From now until March, provincial league play will winnow down the 16 Ontario University Athletics men's basketball teams to a group of four well-oiled basketball machines, one of which will collect the coveted Wilson Cup. Meanwhile, the cameras of The Score TV network will stay trained on the action, tracking teams that have a chance to clinch a berth in the National Championship. Among the possible contenders, the Carleton Ravens hope to reclaim the title for the fourth time in five years, heading toward the playoffs after clinching the Eastern Conference and earning the respect of the curmudgeonly fortune cookie that told them they couldn't. Last year's champions the Lakehead Thunderwolves fight for their position atop the Western conference in the season's closing games while prepping to plow through the playoffs. The old-school wooden bleachers of the University of Waterloo's Physical Activities Complex intensify the heady air of collegiate competition and make it easier for fans to cheer on their favourites by doing the worm.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was founded out of necessity; in 1945, the Grand Philharmonic Choir was preparing a recital and needed tuneful accompaniment for the harmonic voices. Once its backup duty was over, however, the newly convened orchestra quickly established itself as an independent source for both classical and pops concerts performing more than 100 concerts annually in the Waterloo region. Now home to 52 on-staff musicians, the orchestra continues its decades-long tradition at venues around Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. From his position as music director, Edwin Outwater oversees the joyful noise, which ranges from baroque to Beethoven to the Beatles and Broadway. Since assuming the role in 2007, Outwater has been one of the orchestra's most vigorous boosters, arranging the group's first commercial recording in a decade, engineering an exploration of prog rock in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Computing, and knitting sweaters for each musician's instrument.
Since its Toronto location opened in 1976, Yuk Yuk's has been a collective launching pad for such comedy heavyweights as Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, and Russell Peters. All of Yuk Yuk's laugh-establishments invite seasoned jokesters and up-and-coming comedians to their stages every weekend for up to four days of high hilarity and three nights of cozy lodging atop their cocktail tables. Many Yuk Yuk's locations offer drinks, dinner, or bar fare during the show, but those interested in dining should contact their club of choice to find out about reservations.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies everyday for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. The Kool Haus provides a vibrant environment for the musical proceedings, ensconcing guests in a hip nightclub atmosphere with music mixed by Toronto-bred DJ Agile. An enormous dance floor proffers guests with ample space for unabashed rug cutting and wind sprints between marching bands.
A growing haven for live music, The Hive serves up inspired pub fare, specials, and a flotilla of drinks at its newly renovated home. Fill hollowed torso trunks at lunch or dinner with a menu of sizzling burgers, sandwiches, wings, and more. House specialties, such as the Hive garlic burger and the Hive mile-high club sandwich of succulent chicken breast and bacon help carnivores cover all the important meat groups, and veggies represent in the traditional caesar salad, vegetable spring rolls, and crunch-laden battered mushrooms (appetizers run $5–$8; entrees $8–$10). Celebrate a special occasion, such as Bring Your Mustache to Work Day or every Thursday's $0.30 wing night with a drink at the bar while taking in the aural splendour of live bands or relaxing on the large outdoor patio (weather permitting).
During Reel Babies movie showings, theatres transform into child-friendly arenas where new parents can enjoy recent releases while tending to tykes. Empire Theatres keeps the auditorium lights dim and lowers the volume on new films such as Our Idiot Brother, One Day, and The Debt, ensuring an environment conducive to child-care. Parents can transport their mini-me to the auditorium's "exersaucer", baby swing, and play mat, allowing young minds to expend energy otherwise spent solving Fermat's Last Theorem. Additionally, a changing table and bottle warmer ensures parents can remain in the theatre for all reunion scenes between protagonists and their coffee makers.