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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of July 11–13

Canadian Stage's Titus Andronicus. (Image: David Hou)

Canadian Stage’s Titus Andronicus. (Image: David Hou)

In this edition of The Weekender, a night market, outdoor theatre and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend.

FOOD

Night it Up (FREE!)
Going north of Steeles isn’t always easy (if you don’t live there, that is), but fans of Asian street food may want to make the effort this weekend when Night it Up returns to the Markham Civic Centre. As live musical performances happen in the background, vendors will be serving up treats in a traditional Hong Kong–style night-market setting. Newbies can sample relatively tame snacks like fried quail eggs, but fearless eaters may want to take the rare opportunity to try some stinky tofu—which, if possible, is even more foul-smelling than it sounds. The event’s proceeds will benefit Unity Charity. July 11–13. Admission FREE. Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Blvd., nightitup.com

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of April 4–6

(Image: Alex Indigo)

Newmindspace’s annual pillow fight returns this weekend. (Image: Alex Indigo)

In this edition of The Weekender, a massive pillow fight, a festival of silent film and three more things to do in Toronto this weekend.

FIGHT

Pillow Fight Toronto 2014 (FREE!)
The annual Newmindspace pillow fight returns. Hundreds of participants will gather in Nathan Phillips Square to beat the stuffing out of one another with pillows from home, in celebration of International Pillow Fight Day. The theme of this year’s brawl is “superheroes versus villains,” and costumes are encouraged. But take note: feather pillows are banned (they make a mess). Apr. 5. Free. Nathan Phillips Square, facebook.com

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Reminder: it’s New Year’s Eve, and the TTC is free to ride

(Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidcjones/4222541142/">David Jones)

(Image: David Jones)

TTC fares may be going up tomorrow, but New Year’s partiers won’t need to worry about any of that tonight. That’s because the entire TTC system will be free to ride between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Also, most surface routes will have extended late-night hours, and subways will continue running until after 3 a.m. More details are in the TTC’s press release. The gratis transit service comes courtesy of Corby Spirit and Wine.

For those who don’t have any plans tonight (or those who couldn’t get a reservation at one of the New Year’s Eve restaurants we recommended two weeks ago) tonight’s outdoor celebration at Nathan Phillips Square is free to attend, but wear layers: Environment Canada expects the temperature to get down to -12.

The Informer

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of November 29-December 1

Weekender-Nov-29

In this edition of The Weekender, a Canadian horror film festival, Christmas-themed family events and three other things to do this weekend.

HOLIDAY FUN

Toronto Christmas Market (FREE!)
The annual European-themed fair celebrates everything to do with Christmas, from Polish folk dancing to German carolling to Santa Claus. Fairgoers can browse the wares of several vendors, including Parisian chocolates, Dutch trinkets and various yuletide ornaments. Nov. 29–Dec. 15. Admission is free. Distillery District, 55 Mill St., torontochristmasmarket.com

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Politics

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Could Toronto have free public Wi-Fi by the end of next year?

Future Wi-Fi hotspot? (Image: Derek van Vliet from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Something Milan and Taipei—and even Fredericton and Moose Jaw—have in common: free Internet hotspots in parks, squares and other public spaces. Now councillor Josh Matlow wants to add Toronto to the list and he’s pushing to launch a pilot Wi-Fi program in Nathan Phillips Square by the end of next year. Free Internet, he says, will boost tourism, bolster Toronto’s reputation and bring more tech businesses into the city (in addition to being a nice perk for residents). We’re hopeful that Matlow can make his proposal happen, but Toronto’s previous efforts to bring free Wi-Fi to the masses aren’t exactly inspiring: nearly a decade ago, an experiment with free Wi-Fi quickly morphed into a paid service , and more recent efforts to set up wireless networks in TTC stations have yet to materialize. In other words, we’ll believe it when we’re streaming episodes of House of Cards in front of city hall. [National Post]

The Informer

Politics

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Rob Ford Crack-o-Meter: eager, new hires and money laundering

Rob Ford has skated through some humiliating situations and emerged relatively unscathed. The crack-smoking scandal, though, has ratcheted the ridiculousity to new highs. Every day brings more bad news. So far, Ford has kept his cool (more or less), but we have to wonder if—or when—he’s going to crack. Here, our daily assessment of what’s going on with our infamous mayor.

 Ford’s rebuilding his team (Pressure: )
The mayor says he has hired four new people who are “pumped up” to start work, which should help make up for the six staffers he’s lost since the crack scandal began (the sixth left Friday—though Ford says he actually resigned a month ago). Ford also reportedly offered raises to his remaining aides.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Hero Burger is going to run the new snack bar at Nathan Phillips Square

After a surprisingly contentious three-hour debate, city council has decided to give Hero Certified Burgers the contract for the new snack bar space in the refurbished Nathan Phillips Square. Some councillors, including Paul Ainslie and Adam Vaughan, argued, reasonably enough, that the “gateway” to City Hall should have something more spectacular than a mere burger franchise, and pushed instead for a partnership with a culinary school. On the other side were mayor Rob Ford and his allies, who argued, also reasonably enough, that councillors shouldn’t meddle in a competitive bid process, which Hero had already won. City Hall has also awarded a contract to caterer Cashew and Clive to operate a concession stand during skating season, and will soon accept bids for a larger café space nearby, which is likely to set off another round of recriminations. After all, the city doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to picking food vendors. [Toronto Star]

The Goods

Street Style

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Street Style: 18 looks at the ice skaters at Nathan Phillips Square

Street Style: ice skaters at Nathan Phillips Square

For us, “ice skating outfit” conjures images of vintage muffs, skating dresses and Johnny Weir’s outrageous get-ups. Even though nobody in the swirl of circling ice skaters at Nathan Phillips Square was quite that fancy, we couldn’t help but admire the crowd anyway. There were cute and cozy accessories, many patriotic touches, bright colours, and, best of all, huge smiles. Sometimes looking great is about a discerning eye, unique garments and killer shoes—and sometimes it’s just about having fun. Even when you wipe out.

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Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 22 to 28

Cask Days takes place at the Evergreen Brick Works this weekend, complete with a Halloween costume judging contest (Image: Connie Tsang)

Monday October 22

  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. Find out more »
  • 86’D with Ivy Knight: This week, celebrate with the chefs from Soupstock, and enjoy a tasty night of pairing Acadian Sturgeon caviar with Stillwater vodka. 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 »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Veggin’ Comfortably Workshop: Marni Wasserman demonstrates how easy it can be to switch over to a more veg-friendly lifestyle. Menu includes butternut squash, lentil and coconut soup, arame soba noodle salad, marinated kaleslaw salad and black bean burgers. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Sustainable Living and Ethical Eating—Cooking With a Conscience: Learn simple tips for a greener, guilt-free kitchen. The menu includes leek and golden beet barley risotto with spicy kale chips and whole roasted organic chicken infused. Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more »
  • Luscious Greens and Grains: Chef and cookbook author Nettie Cronish prepares tasty and nutritious leafy green and grain dishes. Menu includes pot barley split pea soup with Shiitake mushrooms, spinach and dill and hot and sour buckwheat noodle salad. Kingsway LCBO, 2946 Bloor St. W., 416-239-3065. Find out more »

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Events

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The Weekender: Soupstock, Cat Power and six other events on our to-do list

The Normal Heart returns to Buddies in Bad Times this week (Image: John Karastamatis)

1. SOUPSTOCK
In the wake of last year’s wildly successful Foodstock, over 200 chefs from across Canada—among them, Susur Lee, Anthony Walsh, J.P. Challet and Jamie Kennedy, Aaron Joseph Bear Robe and just about every other famous Toronto chef you’ve ever heard of—are gathering, spoon held high, at Woodbine Park to protest the Melancthon Mega-Quarry. The event is BYOBAS (bring your own bowl and spoon) and will take place rain or shine, so come prepared—though a poncho might be a good idea anyway if you’re prone to spills. All funds go to the Canadian Chefs’ Congress and the David Suzuki Foundation. October 21. $10 for 3 servings. Woodbine Park, Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Coxwell Ave., soupstock.ca

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 8 to 14

Magnus Nilsson, whose Fäviken has been called “the most daring restaurant in the world,” is at the Cookbook Store on Thursday (Image: Bruno Cordioli)

Monday October 8

  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves up a $40 prix fixe menu of Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700.  Find out more »
  • Brewer’s Backyard—Torontoberfest: Brewer’s Backyard celebrates Oktoberfest for their final event of the year. Wvrst will be serving up their tasting sausages alongside beer from Beau’s. Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave. 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 »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »

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Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for October 1 to 7

Shuck U: Oyster 101 takes place at Hooked on Wednesday (Image: Gabriel Li)

Monday, October 1

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: This week, a “twisted foodie adventure” with Rodney Dangerfood, plus reinvention of the cosmo by GwaiLo cocktail queen Christina Kuypers. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Monday Night Dinners at Local Kitchen and Wine Bar: Every Monday night, Local Kitchen serves up a $40 prix fixe menu of their Italian fare with half-price wine bottles and no corkage fee. 1710 Queen St. W., 416-534-6700. 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 »
  • Burger Mondays: Enjoy $5 burgers and $5 pints on Mondays, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Gladstone Melody Bar. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., 416-531-4635. Find out more »
  • Grocery Innovations Canada 2012: Exhibitors and delegates from all over the country gather to discuss their plans for the coming year and the top trends that will hit aisles in 2013. October 1 and 2. Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W. Find out more »

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The Informer

Events

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Nuit Blanche 2012 guide: our top 20 picks for Toronto’s seventh annual all-night art crawl

Nuit Blanche Guide 2012
Nuit Blanche 2012: City Hall
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone A
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone B
Nuit Blanche 2012: Zone C
Nuit Blanche Guide 2012

This Saturday, September 29, hordes of art lovers, all-purpose revellers and the generally curious will take to downtown for the seventh iteration of Nuit Blanche. The fun kicks off just as the sun goes down (7:03 p.m. this year), and continues until the sun rises the next morning (and if past years are anything to go by, the crowds will stay strong into the wee, wee hours). Essential provisions for the night: warm clothing (or better, layers), a little sustenance (liquid or otherwise) and this guide of the top 20 things to see, in which we translate the oft-baffling art-speak used to describe the various projects into plain old English. This year, the fest is divided into four areas: City Hall, Zone A (downtown south and west), Zone B (central downtown) and Zone C (east of downtown).

See all our picks, starting with City Hall »

The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for September 17 to 23

Join Ben Heaton at the Canadian Beer News dinner at the Grove on Tuesday (Image: Renée Suen)

Monday, September 17

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: Eat, swap and buy preserved goods, and learn about home preserving from Sarah B. Hood, author of Sure We Can, who will be available to answer all your canning questions. 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 »
  • Preserving the Harvest: Chef Paula Bambrick focuses on different preserving methods, using mostly local ingredients to prepare sweet and savoury specialties like wild blueberry jam, cranberry-raspberry chutney, pickled wild mushrooms and rosemary dipping oil. Kingsway LCBO, 2946 Bloor St. W., 416-239-3065. Find out more »
  • Rock the Danforth—Pub Crawl: Part of the third annual Toronto Beer Week, Troy Burtch of Great Lakes Brewing Co., along with Sam Corbeil of Sawdust City Brewing and Cass Enright, founder of The Bar Towel and Brewers Backyard, will lead a pub crawl along the Danforth, stopping at five of the neighbourhood’s favourite spots. Starts at 417 Restaurant and Lounge, 417 Danforth Ave. Find out more »
  • Highland Park Whisky-Tasting Series: Join Highland Park ambassador Marc Laverdiere at The Caledonian for an exclusive whisky tasting. All proceeds go to support the Canadian National Trust for Scotland. The Caledonian, 856 College St., 416-547-9827. Find out more »

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Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for September 10 to 16

The chef from Copenhagen’s Kiin Kiin, the only Thai restaurant with a Michelin star, is coming to Yours Truly on Wednesday (Image: cyclonebill)

Monday September 10

  • 86’D With Ivy Knight: TIFF Overdrive edition. Join the crew from Fidel Gastro’s as they film an episode of Rebel Without a Kitchen. 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 »
  • Feast in the East: Chef Maggie Grant demystifies Asian home cooking with a variety of simple, healthy recipes in this hands-on workshop. Menu includes miso scallops with cilantro slaw, Malaysian noodle stir-fry, Panang curry with coconut rice and banana fritters with coconut-lime ice cream. Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more »

Tuesday September 11

  • Escape the City—Canoe and Beach Dining Adventure: Paddle to the island with the Culinary Adventure Company for a gourmet beach picnic. 416-565-1730. Find out more »
  • Food Fables from the Spice Routes: Join Smita and Sanjeev Chandra to explore how spices transformed the cuisines of the countries through which they were carried. Menu includes chicken satay skewers with peanut sambal dip (Thailand), cucumber salad (Indonesia), Malaysian chicken curry served with nasi goreng (Singapore) and stir-fried cabbage with curry leaves and coconut (India). Kingsway LCBO, 2946 Bloor St. W., 416-239-3065. Find out more »
  • Star-Struck Menu: In celebration of TIFF, chef Domenic Chiaromonte presents dishes honouring the favourite foods of celebrities. Menu includes Meryl Streep eggplant soufflé, Robert De Niro seared black cod with soba noodles, George Clooney chaya steak and Morgan Freeman key lime pie. LCBO Summerhill, 10 Scrivener Sq., 416-922-0403. Find out more »

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