and Spiritualized. A film and comedy festival, as well as a digital and interactive media conference, are also part of the 10-day lineup. Music wristbands are $149, film and comedy wristbands are $50 each; call 416-863-6963 or visit nxne.com for a full schedule.

JUNE 14 & 15  Head to The Beach for some sun, sand and shopping as the annual Beaches Arts & Crafts Show returns for its 30th year. The weekend bonanza brings out more than 150 crafters and designers from across Ontario and Quebec, as well as local artisans—like jeweller Melanie LeBlanc, who repurposes found objects for her necklaces, pendants, rings and bracelets. Ceramics by Yusuke Akai, children’s clothing by Red Thread Design and blown glass tableware by Lolipop Verre Soufflé are also among the goods. Kew Gardens Park (at Queen Street East and Woodbine Avenue), free admission, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; visit beachesartsandcraftsshow.ca for more information.

JUNE 14 TO 16  A colourful weekend of moving pictures awaits this month at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International. The comprehensive celebration of cartoon storytelling has something for everyone—industry pros, amateur animators, and plain old (and young) fans of the form. Screenings of shorts films from around the globe are a significant draw, while talks and masterclasses with special guests, including Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh of the Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb, offer insiders’ perspectives on the ever-evolving art and business of animation. Once you’ve had your fill, visit TAAFI’s “maarket” for books, toys and other souvenirs. Corus Quay (25 Dockside Dr.) and George Brown College Waterfront Campus (51 Dockside Dr.), various prices; call 647-785-8740 or visit taafi.com for further details.

JUNE 19 TO 28  The TD Toronto Jazz Festival returns with a diverse roster of more than 1,500 musicians crooning into mics, tickling the ivories and blowing their horns at 40-plus locations. Among the headlining performers are Measha Brueggergosman, Keith Jarrett, Earth, Wind & Fire, Dianne Reeves and Gregory Porter. This year, the festival is also collaborating with WorldPride to present that event’s opening ceremony (June 20), featuring Melissa Etheridge, at the Jazz Fest’s Nathan Phillips Square main stage. Visit torontojazz.com for a schedule.

JUNE 26 TO AUGUST 31  Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and head to the west end for a summertime staple, Shakespeare in High Park. For more than 30 years, residents and visitors alike have flocked to the park’s scenic outdoor amphitheatre for evening performances of the Bard’s most cherished works. This season, the Canadian Stage presents two plays on alternating nights: the pastoral comedy As You Like It and the bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus. Tuesday to Sunday 8 p.m., pay-what-you-can admission ($20 suggested), or reserve a premium spot for $25; see canadianstage.com to buy tickets.


Marie Osmond (photo: Jeremy Deputat)

Marie Osmond (photo: Jeremy Deputat)

JUNE 2  Singer, actor and television personality Marie Osmond appears at Roy Thomson Hall to talk about her adventures and misadventures.

JUNE 2  Chamber pop gets thrown for a loop (and becomes rather danceable) when Kishi Bashi plays the Mod Club.

JUNE 3  Even if you can’t decipher singer Channy Leanagh lyrics, her band Poliça‘s noisy new wave-inspired set is still worth checking out at Mod Club.

JUNE 4  The Danforth Music Hall gets seriously weird as South African electro-rap duo Die Antwoord takes the stage.

JUNE 6  Brooklyn’s number-one retro soul-funk outfit, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, swagger into Massey Hall.

JUNE 8 & 9  Rootsy crooner Ray LaMontagne enjoys a two-night stand at Massey Hall to promote his latest record, Supernova.

JUNE 10  French synth-rockers Phoenix rattle the rafters at Sound Academy.

JUNE 11  Backstreet Boy brother Aaron Carter is at Lee’s Palace for some reason.

JUNE 11  Kelis fans can gorge on tunes from the urban soul singer’s new album, Food, at the Danforth Music Hall.

JUNE 14  The kids will be hoping for balmy weather when Digifest bring teen-pop headliners like Fifth Harmony, Midnight Red and Before You Exit to Echo Beach.

Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello

JUNE 14  Rabble-rousing rocker Elvis Costello demonstrates the breadth of his songwriting with a stripped-down solo set at Roy Thomson Hall.

JUNE 16  Eclectic indie rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah seek your applause and verbal affirmation at the Horseshoe Tavern.

JUNE 19  Genre-hopping diva Chaka Khan burnishes her musical legacy (and kick’s off the TD Toronto Jazz Festival) at the Sony Centre.

JUNE 19  Some people just haven’t stopped believin’ that Journey is one of rock music’s top acts. Those people can hear the band’s nostalgic hits at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JUNE 20  The verdant Winter Garden Theatre hosts country music’s preeminent singer-songwriter, Patty Griffin.

JUNE 20 TO 22  In addition to its Cinderella staging, the National Ballet of Canada also brings back its lauded production of Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet.

JUNE 20 TO 22  The Redpath Waterfront Festival brings family-friendly summer fun to the shores of Lake Ontario.

JUNE 21 TO JULY 13  Toronto’s artist-led theatrical-production troupe, Theatre 20, assembles a cast including Brent Carver, Louise Pitre, Sarah Slean and Nia Vardalos to perform Stephen Sondheim’s Company at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

JUNE 21  Out of prison and no longer under house arrest, mercurial R&B and hip-hop icon Lauryn Hill is slated to make an appearance at Sound Academy.

JUNE 22  If you’re wondering why there’s so much screaming down by the lake, it’s because OneRepublic is performing at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JUNE 24  Dave Matthews Band still manages to draw the city’s jam-band fans for its nearly annual stop at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

JUNE 24  Roy Thomson Hall welcomes classical singing trio Il Volo.

JUNE 27  Beautifully brooding anthems are The Antlers‘ stock in trade, and that trade will be plied to harrowing effect at Mod Club.

JUNE 27  The Sony Centre is “Where It’s At” at Beck takes the stage to perform a generation’s worth of hits (and tunes from his latest album, Morning Phase).

JUNE 27 TO JULY 19  The Young Centre hosts Borne, an collaborative work of theatrical storytelling by Judith Thompson and featuring nine performers who use wheelchairs.

JUNE 28 & 29  The Air Canada Centre is sure to be filled with swingers—all expecting to be serenaded by Michael Bublé.

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