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Five things to do in Toronto on the weekend of May 16–19

(Image: John Vetterli)

(Image: John Vetterli)

In this Victoria Day edition of The Weekender, a fireworks display, a chance to see some Japanese indie rockers and three other things to do in Toronto this weekend.

VICTORIA DAY

Fireworks at Ashbridges Bay (FREE!)
Show your undying loyalty to the queen (or just just hang out and watch some fireworks) at the city’s annual Victoria Day celebration at Ashbridges Bay. Don’t even attempt to drive: in decent weather, this rain-or-shine event draws a crowd of tens of thousands. May 19. FREE. Ashbridges Bay Park, toronto.ca

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Five things to do in Toronto on Family Day weekend

Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie reprise last year’s sold-out From the House of Mirth this weekend (Image: Bruce Zinger)

In this edition of The Weekender: Family Day fun at the Lightbox, an indie-rock music festival and three more things to do in Toronto.

MUSIC
Wavelength Music Festival—Thirteen
The venerable indie rock showcase that famously helped launch the careers of Broken Social Scene and Fucked Up celebrates its 13th anniversary with four shows and three in-store performances. The biggest names on the bill: Toronto post-rockers Do Make Say Think, Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon, Montreal’s glitchy techno-popper Doldrums and the reunion of Henri Fabergé and the Adorables. $10–$39. February 14–17. Various locations, wavelengthtoronto.com

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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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Party Pages: Members of the TSO play a private show at a Distillery District warehouse

On Tuesday night we popped into Airship 37’s Hangar Space in the Distillery District to take in an intimate and exclusive performance by four members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Hosted by chichi social club The Society and The People Wine’s, a New Zealand winery launching its products in Canada, plenty of Toronto creative types showed up in their urban-chic finery to hear TSO musicians Peter Seminovs (violin), Sergei Nikonov (violin), Eric Nowlin (viola) and Igor Gefter (cello). The quartet performed a pair of pieces, Mozart’s “Divertimento No. 1” and Tchaikovsky’s “String Quartet No. 1,” for a mostly rapt audience (though the majority sat spellbound, a few attendees had apparently showed up for the abundant vino, and had to be shushed, rather aggressively, on a number of occasions). Admittedly, a high-concept notion of pairing melodic notes with tasting notes fell a bit flat, as the People Wine’s Anna Hine’s mid-performance comparisons between the music and the drink felt awkward and contrived. Overall, however, the night was a success: the wine proved aromatic, the music transcendent and the TSO members charming—Nowlin, who served as the de facto emcee, worked the crowd with surprising aplomb.

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The Weekender: Itzhak Perlman, the Indie Wedding Show and six other items on our to-do list

The Weekender: FAT, Prisoner of Tehran and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

1. RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
L.A. rockers Anthony, Flea, Chad and Josh (who replaced original guitarist John Frusciante in 2009, when he amicably split with the guys in favour of a solo career) are in town supporting their latest album, 2011’s I’m With You. Many songs in their 30-year career have been hits, garnering six Grammy wins and 60 million albums sold—though “Under the Bridge” is probably one of the better ones. April 27 and 28. $55–$75. Air Canada Centre, 40 Bay St., 1-855-985-5000, ticketmaster.ca.

2. ARTS AND FASHION WEEK
Arts and Fashion Week, Toronto Fashion Week’s edgier, alternative cousin, is a four-day extravaganza of photography exhibits, live music, installations and many trips down the 100-foot runway. Now in its seventh year, events are boundary-pushing and plentiful—The Dressing Room Project features installations and video projections from 12 artists, and is always a hit among attendees. To April 28. Day pass $35, weekly pass $75. 213 Sterling Road, fashionarttoronto.ca.

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The Weekender: Jann Arden, Spirited Away and six other items on our to-do list

The Weekender: Jann Arden, Spirited Away and The Neverending Story

1. JANN ARDEN
Despite all our attempts to be cool, we have to admit the hilarious Jann Arden is one of our favourite Canadian singers. She even gently poked fun at Pam Anderson’s earnest anti-seal tirade at the 2006 Junos, so we’re kind of in love with her. That’s why we’ll be the ones belting out “Insensitive” during her two-night engagement at Massey Hall. March 9 and 10. $59–$99. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.

2. SPIRITED AWAY: THE FILMS OF STUDIO GHIBLI
Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation and film studio that produced beloved—and much-lauded—animated features like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, gets the Lightbox treatment with this kid-friendly retrospective. Ghibli garners lots of comparisons to Disney—and it’s certainly as influential as the U.S. kid-flick behemoth—but their elegant, fantasy-driven animation is fun for the grown-ups, too. March 10 to April 13. $12. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., tiff.net.

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