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Toronto

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in August 2016

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN AUGUST!

“Waving Is Funny” choreographed by Tina Fushell is part of the SummerWorks festival.

AUGUST 1  Harbourfront Centre celebrates the flavours and sounds of the Caribbean during Island Soul.

AUGUST 3  The winners of the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, which selects winning records from the last five decades by public voting, are honoured with a musical tribute. This year, Joni Mitchell’s Blue, the Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session, Sloan’s Twice Removed, and Peaches’ The Teaches of Peaches, are among the 2015 recipients.

AUGUST 4  Catch No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani on her This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour.

AUGUST 4 TO 14  Canada’s largest curated performance festival, SummerWorks, is back for 11 days with an eclectic selection of theatre, dance, music, and live art. Representing both established and emerging voices from across the country, SummerWorks features 70 shows, as well as free programming, workshops and a conversation series. Among the highlights is a collaborative dance piece by choreographer Tina Fushell, Waving is Funny, which examines the act of saying hello and goodbye.

AUGUST 5, 12, 19 AND 26  From 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Friday during the summer, enjoy discounted admission to the Royal Canadian Museum, which features 40 galleries on an assortment of subjects, including dinosaurs, minerals, African art, Canadian and European history.

Taste of the Danforth

Head to Greektown for the annual Taste of the Danforth.

AUGUST 5 TO 7  Canada’s largest street festival, Krinos Taste of the Danforth, returns for another year of Hellenic culture and flavours. More than 1.6 million people attend the annual event to feast on the likes of souvlaki, moussaka and gyros. Beyond the food, there’s a sports zone featuring challenges by the Raptors, Maple Leafs, Argos and Toronto FC, as well as three stages with live entertainment.

AUGUST 5 TO 7  Beats, Breaks & Culture: The Bridge celebrates hip hop and electronic music with DJs spinning and dancing down at the Harbourfront. Special guests include Sinkane, Jungle Brothers and Prince Innocence, as well as Afterparty: Hip-Hop vs. House.

AUGUST 7, 14, 21 AND 28  Kids of all ages—and their parents—can partake in Family Sundays at the Gardiner Museum, which features clay workshops and tile painting among other activities.

AUGUST 9  American rock band Goo Goo Dolls best known for such songs as “Slide” and “Iris” are on a North American tour with special guests Collective Soul and Tribe Society.

AUGUST 10  The Bad Man Tour hits the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre stage with American rapper Pitbull and Prince Royce.

AUGUST 12  Head to Yonge-Dundas Square for Lunchtime Live, a free concert series, featuring The Heavyweights Brass Band with special guest Minotaurs.

AUGUST 12 TO 14  Through fashion, literature, film, music and dance, Africa’s rich culture is explored in the Habari Africa Festival.

AUGUST 13  As the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Houston Astros, kids ages 14 and under can take part in Jr. Jays Saturdays by running the bases after the game. (The Jays play the Astros on Friday, August 12 as well as Sunday, August 14.)

AUGUST 16  They got the beat: Don’t miss The Go-Go’s on their Farewell Tour with special guests Best Coast.

AUGUST 17  YouTube comedy duo Roman Atwood and Yousef Saleh Erakat—better known as FouseyTUBE—perform sketches, pranks and stand-up as part of their first international tour in Roman vs. Fousey.

AUGUST 19 to 21  The always-popular Hot & Spicy Food Festival brings the flavours of the south—from the Lower Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico—to Toronto with a sizzling barbecue and live performances by Yuka and Treme Brass Band among others.

The Ex is a beloved summer tradition with midway games and rides.

AUGUST 19 TO SEPTEMBER 5  An annual summer tradition, the Canadian National Exhibition, returns for another year of rides, midway games, live entertainment and over-the-top food (expect a lot of it to be deep fried). Last year, a record number of 1.6 million people attended The Ex, as it’s commonly referred to. This year’s highlights include an art tribute to sci-fi favourite, Star Trek, which marks 50 years of going boldly where no man has gone before. The event’s main live stage, the Bandshell, celebrates its 80th anniversary with a star-studded lineup that includes Randy Bachman, Alan Frew, Jefferson Starship and The Trews.

AUGUST 20  Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Blue Rodeo, led by frontman Jim Cuddy, hit the stage with special guest Terra Lightfoot.

AUGUST 21  There are no small things when Blink-182 tour in support of their new album California with special guests A Day to Remember and All Time Low.

AUGUST 23  Academy Award–winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand performs at the Air Canada Centre in support of her latest album, ENCORE: Movie Partners Sing Broadway.

AUGUST 23  Two metal bands, Korn and Rob Zombie, join forces for a co-headlining summer tour with special guests In This Moment.

AUGUST 26  For the first time, Counting Crows and Rob Thomas, share the stage in a co-headlining tour with special guests K Phillips.

AUGUST 26, SEPTEMBER 2 AND 3  Albert Schultz hosts a musical history of Harlem in Taking the Stage Uptown Manhattan as part of Soulpepper Theatre’s concert series.

AUGUST 27  The Toronto FC take on the Montreal Alouettes at BMO Field.

AUGUST 28 Some of the Family Channel’s biggest stars—Shane Harte, Mckenzie Small, Josh Bogert and Aviva—take part in the Big Ticket Summer Concert Series. Daya headlines the concert at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

AUGUST 29  English rock band Black Sabbath bring their “The End” tour to Toronto with special guests Rival Sons.

AUGUST 30  It’s all about the bass when Meghan Trainor headlines at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre with special guests Hailee Steinfeld and Common Kings.

AUGUST 31  The Toronto Argonauts tackle the BC Lions at their new home, BMO Field.

Summer Fun Guide: Take a Bite out of Toronto

FOODIES AND SIMPLY HUNGRY VISITORS ALIKE WILL NOT WANT FOR OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO TORONTO’S DINING SCENE

R&D_Lobster Chow Mein_Image by Allison Woo

R&D’s Lobster Chow Mein. Photo by Allison Woo

The expansive St. Lawrence Market is packed full of specialty food items and made-to-order meals. St. Urbain Bagel is known for its Montreal-style bagels, which are baked fresh daily, are best hot out of the oven with a generous dollop of cream cheese. The peameal bacon sandwich from Carousal Bakery has been a market staple for over 30
years and is well worth the line up. Or, if you’re extra hungry, bite into a hearty deep-fried veal and eggplant sandwich at Uno Mustachio Sandwiches.

Join The Culinary Adventure Co. for a guided tour of some of the city’s most exciting neighbourhoods. Learn about the history and heritage of Chinatown and Kensington while enjoying everything from Mexican tortas to dim sum; adults $79, kids $59. Savour Toronto (1-855-472-8687; savourtoronto.com) offers a Best of the West tour for a taste of the hip and trendy dining scene along along Dundas Street West and Ossington Avenue; $75.

Treat yourself with Tasty Tours, which offers two excursions: The Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury food tour includes food samples from Chinese and Latin American eateries; $49 adults kids ages 7-12 $35, children age 7 and under free. Enjoy the chocolatiers around Trinity Bellwoods Park while learning about the history of chocolate and a chocolate-making demonstration in Toronto’s Ultimate Chocolate tour; $39 adults, kids ages 7-12 $25, children age 7 and under free.

Toronto’s vibrant dining scene is flourishing with world-class chefs, unique restaurant concepts, and innovative menus. Below are some dining highlights to whet your appetite.

 MasterChef Canada winner Eric Chong, along with one of the competition’s judges, Alvin Leung, has created a “modern Canadian Asian” menu at R&D. Dive into dishes like fried chicken with glazed cronuts, and venison spring rolls, complimented by intriguing drinks like the 510 Caesar made with garlic and shiitake-infused vodka. Chef Rob Gentile is known for his attention to detail and his obsession with using the freshest seasonal ingredients for his authentic Italian cuisine; try the hand-made pasta at Buca to find out what the fuss is about, or stop by Bar Buca for small sharing plates and a nightcap.  —Karen Stevens

 

 

 

Marc Cain Comes to the CF Toronto Eaton Centre

FIND MARC CAIN CLASSICS AND FASHIONABLE ATHLEISURE LOOKS AT THE NEW CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE LOCATION

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Marc Cain is now open at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, as well as in Montreal, Quebec City, and Calgary.

When upscale German company Marc Cain entered the Canadian market last fall, it first debuted in Montreal and Quebec City, followed by Calgary. This spring saw the opening of the brand’s premier freestanding boutique in Toronto. Known for its tailored feminine looks with fun details and prints, the newest location at CF Toronto Eaton Centre carries the Marc Cain Sports and Essentials lines. The former consists of athleisure looks for women on the go, while the latter is all about classic looks and a muted palette.

—Linda Luong Luck

Fantastic Creatures on Display at the Aga Khan Museum

GET INTRODUCED TO INCREDIBLE CREATURES AND ARTIFACTS AT THE AGA KHAN MUSEUM

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A whimsical creature decorates a cup from mid-late 17th-century India.

TO SEPTEMBER 11TH Animals—real and imagined—from legends, fables and classic literature, embellish manuscripts, and adorn everything from textiles and ceramics to jewellery and glass at the Aga Khan Museum’s new exhibit, Marvellous Creatures: Animals in Islamic Art. Among the items on display are a silver-gilded vase from 6-7th-century Iran. Discover these beings, and their part in art and history, through seventh to 21st century works from the Middle East, North Africa, and India.

Get Your (Prix) Fixe of Toronto Dining with Summerlicious

TASTE SOME OF THE BEST FOOD TORONTO HAS TO OFFER WITH THIS CITYWIDE CELEBRATION OF FOOD

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Kasa Moto’s Summerlicious menu items include Lobster Miso Soup, Shichimi Arctic Char and Strawberry Shortcake, among others.

TO JULY 24 Summerlicious returns for the 13th year, enabling patrons an opportunity to dine at some of the city’s premier establishments. The city-wide celebration encompasses more than 200 restaurants, with each creating three-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($18 to $28) and dinner ($28 to $48). Returning favourites include Canoe, The Carbon Bar, and Chase Fish & Oyster Bar, while Ufficio, Kasa Moto, and Beaumont Kitchen are new to the program. Spots fill up fast at some of the most popular restaurants, so make sure to make reservations ahead of time.—Karen Stevens

Get Set for Summer: Family Time

SUMMER IS SYNONYMOUS WITH FAMILIES AND THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN THE CITY.

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Take your family for a ride the Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland this summer.

The Toronto Zoo is always a hit with kids of all ages. Home to more than 5,000 animals from more than 450 species, there’s an extra special reason for a visit: the arrival of eight new animals, including two giant panda cubs named Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, four white lion cubs, an Indian rhino calf, and Juno the polar bear cub. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is likewise a popular destination for families to explore nine different galleries featuring more than 13,500 sea creatures such as jellyfish, octopus, pufferfish, stingrays and more.

Would-be architects and designers can let their imaginations run wild at Legoland Discovery Centre, where they can build their own race cars and test its aerodynamics, or be inspired by a recreation of Toronto’s landmarks completely in the brick form. Ever wonder what happened with Emmett and his friends after The Lego Movie? There’s a new 4D movie exclusively that catches up with Wyldstyle, Unkitty and MetalBeard. Learning and play go hand-in-hand at the Ontario Science Centre through its interactive exhibits on astronomy, geology, nature, human anatomy, technology, music and more. Currently, a special travelling exhibit, The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is on display with experiments, challenges and touchable specimens that delve into the oddities associated with Ripleys, from how illusions work to how to swallow a sword safely.

Getting to Centreville Amusement Park is part of the fun; the picturesque ferry ride over to the Toronto Islands is bound to get everyone in the mood for a day of rides like bumper boats, twirling tea cups, and the log flume. The attraction, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, also boasts a petting farm with the likes of an alpaca, llama, pygmy goat, and a mini donkey and pony. Thrill seekers love the rides at Canada’s Wonderland, which counts the country’s tallest and fastest roller coast, Leviathan, among its 200-plus attractions. There are more tame rides at Planet Snoopy and Kidzville for wee ones, plus a 20-acre waterpark. New this year are two interactive rides: Flying Eagles for little ones and Skyhawk for adults, who can make 360 degree turns from 135 feet up in the air.

EAT Combine an activity with a meal at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, as knights on horseback joust before King Don Carlos and Princess Catalina in an epic battle. The King’s favourite meal—chicken, potatoes, corn, and tomato soup—is served as guests watch the clash between the East and West sides.

The scope of Pickle Barrels menu is enough to make it a family-favourite—there are several hundred items on the menu ranging from grilled cheese and chicken fajitas to pasta and French toast—ensuring that even the fussiest of eaters can be appeased. Step back in time at The Old Spaghetti Factory, which is chock-full of vintage details including a 100-year-old carousel and even a streetcar that you can dine in. The fare is classically Italian with offerings like lasagna, ravioli and spaghetti with meatballs. More upscale Italian fare can be found at Terroni—and a more fitting environment for older kids—with crispy, thin crust pizzas, panini sandwiches and pastas; there’s also a patio for al fresco dining at their original Queen West location.—Linda Luong Luck

Get excited for summer with these other action-packed itineraries:

Get Set for Summer: Cheer on the Hometown Team

Get Set for Summer: Culture Vultures

 

Get set for Summer: Cheer on the Hometown Team

BELOW ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR SPORTS FANS VISITING TORONTO THIS SUMMER

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Cheer on José Bautista and the rest of the Blue Jays this summer at the Rogers Centre.

The Toronto Blue Jays are arguably the hottest sporting ticket in town, and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon early this year to root for 2015’s AL East champions. Don’t miss the star-studded lineup at the Rogers Centre, which includes José Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Marcus Stroman.

The city’s major league soccer team, the Toronto FC, and the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts, both call BMO Field home. Though the TFC have been playing here since 2007, this is the Argos’ inaugural season. Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco is the one to watch when the TFC play on the pitch; last year he won the MLS Golden Boot, making him the first TFC player to hold the honour. The Argos welcome back quarterback Ricky Ray, who sat out most of the 2015 season due to a torn labrum, while kicker Lirim Hajrullahu is new to the roster.

If you’re counting down the days to when the puck drops, then head to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to Canada’s game. The coveted Stanley Cup is here, as is a replica of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room. Interactive exhibits let you be part of the action, like a shoot-out against a computer-simulated version of Jonathan Bernier or calling the action on classic games in the TSN/RDS Broadcast Pods.

EAT Hockey fanatics won’t want to miss surrounding themselves with The Great One’s personal memorabilia at Wayne Gretzky’s The namesake restaurant of the former Edmonton Oilers player is a casual spot for burgers, pizza, poutine, and family favourites like Grandma Gretzky’s meatloaf.

 Can’t get tickets to the game but don’t want to miss any of the action? Real Sports Bar & Grill doesn’t disappoint with its 39-foot-long big screen and 199 additional televisions. Nachos, burgers, ribs and wings—choose from 10 different sauces including suicide and spicy jerk—can all be washed down with more than 126 beers on tap. Not to be outdone, Shark Club  at Yonge-Dundas Square boasts a 15-foot big screen, 57 TVs and a 90-foot sports ticker with menu offerings like the double-fisted burger.

Fans of European “footie”—soccer to us Canucks—needn’t miss a match at The Football Factory, where screens line the walls as well as in the booths if you prefer watch something else. Dizzy Gastro Sports Pub offers an upscale fan experience with classic Canadian pub fare alongside bistro offerings, while watching nationally-televised games. —Linda Luong Luck

Get Set for Summer: Culture Vultures

THERE’S A LOT TO DO IN THE CITY THIS SUMMER. BELOW ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE CULTURALLY-MINDED VISITOR

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Thong Sandals. Oil on canvas by Marco Sassone.

The Second City  returns with The Best of Second City, a rousing combination of some of the funniest sketches from the company’s past 50 years. Families can enjoy Superdude and Doctor Rude, a superhero story with a twist based on audience participation. Matilda the Musical is another family-friendly production, which opens July 5, while Shakespeare in High Park presents Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well on alternating nights in scenic High Park.

For centuries, plants—particularly flowers—have been the inspiration behind the creation of beautiful textile designs. Bliss: Gardens Real and Imagined, on now at the Textile Museum of Canada, highlights the pervasive use of floral motifs across cultures, from intricate Persian carpets to handmade quilts. The Bata Shoe Museum commemorates Italian heritage month with a selection of oil paintings by American-Italian painter Marco Sassone. His Boots and Other Works illustrate the artist’s love of fashion and footwear, from worn out boots to party shoes.

Film buffs won’t want to miss the Hitchcock/Truffaut: Magnificent Obsessions double retrospective at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which starts July 7. Featuring more than a dozen films by each director, the series highlights their similarities and includes Alfred Hitchcock classics like The Birds, and Vertigo, alongside François Truffaut films like Jules et Jim and The 400 Blows.

EAT Experience the flavours of the Middle East, North and South Asia with Mark McEwan’s flavourful menu at Diwan, while taking in the gorgeous grounds of the Aga Khan Museum. After working up appetite at the Frank Gehry-designed Art Gallery of Ontario, visit Frank for a bistro-inspired menu amidst installations by Frank Stella. Moviegoers can dine at Luma, located at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. —Karen Stevens

 

Unlock the City: Your Hotel Concierge Can be Your Key to a Great Trip

AMONG THE MANY PEOPLE YOU’LL ENCOUNTER DURING YOUR STAY IN TORONTO, YOUR HOTEL CONCIERGE IS PERHAPS ONE OF YOUR GREATEST ASSETS. THEY CAN FACILITATE YOUR VISIT IN MANY WAYS—EVEN BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

 

Carolina Avaria photo by Nicholas Lachman

Carolina Avaria, photo by Nicholas Lachman

Carolina Avaria, chef concierge of the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, says that concierges are “front line superlative service providers who are ready to assist with any request. Nothing (unless illegal or unethical) is unreachable for an experienced concierge.Although the most common requests she and her peers receive are for restaurant recommendations, purchasing tickets and returning forgotten teddy bears, your concierge is ready and willing to assist with any request no matter how big or small. Among some of the more wild requests she’s heard being fulfilled: filling tubs with champagne and even jelly beans for proposals, buying bespoke presents for pet parrots, shipping breast milk overnight, and organizing a bullet-proof limousine.

“We pride ourselves on making the impossible seamlessly be possible,” says Avaria, who is also the President of Les Clefs d’Or Canada, an elite group of concierges who are easily identifiable by the golden keys worn on their lapels.

This year, Les Clefs d’Or Canada celebrates its 40th anniversary as a valued chapter of Les Clefs d’Or UICH (Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hôtels). Worldwide there are more than 4,000 members representing Great Britain, Denmark, Hong Kong, Brazil, UAE and Israel among more than 40 other nations. In Canada there are 152 members, along with professional and corporate affiliates, which proudly includes Where Toronto.

To become a member of this prestigious organization doesn’t happen by chance; it requires commitment through a rigorous process that includes an invitation from an existing member along with at least five years of hotel experience. Potential candidates must then attend monthly meetings for a year, then go through a three-month long test, write a national exam and do a presentation in front of regional members who then vote on the member’s qualifications, with the final decision being made by the executive/national board.

The golden keys represent the organization’s global contacts, allowing them to reach out to fellow concierges around the world to assist local guests with whatever they might need. “We are your key to everything,” says Avaria. “Our motto ‘In service through friendship,’ ensures that our keys open doors for you.”

So how does a guest develop a relationship with their concierge? It can start even before you’ve left home according to Avaria, who suggests calling or emailing your concierge in advance, who can make recommendations depending on the nature of your trip, and even help with transportation from the airport. And be sure to let them know if you’re in town to celebrate a particular occasion—they might be able to provide a complimentary touch.

And once you’ve arrived, just visit the concierge desk. “You have a dedicated friend in the lobby,” says Avaria. “Even if you have researched the city, plan a five minute stop in the lobby on your first day with your concierge.” Expect them to ask you what you like to do, and from there they’ll be able to “lay out the city for you according to your preferences, layering in our local knowledge and not-to-be-missed gems.”

And finally, “Once our guest, always a guest,” says Avaria. If you’ve left something behind or visited a great restaurant that you wanted to recommend to your friends at home but can’t quite remember its name, your concierge is there to help.

To learn more about Les Clefs d’Or Canada, visit lesclefsdorcanada.org.

3 New Bars With Premium Drinks and Snacks

THESE RECENT ADDITIONS TO TORONTO’S BAR SCENE BOAST SUPERIOR SIPS, INVENTIVE SNACKS AND MORE THAN A LITTLE SOPHISTICATION

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Photo Credit: Renée Suen

Chic and just a bit sinful, Bar Batavia pours no-nonsense cocktails accompanied by Dutch-Indonesian nibbles.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Kayla Rocca

 

Bar Begonia traffics in country-bistro fare served from afternoon through to late-night. Cocktail guru Oliver Stern handles the elegant, if rather pricey, libations.

 

 

 

 

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Craft beer is the drink of choice at Bar Hop Brewco. The two-storey-plus-rooftop-patio destination offers dozens of small-batch beers plus inventive eats—like nachos served in a roasted pig’s head.

—Craig Moy

Things to Do in Toronto: Shows & Events in July 2016

THERE ARE ALWAYS SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO. GET OUT AND ENJOY SOME OF THE MANY GREAT PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS TAKING PLACE THROUGHOUT THE CITY IN JULY!

The Draken Harald Harfagre set sail from Norway in April to be part of Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival

JULY 1 TO SEPTEMBER 18  The Group of Seven is well known for its Canadian landscapes, and as one of its founding members, Lawren S. Harris was recognized for his stark depictions of the Arctic and our nation’s northern regions. A new exhibit presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario, curated by actor, comedian, musician and writer Steve Martin, along with Andrew Hunter and Cynthia Burlingham of the AGO, examines Harris’s legacy. The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris, sees more than 30 works by Harris drawn from public and private collections, including his early works of his Toronto neighbourhood.

JULY 1 TO 3  Head to the shores of Lake Ontario to celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday as the Redpath Waterfront Festival sails into the city. Hop aboard a fleet of majestic vessels for tours, including the El Galeón from Spain, the Pride of Baltimore II, four Canadian Brigantines (the STV Fair Jeanne, St. Lawrence II, TS Playfair and STV Pathfinder), and two of the Royal Canadian Navy’s defence vessels (the HMCS Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay). Particularly spectacular is the largest Viking ship in the world, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, which set sail from Norway at the end of April following a route travelled 1,000 years ago. On July 3, catch the Parade of Sail, the grand finale with all of the boats sailing along the harbour.

JULY 2 TO 24  For three weeks this summer, parks and restaurants in Queen East fill with the sweet sounds of blues, Latin, calypso, fusion and more as the Beaches International Jazz Festival takes over the lakeside neighbourhood. The free event boasts extensive programming that includes live mainstage concerts at Woodbine Park, art and photography displays, food trucks, and, for the first time in the event’s 28-year history, a salsa festival.

Read more…

Saks Fifth Avenue Opens in Toronto

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE COMES TO TORONTO WITH LOCATIONS AT CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE AND CF SHERWAY GARDENS

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE'S CF TORONTO EATON CENTRE 10022-SHOE SALON (PRNewsFoto/Saks Fifth Avenue)

The Shoe Salon at Sak’s Fifth Avenue at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Photo credit: David Pike, Newswire)

The hotly-anticipated debut of Saks Fifth Avenue was met with much rejoicing by local fashionistas with the opening of its flagship location on Queen Street (there is also a second location at Sherway Gardens). The famed American retailer known for its emphasis on luxury offerings and pristine customer service pulled out all the stops for its Canadian launch, including a dazzling lighting fixture in the fragrance department and a Murano glass display in the ladies shoe department, home to Saks’ signature 10022-Shoe experience. Count the likes of shop-in-shops from Céline, Saint Laurent Paris, Bottega Veneta, Chopard and Boucheron, alongside such exclusive brands as Nest, Meira T, Orsini and Marli among others. —Linda Luong Luck