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NORTH OF THE BORDER

Liberty belle

Elaine Stritch is certainly "At Liberty" in this Tony Award-winning one-woman show. Earning rave reviews for her theatrical memoir which was constructed by John Lahr and directed by George C. Wolfe, Stritch takes us from her Michigan upbringing to Broadway stardom with all of the expected high and low points in her long career. Some of those include anecdotes about celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Noel Coward, Ethel Merman and Judy Garland, and songs such as Sondheim's powerful "The Ladies Who Lunch," which she introduced in "Company" some 30 years ago, "I'm Still Here" (which she certainly is) and "There's No Business Like Show Business." Stritch delivers big time in "At Liberty." She comes to Toronto's Elgin Theatre from June 23 to 28. (416) 872-5555.

Picturing Canada

The Art Gallery of Ontario presents a major retrospective of an artist who forever changed the way in which the world would picture Canada. Thom Thomson lived and died mysteriously -- his untimely death the subject of unending speculation -- but during his brief career created vibrant masterpieces that defined the unique beauty and grandeur of Canada's Northland. Visitors will see more than 140 of the artist's paintings, oil sketches and works on paper, all created within a five-year period, as well as two of Thomson's greatest masterpieces, "The West Wind" and "The Jack Pine," exhibited together for the first time in 35 years. Thom's contemporaries, including key figures from the Group of Seven, will also be included in the exhibition. Tom Thomson is exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario from May 30 through Sept. 7. Call (416) 977-0414.

A taste of Asia

A month-long festival to celebrate South Asian culture in the Greater Toronto area concludes on May 31 with a spectacular Taste of South Asia when Gerrard Street East (Little India) will be transformed into a veritable South Asian Bazaar where festivalgoers will be able to experience the music, smells and shopping of one of Toronto's most vibrant neighborhoods. JYAFEST ("Jya" is a Sanskrit word which means earth or earth-mother) is a festival that explores the latest and most progressive in South Asian culture as well as the most traditional and classical styles from South Asia. Call (416) 488-3659.

All that jazz

June is jazz month in Toronto when the du Maurier Downtown Jazz festival showcases the best in jazz bands, orchestras, singers and solo artists with both free and paid events. Performances take place across the downtown core in churches, parks, tents, restaurants, concert stages and halls. It gets off to a roaring start on June 19 when Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra fill the Hummingbird Centre with the coolest sounds in town. This extraordinary orchestra, comprised of 15 of the world's finest soloists, celebrates its 10th anniversary on the road with the "Rhythm Is Our Business" tour. Tickets for the Marsalis/Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra can be purchased by calling (416) 872-2262. Detailed information and a complete schedule of the Toronto Downtown Jazz festival are available through its Web site (www.torontojazz.com). The festival runs from June 20 to June 29.

Best of Barbados

Toronto's Harbourfront comes alive in the summer with a series of weekend multicultural celebrations. It starts with the "Barbados on the Water Festival" from June 5 to 8. For four days, the site will be filled with the best of Barbadian music and dance by local and island groups, hands-on craft and limbo workshops, an art display, kids events and traditional Bajan foods. Call (416) 973-4000. The popular International Marketplace opens on June 7 when visitors can shop for delightful treasures from the four corners of the globe, including Indonesian textiles, native crafts, African artifacts and jewelery from Thailand and South America. The Marketplace is located directly on the Harbourfront site and requires no admission.

Royal Jubilee

Here's true pomp and circumstance where it was born -- Britain. Anyone doubting the enduring popularity of the Queen will think again with this Coronation Gala Celebration which celebrates the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Orchestra joined by the Toronto Classical Singers invite the audience to take part in the pageantry of the Golden Jubilee of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This majestic concert features a full military band in full dress regalia, pipers and the City of Toronto Police Guard. The Coronation Gala Celebration takes place at Roy Thomson Hall on June 6. For tickets, call (416) 872-4255.