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It’s Friday and that means Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore shares his top picks for your arts and entertainment Canada 150 Long weekend ahead


What a week it’s been, but The Toronto Jazz Festival must come to a close on Sunday. A new home in Yorkville, a bonanza of free concerts, sun, rain… you name it! It definitely was an experiment in a year of transition for the Jazz fest and it will be interesting to see what 2018 will look like. With 3 days left to go, here are my top picks!

The Jazz FM91 Youth Big Band on the Cumberland Stage – A free show Friday at 12noon

Heather Bambrick with The Russ Little Quartet featuring Amanda Martinez (Friday) & Micah Barnes (Saturday) at the Home Smith Bar within the Old Mill Inn – 7:30pm

Carol Welsman at The Jazz Bistro – Friday at 7 & 10pm.

Dave Restivo Quintet at Heliconian Hall – A free show Friday at 7pm

Larnell Lewis Band & Bokanté featuring Michael League and members of Snarky Puppy at The Concert Hall – Friday at 8pm.

The Shuffle Demons at the Cumberland Street Stage – A free show Saturday at 8:30pm

Roberto Occhipinti New Quintet featuring Manuel Valera at The Cumberland Street Stage – A free show Sunday at 5:30pm

Michael Occhipinti Quartet featuring Pilar at Heliconian Hall – A free show Sunday at 7pm

Bria Skonberg at the Cumberland Street Stage – The recent Juno Award winner plays a free show Sunday at 8:30pm

4 By Monk By 4 with Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green and Gerald Clayton at The Concert Hall – Sunday at 8pm

And a reminder that Aretha Franklin, who was scheduled to perform at Koerner Hall on Saturday has rescheduled to next year. for info.


Saturday night on the CBC, it’s the first ever Air Farce summer special! The troupe usually reserves this kind of thing for New Years Eve, but with Canada 150 happening, the sketchers have pulled out all the stops.

Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, Jessica Holmes, Craig Lauzon, Darryl Hinds, Emma Hunter and new cast member Chris Wilson round out the players. Emma Hunter is the lead anchor on The Beaverton, and a cast member on Mr. D, I asked her about the experience with the farce during a recent interview.

There will be celebrity guests and lots of laughs. AIR FARCE CANADA 150 premieres Saturday night, Canada Day at 8 pm on CBC.


Speaking of Canada 150, there’s lots happening right here on Jazz FM91, Saturday beginning at 8am, Brad Barker and Dani Elwell team up with Jazz FM President and CEO Ross Porter to play the top 25 most significant Canadian jazz artists of all time. You may have heard artists from the list during Good Morning Toronto and the Afternoon Drive this last month. Following that, a rebroadcast of Jazz Lives In Canada, our annual concert at Koerner Hall where this year a group of incredible musicians paid tribute to the songwriters of Canada. That will start around 10:30am Saturday, Canada Day, right here on Jazz FM91!


It’s Canada’s 150th birthday and you can celebrate at our major museums Saturday. It will be free admission at The ROM, which has a selection of Canada 150 exhibits. The Gardiner and the Bata Show Museum are offering free programming Saturday as well. Happy Canada Day.

And Shakespeare in High Park enters its 35th year with a twist; a gender twist. King Lear becomes Queen Lear in 2017 thanks to the team at Canadian Stage. The talented Stratford mainstay Diane D’Aquila is in the lead role. King Lear-gone-Queen Lear is in previews now, same with Twelfth Night. for info. The stage events open officially on July 13th and 14th.

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