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The boat show sails into Toronto

TORONTO -- "Put some summer in your winter" at the 2007 Toronto International Boat Show, running Saturday to Jan. 21 in the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

More than 1 million gallons of water will create the world's largest indoor "lake," which will be bigger than a National Hockey League ice rink. Enjoy a "dockside" patio restaurant, daily live entertainment and, of course, boats, boats, boats. View or board some of Canada's most popular sailing yachts, trawlers and even antique and classic boats.

On Jan. 20, the event's keynote speaker, Britain's Dee Caffari, will share her inspirational story as the first woman to sail solo around the world the "wrong way" against prevailing winds and currents nonstop. Only four men also managed to complete this 29,100-mile endeavor.

Other speakers include Glenn Edwards and Lawrence Foster, who hope to be the first Canadian team to row the 3,900 miles across the Indian Ocean. In the spring, the pair will set sail from Australia and will end three months later at Reunion Island, just east of Madagascar. Only two people have rowed across the entire Indian Ocean with no sails, no engine and just muscle power. Glenn will bring his 23,500-foot vessel, custom made for a journey on the open ocean.

The kids get to join in the fun, too. A Kids Boating Zone features a paddleboat ride where they can splash around and self-steer their paddle boats. The younger set is also invited at the Kids Fishing Zone at the live trout pond for face painting, fishing arcade games and fishing fun. For parents looking to buy a boat, professional child-care providers for children ages 2 to 10 will keep kids busy with activities.

To purchase discounted tickets online or for a complete listing of events, which include more than 100 free seminars, visit www.torontoboatshow.com.

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Beatles experience

Hailed by Showtime as "the world's best performing Beatles tribute act," the internationally acclaimed band Rain has added performances to its schedule at the Hummingbird Centre for the Performing Arts. Rain, originally scheduled to perform Jan. 18-21, will also play Jan. 25-28.

The multimedia event has five scene and costume changes, three video screens and live camera projection, combining television commercials and historical video footage from the 1960s.

The music is performed live with no prerecorded tapes or sequences. The musicians have painstakingly studied and reproduced each Beatle note. A big break for the band came when it was hired by Dick Clark to record the music for a 1979 made-for-TV movie, "Birth of the Beatles."

For tickets, visit www.hummingbirdcentre.com or call (416) 872-2262. The band's Web site is www.raintribute.com.

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Master photographers

Photography lovers, mark your calendars to see "Two Photographers, Two Visions," an outstanding exhibit featuring the works of two master photographers at the Art Gallery of Ontario through Feb. 4.

The exhibit includes the exquisite works of Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), often referred to as the "Father of Photojournalism," and landscape master Ansel Adams (1902-1984).

The 125 prints in the Adams grouping, organized by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, features many rarely exhibited prints from the 1920s through the 1970s, along with several of the Yosemite National Park images that have made Adams a giant in nature photography. Inspired by a boyhood trip to Yosemite, Adams later won three Guggenheim Fellowships to capture the dramatic mountain vistas and escarpments in the national parks.

Eisenstaedt was born in Poland and became a U.S. citizen in 1942. You probably don't remember his name, but you may have seen his best-known photograph, "the kiss," which captured an American sailor kissing a young nurse in Times Square on VJ Day. (That photograph is not included in this exhibit.)

As one of the original contributing photographers to Life magazine, he completed more than 2,000 assignments and contributed to more than 80 of the magazine's covers. Eisenstaedt photographed many of the most well-known figures of the 20th century, including political leaders Benito Mussolini and John F. Kennedy, celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, and hundreds of ordinary citizens in different walks of life. For more information or tickets, visit www.ago.net or call (416) 979-6648.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Fairmont Royal York is offering the "Two Photographers/Two Visions Package," which includes overnight accommodation, breakfast for two and exhibit tickets, starting at $269 (Canadian). For reservations, visit www.fairmont.com/royalyork or call (416) 368-2511.

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Skate the day away

A welcome sign of colder weather is the Harbourfront Centre's Natrel Skating Rink, a free winter tradition since 1983. Canada's largest outdoor artificial ice rink will stay open until March 11, weather permitting. Skate with a view of scenic Lake Ontario and Toronto Island. The adjoining Lakeside Eats offers casual dining and hot or cold beverages (closed Mondays). The popular DJ Skating Nights at the Natrel Rink return Friday (also Feb. 9 and March 2) from 8-11 p.m. for late night skating and dining with music and free hot chocolate.

Daily operating hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There are indoor lockers and a changing room. Skate rentals are $7 (Canadian) for adults; $5 (Canadian) for children and seniors and require a credit card or government-issued photo identification card, such as a driver's license. More information is available at www.harbourfrontcentre.com.

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