1. TASTE OF THE DANFORTH (FREE!)
This huge neighbourhood fest is a Toronto tradition, and with good reason. It has all the necessary components for a successful summertime weekend: lots of food, live performances, family-friendly activities and even a little shopping. Getting there early won’t mean missing crowds (there are always crowds), but at least you’ll be at the front of the souvlaki line. August 10 to 12. Admission is free. Danforth Ave. between Broadview and Jones, tasteofthedanforth.com.
2. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON LIVE SPECTACULAR
Based on the very popular 2010 kiddie flick, this live show has whole-family appeal. Hiccup, the chief’s son and a less-than-stellar example of Viking-dom, is more into inventing than pillaging. Astrid, one of his schoolmates, is much better-suited to the warrior life. And Toothless? He’s Hiccup’s best friend… and an ultra-rare dragon. Considering the Vikings and dragons have been at war for years, this is a problem. In addition to the snappy dialogue and feel-good ending fans loved from the original, the stage show aims to shock and awe with “real” dragons, 20-foot-tall beasties who spout fire and soar above the audience. To August 12. $42–$155. Air Canada Centre, 50 Bay St., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.
3. SUNDAY LOBSTER FARE
Sure, this nostalgic prix fixe dinner is in the middle of the city, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel authentically East Coast. The menu includes a one-pound lobster, grilled corn, potatoes, coleslaw, biscuits and shortcake for dessert. You even get a bottle of Keith’s! The view might be more cityscape than Atlantic Ocean, but trust us: that doesn’t take away from the experience at all. August 12. $32. The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042 ext. 1, thedrakehotel.ca.
We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but summer is winding down. We can’t tell by the weather (thank you, global warming?), but we know it’s true because it’s time for SummerWorks. Although this annual event is predominantly a theatre festival—including upwards of 30 plays—it also includes workshops, off-site performances, art installations and concerts. This weekend, catch The God that Comes, a “cabaret rock ‘n’ roll” hybrid starring local rocker Hawskley Workman, performance art from Nina Arsenault and When It Rains, an “existential graphic novel” from Halifax’s acclaimed 2b Theatre Company. To August 19. $15. Various locations, 1-888-222-6608, summerworks.ca.
5. THE SECOND CITY’S FALL 2012 MAINSTAGE REVUE
Schedule a laugh-filled evening with The Second City’s new show, We’ve Totally (Probably) Got This! Comedy fans can get an early look at the legendary troupe’s newest collections of sketches, songs, and improvisation, which officially opens August 28. Previews on stage now. $24–$29. The Second City, 51 Mercer St., 416-343-0011 , secondcity.com.
6. TORONTO BLUE JAYS VS. NEW YORK YANKEES
An open dome (fingers crossed!) cold beer, good-natured heckling and over-priced chicken fingers make up the formula for a great way to spend a summer evening. Catch the hometown boys facing off against the Yankees Friday, Saturday and Sunday. August 10–12. $12–$210.
7. WILD BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL
Strawberries seem to get all the glory when it comes to summer berries, but blueberries have a lot going for them. Just ask the good people at Evergreen Brick Works, who have been hosting this blueberry-focused fest for three years now. The festival celebrates this humble, spherical berry with tastings, music, activities and—most importantly—a pie bake-off with taste tests. August 11. Admission is free. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave., ebw.evergreen.ca.
8. ALL CAPS! ISLAND FESTIVAL
Part indie concert and art exhibit, part camp-out (camping passes still available via the event’s IndieGoGo page), the weekend includes performances by Choir! Choir! Choir!, Esther Grey, Lioness and OG Melody, plus swimming, bonfires, food and “island fun”—which, with any luck, means marshmallow roasting. August 11 and 12. $17. Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto Island, wavelengthtoronto.com.