The Weekender: Pride, the Fringe and six other ways to enjoy the city

The Weekender: Pride, the Fringe and six other ways to enjoy the city

Rainbow flags, not riots, take over downtown this weekend (Image: Neal Jennings) 

1. PRIDE PARADE (FREE!)
Get decked out in sequins, body paint and a boa or two, grab a rainbow flag and get ready to party at the Pride Parade, which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. As if we needed any more reason to don feather boas. July 4. Parade travels along Church, Bloor, Yonge and Gerrard Streets, pridetoronto.com.

2. TORONTO FRINGE THEATRE FESTIVAL
Some guidelines for tackling Fringe, Toronto’s largest theatre festival: first, there are 150 shows performed at 27 venues over the next 12 days. Don’t try to tackle it all; choose about five shows. Second, check out the new Fringe Club, in the Honest Ed’s parking lot, for extra shows, meet and greets with actors and a beer tent. Third, the lineup is eclectic, so don’t be nervous about trying a play you haven’t heard much about—it may turn out to be a hidden gem. June 30 to July 11. Various locations, fringetoronto.com.

3. BUBBLE BATTLE (FREE!)
Bubble warriors will converge at the north end of Queen’s Park this Saturday evening armed with soapy solution and as many bubble toys as they can carry, ready to battle, well, anyone really. Sounds fun to us. July 3. Queen’s Park, Queen’s Park Crescent and Avenue Rd., newmindspace.com.

4. MULTICULTURAL CANADA DAY 2010 (FREE!)
Organized by the Community Folk Art Council of Toronto, this Canada Day celebration represents our country’s increasingly diverse population. Music, food and dance from First Nations, French Canadian, Thai, Indian, Egyptian, Guyanese, Korean and other communities are on offer. July 1. Yonge-Dundas Square, cfactoronto.com.

5. THE HOT SPOT (FREE!)
Culture junkies now have a summertime festival of their own with this trend-focused event, which presents what’s hot in music, film, dance and food around the world. Saturday’s showcase of dozens of flamenco dancers along with Haitian ensemble L’Ochestra Septentrional and fantastically named Jazz Mafia Symphony is a must-see. July 2 to 4. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

6. CORSO ITALIA FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Gli Azzurri may be out of the World Cup, but soccer fans will still find plenty of opportunities to watch the quarter-finals on Corso Italia at this annual cultural fest. Two big screens will be set up at Lansdowne Avenue and Dufferin Street, not to mention the many restaurants, bakeries and cafes that will tune in. If the city’s football fever is getting old, avoid the games by checking out this year’s sidewalk sale, catching a live concert or just snacking your way along St. Clair West. July 3 and 4. St. Clair Ave. W., between Westmount and Lansdowne, torontofiesta.com.

7. CHIN INTERNATIONAL PICNIC (FREE!)
A Toronto summertime tradition, this annual picnic is the go-to place for multicultural eats. We know there are other draws (circus shows, shopping, midway), but who are we kidding? We’re obviously going for the roti, Chinese food and cotton candy. July 1, 3 and 4. Exhibition Place, 200 Princes Blvd., chinradio.com/chinpicnic.

8. TORONTO WATERFRONT FESTIVAL (FREE!)
There’s no fake lake at this five-day festival; it’s all 100 per cent genuine Lake Ontario here, algae and all, thank you very much. We’re most excited about checking out the tall ships that have docked in the city’s harbour, including the HMS Bounty, which had a starring role in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Admission to the tall ships starts at $12. June 30 to July 4. Queens Quay W., between Spadina and Yonge, towaterfrontfest.com.