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Air Canada Centre

What to Do in Toronto: Festivals, Concerts and Events this October

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!

Gavin Creel in The Book of Mormon, North American Tour. © Joan Marcus, 2012.

Gavin Creel in The Book of Mormon, North American Tour. © Joan Marcus, 2012.

ALL MONTH LONG  Tony Award–winning musical The Book of Mormon is back at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The story centres on two missionaries who travel to Uganda in hopes of spreading the gospel but who experience a disconnect with the villagers who are dealing with AIDS, famine, poverty and war. Tickets are $49 – $200; visit mirvish.com for more information and to purchase.

ALL MONTH LONG This season at the Design Exchange, guest curator Jeanne Beker peeks into the wardrobes of iconic fashion designers and pulls out pieces that have made important political statements over the past 50 years for the exhibition “Politics of Fashion.” The striking garments lend both style and substance to longstanding ethical debates, gender issues, anti-war activism and more. General admission is $9.25 – $18.50; visit dx.org for more information and to purchase.

STARTS OCTOBER 3 Known for vibrant, thickly textured canvases that explore the physical and psychological connections between artist and landscape, artist Kim Dorland offers a series of new works for display at Angell Gallery. Expect pieces that continue to expand on the artist’s signature style and thematic concerns, further entrenching his position as Canada’s painter of record. Angell Gallery; 12 Ossington Ave., 416-530-0444. Open Wednesday to Saturday.

STARTS OCTOBER 12 Helen Lawrence, a new media production by visual artist Stan Douglas, mixes theatre, visual art, live action filming and computer-generated simulation in this story set in post-World War II Vancouver. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., 416-366-1656. Tuesday to Thursday 8 p.m., Friday 7 p.m., Saturday 1 & 8 p.m., Wednesday & Sunday 1 p.m.; $30-$99; visit canadianstage.com or call 416-368-3110 to charge.

OCTOBER 17 TO 19 If you’ve ever longed to taste the recipes being made by TV chefs, the Delicious Food Show is your meal ticket. Whether you hunger for the inside scoop on trendy cuisine, advice on grilling the perfect steak, or simply a sinful chocolate cake recipe, celebrity chefs such as Tyler Florence, Chuck Hughes and Mario Batali have you covered. Join them, plus local chefs like DaiLo’s Nick Liu and Yours Truly’s Lachlan Culjak for a feast of workshops, cooking demos and food pairings. Direct Energy Centre, Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., general admission is $22; visit deliciousfoodshow.com for details.

STARTS OCTOBER 23 Giants of the literary world descend upon the waterfront for 35th edition of the International Festival of Authors. A global roster of 200-plus novelists, poets, essayists and more share their passion for the written word during 11 days of readings, panel discussions, interviews and book signings. CanLit darling Ann-Marie MacDonald, poet Dionne Brand, crime fiction novelist James Ellroy, Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard, Irish scribes Colm Tóibín and John Boyne, and critically acclaimed Emma Donoghue are among the expected participants. Harbourfront Centre, general admission $18 for most events; call 416-973-4000 or visit ifoa.org for a schedule and to purchase tickets.

Opera Atelier Alcina. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Opera Atelier’s Alcina starts October 23. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

STARTS OCTOBER 23  Sorceress sisters weave romantic entanglements in Alcina, the latest offering from Opera Atelier. In the company’s new, period-appropriate production of Handel’s 18th-century masterwork, the handsome Ruggiero finds himself on an island in search of the seductress Alcina; his true love, Bradamante, follows, disguised as a knight, and immediately draws the gaze of Alcina’s sister Morgana. But on this island of illusion, it’s true love that proves to be most magical. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., evenings at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.. Tickets are $38 - $181; call 1-855-622-2787 to charge or visit operaatelier.com for details.

OCTOBER 24 TO 26 Cask Days brings unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated brews to the masses, allowing breweries the chance to show off their hops. This year’s event has about 300 different cask-conditioned ales by 100-plus breweries from across Canada, the United States and the U.K., including Niagara Oast House, Nelson Brewery, Grizzly Paw, Microbrasserie Le Castor and Grand River Brewing. A special focus on California includes 30-plus breweries from the state. Not into ale? A number of ciders are available, too, as well as gluten-free beer options. Evergreen Brick Works, Friday 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and up; see caskdays.com to purchase.

TO OCTOBER 26 Cirque du Soleil is back in Toronto, and this season the famed Montreal troupe presents a kaleidoscope of characters and objects in its latest travelling show, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities. Under the big top, audiences are transported back to the 19th century to meet an inventor who’s able to defy time, space and even gravity—one spectacular scene even features an upside-down dinner party! Grand Chapiteau, 51 Commissioner St., Tuesday to Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 4:30 and 8 p.m., Sunday 1:30 and 5 p.m.; $50 to $160; visit cirquedusoleil.com to purchase tickets.

STARTS OCTOBER 29 Although the Toronto Raptors endured a heartbreaking end to their 2013-14 playoffs this past May, the Dinos have retained their core and begin a new season stronger than ever. Forward DeMar DeRozan, point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard Terrence Ross are among the returning stars who’ll take on the world’s best basketball players this fall. The Raptors start their new season at home against the Atlanta Hawks. Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m., $12.50 and up; call 416-366-3865 to charge.

ALSO THIS MONTH!

Cancer-stricken Swedish Olympic heptathlete Nadja Casadei. Photo by Peter Holgerson, courtesy of World Press Photo.

The training regime of cancer-stricken Swedish Olympic heptathlete Nadja Casadei, photographed by Peter Holgersson. Courtesy of World Press Photo.

TO OCTOBER 21 World Press Photo, the annual juried exhibition of award-winning photojournalism covering events and issues that impacted the world in 2013, is on display at Brookfield Place (181 Bay St.). Admission is free.

OCTOBER 3 The Blue Dot Tour with David Suzuki—promoting clean drinking water, fresh air and healthy food for all Canadians—comes to Massey Hall, with such special guests as Stephen Lewis, the Barenaked Ladies, Chantel Kreviazuk and Raine Maida. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 – $79.50. Visit bluedot.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 4 Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the annual all-night art affair, returns with more than 100 public installations, many of which invite visitors to be part of the works themselves. The free sunset-to-sunrise event expands into several new neighbourhoods, including Fort York, Chinatown and Bremner Boulevard, the latter of which hosts a magical night circus. Elsewhere, Máximo González’s installation, Walk Among Worlds, takes on political undertones by way of 7,000 beach balls to visualize first- and third-world states. Visit scotiabanknuitblanche.ca for a list of locations.

OCTOBER 5 TO 7 Part of the National Geographic Live series, award-winning photographer Steve Winter shares his experience travelling the globe in search of tigers, cougars and snow leopards. Tickets are $19.50 – $79.50. Roy Thomson Hall, October 5, 2 p.m.; October 6 and 7, 8 p.m. Visit roythomson.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 6 New York-based indie rockers We Are Scientists take the stage at The Horseshoe Tavern with guests Surfer Blood and Eternal Summers. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.50; visit horseshoetavern.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 7 TO 11 Award-winning actor, director and producer Ravi Jain and his mom Asha star in A Brimful of Asha, a family story about the search for the perfect bride. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill St., 416-203-6264.Tuesday to Saturday 9 p.m., Wednesday & Saturday 2 p.m.; $35-$55; visit soulpepper.ca or call 416-866-8666 to buy.

OCTOBER 8 Indie folk-rock chanteuse Cat Power brings her unique fusion sound to The Danforth Music Hall, 8 p.m. Tickets are $36; visit ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 8 & 9 Pop singer-songwriter Jason Mraz plays at Massey Hall, with the show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55.50 – $75.50; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

Russell Peters

Russell Peters is back bringing the laughs at the Air Canada Centre on October 9.

OCTOBER 9 Brampton, Ontario’s best-known export, Russell Peters, is back with all-new material in his latest headlining show, the Almost Famous World Tour. Hot on the heels of appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Notorious on Netflix, Peters brings his trademark brand of wit and observation to what is sure to be a well-attended show—back in 2007, he was the first comedian to sell out the ACC. Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m. Tickets are $58.50 - $125.75; call 1-855-985-5000 or see russellpeters.com for information.

OCTOBER 10 Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Esperanza Spalding—who plays both upright bass and cello—brings her distinctive sound to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place. Tickets are 49.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to charge.

OCTOBER 13 Aussie pop star Betty Who—made famous by a flash mob proposal video shot in a Home Depot that went viral—takes the stage at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club, with guests Joywave and Great Good Fine OK. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $19.50; visit livenation.com to purchase.

STARTS OCTOBER 14 A musical journey through the short-lived career of the legendary rock and roll pioneer, who died tragically in a plane crash, Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story features “That’ll be the Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Everyday.” Various times. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-314-2901. Tickets are $29 – $120; call 1-855-622-2787 or visit ticketmaster.ca to buy.

OCTOBER 15 Brit rock band Bastille makes a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre during their North American tour. Tickets are $34.50 – $42.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 16 TO 18 Bach and breakdancing may seem an unlikely combination—until you witness the Flying Steps, that is. The seven-member all-male dance troupe arrives in Toronto for one of two Canadian stops on its Red Bull Flying Bach world tour. Also featuring Swedish dancer Anna Holmström, this high-energy performance combines fast-footed jumps, head spins, jackhammers, hand hops and more choreographed to a live piano and harpsichord performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. Massey Hall, Thursday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., $25 - $70; call 416-872-4255 for tickets; see flying-steps.de for more information.

OCTOBER 18 Christine McVie rejoins her bandmates for a Fleetwood Mac North American tour, making a stop in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets are $49.50 – $199.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

OCTOBER 21 Bruce McCulloch, of Kids in the Hall fame, chronicles his life as a rebellious teenager in Alberta to her early days in Toronto to fatherhood in Young Drunk Punk. The show, presented by the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, combines stand-up, live music and anecdotes in the lead up to McCulloch’s new book Let’s Start a Riot: A Series of Bravery and Stupidity. General admission is $39; admission plus a copy of the book and a post-show reception is $55. Visit torontosketchfest.com or call 647-505-1050 to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 21 October is breast cancer awareness month, and Eat to the Beat provides a novel way to help. The 19th edition of this popular fundraiser for Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support has 60 of the country’s best female chefs preparing signature bites like duck breast on polenta cream, grilled cheese, brownies and pies. Local culinary favourites include Doona Dooher of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Trista Sheen of Crush Wine Bar and Bonnie Gordon of Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $175 includes all food and beverages, 7 p.m.; call 416-778-6314 ext. 236 or see eattothebeat.ca for details.

STARTS OCTOBER 21 In the world premiere of The Bakelite Masterpiece, set in Holland following World War II, an artist accused of selling art to the Nazis must prove his innocence by painting a work by Johannes Vermeer in front of a prosecutor and art historian. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $48-$53; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

OCTOBER 22 TO 26 The crafty and DIYers won’t want to miss the fall Creativ Festival, a massive consumer show bringing together sewing, quilting, beading, knitting, needlework, DIY decorating, crafting, scrapbooking and more. Workshops and seminars begin on October 22, while the Show Floor is open October 24 to 26, offering a chance to browse and buy a variety of goods, including fabrics, fibres, papers, beads, patterns, tools, books, kits and equipment. Show Floor hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for one day is $4 – $15, and a three-day pass is $25 ($5 for students with valid ID). Hands-on classes and seminars are an extra cost. Visit creativfestival.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

OCTOBER 24 The ever-bold Irish singer Sinead O’Connor brings her incredible voice to Massey Hall. Tickets are $49.50 – $79.50; visit masseyhall.com to purchase.

Art Toronto

Art Toronto brings together contemporary art from around the world. Photo courtesy of Art Toronto.

OCTOBER 24 TO 27 The 15th annual Art Toronto, a modern and contemporary fine art fair, will feature more than 100 galleries from Canada and around the world. There will be a feature exhibition by Quebec-based collective BGL, as well as fair tours and expert talks. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.; visit arttoronto.ca for ticket info and further details.

OCTOBER 25 Feist, Sarah Harmer, Jason Collett, Hayden, Lou Canon, Kevin Hearn and other musicians will come together for the first annual Dream Serenade Benefit Concert at Massey Hall in support of services for children with developmental disabilities. Tickets are $50 – $200; visit masseyhall.com or call 416-872-4255 to purchase.

TO OCTOBER 26 In the Henrik Ibsen drama An Enemy of the People, a doctor discovers that his town’s baths are contaminated and must decide if he should inform the public of the health risk or keep it to himself to prevent the local economy from collapsing. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., 416-531-1827. Tuesday to Saturday 8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 2:30 p.m.; $25-$48; visit tarragontheatre.com to purchase.

OCTOBER 27 Canadian synth-pop darling Lights brings her sparkling tunes to The Danforth Music Hall with special guest Rush Midnight. Tickets are $35; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to purchase.

Rihanna’s Two-Night Stand at the Air Canada Centre

Rihanna Air Canada Centre Toronto

Rihanna brings her Diamonds world tour to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre

MARCH 18 & 19  Her surprise Danforth Music Hall gig last November was just an appetizer; Rihanna serves up the main course over two arena-filling mega-shows. The fiery singer’s Diamonds World Tour is in support of her chart-topping album, Unapologetic. Air Canada Centre, 7:30 p.m., $68.75 to $163.75; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit Ticketmaster to buy.  —Anna Marszalek

DeMar DeRozan Continues to Grow with the Toronto Raptors

Despite some rough patches, DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors are making strides this year.

BY CRAIG MOY

DeMar DeRozan Toronto Raptors Basketball NBA

Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (photo: Toronto Raptors)

One of the more intimate pleasures afforded to fans of professional sports is that we get to see our favourite players grow up right in front of us. Forget “rooting for the home team,” look past the highlight reels. If you follow pro sports what you’re really doing is following athletes as they go to work, as they try each day to do a better job than the day before, as they develop their skills, as they mature.

Toronto Raptors supporters know what it’s like. Over the franchise’s 17 years in the NBA, it seems as though we’ve always had at least one talented kid to urge on to greatness. First there was plucky point guard Damon Stoudamire, then Vince Carter, and after him Chris Bosh. This season, we have witnessed the emergence of DeMar DeRozan.

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7 Toronto Sports Bars Near the Air Canada Centre

BY LINDA LUONG

Toronto Sports Bars

Real Sports Bar and Grill is steps from the Air Canada Centre

Die-hard fans of Canada’s favourite pastime might say there are actually five seasons in our country: spring, summer, fall, winter and hockey. The latter was tragically delayed this year, but on January 12, after 119 nail-biting days, a deal between owners and players was reached to end the NHL’s frustrating lockout. And so our city’s beloved (though sometimes hapless) Maple Leafs have dutifully returned to the ice. If you can’t get tickets to seem them play live, these Toronto sports bars near the Air Canada Centre offer ample screens for catching all the action with fellow fans.

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Upcoming Games Against the Lakers and Heat Mark the Toronto Raptors’ Schedule

Raptors point Guard Kyle Lowry is working hard to keep his team competitive (photo: Toronto Raptors)

ON NOW  Two months of competition are behind us in this latest NBA season, and although the Toronto Raptors upcoming schedule is hardly a walk in the park, the team will look to benefit from a prolonged homestand as it continues trying to claw its way toward respectability. The hard-nosed leadership of point guard Kyle Lowry has rubbed off on the likes of DeMar DeRozan—finally emerging as a consistent offensive threat—while rookies Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas are getting better with every game. Don’t miss some of the squad’s most hotly anticipated contests of 2013 when they take on the star-laden Los Angeles Lakers (January 20) and Miami Heat (February 3). Air Canada Centre, $12.50 and up; call 416-366-3865 or visit raptors.com for a full schedule and to buy.  —Ana Taveira

Weekend Roundup: November 30 to December 2

Gather for the opening of the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market

Friday, November 30
The Distillery Historic District kicks off its annual celebration of the season with a performance by Canadian opera star Measha Brueggergosman at the opening night of the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market. Bring the whole family and enjoy the sights and sounds, including festive treats and gifts, holiday decorations and a sit down with Santa Claus himself.

Pull out your ugliest Christmas sweater and head over to the Gladstones Hotel‘s 12 Beers of Christmas tasting party. Favoured local brews will be on tap, free prizes will put you in the giving spirit, and classic holiday tunes from the likes of Mariah Carey, Boyz 2 Men and the Jingle Cats (yes these Jingle Cats) will take your mind off the cold winter weather.

Slightly more sophisticated tunes are on offer with the Art of Time Ensemble’s Big Band Show at Harbourfront Centre‘s Enwave Theatre. The group is scheduled to treat audiences to a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker Suite—reimagined by jazz great Duke Ellington—plus its own unique takes on Igor Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 1.

Justin Bieber sings, audiences swoon (photo: Shelby Casanova)

Saturday, December 1
Coming off a performance at 100th Grey Cup last weekend, pop music’s current king, Justin Bieber, tonight returns to the Rogers Centre to woo his legion of fans. Sweetening the pot is an appearance by emerging star Carly Rae Jepsen, whose Call Me Maybe is arguably as mega-popular as the Biebs’ recent hits.

While the kids are revelling in their Bieber Fever, more mature music fans can treat themselves to an intimate evening with eight-time Juno winner Sarah McLachlan. The celebrated songstress performs tonight at hallowed Massey Hall.

Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire at Black Creek Pioneer Village’s Christmas celebrations. Activities include puppet shows, horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa and more. Visitors can also ogle a miniature gingerbread replica of the Village and try their hands at a traditional taffy pull, a sticky Christmas tradition we’re happy to get on board with.

Sir Jerry makes magic even more fun than it already is!

Sunday, December 2
Watch your children’s eyes light up while the watch the mystical, magical performance of Sir Jerry today at the Drake Hotel. Touted as “the most innovative kids performer since Pee Wee Herman,” Sir Jerry offers a show full of song, dance and Monty Python-esque humour for the whole family to enjoy.

Raffi’s kid-friendly tunes have been entertaining and educating kids for more than 30 years. The beloved singer and songwriter today takes the stage at Roy Thomson Hall to strike a nostalgic chord with classics including “Baby Beluga” and more.

Much Music’s Big Jingle Holiday Concert this evening brings holiday cheer to teens and tweens at the Air Canada Centre. Performances by Simple Plan, Cody Simpson and The Wanted are sure to be a blast, while Carly Rae Jepsen’s third Toronto appearance in the past seven days makes this event an early Christmas present the kids won’t forget.

Where Loves: The 2012-13 Toronto Raptors

By EVA VOINIGESCU

Kyle Lowry’s hard-nosed style has endeared him to Toronto hoops fans (photo: Toronto Raptors)

The NHL lockout has for the moment sidelined Toronto sports fans’ primary passion. Fortunately there’s more than one game in town. Last week the Toronto Raptors began a new season with a promising one-two scoring punch and a beefed up defense that could help return Canada’s only NBA team to respectability.

It’s hard to predict how the rest of the year will play out after just five games. but Raptors fans have reason for optimism. Despite a disappointing 20-point loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Toronto’s 1-4 record belies its competitiveness. Were it not for a few poor quarters, the squad could easily be sitting above the .500 mark; once the Raptors find their bearings within a new system and with new players, they’ll have a strong chance to contend for a coveted Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Head coach Dwane Casey spent much of last year instilling a defence-first attitude; this year the team hopes to show further improvement by turning its stopping power into fast-break points. Thus far that game plan has been inconsistently executed, but if the players can maintain their defensive pressure and nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, it seems clear that they’ll be embraced by Toronto sports fans and hopefully rack up some victories. Flashes of potential have certainly been displayed by the high-scoring backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. New addition Lowry opened the season with three consecutive 20-plus point games (before incurring an ankle sprain against the Thunder), while DeRozan’s improved defence and rebounding, combined with offensive aggression, continues to pay off.

DeMar DeRozan has been a consistent performer so far (photo: Toronto Raptors)

Meanwhile, after a successful pre-season, much-hyped rookie Jonas Valanciunas is still learning how to match his skills against more sizable NBA centers. Worrisome, too, is veteran power forward Andrea Bargnani. Back on the court after an injury-plagued 2011/12, he has yet to find his shooting stroke, and his effort on the glass is still rather suspect. However, increased depth at the point guard, wing and forward positions should help the team’s chances and ensure that injuries will be less problematic than in previous years.

The Raptors are in tough for the coming month, with 12 of the team’s next 17 games on the road. When they do manage to make it back to the Air Canada Centre, you can catch them against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 12, the Utah Jazz on November 12 and the Orlando Magic on November 18.

Hot Date: Cheer Mats Sundin and Other Hockey Heroes

The Leafs’ “Big Swede” gets his due this month (photo: Hockey Hall of Fame)

NOVEMBER 9 TO 12  Three years after ending a career that included more than a decade as captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin returns to become a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure. Visit the hall to get your jersey signed and view the new 3D film about the road to winning the Stanley Cup, then head to the Air Canada Centre on November 11 for the Legends Classic, a face-off between two all-star teams featuring this year’s inductees. The festivities culminate with the November 12 induction ceremony. 30 Yonge St., HHOF admission $17.50, Legends Classic $37.75 to $71.75; call 416-360-7765 or visit the Hall’s website for more information.  —Eva Voinigescu

Hot Date: Rush to See Rush

Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are (prog) rocking in Toronto

OCTOBER 14 & 16  Good thing you kept those old concert T-shirts! Canadian prog-rock band Rush charges into Toronto to promote Clockwork Angels, its 20th studio album. Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m., $55.50 to $139; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit Ticketmaster to buy.

Hot Date: There’s No Stopping Madonna

SEPTEMBER 12 & 13  The queen of pop makes a Toronto stop! In the midst of her MDNA tour, ever-provocative Madonna performs hits from her latest album and a career’s worth of chart toppers. Air Canada Centre, 8 p.m., $62.75 to $374; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit Ticketmaster to buy.

Hot Date: How to Train Your Dragon for Fire-Breathing Fun

photo by Lisa Tomasetti

AUGUST 8 TO 12  A mythical world comes to highly anticipated life this month in the How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular. Based on the hit 2010 film of the same name, this Dreamworks Animation production tells the story of a young viking named Hiccup and the unlikely bond he forms with a dragon. State-of-the-art technology places moving, fire-breathing dragons with 46-foot wingspans alongside martial artists and acrobats in this enchanting, action-packed adventure. Air Canada Centre, $25 to $135; call 1-855-985-5000 or click here for showtimes and to purchase.

Hot Date: Coldplay Offers Brit-Rock Anthems

JULY 23 & 24 It may be hard to believe, but more than a decade since Coldplay released its debut single, “Yellow,” the band has become arguably the biggest act in music. The quartet of earnest Englanders returns to Toronto this month in support of its latest album, Mylo Xyloto. Fronted by energetic singer Chris Martin, the band is sure to run through a long setlist of hits, from such recent cuts as “Paradise” and “Charlie Brown” to confirmed classics like “In My Place” and “Fix You.” Air Canada Centre, 7 p.m., $46.25 to $131.75; call 1-855-985-5000 or visit Ticketmaster for further details.