MONTREAL: 10 Nights of Céline
She’s back! Quebec’s most popular export follows her sold-out European tour with 10 shows at Montreal’s Bell Centre (not to mention five shows in Quebec City and two in Trois-Rivières). Céline has a new album out at the end of August, Encore un soir, her first French-language recording in four years. It’s also the first album since the death last January of her husband and former manager, René Angélil. Tickets available here.
• July 31, August 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, Bell Centre, 1909, av. des Canadiens-de-Montréal, 514-932-2582, centrebell.ca
OTTAWA: Northern Lights Sound and Light Show
On Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, 17 projectors and more than 150 lights illuminate the facades of Centre Block and the Peace Tower to tell the story of Canada. Five tableaux, each in a different artistic style, use high-definition visuals, bilingual narration and an original soundtrack to tell the story of our nation, from its indigenous origins to today’s multicultural citizenship ceremonies. The show is family-friendly and free of charge.
• Nightly at 9:30 p.m. throughout August, Parliament Hill, Wellington St., canada.pch.gc.ca
BANFF: Randy Bachman in the Rockies
While playing in a curling rink outside of Kitchener, Ontario, guitarist Randy Bachman came up with the melody that would lead to “American Woman” – the track that would allow his band, the Guess Who, to become one of the first Canadian groups to hit number one on the Hot 100 chart. Bachman would go on to co-found another highly influential Canadian act, Bachman–Turner Overdrive (“Taking Care of Business”). He's still rocking at 72, bringing his many hits to the Banff Centre’s outdoor amphitheatre for an evening concert in the mountains. Tickets available here.
• August 11, Shaw Amphitheatre, 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr., 403-762-6100, banffcentre.ca
TORONTO: Taste of the Danforth
Canada’s largest street festival is a celebration of Greek food and culture. Taking place on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue – a.k.a. Greektown – for the past 23 years, the family-friendly event allows locals and visitors of all backgrounds to be “Greek for a day.” Learn how to dance the sirtaki (the traditional dance popularized by Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek) or experience the thrill of smashing plates (a symbol of prosperity). You can also sample some of the best souvlaki and other Greek foods in Canada.
• August 5-7, Danforth Ave. between Broadview and Jones avenues, tasteofthedanforth.com
VANCOUVER: The Pacific National Exhibition
The annual 17-day summer fair has more than 50 rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. This year’s PNE features a life-size version of Angry Birds in which you are the bird, being zip-lined across large foam structures. The PNE also features performances by Canadian acts Hedley, Simple Plan and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea. Less Canadian (but equally enticing) are concerts by 1980s superstars Olivia Newton John, Pat Benatar and Culture Club.
• August 20–September 5, Hastings Park, between Hastings and Renfrew streets, 604-253-2311, pne.ca
HALIFAX: Shakespeare by the Sea
This August, Halifax's outdoor Shakespearean theatre company presents two site-specific works in Point Pleasant Park: the comedy As You Like It and the masterful tragedy King Lear. The venue is Cambridge Battery, an old military fortress, just a 10-minute walk from the park’s Tower Road entrance. Admission is a suggested donation of $20, but for $25 you can get a “sweet seat,” which includes a chair, a bottle of water and a reserved spot.
• Until September 3, Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, 902-422-0295, shakespearebythesea.ca