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Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Weekend Roundup: November 9 to 11

The Little Years offers period drama at Tarragon Theatre

Friday, November 9
Starting this weekend, audiences can hearken back to The Little Years courtesy of Tarragon Theatre and award-winning Toronto-based playwright John Mighton. The critically acclaimed drama story follows a young woman in the 1950s as she struggles with the transition from life as a precocious teen to the harsher reality of adulthood.

Celebrating the art of voice and story, the Festival of Oral Literatures showcases a wide variety of talented poets, theatre artists, storytellers, spoken-word artists and even beatbox performers this weekend at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Tonight, the pay-what-you-can “House Made of Stories” program features Jan Blake, Susan Coyne, Ron Evans and more.

Check out all the hilarity as the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour comes chuckling into Toronto to tackle the theme of relationships—everything from marriage to dating to family, plus all the humorous complications in between. An all-star cast of comics includes Debra DiGiovanni,Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer, host John Heffron and more. Don’t miss all the hysterical insights tonight at Massey Hall.

Alice dances down the rabbit hole again (photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Saturday, November 10
Tumble down the rabbit hole once again as the National Ballet of Canada brings its hugely successful Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland back to the Four Seasons Centre. Opening tonight, the production combines classical dance with imaginative design to transport the entire family to a magical new world.

The Toronto Raptors one-win and four-loss record to start the current NBA season belies the team’s promise. Will point guard Kyle Lowry be back in the lineup after suffering an ankle sprain earlier in the week? Can Andrea Bargnani rediscover his shooting stroke? Can the team put together four full quarters of effort and pull off its second victory? Find out tonight as the dinos take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.

Often compared to other Canadian greats like Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright, Toronto-based singer-songwriter, arranger and producer Royal Wood tonight swings by the historic Winter Garden Theatre. A soulful crooner known for heart-wrenching ballads, Wood changes his tune slightly on his new album, which offers more up-tempo tunes.

Mats Sundin takes part in the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction weekend festivities

Sunday, November 11
The NHL season may be on hold, but there’s no reason you can’t get your fix. This weekend, the Hockey Hall of Fame gets set to welcome Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin as its newest members. Today’s Induction Weekend celebrations include a Q&A session with the honourees, followed by the Legends Classic game, featuring top players from years gone by.

With over 75 speakers and 200 exhibitors, the Whole Life Expo is the largest event of its kind in Canada. Shop for the latest in health and beauty products, explore alternative and natural approaches to medicine and care, and get great advice on living an eco-friendly life!

Today marks your final opportunity to check out the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Fun for the whole family, the 90th annual event combines a farm and livestock show with an equestrian competition, plus delicious food, giant vegetable displays, dog shows and more.

 

 

Weekend Roundup: November 2 to 4

The Royal is high on horses

Friday, November 2
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair rolls into town for its 90th year of show jumping, bull riding, giant vegetable displays and more—not to mention special performances by Olympic equestrians and a brand new cooking competition featuring top chefs from Toronto’s premier hotels. Put on your best farm gear and head down Exhibition Place for a taste of the agro-action.

She may once have said that “polite conversation is rarely either,” but writer and humourist Fran Lebowitz is nonetheless game to sit down for a chat with CBC radio’s Jian Ghomeshi tonight at Massey Hall. With astute observations—about everything from politics to smoking to fame—and not-so-thinly veiled sarcasm on the discursive menu, an entertaining evening is all but guaranteed.

Lively colours and social commentary come together in the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s lauded exhibition Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting. Not only does the show feature stunning works of autobiographical record by Mexican masters (and husband and wife) Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it also boasts an interesting collection of photos taken of the couple during the 1920s and 30s.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection showcases its favourite sons, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Saturday, November 3
Enjoy an first-hand look at the country’s most famous collective of artists as the McMichael Canadian Art Collection today opens its latest, highly anticipated exhibition. Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven has already proved a major success on tour in Europe; now it’s come home with more than 120 of the finest works to ever depict the Canadian hinterland.

Are you starting to get into the holiday spirit? Today, there’s no better way to kick-start the season than by partaking in Winter Magic’s Ice, Wine & Dine event. This one-night-only celebration along Elm Street not only offers $5 bites from a number of restaurants and professional sommelier–led wine tastings, it also highlights festive fun with carolers, ice carvings and other family-friendly entertainment.

Canadian synth-pop duo Crystal Castles tonight bring their intense lo-fi sound—including tracks from their new album, set for release on November 12—to the Kool Haus. If the haunting mood of the album’s first single “Plague” and reviews of singer Alice Glass’s performances are any indication, the show promises to be a treat for electronic music fans.

Local artists assemble at the Gladstone Hotel

Sunday, November 4
Get to know some of Toronto’s best independent contemporary artists for free as the Speak Easy Fall Art Fair takes over the historic Gladstone Hotel. On to November 7, this exhibition gives art lovers a chance to view and purchase works from some of the city’s most promising creators.

Halloween may be over, but you can still join in the Day of the Dead at Harbourfront Centre. Though skeletons abound, this is hardly a spooky event. Instead it’s a Mexican cultural celebration that honours the with colourful shrines, and traditional food, music and storytelling.

Orson Welles’ classic radio broadcast of War of the Worlds gets a tasteful makeover courtesy of the renowned Art of Time Ensemble and Harbourfront Centre. The stage adaptation—complete with live music and sound effects, of course—sets an uncanny mood for Canadian performers Nicholas Campbell, Sean Cullen and Marc Bendavid. Last year’s production completely sold out; don’t miss your second (and final) chance to catch this magnificent show.

Weekend Roundup, November 11 to 13

Friday: Pay tribute to Canada's soldiers on Remembrance Day (photo by Jennyrotten)

Friday, November 11
Take time to remember the sacrifices of veterans and currently serving members of our armed forces at the Remembrance Day ceremony at Toronto’s Old City Hall Cenotaph. The service is slated to include flybys from the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

Step up to the mic and contribute your MC skills to the Museum of Indulgence, a multimedia collaboration on display at Harbourfront Centre. The exhibition combines life-sized dioramas with on-site performances to explore the themes of hip-hop stereotypes, excess and indulgence.

Fire-emitting roller skates? Dancers on spinning turntables? A rockin’ song list? Check, check, and check. Alberta Ballet’s acclaimed spectacle Love Lies Bleeding, inspired by and featuring the music of Sir Elton John, is on stage at the Sony Centre.

There’s more action on Saturday and Sunday! Read on!

Farm Livin’ is the Life for Me: Where Toronto Previews the 98th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

For the next ten days, from November 4 to 13, the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place becomes a little less convention centre and a little more barnyard, as it hosts the 98th edition of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. We got a sneak peek at some of what’s on show at this year’s Fair, in the process acquainting our city selves with a bit of the country. By Rasheed Clarke

We crunched through scattered strands of hay and sidestepped splats of manure on our way to see cowboys practicing their riding technique on a bull of the mechanical variety. After a ride of our own on the spinning, bucking machine, Royal Rodeo organizer Ross Millar assured us that the 2,000-pound bulls featured in the Royal Rodeo (Sunday, November 6) will prove more of a challenge to the professional riders. The event, at the adjacent Ricoh Coliseum, pits top riders from across Canada against each other in barrel racing, bronco busting and bull riding competitions.

Next, we walked around the cattle barn and watched farmers trimming, washing and blow drying their livestock with all the attention to detail a Yorkville stylist would put into your coiffure. While the grooming sessions continued around us, we got intimate with an Ontario dairy cow. A few udder squeezes and there was enough milk (unpasteurized, natch) for a pot of coffee.

After dusting off our boots, we made our way to a set of showcases displaying prize-winning cheeses. It’s a shame they were under glass! We did, however, get close to a nearby block of butter and tried our hands at butter sculpting. Well, more like chiseling. The real sculptors will have their artistic creations judged next Thursday.

With butter carving crossed off our bucket list, we strolled the rest of the grounds and got a glimpse of the fair’s many other attractions: gargantuan vegetables, llamas and goats and ponies in the petting zoo, new products for city slickers and farmhands alike, and tasty treats made from local ingredients.

Yes, we can say from experience that this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is loaded with rural-style merriment. Plus, there’s the little matter of the Royal Horse Show, which runs for the duration of the fair at Ricoh Coliseum. This year’s show includes equestrian performances from Olympic gold medalists Eric Lamaze and Mark Todd, and former Toronto Maple Leafs Darcy Tucker, Curtis Joseph and Darryl Sittler trade their sticks for mallets in a game of “horse hockey.”

For more information on the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Royal Horse Show, and to purchase tickets, call 416-263-3400 or click here.

Weekend Roundup, November 12 to 14

Weekend Roundup, November 5 to 7

Hot Date: Royal Winter Fair Brings the Country to the City

What’s Hot in November Across Canada

November Hot Date: A Fair to Remember