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Weekend Roundup: October 10 to 13


Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki, Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio San and Dwayne Croft as Sharpless in the Canadian Opera Company production of Madama Butterfly. Courtesy of Canadian Opera Company.

Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki, Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio San and Dwayne Croft as Sharpless in the Canadian Opera Company production of Madama Butterfly. Courtesy of Canadian Opera Company.

Friday, October 10

Opening tonight, the Canadian Opera Company’s staging of Madama Butterfly is a must-see for opera fans. This beloved tale—with a score by Puccini—follows Cio-Cio San, a young geisha, who falls in love with and marries an American man, only to face heartbreak when, after years apart, he returns with an American wife. The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $339; visit coc.ca for more information and to purchase.

In his theatrical performance, Helen Lawrence, opening tonight, visual artist Stan Douglas blends theatre, visual art, live-action filming and computer-generated simulation to tell a story about the efforts to reorganize Vancouver following World War II. Bluma Appel Theatre, 7 p.m.; tickets are $30 to $99; visit canadianstage.com or 416-368-3110 to charge.

Not only is Esperanza Spalding a cellist, she also plays the upright bass. Check out the Grammy Award-winning jazz musician’s incredible talent Friday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Exhibition Place. Tickets are $49.50; visit livenation.com or call 1-855-985-5000 to charge.

Find one-of-a-kind goods made by more than 50 Ontario artisans at Craft Ontario’s 2014 Craft Show. You’ll fine handmade jewellery, ceramics and textiles, as well as items made with glass, wood and more. Admission is by donation at the door. Friday 11 .m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. Visit craftontario.com/craftshow for a full list of exhibitors and other information.

Second City's Rebel Without a Cosmos.

Second City’s Rebel Without a Cosmos.

Saturday, October 11

Everyone can use a good laugh, and you can never go wrong with the pure comic genius of The Second City. The comedy troupe’s latest mainstage show, Rebel Without a Cosmos, combines sketch comedy, songs and improvisation in a performance that irreverently explores how humanity fits in the grand scheme of the universe. Bring tissues—you’ll probably laugh so hysterically you’ll cry. Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Sunday performances are at 7:30 p.m. Weekend ticket prices are $32 for general seating or $52 for premium seats. Visit secondcity.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

After a one-goal loss in their regular season opener, the Toronto Maple Leafs will hit the ice hungry as they take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburg Penguins this Saturday. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre. Tickets are $40 - $900; visit ticketmaster.ca to purchase.

If classical music is more your tune, don’t miss the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Dvorak New World Symphony, featuring violinist Karen Gomyo, at Roy Thompson Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $33 to $105; visit tso.ca for more information and to purchase.

Louis Boudreault's "TK" is on display at Thompson Landry Gallery. Photo courtesy of Thompson Landry Gallery.

Louis Boudreault’s Steve McQueen is on display at Thompson Landry Gallery. Photo courtesy of Thompson Landry Gallery.

Sunday, October 12

Sunday is your last chance to see “Wanted,” an exhibition of Louis Boudreault’s paper and graphite mug shot portraits of legendary figures at Thompson Landry Gallery. Spanning such notable names as Steve McQueen, Janis Joplin, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Oscar Wilde, this showing of large-scale portraits is not to be missed. The gallery is open noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday; 32 Distillery Lane, 416-364-4955.

Toronto-based experimental turntablist SlowPitch (Cheldon Paterson) is bringing his unique blend of composition and improvisation—during which he often includes field recordings—to Musideum, a musical instrument shop. Beginning at 8 p.m., a demo performance will be followed by a Q&A. Cover is $15, or $10 for students and seniors. Musideum, 401 Richmond St. W., 416-599-7323.

If you’re longing for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, look no further than Casa Loma’s Thanksgiving Feast, with lunch and dinner seatings on Sunday. Reservations are required, and the meal will set you back $55 per person, or $45 for children under 12 (full payment, including added taxes and gratuity, are required upon booking); call 416-923-1171 to make a reservation. Visit casaloma.org for more information.

Betty Who is playing at TK.

Betty Who is playing at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club on Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 13

One more thing we can be thankful for this Thanksgiving Monday: Aussie pop star Betty Who (whose tune “Somebody Loves You” has been on our lips since a certain flash mob proposal video went viral) is gracing 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.

Beers from three local craft breweries—Beau’s All-Natural Brewing, Black Oak Brewery and Junction Craft Brewery—will be flowing at the Evergreen Brick Works from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Thanksgiving for Torontoberfest, the final Brewer’s Backyard event of the season. Admission is free to this family-friendly event. Visit brewersbackyard.com for more information.

From Tool Shed to Tap: Meet Calgary’s Newest Brewers


“Calgary wants more craft beer,” says Graham Sherman, co-owner of Tool Shed Brewing Company, the city’s newest craft beer producer. Though the city is home to few brewers, the proliferation of its beer halls and the diverse, international flavour of their menus supports his claim. The city’s thirst for beer is a natural match for its well-known entrepreneurial streak. Sherman and business partner Jeff Orr have suitably transformed their onetime backyard project into a refreshing new beer business. (more…)

Hot Dining: Vancouver’s Portland Craft Celebrates Oregon Beer

Braised pork belly with roasted shallots and crispy baby potatoes. Photo by KK Law

In a twist from more BC-inclined locales, Portland Craft unabashedly celebrates Oregon’s brewing scene, which kick-started the craft beer revival. Drop by this friendly Mount Pleasant room for stalwarts such as Deschutes, Pyramid, Rogue, Hopworks and more, all properly poured and easily paired with a daily pizza, house-built burger or perfectly crunchy pork belly slices with fingerling potatoes. Also not to be missed: the stout chocolate lava cake.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dates: Cornucopia, Whistler’s Celebration of Wine and Food

Cornucopia photo by Mike Crane courtesy Tourism Whistler

November 7 to 11

More than 6,500 foodies and oenophiles follow their taste buds to Whistler for Cornucopia, the annual food and wine extravaganza in the town best known for skiing and snowboarding. In addition to palate-pleasing tastings, luncheons and winemakers’ dinners, the deliciously long weekend offers hands-on seminars, extravagant galas and over-the-top parties. New this year is a cocktail competition, in which bartenders have just 15 minutes to create a unique concoction. Also new is a night market that focuses on pairing Asian cuisine with wines, beers and spirits. If you intend to fully indulge (and really, why wouldn’t you?), then loose, comfortable clothing is a good idea. Bon appétit!—Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Local Beer and Wine at Olympic Village’s Tap & Barrel

Wine kegs and beer taps at Tap & Barrel. Photo by KK Law

The games may be long gone but False Creek’s Olympic Village has been re-energized by the arrival of Tap & Barrel, a pub-style, two-tier emporium that dispenses 24 BC beers and 14 wines on tap. Owner Daniel Frankel says the wines are as fresh as when they leave the winery and more environmentally friendly than bottled ones—and we agree! Go for AAA Alberta beef burgers, baked pretzels, made-to-order wood-stone-fired pizzas (including a version with roasted pork belly and soft-poached eggs), “drunken” mussels, or even “sticky” yam fries with Marshmallow Fluff.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Rickard’s Launches Cardigan, Its First Seasonal Beer

Rickard’s Cardigan Autumn Spiced Lager

Winter’s just around the corner, and we’ve got something that will warm you up better than your favourite sweater. Even though it’s served in a cold pint glass, the new Cardigan Autumn Spiced Lager from Rickard’s is the season’s hottest brew. Its cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and brown sugar notes echo a tasty pumpkin pie and will have you pining for a fireplace. Too chilly for a cold drink? Warm some of this preservative-free beer on the stove for a fun twist on the hot toddy. Rickard’s first seasonal beer is wrapped in too-cute sweater label, so look for the distinctive bottle the next time you’re at BC Liquor Stores.—Kristina Urquhart


East Coast Beer and Breweries: A Historic Maritime Tradition


Garrison Brewing Company in Halifax (Photo: Nicole Bratt)

Canada’s east coasters love their beer and it shows. The Martimes region is famous for its historic breweries and has been producing the delicious amber drink since the early 19th century. It has given the rest of Canada notable brands Alexander Keith’s and Moosehead. Jason Foster, a CBC beer columnist, insists that Atlantic Canada has developed a unique beer personality that is essentially British in balance and fruitiness, to reflect local history and culture. (more…)

8 Great Montreal Bars and Pubs for Beer Lovers


Fourquette Forchette (Photo: Red Hunt)

Montreal has a burgeoning beer scene and is home to more than its fair share of Canadian brewpubs and microbreweries offering everything from Belgian-style ales to thirst-quenching wheat beers and savoury stouts. There are literally hundreds of flavourful local beers to choose from, making a quest for great beers a somewhat daunting task in this city. (more…)

Hot Dining: Mill St. Brew Pub

The Mill St. Brew Pub

Located in a 165-year-old heritage building that started its life as a pulp mill, Mill St. Brew Pub is a new — and welcome — addition to Ottawa’s dining scene. Several Mill St. beers can be found on tap and are switched up regularly, and three are brewed on site (and boast locally inspired monikers to boot): the Portage Ale, the Ambre de la Chaudière, and the Valley Irish Red. In keeping with the Ottawa trend, many of the ingredients from the pub’s menu are locally sourced. Popular dishes include flatbreads, tourtières, and mussels, and brunch is always a crowd pleaser. Bonus: Mill St. is a short walk away from the Bluesfest site at LeBreton Flats, making it the perfect spot for a pre- or post-concert meal.

555 Wellington St., 613-567-2337. ottawa.millstreetbrewpub.ca.

The Best Canadian Beer Fests of 2012


Cask Days, Toronto (Photo: Crystal Luxmore)

With summer upon us, there are beer festivals sprouting up in nearly every city and town across the country and 2012 is shaping up to be a dream year for the Canadian beer lover. The beer scene in Canada is currently going through a transition, with small craft brewers and microbreweries getting more confident and exploratory with their brews, meaning the range of flavours and styles of beer has never been better. (more…)

Hot Dining: Perfect Pints at Whistler Brewing Company

Whiskey Jack Ale by Whistler Brewing Company

Hail a cab to visit Whistler Brewing Company, a craft brewery that offers tours, a tap house and cold beer to go. Purchase the party pack for the always-popular Powder Mountain Lager, Whiskey Jack Ale, Bear Paw Honey Lager and Black Tusk Ale. Try the rotating selection of seasonal brews for something different, including the Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale and the Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale. Also for purchase at BC Liquor Stores.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Dining: Perfect Pints at Gastown’s Bitter Tasting Room

Bitter Tasting Room. Photo by KK Law

It’s all about the beer at Bitter Tasting Room. This beautifully restored 1909 Gastown ale emporium offers only the best craft brews on tap and by the bottle, from BC and beyond. Purists hoist freshly poured pints of Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, R&B Milk Stout and Unibroue’s heavy Maudite, while a suitably matched gastropub menu tempts with cassoulet, Scotch eggs and artisan links by master sausage maker Drews Driessen. BC wines are also offered for the less hop-headed.—Tim Pawsey