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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

There’s a little bit of something for everyone happening this weekend! Enjoy everything from theatre and sports to wildlife and winter fun!

Friday: View Suite Suite Chinatown at the Reel Asian Film Festival

Friday, November 12th
Parents and parents-to-be can check out the Baby Time Show, ongoing all weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Get insider tips on everything baby-related and entertain your kiddos with sing-a-longs and live shows on the main stage. Today there are seminars throughout the day on such topics as breastfeeding and keeping your children safe around dogs.

The University of Toronto’s Hart House Theatre premieres Equus, the second production of its 2010/11 season. Recently re-popularized when Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe performed its  lead role in London, the Peter Shaffer-penned classic tells of a psychiatrist’s attempt to understand the sexual and religious connotations of a boy who blinds horses.

Celebrate the cinema of the Far East at the Reel Asian Film Festival, which continues this weekend. Along with screenings taking place throughout the day—including Suite Suite Chinatown—there’s also a special Karaoke Party tonight at 9 p.m. at The Abbey Pub.

Saturday: Fall in love with the Toronto Zoo's red pandas (photo by Peter Meenen)

Saturday, November 13th
Like its black and white counterpart the red panda is facing extinction. To raise awareness, the Toronto Zoo celebrates International Red Panda Day. Learn all about this gorgeous animal at the zoo’s dedicated red panda exhibit. All proceeds go to the Red Panda Network which helps conservation efforts to save these furry little creatures.

Let your imagination soar at the National Ballet of Canada’s performance Cinderella tonight. The timeless fairytale is given a slightly modern twist in this production, which focuses on the allegorical elements of the traditional rags-to-riches tale.

Take in some ice carving, live music, and fire performers this Saturday at the Ice, Wine & Dine event, part of the Downtown Yonge BIA’s Winter Magic festival. There will also be food and wine tasting as well as ice martinis and so much more.

Sunday: See Leafs stars like Phil Kessel test their skills

Sunday, November 14th
It’s the final day of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair! See this annual celebration off in good humour by attending its Woof and Hoof event—where canine is pitted against equine in numerous challenges including barrel racing. The Trick Riding Championship also takes place today, plus cattle penning, mini chuckwagon racing and much more.

The Toronto Maple Leafs throw down the gauntlet at 11 a.m. for their Skills Competition. See some of your favourite players go head to head in shootouts, skate offs, and many other mettle-testing events. For tickets, click here.

Experience the glitz and glamour of Indian entertainment in The Merchants of Bollywood, which wraps up its Toronto run this evening. The costumes, music, and beauty of Indian cinema come alive in this fabulous production.

Weekend Roundup, November 5 to 7

The seasons are a-changing! Don’t miss these final fall performances or the first winter productions.

Friday: Marvel at the Merchants of Bollywood

Friday, November 5th
Don’t miss the Canadian Opera Company’s final performance of Aida tonight. Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece tells the tale of forbidden love between an Egyptian king and an Ethiopian slave. After a well-attended run at the Four Seasons Centre, this production closes on a high note.

It’s the opening night of Merchants of Bollywood! This extravagant performance pays tribute to India’s show business, past and present, in an extravagant musical. With 3,800 costumes and 2,000 pieces of jewellery, this performance has all the glamour of Mumbai’s Film City.

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair returns this weekend! Catch a rodeo, browse giant vegetables, see the livestock and more at this Toronto tradition. It’s happening at Exhibition Place, all weekend long.

Saturday: See Allegra Fulton in The List (photo by Robert Popkin)

Saturday, November 6th
Nightwood Theatre’s critically acclaimed play, The List, wraps up tonight. The unique show tells the story of a woman who forgets an item on her to-do list, with tragic results.

Tickle your funny bone at the 2010 Sketch Comedy Festival, featuring more than 40 comedy troupes from North America. At venues throughout the city, this wacky event is sure to have you laughing all the way to next week.

Make it a girl’s weekend at the National Women’s Show! The Metro Convention Centre hosts more than 450 vendors and service providers featuring products geared toward the gentler sex. And let’s not forget, there’s also wine sampling, cooking demos, fashion shows and free makeovers!

Sunday: Fall in love with Acis and Galatea

Sunday, November 7th
Get out your helmets, shoulder pads and pig skin: the National Football League makes its now annual northerly trek as part of the Bills Toronto Series! Today at the Rogers Centre, the Buffalo Bills battle the Chicago Bears for gridiron glory. Be sure to join the Budweiser tailgate party prior to the game!

The witty, romantic—and ultimately tragic—opera Acis and Galatea takes its final bow this afternoon. The tale of a water nymph who falls in love with a mortal is sure to have you swooning, thanks to Handel’s pastoral music and the elegant staging by Opera Atelier.

Celebrate the Day of the Dead at the Harbourfront Centre! This Mexican tradition brings families together to remember departed ancestors. See live music and dance performances, watch films and peruse the marketplace. Be sure to try the pan de muerto, or Day of the Dead bread.

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

NOVEMBER 5 TO 14 So many horses and farmers in Toronto can only mean one thing—the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is back in town. Hundreds of farmers, livestock breeders and exhibitors descend on the city for this annual extravaganza, where visitors can get a taste of rural life through such events as the giant vegetable contest, the butter sculpture display, the rousing Royal Rodeo and the famed Royal Horse Show. Exhibition Place, Ricoh Coliseum, $16 to $20; call 416-872-7777 or visit here to purchase.

What’s Hot in November Across Canada

Vancouver

It may be November, but it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas. Local stages offer Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical and It’s a Wonderful Life, both based on popular seasonal movies. Bright Nights in Stanley Park and Lights of Hope each make spirits bright, with thousands of twinkling lights—and money raised going to local charities. Crafts and gifts abound at Circle Craft Christmas Market (held in the Vancouver Convention Centre) and Christmas at Hycroft (held in a stately Edwardian mansion). Old-fashioned traditions are revived during the Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas. And Stuart McLean shares his gently humorous stories in A Vinyl Cafe Christmas.

Ottawa

Savour the best in wine and food from over 200 exhibitors at the Ottawa Wine and Food Show where you can expect to see kitchen demos, tips on presentation and pairings, and more, Nov 6 – 8. Casino du Lac Leamy has recently renovated its theatre and now offers dinner shows, courtesy of a brand new kitchen. This month, check out Eclipse: The Pink Floyd Story (Nov 6 and 7) and Stayin’ Alive: One Night of the Bee Gees (Nov 14).

Calgary

Legendary hard rockers KISS come to the Pengrowth Saddledome on Nov 12. The Demon (Gene Simmons), Starchild (Paul Stanley), Spaceman (Tommy Thayler) and Catman (Eric Singer) present a selection of greatest hits, as well as pyrotechnics and maybe even a guitar bashing. On Nov 29, McMahon Stadium hosts the Canadian Football League’s championship game, the Grey Cup. This showdown between the CFL’s East Division and West Division is always a lively battle.

Halifax

November 21 marks the unofficial kickoff of the Christmas season in Halifax, as the Holiday Parade of Lights wends its way through the downtown. Lasting over an hour, the parade features dozens of festive floats, live music and, of course, a visit from St. Nick himself.

Victoria

Hockey season is heating up in Victoria as the ECHL’s Salmon Kings take aim at this year’s Kelly Cup but hockey fans are also excited about the November 25 appearance of some of the world’s best up-and-comers. The 2009 Subway Super Series brings together some of the finest junior talent from Russia and Canada for a series of games across the country. Here in Victoria, the Russian Junior National Team will take on top skaters from the Western Hockey League. For ticket details call the save-on-Foods Memorial Centre at 250-220-7777 or visit www.selectyourtickets.com.

Toronto

City meets country when the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair rides into Exhibition Place from Nov 6 – 15. This annual tradition features animal attractions, culinary events, musical performances, and, of course, the Royal Horse Show. In addition, two dazzling holiday classics come to the stage. From Nov 13 – 29, the National Ballet of Canada presents their interpretation of fairytale favourite The Sleeping Beauty, and audiences kick up their heels in celebration when the world-famous Rockettes perform in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Nov 16 – 18, at the Air Canada Centre.

Whistler

Celebrate food and wine in Olympian style at the annual gourmet get-together, Cornucopia Nov 12 – 15, with multi-course winemakers’ dinners, chefs’ foraging adventures to local farms, high-energy after-parties and a wealth of wine tastings. And even though the 2010 Winter Games are almost here, it’s business as usual on the mountains. Whistler and Blackcomb both open Nov 26 for another spectacular season of skiing and snowboarding.

Winnipeg

From Nov 4 – 8 the Manito Ahbee: A Festival For All Nations celebrates Canada’s Aboriginal culture. Highlights of the festival include an international powwow competition, indigenous market and trade show and the 4th annual Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards. Santa and a parade of more than 70 floats kick off the holiday season Nov 14 during the Power Smart/Jaycees Santa Claus Parade.

Edmonton

On Nov 22 check out Kevin Smith: Silent Bob Speaks Out, to hear a lecture from award-winning screenwriter/director (Clerks, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back).  Smith has amassed a vast fan base for his irreverent and hilarious rants on the absurdity of just about everything. From Nov 10 – 15, experience the Broadway masterpiece A Chorus Line —  a tale of a group of young dancers toe the line on the stage of their dreams. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical first opened on the Great White Way in 1975 and became its longest-running musical, with 6,137 performances through 1990.

Canadian Rockies

Banff’s Norquay is open on weekends through November until its official grand opening Dec 4; Kananaskis’ Nakiska follows suit with weekend skiing from Nov 7 to Nov 29 until the resort’s opening on Dec 5; Lake Louise Mountain Resort officially opens Nov 6; Sunshine Village Ski Resort’s opening day is Nov 11; and Jasper’s Marmot Basin is gearing up for a great opener on Nov 11. So grab your gear and hit the slopes.


November Hot Date: A Fair to Remember

Royal Agricultural Winter FairNOVEMBER 6 TO 15 The country comes to the city with the return of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. More than 300,000 visitors flock here for 10 days of rural revelry, including a giant-vegetable contest, dairy-goat shows, bull-riding rodeos and more. Highlights include the SuperDogs—who perform acrobatic canine stunts as they race through obstacle courses—and the Agri-Food Innovation Showcase, a vast exhibition on food production and nutrition, livestock welfare, biodiversity and biotechnology. Don’t miss the featured Royal Horse Show to admire the best equestrians from around the world. Exhibition Place, Direct Energy Centre, $14 to $18; call 416-263-3400 or navigate here for more information.