Canada’s answer to The Great British Bake Off, an Arcade Fire show and eight other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A Canuck redux of The Great British Bake Off
1BBC’s quaint kitchen competition has been charming the aprons off U.K. viewers since 2010. Now, hosts Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Julia Chan (Saving Hope) are bringing some Canuck flair to a CBC spinoff, The Great Canadian Baking Show. Ten amateur bakers from across the country face off in three rounds per episode, whipping up cakes, pies and crumbles for a pair of celebrity chef judges—pastry pros Bruno Feldeisen and Rochelle Adonis—who will crown a Star Baker. CBC’s take will stay mostly loyal to the British format, preserving all of its characteristic politeness. Wednesday, November 1. CBC.
The Canadian Idol of opera
2The next generation of opera stars will be put to the test at the Canadian Opera Company’s annual Centre Stage Competition. Young talent from across the country perform in a live audition for a chance to win a spot in COC’s prestigious ensemble studio, while patrons can tour the Four Seasons Centre during a cocktail reception. All proceeds support up-and-coming opera performers. Wednesday, November 1. $100. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A very 2017 Arcade Fire concert
3To release their synthy new album, Everything Now, Arcade Fire dove into the zeitgeist, spreading fake news about themselves and selling branded fidget spinners. Their tour is just as strange: the group plays on a giant wrestling ring instead of a stage, thrashing guitars and whacking wine bottles (don’t worry, they’ll play picks from The Suburbs, too). Local indie pioneers Broken Social Scene are the openers. Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4. From $50. Air Canada Centre.
A mad film festival
4Police violence, rape culture, mental illness, racism—all the thorny topics that Hollywood blockbusters avoid get a full airing at Rendezvous With Madness, the longest-running film festival dedicated to mental health. This year’s highlights include the opening night gala, Mad to be Normal, about the controversial “acid Marxist” psychiatrist R.D. Laing; Dr. Feelgood, a documentary profile of a doctor who believed no one should ever suffer pain; and a talk with local author Keir-La Janisse, whose book The House of Psychotic Women explores women and madness in horror films. Friday, November 3 to Saturday, November 11. $12. Various venues.
A surprisingly civilized Viking exhibition
5You know them as plunderers, pillagers and guys who wore funny helmets. The Royal Ontario Museum’s new exhibition, Vikings, will reveal what they were really like. The show conjures the day-to-day lives of the Viking age through interactive experiences, like a shipbuilding game, and hundreds of artifacts from ancient Scandinavia, including swords, boats, runes and brooches. The picture that emerges is one not of a barbaric fraternity, but of a complex civilization of seafarers, traders, artisans and churchgoers—and, yes, people who occasionally wore funny helmets. Saturday, November 4 to April 2, 2018. $32. ROM.
A post-Halloween fright fest
6This year, Halloween lasts a little longer: Horror-Rama, Toronto’s all-horror convention, returns with two days of panels, signings and geek-chic exhibitors. This year’s guests include The Human Centipede’s Ashley C. Williams, Night of the Living Dead actor/co-writer John Russo; John Waters muse Mink Stole, The Road Warrior’s Vernon Wells; and the man who brought you Frankenhooker, Frank Henenlotter. Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5. $15–$30. 918 Bathurst St.
A thorny, horny romance
7When Martin, a prominent architect, suffers a mid-life crisis, he doesn’t buy a sports car or take up with a younger woman. Instead, he falls head over hooves for a goat. Needless to say, his wife and adult son are less than understanding about his sudden erotic attraction to a barnyard animal. The late Edward Albee won a Tony in 2002 for The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, a provocative tale about taboos, intolerance and the mysteries of love. Soulpepper head honcho Albert Schultz stars in his theatre’s button-pushing, much-anticipated revival. Wednesday, November 1 to Saturday, November 18. From $35. Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
An outrageous store opening
8Canadian outerwear company Moose Knuckles opens its opulent Yorkdale flagship this week with an over-the-top weekend of hijinks. The first 200 visitors on Saturday receive a free toque, and all guests can pick up tickets for a raffle with hilarious prizes like $100 in Canadian Tire money, an antique taxidermy beaver named Justin Beaver, a dozen weed cookies and two tickets to see Jay-Z. Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5. Free. Moose Knuckles.
Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s triumphant album release
9The umpteen members of Toronto’s Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk band are perhaps the only people who hit the stage in 2017 with sousaphones, accordions and other instruments that look like they’ve leapt off the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. At this show, they’ll blast through If I Had the Strength, their joyous new album about peace, home and partying. Saturday, November 4. $28.25–$56.50. Danforth Music Hall.
A Yorkville-wide art fest
10More than 50 works of art by 28 OCAD students and graduates will be on display at the Yorkville Village Arts Festival this week. The four-day festival includes a VR display, a live-painting session featuring Indigenous artist Chief Lady Bird, and a panel with the fest’s artists. Friday, November 3 to Wednesday, November 8. Free. 87 Avenue Rd.