1. DRAKE SPRING MARKET (FREE!)
By some miracle, this Saturday’s forecast promises a one-day respite from the non-stop April showers we’ve been seeing. Which means we won’t need to don our winter jacket at The Drake’s spring market this weekend. The one-day-only market, right at the corner of Queen and Beaconsfield, offers up jewellery, cards and artwork by local artisans, as well as amazing discounts on The Drake General Store’s cute and quirky merchandise. April 30. Queen St. W. and Beaconsfield Ave., 416-531-5042, thedrakehotel.ca/market.
2. BABAR, THE LITTLE ELEPHANT
The 2010-11 season of Mooredale Concerts’ kid-friendly Music and Truffles concert series comes to an end with this weekend’s show, a retelling of Jean de Brunoff’s classic children’s storybook. Pianist Andrew Ragnell multitasks on stage, telling the story through a selection of music by Francis Poulenc and real-time illustrations of the iconic characters, especially the green suit–sporting elephant king, Babar. April 30. $12. Walter Hall, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto, 80 Queen’s Park Cres., 416-587-9411, mooredaleconcerts.com
3. POSTCARDS FROM A HUNGRY CITY
The Daily Bread Food Bank’s annual fundraising gala is both a guaranteed good time (a cocktail reception, a gourmet dinner and silent and live auctions) and a guaranteed way to do good; funds go to the organization’s Community Action Fund, which allocates money to 170 agencies, including the Yonge Street Mission and Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. Hosted by CBC’s Mary Ito, and with a keynote speech by Matt Galloway. Reservations required. April 29. $250. Arcadian Court, 401 Bay St., 8th floor, 416-203-0050 ext. 225, dailybread.ca/gala-tickets.
4. ALTERNATIVE ARTS AND FASHION WEEK
Edgy, inventive and avant-garde, Alternative Arts and Fashion Week is about cutting-edge clothes and, increasingly, cutting-edge art. Each day’s schedule is a carefully planned, multidisciplinary lineup that includes film, music, performance art, installations and oh, yeah—a runway show or two. April 26 to 29. Day pass $30, Week pass, $70. 99 Sudbury St., alternativefashionweek.com.
5. HOT DOCS
This is the event non-fiction junkies have been waiting for all year. We’re dying to catch When the Drum Is Beating, a documentary about Haiti’s Orchestre Septentrional, the controversial Draquila—Italy Trembles, political comedian Sabina Guzzanti’s satirical exposé of the reconstruction of l’Aquila after the devastating earthquake in 2009, and Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, which is just what it sounds like—a biopic about Kevin Clash, the longtime puppeteer behind our fave muppet. April 28 to May 8. $14, 10-film pass $98. Various locations, 416-637-5150, hotdocs.ca.
6. FESTIVAL OF CHEFS
The Cheese Boutique’s Festival of Chefs can only be described as the ultimate wine and cheese party, and this Sunday’s kick-off at Buca with chef Rob Gentile is no exception. Gentile will create dishes using ingredients from the Boutique, and a sommelier will pair wine to complement each dish—expect rustic Italian with a gourmet feel, infused with some extra cheesy goodness. We’re salivating just thinking about it—plus, all the festival’s proceeds go towards Famous People Players. May 1. $5 minimum donation. Buca, 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600, cheeseboutique.com/festival_chefs_2011
7. SCOTIABANK CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
The photos at this year’s month-long Contact photography fest are themed around people’s relationships with their environment. We’re looking forward to Isabel M. Martinez’ The Weekend (she plays with perception by joining two different photos in one image), Lluis Barba’s thoroughly modern revisions of museum masterpieces and Debra Friedman’s portraits of Toronto’s immigrant communities. May 1 to 31. Various locations, 416-539-9595, scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
8. THE ROYAL WEDDING BREAKFAST
We admit we’ll probably be lugging ourselves out of bed while it’s still dark out to watch the spectacle of Will and Kate’s wedding, but considering we’re of less than noble parentage ourselves, we’ll be joining the crowds at the Queen and Beaver at 5:45 a.m. for a traditional English breakfast. Aside from eggs, there are sweets on offer—crumpets, fruit scones, and strawberries and cream—that will definitely perk us up if the caffeine can’t. April 29. $6-$16. Queen and Beaver Public House, 35 Elm St., 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca
(Images: Saint Hollywood, FAT; Kate and Will, americanistadechiapas; Rob Gentile, Renée Suen)