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Five things to do in Toronto this weekend: Oct. 5 to 6

Ben Heppner as Tristan in "Tristan und Isolde". Heppner stars in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Peter Grimes.

Bill Cooper

Larry Towell

"I've been a songwriter all my life. I've always done music as a second expression of storytelling." The conflict-zone photographer Larry Towell has just released his fifth album, Blood in the Soil, an experimental folk record and DVD that is unmistakably the work of an image maker. His live performance incorporates visuals and the dreamy sounds of slide guitarist Don Rooke. Oct. 5, 7 p.m. $20 ($35 with CD; available at door or in advance at Stephen Bulger Gallery, 416-504-0575). Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042.

Canadian Opera Company

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With its thrilling cries of "Peter Grimes! Peter Grimes!" in Act 3, Benjamin Britten's potent opera on village life, persecution and hope does a fine job selling and exciting itself. And for good reason: This production is not only the first COC performance of Peter Grimes in a decade (and the first at Four Seasons Centre), it stars a great Canadian tenor – Ben Heppner! Ben Heppner! – in the title role (though the COC announced Friday that Mr. Heppner had to withdraw from opening night Oct. 5 for health reasons). Also on tap this weekend is a performance of Puccini's La Bohème on Sunday. Peter Grimes (to Oct. 26), Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.; La Bohème (to Oct. 30), Oct. 6, 2 p.m. $12 to $365. 145 Queen St. W., 416-363-8231.

Dr. Who Panel Discussion

If we could go back in time to 1963, no one would have believed us if we said that the new British sci-fi series Doctor Who would still be on the air in 2013. Then again, if such space-continuum crossing were possible, the appeal of the fanciful show and its time-traveling protagonist would be greatly lessened. In any event, a discussion on the science fiction roots of Doctor Who and how the series uses science fiction tropes to such popular effect includes the input of authors and super-fans. Oct. 5, 7 p.m. Free. Lillian H Smith Library, 239 College St., 416-393-7748 or friendsofmerril.org.

The Norman Conquests

The droll British playwright Alan Ayckbourn knew his trilogy was a gamble. "It is difficult to get people along to the theatre once – never mind three times." Thankfully his trio of comedic plays (Table Manners, Living Together, Round and Round in the Garden), which involve a sociable librarian and cast of six who move through a dining room, a living room and a garden on one weekend, can be enjoyed individually or in any combination (including marathon runs of all three) for this mounting by Soulpepper. In previews now. To Nov. 16. $22 to $68. Young Centre, 50 Tank House Lane, 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.

Parkdale Flea

To the habitual collectors of kitsch and funky memorabilia who fight the instinct to horde, to flea or not to flea is a nagging (though not altogether serious) question. Such fans of buying and browsing can assuage such concerns, because this weekend's Parkdale Flea is the last of the season for the popular west-side pop-up marketplace, which is more than enough rationalization for anyone to give in to the lure of the pickers' paradise. Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Goodfellas Gallery and attached lot, 1266 Queen St. W., parkdaleflea.com.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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