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Six things to do in Toronto on the weekend of March 28–30

The One of a Kind Show returns this weekened. (Image: Courtesy of the One of a Kind Show)

The One of a Kind Show returns this weekened. (Image: Courtesy of the One of a Kind Show)

In this edition of The Weekender, a festival of beer, a new Leslieville market and four more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

SHOPPING

One of a Kind Show
For spring 2014, this semi-annual craft show boasts 450 amazing sellers peddling a variety of unique products, including beachy accessories and cute cottage decorations. See our top-ten picks here. Until Mar. 30. Tickets $12. Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., oneofakindshow.com

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The Informer

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of March 14–16

The St. Patrick's Day parade is back. (Image: Michael Shehan Obeysekera)

The St. Patrick’s Day parade is back. (Image: Michael Shehan Obeysekera)

In this edition of The Weekender, a festive parade, March break at the AGO and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

LITERATURE

Pages Festival and Conference
During the festival component of the weekend (Thursday to Saturday), Canadian authors will work with digital artists, as well as dancers, actors and musicians to put on performances. The conference (Friday) features panel discussions on the impact of technology on the publishing industry. Mar. 13–Mar. 16. Tickets from $15. Various venues, pagesfestival.com

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The Informer

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of February 21—23

Yorkville will host an ice-carving competition this weekend. (Image: Florin Chelaru)

Yorkville will host an ice-carving competition this weekend. (Image: Florin Chelaru)

In this edition of The Weekender, tropical ice sculptures, an industrial bazaar and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

BEER

Winter Beer Fest
Drown February blues in copious amounts of craft beer at this Danforth bar’s annual festival, featuring breweries like Junction Craft, Granite Brewery, Flying Monkeys and West Avenue Cider. There will also be snacks from The Blade and Butcher, and tunes from local bands like The Condor Boys. Feb. 21—Feb. 22. Entrance is free, tasting tickets are $1 each. The Only Cafe, 972 Danforth Ave., theonlycafe.com

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The Informer

Politics

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The definitive guide to the supporters and opponents of a Toronto casino

The definitive guide to the supporters and opponents of a Toronto casinoAfter more than a year of debate, Toronto’s still-hypothetical casino will soon face a crucial test. A long-awaited city staff report is in (though, unusually, it’s missing a firm yay-or-nay recommendation), and council could vote as early as next month to either kill the idea forever or invite bids from casino developers. For influential Torontonians hoping to sway the decision, now’s the last chance to come out for or against a downtown gambling den—which explains why so many have spoken up in recent days. Below, a guide to how the pro-casino and anti-casino teams stack up.

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The Informer

Politics

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High Rollers: we break down five different billion-dollar plans for a casino in downtown Toronto

City councillors could vote on whether to allow a downtown casino as soon as next month, and they, along with the rest of Toronto, remain bitterly divided over whether it would be a money-generating pleasure palace or a traffic-generating crime magnet. In the midst of the ongoing debate, high-profile companies like MGM and Wynn have released flashy plans in hopes that big ideas and pretty renderings will help sway the naysayers. Below, we break down each company’s promises, from free CNE passes to Celine Dion concerts.

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of February 22 to 24

The show floor at The Artist Project (Image: Courtesy The Artist Project)

In this edition of The Weekender: a legendary South African musical group, a double bill from hot young playwright Hannah Moscovitch and three more things to do in Toronto.

ART
The Artist Project

Over 250 painters, sculptors, photographers and multimedia artists are participating in this year’s edition of the annual juried art fair, which begins tonight with an opening night party. In addition to plenty of opportunites to score contemporary works from emerging artists, there are also talks on topics like art as an investment and docent-led tours of the show floor. $15–25. February 21–24. Better Living Centre, Exhibition Place, 195 Princes’ Blvd., theartistprojecttoronto.com

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The Informer

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The Weekender: Crystal Castles, The War of the Worlds and six other events on our to-do list

Cirque Éloize brings iD to the Sony Centre this weekend (Image: Patrick Lazic)

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.

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TIFF Talk

TIFF Parties TIFF Talk

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The TIFF opening party will be downtown for the first time since 2001

(Image: End User)

First there was the surprise announcement that the action-thriller Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, would open TIFF this year (some had been gunning for Midnight’s Children to have that honour). And now TIFF organizers have revealed that the celeb-heavy bash following the screening will be in the restaurants and outdoor spaces at Maple Leaf Square, rather than at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex at Exhibition Place, where it has been held since 2001. The downtown location will undoubtedly make it easier for many of the 3,000 guests (including Gordon-Levitt and Willis) to get to the party, but we can’t help but giggle at the thought of be-gowned stars hanging out at Real Sports Bar and Grill. (Also, what if it rains?) [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Politics

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We rate some of Adam Vaughan’s best zingers, in honour of his profile in the Toronto Star

(Image: BriYYZ)

Toronto newspapers can’t help but quote councillor Adam Vaughan with startling regularity, and a Toronto Star article last weekend looked at why. The (somewhat obvious) answer? He’s a bon mot machine, with a sharp wit and a sharper tongue. This takes work: Vaughan, a former CityTV reporter, reads books of famous quotes and sometimes works on a one-liner all day before saying it aloud to reporters. Naturally, they take the bait, resulting in plenty of media attention for the would-be 2014 mayoral candidate. (Though we’re sure the fact that Vaughan frequently targets the eminently newsworthy Rob Ford doesn’t hurt, either.) Given the extent to which Vaughan prides himself on his wit, we decided to rate some of his most memorable quips.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Sail-in Cinema, Planet IndigenUS and six other events on our to-do list

(Image: Toronto Port Authority)

1. CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION
The Ex kicks off Friday without long-time partner Ontario Place (it was shuttered back in February), but with the slew of attractions at this year’s CNE, you might not even notice its absence. Thrill seekers can check out the new Midway coaster Nitro, as well as Sky Ride, a new permanent elevated ride through the fair grounds reminiscent of the Ex’s classic Alpine Way. There’s also a dog show, a pizza making workshop, daily “Mardi Gras” parades and plenty of performances (Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys fame will serenade crowds Sunday evening). Of course, there will also be the usual assortment of food both delicious and disgusting (think: deep-fried bacon–covered hot dogs). Aug. 17 to Sept. 3. $16. Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., theex.com.

2. SAIL-IN CINEMA (FREE!)
Catch an appropriately aquatic-themed flick at Sugar Beach this weekend (The Poseidon Adventure will show on Thursday, Creature from the Black Lagoon on Friday, Hook on Saturday). A double-sided screen will be posted on a barge in the harbor, meaning you can watch from either land or sea. While we’re sure the view from the beach will be just fine, the main draw here is the in-boat movie experience. So those sad souls without their own vessel should start calling in favours about now. Aug. 16 to 18. Admission is free, but land viewers must reserve a ticket online in advance. Sugar Beach, 25 Dockside Drive, sailincinema.com.

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The Informer

Politics

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Toronto is the “biggest opportunity in the world right now” for casino companies

(Image: Ian McKellar)

The Toronto Star recently took a close look at the competition for the GTA casino, squeezing details out of insiders at MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and some of the other mega-companies hoping to secure the contract. And the competition is fierce—one source called a development gambling’s “biggest opportunity in the world right now,” while another, working for one of the big players, estimates his client will have shelled out $2 million by the end of the bidding process (apparently, lobbyists, polls and focus groups are expensive). Interestingly, MGM has reportedly suggested it would help pay for a long-overdue rebuild of Ontario Place if given the go-ahead to build a casino across the bridge at Exhibition Place, and Caesars has expressed interest in a similar plan. Still, before the cash-strapped province can avail itself of that cash, it has to convince Toronto city council of a couple of things:  a) that a casino in the city is a good idea; and b) that it should go on the waterfront. And lately, the province has seemed less willing to insist upon either of those points. Read the entire story [Toronto Star] »

The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for July 23 to 29

The Culinary Adventure Company leads a walking tour of Gerrard Street on Thursday (Image: Ian Muttoo)

Monday, July 23

  • Cooking for Cooks: Jamie Kennedy pays tribute to those who do service, with a three-course dinner for industry folk (although non-industry types can come too). Gilead Cafe, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680Find out more »
  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Tonight, the top 5 contenders for Toronto’s hottest chef each prepare complimentary canapés. Taste, vote, and at the end the winner will be announced. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »
  • Evil Twin/Bellwoods Brewery Collaboration: The new Ossington craft brewery is collaborating with Brooklyn’s Evil Twin with food by Daniel Burns. Bellwoods Brewery, 124 Ossington Ave. Find out more »

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The Informer

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The Weekender: Indy Toronto, Summerlicious and five other items on our to-do list

1. AZIZ ANSARI
Funny dude Aziz Ansari, who’s probably best known for roles in Funny People and I Love You, Man, plus his turn as Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation, started his career in standup. Despite a jam-packed sched with minimal heckling, Ansari still gets in a little stand-up when he can—hence his Buried Alive tour, which lands in T.O. this weekend. July 6. $41–$49. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.

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The Informer

Features

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Q&A: Paul Godfrey, chair of the OLG, is on a mission to bring a Las Vegas–style casino to Toronto


Paul Godfrey

(Image: Mark Peckmezian)

You were a popular politician, brought the Blue Jays to town, resuscitated the National Post and cleaned up the OLG. Does the uproar over your latest crusade—bringing a casino to town—jeopardize your legacy?
Anyone familiar with my background knows I’d never do anything to injure Toronto’s image. This won’t be a few slot machines in a broken-down barn; it’ll be a world-class entertainment centre and a tourist magnet.

What will it look like?
I’m picturing something like the Venetian or the MGM Grand in Vegas—a ground-floor casino with a glamorous hotel and unbelievable shopping. I could also see a permanent Cirque du Soleil show.

Why do we need a casino?
If we don’t build one, our tourists will go to Boston, Cleveland and Baltimore, which are all building world-class casinos.

You live near the Bridle Path. Would you want a casino in your neighbourhood?
I make no apologies for having a very nice house. I grew up in poverty and earned my way. But there’s nowhere to put a casino on the Bridle Path.

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The Informer

Politics

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A lot of casino questions (and few answers) at Rob Ford’s executive meeting

(Image: Phil Marion from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

MGM and Caesars Entertainment may already be scoping out Toronto as a potential site for a massive resort casino (and have some, er, very nice brochures to help make their case), but yesterday’s executive committee meeting at city council suggests there won’t be any concrete decisions for a while. After listening to deputations from recovering gambling addicts, big-time investors, the Canadian Gaming Association and more, the committee voted to have city staff study the idea and city manager Joe Pennachetti report back in October. That comprehensive report should examine whether or not to have a referendum on the question, the possible effects on job and crime rates, the economic costs and benefits to the city, and—everyone’s favourite topic of speculation—where to put the thing if Toronto agrees to it.

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