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Simcoe Day Toronto 2010

Well the second last long weekend of the summer is upon us, and I suggest you use it wisely. 'Cause pretty soon we'll be knee deep in snow and you'll be wishing you were dead. Given that Simcoe Day is a civic rather than provincial or federal holiday, a bunch of things that are usually closed on long weekends are open: select LCBO's and Beer Stores will be running on reduced hours, and the AGO (usually closed on Mondays) is staying open. Banks, government offices, libraries and post offices will be closed, and the TTC is running on its holiday schedule. Major attractions like the Toronto Zoo, the ROM and Canada's Wonderland are all open.

I would recommend you spend the day lazing in the park with some friends and a couple of tall boys, but if you're looking for some more structured/less alcoholic activities there are a few things on tap.

FESTIVAL | Island Soul Festival
If the big Caribana parade this weekend didn't satisfy your thirst for West Indian culture, don't worry; the Island Soul Festival still has one day to go. It'll be steelpan, steelpan, and more steelpan today as Afropan, Toronto's oldest steelpan group, takes to the stage at 3 pm, and throughout the day Pan in the Park will recreate Trinidad's famous pan yard jams. Sample Chef Washington's famous oxtail dumplings, or take a look at the region through the cinematic lens at the CaribbeanTales Film Festival.
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queen's Quay West, Free,12 pm - 6:30 pm

FESTIVAL | Irie Music Festival
Another satellite festival of Caribana, the Irie Music Festival wraps up today with an afternoon of music and family-friendly activities. From 1 pm - 8:30 pm the Irie Farmers Market will take over Queen's Park, and from 1 pm - 6 pm the Taste of the Tropics will offer up delicious Caribbean cuisine. Later in the afternoon, homegrown reggae stars Ibadan will spread their musical message, followed by Fredlocks Asher and the Fab 5.
Queen's Park, Free, 1 pm - 8:30 pm

MUSEUM | Simcoe Day at Fort York
Because there's no particular reason for today's Civic Holiday to exist, every city in Ontario gives it a different name (I'll be damned if I ever recognize Ottawa's Colonel By Day, by the way). Here in Toronto we've named it after John Graves Simcoe, our first Lieutenant Governor and an all-around swell guy. Simcoe founded York (now Toronto), built our court system, and abolished slavery in Upper Canada. If you want to celebrate the holiday with the historical ghost of the late LG, head down to Fort York where they've got a special day of Simcoe-themed programming scheduled. Along with the usual muskets, cannons, and fife and drummery, the Fort George Guards are paying us a special visit for the occasion.
Historic Fort York, 100 Garrison Road, Free, 10 am - 5 pm

MUSIC | Seu Jorge at the Phoenix
You'll probably recognize Seu Jorge from his brilliant Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs featured on the soundtrack to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. But Jorge is much more than a one-trick cover artist. Born in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, he fought his way to the top of the music industry and is credited with kick-starting the pop Samba revival which is now in full swing. He's also an accomplished actor, having appeared in dozens of Brazilian films including the acclaimed City of God. Tonight he brings his dusky voice and stellar samba band to town as part of his North American tour.
The Phoenix, 410 Sherbourne Street, doors 8 pm, $30

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Photo by sushi416 of the blogTO Flickr pool.


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