The Fringe Fest, a Kiefer Sutherland concert and eight other things to do this week
The wild and wacky Fringe Fest
Toronto’s biggest theatre festival is also its least predictable: each of the 150 shows on the 12-day program is plucked, lottery-style, from a sea of contenders. The productions are unfailingly eclectic and fresh—and occasionally the start of something great. To wit: The Drowsy Chaperone, Kim’s Convenience and Da Kink in My Hair were all hatched at Fringe. Check out our guide to the fest’s oddest offerings here. Wednesday, June 29 to Sunday, July 10. $12. Various locations, fringetoronto.com.
A parade to cap Pride Month
After a month of parties, panels and other LGBT-centric festivities, the Pride parade is set to take over Toronto. Black Lives Matter will fiercely lead the procession, Justin Trudeau will become to first PM to march and dozens of other organizations will deliver everything else the city has come to expect from the event: extravagant costumes, vibrant music and a whole lot of fun. Sunday, July 3. Free. Church St. and Bloor St., pridetoronto.com.
The hippest horse race in town
The Queen’s Plate’s main attraction is a high-stakes horse race, but this year’s edition offers festivities well beyond the track. Attendees can show off their style and play croquet at the Hats and Horseshoes Party, grab some comfort food from a fleet of food trucks (Buster’s Sea Cove, Meltdown Cheesery and more), and watch a mini music fest featuring CanCon icon Matthew Good, radio rockers Hedley and folkies The Strumbellas. Sunday, July 3. $15–$60. Woodbine Racetrack, 555 Rexdale Blvd., queensplate.com.
A Jazz Fest set by Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland—yes, Jack Bauer—is dropping his debut album this year. The country-tinged record Down in a Hole is the closest thing he’s ever had to a diary. Curious? Hear the gruff-voiced 24 star sing “Not Enough Whiskey” at the Jazz Festival. Monday, June 27. $30. Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W., torontojazz.com.
A finger-licking good time
This Thursday, Centennial Park transforms into one big barbecue pit. Toronto’s annual Ribfest is back, featuring live entertainment, fun for the kids, fireworks on Canada Day and, most importantly, a lineup of 16 grill masters from Horn Dogs, Hawgs Gone Wild and Jack on the Bone hawking their spare ribs and baby backs. Free. Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, July 3. Centennial Park, 256 Centennial Park Rd., torontoribfest.com.
Two of the bard’s best plays in High Park
The 34th season of Canadian Stage’s starlit series balances the manic tragedy of Hamlet with the convoluted romance of All’s Well That Ends Well. The shows play on alternating nights throughout the summer, but whether it’s the prince of Denmark’s catastrophic downfall or Helena’s bedroom antics, there is no better setting in the city for a picnic with friends. Thursday, June 30 to Sunday, September 4. PWYC; suggested donation $20. High Park Amphitheatre, canadianstage.com.
A pair of Pride art shows at the Gladstone
The artsiest hotel in town is celebrating Pride with a pair of exhibitions. That’s So Gay features original work by queer Canadian artists, including Vivek Shraya, who recreates old photos of her mother in a series called Trisha. The 10×10 Photography Project shifts the focus back onto the artists, rather than their art: it’s a series of intimate portraits of Shraya and others. Thursday, June 30. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., gladstonehotel.com.
Power duo Sting and Peter Gabriel in concert
In 1988, the Police and Genesis front men joined forces to tour in support of Amnesty International. Twenty-eight years later, the veterans reunite for a repeat effort. Each artist will of course blaze through the best of his own catalogue, but the highlight will be watching their joint sets, where they’ll interpret each other’s songs. Wednesday, June 29. $50–$250. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., ticketmaster.ca.
A Kes screening with author Helen Macdonald
British filmmaker Ken Loach solidified his status as one of the greats in 1969 with Kes, a drama about a working-class boy who forms a bond with his pet falcon. In TIFF’s Books on Film series, author Helen Macdonald examines the film as it relates to her celebrated memoir, H is for Hawk. Monday, June 27. $35. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.
Digital Dreams, the summer’s wildest electro fest
Every year, Digital Dreams delivers sublime stage displays and consistently superb lineups. This year’s edition features an international dream team of crowd-rousing EDM DJs: Dutch wonder Armin van Buuren, English trance trio Above and Beyond, and Swedish House Mafia offshoot Axwell Ingrosso. Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3. $149.99–$259.99. The Flats at Ontario Place, 909 Lake Shore Blvd. W., digitaldreamsfestival.ca.
The family-friendly fun of the Redpath Waterfront Festival
Ships are the stars of this beachside event. Families can tour the five decks of the Spanish tall ship El Galeón, check out a pair of 55-metre Royal Canadian Navy defence vessels and gawk at Draken Harald Hårfagre, a functional replica of an authentic Viking ship. Also on the docket: a Navy-themed obstacle course, an artisans’ market, buskers, a kids’ zone and a stunt dog show featuring piano-playing, skateboard-riding pooches. Friday, July 1 to Sunday, July 3. HTO Park, 339 Queens Quay W., towaterfrontfest.com.