1. ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR
Canada’s biggest horse and agriculture show celebrates 90 years of bringing the country to the city. The main draws are the show jumping competitions—the Hickstead FEI World Cup and Governor General’s Cup in particular—but there’s also the usual motley mix of animal and vegetable competitions, chef challenges with the likes of Padma Lakshmi and, yes, a butter sculpting competition. November 2 to 11. $18. Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., 416-263-3400, royalfair.org.
2. CRYSTAL CASTLES
Toronto synth-punk duo Alice Glass and Ethan Kath cap off a long spell on the road with a return to their hometown (before heading out to the U.K. in a few weeks). Expect plenty of onstage antics; a typical concert might include a brawl involving at least one member of the band, and there’s always copious stage diving. The performance was originally scheduled for Nov. 4, so any tickets purchased for that date will be honoured. Nov. 3. $41. Kool Haus, 132 Queens Quay E., 416-869-0045, crystalcastles.com.
3. FRAN LEBOWITZ
Renowned New York wit Fran Lebowitz will be bringing her acerbic observations about life to Massey Hall. Since her debut as a columnist for Interview magazine in the 1970s, Lebowitz has been the go-to for a little N.Y.C. straight talk, captured memorably in Martin Scorsese’s 2010 documentary Public Speaking. Jian Ghomeshi will be leading an open-ended conversation with the frank Fran on topics ranging from the lofty (the upcoming American election) to the petty (her attitude towards children). November 2. $37.50–$57.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.
4. THE EVERYTHING-TO-DO-WITH-SEX SHOW
While definitely not for the prudish, this show has more to it than the blush-inducing name. In addition to the full array of toys, dirty videos and magazines for sale, there are seminars and classes, a sexy fitness zone and, inevitably, a “Fifty Shades playroom.” It might be worthwhile to bring a cloth bag so you’re not advertising your purchases when you return home on the TTC (though it could make a good conversation starter). November 2 to 4. $25. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., 905-738-8884, toronto.everythingtodowithsex.com.
5. DAY OF THE DEAD (FREE!)
For the Halloween lovers who aren’t quite ready to switch into pre-Christmas mode (unlike malls across the country), this annual Mexican festival celebrates the dead and their lived lives. The family-friendly programming at Harbourfront will include musical performances, face painting, a Mexican market (selling sweet pan de muerto, or Day of the Dead bread, and Mexican chocolate drinks) and a show by local dance troupe the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company. November 3 to 4. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
6. THE WEEKND
While his aloof, sad-sack lothario act may be wearing a little thin, the Weeknd (a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye) will be letting Toronto see him in a still too-rare actual spotlight this weekend. Finally graduating from the free downloadable mix tape, his upcoming album, Trilogy, (to be released on November 13) will be in CD and legit download form, featuring reworked versions of the songs from House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence. Tesfaye is always keen on audience accompaniment, so you might want to brush up on the lyrics before you go (although do the whole audience a favour and quiet down when “Wicked Games” comes on). November 2 to 5. $46. Sound Academy, 11 Polson St., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.
7. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Hoping to repeat the success of last year’s sold-out performances, the Art of Time Ensemble returns to the Enwave Theatre with its faithful live recreation of Orson Welles’ notorious 1938 radio broadcast. Going beyond a mere reenactment, the show brings to life the radio studio where Welles, along with a few confederates, allegedly sent listeners scurrying for the hills. Sean Cullen, Nicholas Campbell and Marc Bendavid star alongside John Gzowski, who will be providing live Foley sound effects, and the Ensemble itself, which performs music by the film composer Bernard Herrmann. October 30 to November 4. $25–$59. Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
8. CIRQUE ÉLOIZE
This Montreal-based “nouveau cirque” group is made up of acrobats and performers of many nationalities representing a wide range of circus disciplines. Their current touring production, iD, mines the fertile intersections between breakdancing, comic books, science fiction and graffiti. Set in a futuristic city, the multimedia performance incorporates video projections and music, and blurs the lines between a dance performance and an acrobat show. November 1 to 3. $52–$89. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.