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The Weekender: Just For Laughs 42, Gallery Hop and six other events on our to-do list

The mighty Fanfare Ciocărlia appears on Friday as part of the Small World Music Festival (Image: Arne Reinhardt)

1. JUST FOR LAUGHS 42
Because one week just wasn’t long enough, Just for Laughs spreads this year’s staggering 42 acts across eight days. In addition to the usual comics (like Patton Oswalt and current reigning comedy god Louis CK), there are also several unfunny yet still worthy performers (like David Suzuki, and Elizabeth May interviewed by Raine Maida). And the whole “interactive” thing isn’t just lip service: the venue allocations and even the number of shows are all determined by pass holders showing interest in each act via the festival’s iPhone app. Passes are divided into four- and eight-show bundles. September 21–28. $99–$149 for different pass packages. Various venues, 1-855-867-4242, jfl42.com

2. GALLERY HOP (FREE!)
A more sophisticated take on a bar crawl (no booze, more culture), Gallery Hop 2012 Toronto provides tours through 42 Toronto art galleries. No ROM or AGO collections here—instead,  artists and art lovers can chat and mingle in smaller venues and at scheduled talks staggered throughout the day. There are eight different areas, so hitting them all might require the creative use of a Metropass, a bike or a professional getaway driver (some trail mix couldn’t hurt either). One of the featured exhibitions: Christian Marclay’s absolute must-see The Clock at the Power Plant. September 22. Various galleries and venues, 416-368-8854 x101, galleryhop2012.canadianart.ca

3. CANADA’S WALK OF FAME FEST
Let’s face it—even the most self-consciously cool Canadian gets a little thrill when a compatriot makes it big on the world stage. This year’s festival, the third annual celebration of homegrown talent, will feature four days of 100 per cent Canadian music performances at various downtown locations. Headliners include Sarah McLachlan and K’naan, Randy Bachman, Jann Arden and Johnny Reid, the Scottish-Canadian country star, and there are plenty of smaller acts around town as well. We also suggest a stroll down King Street West to check out the stars displayed on the sidewalk. September 20–23. Free–$173. Various venues, 416-367-9255, canadaswalkoffame.com

 

4. SMALL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
International rhythms and beats will be vibrating throughout downtown Toronto this weekend as the Small World Music Centre (set to move to Artscape Youngplace in fall 2013) kicks off the Small World Music Festival. Headliners include the feisty 12-piece Romanian band Fanfare Ciocărlia (supported by Toronto’s raucous Lemon Bucket Orkestra) and Ukrainian cimbalom phenom Yura Rafaliuk. There’s even a daylong fest-within-a-fest in Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday. September 20–30. Free–$40. Various venues, 416-536-5439, smallworldmusic.com

 

 

5. DUNDAS WEST SIDEWALK SALE (FREE!)
Over the past few years, Dundas West has been remaking itself as a hipster enclave to rival Queen Street to the south. The new retailers, cafés and restaurants (along with many of the older ones) between Lansdowne and Shaw will be celebrating on the streets in what’s probably going to be our last weekend of summer-ish weather. Participating stores include The Arrow Café, Dalston Grey, Lula Lounge, Magwood, Monkey’s Paw, OMG Baked Goodness and Woodlawn. September 22. Dundas St. W., between Lansdowne Ave. and Shaw St., wp.dundaswestbia.ca

6. K.D. LANG
We’ve all had a moment when a k.d. lang song came on and it was game over for anyone within earshot (it helps if that song is “Constant Craving”). Instead of a mega-concert, lang has booked three nights at the Phoenix this weekend, and tickets are scarce. It’ll be worth it. September 21–23. $70.50. Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne St., 1-855-867-4242, ticketmaster.ca

7. FRESH FEST AT ONTARIO FOOD TERMINAL
Most of the food you buy at restaurants or non-chain grocery stores filters its way through the Ontario Food Terminal at one point or another—and this weekend,  the terminal is opening its doors to the public for the first time. Enjoy a salad buffet, drinks, corn on the cob and more as you sample, learn and stroll through the enormous warehouse that feeds this city. The OFT is pairing up with FoodShare, a non-profit that ensures about 141,000 Toronto schoolchildren enjoy healthy meals and snacks every day. September 22. $10. Ontario Food Terminal, 165 The Queensway, 416-259-4303, fresh-fest.ca

 

 

8. WORD ON THE STREET (FREE!)
Every year, the city’s most avid writers and readers descend on Queen’s Park Circle to geek out en masse. This Sunday’s fest has readings, discussions and workshops for the budding storyteller, as well as various other adult and children’s programs (of particular note: there’s an Alligator Pie party). And yes, there’s also the Exhibitor Marketplace, otherwise known as Canada’s biggest outdoor bookstore. September 23. Queen’s Park Circle, 416-504-7241, thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/toronto