Great Nights Out September
A concert film from doom soul singer Cold Specks kicks off a triple bill of free outdoor screenings, which also includes Björk’s Biophilia Live and Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark (in which she stars as a blind American immigrant). Free. Yonge-Dundas Square, 1 Dundas St. E., roythomson.com.
The American actress-singer, best known for Frozen‘s ubiquitous anthem “Let It Go,” showcases her vocal virtuosity in a concert of pop classics, original repertoire and favourites from Glee, Rent and Wicked. $63–$128. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., sonycentre.ca.
What happened to Icarus after his wings melted off? This otherworldly Cirque du Soleil production follows the Greek hero’s journey back from the bottom through amphibian-filled dreamscapes and synchronized stunts. $50–$120. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., cirquedusoleil.com.
Ian McGrenaghan and Colin Tooke, the duo behind the hip hop–blaring Parkdale taqueria Grand Electric, are transforming this classic cottage country destination into an edgy lakeside escape with their Muskoka taco hub and a newly opened boutique called Frankies Surf Club. Grand Electric Muskoka, 2 James Bartleman Way, Port Carling, grandelectricmuskoka.com.
For the first time ever, the Swedish singer-songwriter brings a backing band to the stage. He’ll play songs from Dark Bird is Home, a lo-fi compilation of wistful acoustic ballads and Dylan-esque melodies. $39.50–$49.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., masseyhall.com.
On the menu this year: searing specialties from across the globe, never-ending music and dance, and red-hot recipe demonstrations from Dragon Vikram Vij (his family’s chicken curry) and Fidel Gastro phenom Matt Basille (lamb meatballs). Free admission; food prices vary. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, harbourfrontcentre.com.
Local writer-director Kyle Sawyer has created an indie flick about a philosophical homeless boxer who lives and trains in High Park as he prepares to face a formidable opponent. Free. Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Ave., whoiscolthammer.com.
The Montreal-based burger bonanza offers succulent selections, including W Burger Bar’s sandwich, stuffed with mac and cheese and topped with hickory sticks, and Fresh’s “The6ix” (vegan patty, pineapple, banana chillies, onion, lettuce, tomato). Prices vary. Leburgerweek.com.
In this interactive show, the clown-nosed actor-playwright Rebecca Northan is stood up by her date at a Paris bistro. So she surveys the audience for someone to take his place, setting in motion an amusingly awkward and entirely improvised blind date. $55–$60. Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave., tarragontheatre.com.
Ivana Raca’s namesake café is the perfect hump-day helper, serving up an exceptional seasonal menu and custom cocktails in a cozy, Bali-inspired Parkdale space. Our favourites: scallops and asparagus, mushroom risotto, and Nutella-topped treats. Read our review here. 1704 Queen St. W., racacafeandbar.com.
It’s anyone’s guess which Toronto hotspots will play host to the stars on the TIFF’s opening night. One guarantee: the Drake Hotel, as it does every year, will throw an incredible bash. $10. Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., thedrake.ca.
Canada’s southernmost point is a haven of B&Bs, beaches and outdoor beauty. Hike through Lighthouse Point Park, scuba dive down to one of 200 shipwrecks or relax at the Pelee Island Winery. Pelee.com.
The humble Haligonian heroes have left a lasting mark on the CanRock canon with their guitar-driven power pop (check out: “The Good in Everyone” and “Coax Me”). Their latest release, Commonwealth, is a double album with four sides, each written by one of the band’s members. $18.94–$29.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., masseyhall.com.
There’s no shortage of potential masterpieces playing at TIFF this year, including Ridley Scott’s extraterrestrial epic The Martian, Eddie Redmayne’s next Oscar shoo-in The Danish Girl, and Atom Egoyan’s Holocaust aftermath film Remember. 1-888-599-8433, tiff.net.
This all-hours diner in Trinity Bellwoods serves fluffy flapjacks, smoky meat platters, house-made sodas and whipped cream–topped waffles—in other words, the perfect Sunday brunch, whatever your mood. Read our review here. 800 Dundas St. W., oldschoolyyz.com.
In Michael Temblay’s sharp and poignant play, a young Québécois woman’s ambition to become a country star amidst the Quiet Revolution becomes a parable about her province’s place in Canada. $29.50–$58. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Ln., soulpepper.ca.
The Chinese-American cellist taps musicians from more than 20 countries — each playing instruments as varied as their heritage — and, in the process, redefines the meaning of world music. $59.50–$199.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., masseyhall.com.
A shoe-business heir, drag queen and factory worker join forces and plough their way through a vigorous, Cyndi Lauper–penned score (which won both a Grammy and Tony). $29–$107. Royal Alexandra Theatre, 260 King St. W. mirvish.com.
The Canadian Art Foundation leads free gallery hops, hosts art-world legends in Toronto and publishes Canadian Art. This gala and auction is their single most significant fundraiser — not to mention a terrific party. $650. The Carlu, 444 Yonge St., canadianart.ca.
This Collingwood resort is synonymous with skiing, but it also boasts a boatload of family-friendly summer activities, including rock climbing, ropes courses and a kilometre-long mountain roller coaster. Bluemountain.ca.
The granddaddy of Toronto’s fresh-air art fairs features more than 350 artists offering affordable works across 14 different categories, including visual art, sculpture and jewellery. Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St. W., torontooutdoorart.com.
Bid farewell to festival season with four stages of folk: alt-country faves Wilco, cultish ensemble Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and the indie-popping, foot-stomping likes of The Elwins and The Strumbellas. $89.50–$389.50. Fort York Garrison Common, 250 Fort York Blvd., torontourbanrootsfest.com.
There’s plenty of ear candy at Riot Fest, but this rare opportunity to hear the L.A. geek-rock gods play their self-titled “blue” album in its entirety — from “My Name is Jonas” through “Say It Ain’t So” to “Only In Dreams” — is impossible to pass up. $89.98–$249.98. Downsview Park, 35 Carl Hall Rd., riotfest.org.
The Canadian music scene’s swankiest event will crown the best album of the past year and provide a live sampler of its most memorable music. Expect performances by local indie upstarts Alvvays, folk icon Buffy Sainte-Marie and more. $50. The Carlu, 444 Yonge St, polarismusicprize.ca.
This Tony-winning production tells the story of unsung hero Berry Gordy Jr., the boxer-turned-music-man that catapulted Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye into the limelight. $35–$130. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St., mirvish.com.
The ultra-cool College Street taqueria opened a second location in the east end earlier this year. The hood may be different, but the decadent tacos, tropical concoctions and hip vibe (and the occasional blockbuster line-up) should feel familiar. 780 Queen St. E., lacarnita.com.
The British-Indian novelist has depicted the relationship between East and West using mysticism, satire and controversy. Here, he presents his latest book Two Years Eights Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, a magical realistic novel inspired by the Arabian Nights. Free. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., torontopubliclibrary.com.
This intimate, 13-room lakeside retreat in Prince Edward County is a rustic transplant of its Queen West counterpart’s signature style: urban murals, sleek design and high-class comfort food. Read our review here. From $249. 24 Wharf St., Wellington, drakedevonshire.ca.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic, cartoon-covered Lee’s Palace’s, the venue owners are tapping these local legends for an evening of triumphantly raw and raspy indie rock. $29.50. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., leespalace.com.
The South African funny man headlines JFL42 with his observational comedy and political satire a mere two days before filling Jon Stewart’s chair as the new host of The Daily Show. $50–$155. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., jfl42.com.
The annual book bag–stuffing extravaganza has a new home—it moves from Queen’s Park to Harbourfront Centre this year—but all the same selections: thousands of books, magazines, publishing houses and too many author events to list. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., thewordonthestreet.ca.
The bros behind Banh Mi Boys extend their penchant for appetizing Vietnamese sandwiches to this newish snack spot, serving up steamed buns, spicy fried chicken and a must-try Hambaoger. 318 Spadina Ave., luckyredshop.com.
The opening night of this dance showcase power-packs three performances into a few short hours: a National Ballet of Canada routine from superstar Guillaume Côté; a Toronto debut by Indian company Nrtiyagam; and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s acrobatic Takademe, set to an a cappella score. $10. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., ffdnorth.com.
The New Jersey trio that refuses to be broken up (they haven’t taken a single hiatus since their 1984 inception) bangs through a brimming back catalogue of accessible, endearing and irreverent indie rock. $25–$95. Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 190 Princes’ Blvd., collectiveconcerts.com.