July 7, 2008

Jazzing Up the Summer With Music

By Maria Ceraulo

TORONTO -- The popular Beaches International Jazz festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and event promoters expect the biggest turnout ever as more than 700 artists are expected to perform at three venues.

The festival kicks off July 18-20 in Woodbine Park. The park entrance is located at Northern Dancer Boulevard and Lakeshore Boulevard East.

Nearly 1 million visitors are expected at Streetfest, the festival's main event, July 24-26, as a stretch of Queen Street East is closed to traffic to showcase street performances by more than 50 bands. Featured sounds include big band, swing, Afro-Cuban, soul and R & B.

Closing performances are July 26-27 in Kew Gardens in Toronto's Beach community.

Admission is free to all events. Limited capacity viewing areas will be set up for wheelchair users at Woodbine Park and Kew Gardens; other visitors may bring lawn chairs or a beach blanket.

For more information, visit www.beachesjazz.com.


'Rock You' moves

The rock opera "We Will Rock You," based on the music of Queen, opens at the Panasonic Theatre on July 16, after 61 weeks at the Cannon Theatre. To celebrate, the original Canadian stars are returning in this new engagement, scheduled through Aug. 31. Tickets are $25 to $85. For information: (416) 872-1212, www.mirvish.com.


Outdoor art

The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE), now in its 47th year, is touted by organizers as the largest outdoor art exhibition in Canada with about 500 artists presenting their juried works. For the more than 100,000 visitors annually, it's a chance to view the skill of established and emerging artists, as well as talented students. Last year, the TOAE distributed more than $30,000 in cash awards and prizes to artists.

The exhibition takes place Friday through next Sunday in Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto. Admission is free. It opens at 10 a.m. daily and closes at 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. next Sunday. For more information: (416) 408-2754, www.torontooutdoorart.org.


In the Garden

Back by popular demand is a summer of free classical music and dance in the Toronto Music Garden, located at 475 Queen Quay West (on the water's edge side) between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue.

"The Summer Music in the Garden" series has performances at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 14. Performances include "Down by the Sally Gardens: Songs of Summer, Nature, Love and Loss," next Sunday and the Windermere String Quartet, July 17.

For information: (416) 973-4000, www.harbourfrontcentre.com.


'Horrors' package

Watch everyone's favorite blood craving plant come to life in the "Little Shop of Horrors," opening Thursday through Sept. 14 at Stage West, the Mississauga complex of an all-suites hotel, theater, restaurant and indoor waterslide and pool.

Stage West is offering a mini-vacation package called "We'll Watch the Kids, You Watch The Show." Starting at $249, it includes one-night suite accommodation; two adult dinner and theater tickets; free Kids Club babysitting for two children, ages 4 to 12, for four hours; two kids menu dinners; and a buffet breakfast for four. Other packages start at $99.

Visit www.stagewestonline.com or call (905) 238-0159 (hotel) or (905) 238-0042 (box office).

Originally published by SPECIAL TO THE NEWS.

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