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ROM hosts a jewel of an exhibit

A rare look at the fascinating world of diamonds is featured in the award-winning exhibition, "The Nature of Diamonds," which runs Oct. 25 through March 22 in the Royal Ontario Museum.

The exhibit is divided into seven educational sections, including the Source of Diamonds, which explains how diamonds surface from deep in the Earth by explosive volcanoes. Three highlights of the Gem Vault are the 250-carat corsage ornament belonging to Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte; the Milky Way necklace adorned by 2,000 diamonds; and the Oppenheimer Diamond, weighing 254 carats, a gift to the Smithsonian Institution by celebrity jeweler Harry Winston.

Pieces worn by stars of yesterday and today, including Mae West, Joan Crawford and Elton John, are also on view. Lenders to the exhibit are a "Who's Who" in the jewelry world including Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. Related upcoming programming, starting Nov. 4, features the movies "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), "To Catch a Thief" (1955) and "Diamonds are Forever" (1971).

Exhibit admission is included with paid general admission. Visit


Halloween happenings

*Now through Oct. 31, Whittamore's Farm in East Markham (30 minutes from downtown Toronto) is turned into Pumpkinland where more than 1,000 pumpkins are on display and for sale. Family activities include wagon rides through a haunted forest, mazes, tractor tire climb, log walk, nature trails, a milking cow and goats and a spider web climb. Additional weekend-only events include a pumpkin cannon show, barn bouncer and pedal tractor track. There is also a designated picnic area, plus food and drink concessions. Visit

*The Toronto Zoo presents "Boo at the Zoo," Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26. Activities include jugglers, animal shows and stories. For each adult admission, two children (ages 12 and under) in costume will be admitted free. Info: (416) 392-5929,


Little Oktoberfest

Just 20 minutes from downtown Toronto, the charming Main Street of Unionville encourages visitors to slow down. Oct. 13, the village's Little Oktoberfest celebration pays tribute to the area's first settlers -- Germans. The large outdoor street festival has music, entertainment, food and even a double-decker bus ride, all served Bavarian-style. Visit


Author, author

More than 80 authors from 13 countries will participate in Toronto's International Festival of Authors (IFOA) at Harbourfront Centre, Oct. 22 to Nov. 1. Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize winner for "Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," will present his first book for younger readers, "Dark Dude." Other writers include Anita Shreve, best-selling author of 14 novels, including "The Pilot's Wife," and novelist/screenwriter Richard Price, whose screenplay "The Color of Money" was nominated for an Academy Award. The festival includes readings, interviews, roundtable discussions and book signings. Tickets to most events are $8; book signings are free. Visit


Cottage living

Fall is a perfect time to celebrate cottage life and plan for a cottage's seasonal changes. Celebrate the cottage lifestyle at the "Fall Cottage Life Show," Nov. 7 to 9 in Toronto's International Centre.

Workshops, seminars and appraisals of cottage treasures are among the events. Building suppliers and cottage country artisans will display their wares for cottage lovers. The Tastes of Cottage Country food selections feature country cooking. Admission is $10 adults, $6 youths 13 to 18 and free for children 12 and under. Visit

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