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The Informer

Events

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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of January 31–February 2

Young Ichimaru playing the samisen. (Image: Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)

A young Ichimaru playing the samisen. (Image: Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)

In this edition of The Weekender, a frigid bike ride, a kimono exhibit and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend. 

TEA

Toronto Tea Festival
Tea aficionados can sample unique flavours and learn from industry experts during this two-day festival. Over 37 exhibitors will be participating, including King’s Zen Tea, Rosedale Wellness Centre and Flowers to Fragrance. Feb. 1–2. Tickets $15, or $25 for a two-day pass. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., teafestivaltoronto.com 

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The Informer

Culture

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U.S. author Gary Shteyngart aggravates Canada’s literary insecurity

Gary Shteyngart. (Image: Gary Shteyngart/Facebook)

Gary Shteyngart. (Image: Gary Shteyngart/Facebook)

Can a country whose most celebrated living writer just won a Nobel Prize still be anxious about its literary chops? The answer, evidently, is yes. The proof is in Gary Shteyngart’s Twitter feed.

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The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Super Bowl XLVII Party, Tristan und Isolde and five other items on our to-do list

Ben Heppner as Tristan before a projection by Bill Viola in the COC’s production of Trisan und Isolde (Image: Michael Cooper)

1. KUUMBA (FREE!)
Harbourfront kicks off Black History Month with the 17th edition of its annual Kuumba festival (“kuumba” means “creativity” in Swahili). Highlights include a would-be 10th anniversary celebration for the recently departed Trane Studio, a performance by soul and spoken word artist Dwayne Morgan and The Story Of Lover’s Rock, a documentary about the titular British reggae genre. There’s also storytelling, dance workshops and drum circles where kids can learn about the history of various instruments. February 1–3. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Balzac’s Coffee almost set to open in the Toronto Reference Library

The head office at Balzac’s Coffee has confirmed with The Dish that its newest location (hot on the heels of the recent Ryerson shop) is set to open in the Bloor-Yonge area, in the Toronto Reference Library building. The store could open as early as next week, but they suspect it’s more likely to be welcoming its first coffee-loving guests closer to the end of the month. (As Post City explained, this expansion tear is fuelled by Dragons’ Den money.) Soon enough, the library’s many users will no longer need to walk the 50-odd metres to the always-packed Tim Hortons and Starbucks to the south.

The Informer

People

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Party Pages: The Trillium Awards, a rowdy affair for beflowered Ontario authors

The Trillium Awards, the annual ceremony for Ontario-based authors, took place, fittingly, at the Toronto Reference Library last week. The awards have honoured some of Canada’s most famous writers, like Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood, and this was an extra-special night in celebration of the event’s 25th year. Nominees wore pink flowers, while past winners wore white to differentiate themselves in the massive crowd of literati (we guess wearing trilliums would be a little premature for the pink-flowered crowd). As it has since 1994, the event also fêted French- speaking nominees, so hosts Heather Hiscox of CBC News and Karen Thorn-Stone, president of the Ontario Media Development Agency, jumped between French and English (it becomes a rather long night when you hear everything twice). Though Hiscox sounded fluent, Thorn-Stone’s delivery seemed a touch forced—she even quipped, after her first French foray received a round of applause, “Now you’re just making fun of me.”

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The Dish

Food Events

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for April 16 to 22


Monday, April 16

  • Jamie Kennedy’s Local Food Movement Dinner: Kennedy partners with 13th Street Winery for a four-course meal with wine pairings. Gilead Bistro, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680. Find out more »
  • Austria Uncorked: Taste vintages from 30 producers from the wine regions of Austria. Trump Hotel, 325 Bay St., 416-967-3348. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Starting this week, Piola offers aperitivo italiano on Monday evenings, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »
  • Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves Canadian Premiere: The filmmaker and environmental experts discuss the importance of protecting North American waterways and oyster culture. Rodney’s Oyster House, 469 King St. W., 416-363-8105. Find out more »
  • 86’D: Ivy Knight hosts the launch of Culinary Adventure Co.’s 2012 season. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Sorauren Farmers’ Market: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the field house at Sorauren Park. 50 Wabash Ave. Find out more »

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The Informer

Politics

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Quoted: Mike Del Grande on Playboy, public libraries and (imaginary) men in trench coats

When I think of libraries I think of wholesome….I don’t think of men in their trench coats in the library.

That’s silver-tongued budget chief Mike Del Grande on the Toronto Public Library’s Playboy magazines and books (and those nefarious men in trench coats who apparently read them). Aspiring Rob Ford spokesperson Toronto Sun muckraker Sue-Ann Levy did a bit of digging to uncover the sordid collection, which consists of microfilm at the Toronto Reference Library and a handful of books scattered throughout the system. “It certainly gives a whole new meaning to jacking up the literacy rate,” she writes in her column. To which we say, who ever talks about “jacking up” the literacy rate? Also, ew. [Toronto Sun]

The Informer

Events

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The Weekender: Jane’s Walk, Toronto Comic Arts Festival and six other can’t-miss events

CCTV, DJ Woody and Abel Boulineau

1. JANE’S WALK (FREE!)

Inspired by urban writer/activist Jane Jacobs, this festival of walking tours, led by Toronto-loving volunteers, is all about seeing the city with new eyes. With over 170 walks to choose from, we’ve narrowed our selection down to three: (Video) Eyes on the Street, U of T prof Andrew Clement’s exploration of the downtown core’s CCTV cameras; a gentrification-focused tour of Cherry Beach; and the cultural studies pick, A Hipster’s Guide to Ossington. May 7 and 8. Various locations, janeswalk.net.

2. KARDINAL OFFISHALL (FREE!)
Kardi’s made some headway south of the border, signing with Akon’s Konvict label and recording with chart toppers like Estelle and David Guetta, but he’s still a hometown boy. Proof? This free concert in Yonge-Dundas Square, part of Coke’s 125th anniversary celebrations. And last year’s “The Anthem” of course. May 7. Yonge-Dundas Square, icoke.ca.

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