Every single year, the entire film world - at least the part of it that's likely to count the most - relocates to a Canadian city 90 minutes away from us on the QEW.
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has long since become the biggest and most important film festival on the continent.
At this point, you probably add "and in the world." Cannes, New York, Sundance, Telluride, Berlin, Venice and Montreal all have major film festivals of varying degrees of note and pedigree, Cannes being the granddaddy of them all.
But in its 37th year, Toronto is the one whose total catholicity of taste and audience have triumphed over everything to win over the film world's heart.
That's why everyone from Robert Redford to Snoop Lion will be there during the festival's 10 days, from Thursday to Sept. 16.
Who else is expected to show up? Try this mere fragment of a list of the expected: Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Kristen Stewart, Dustin Hoffman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Ryan Gosling, Keira Knightley, Bruce Willis, Jackie Chan, Ben Affleck, Bernardo Bertolucci and Salman Rushdie.
That's the long-standing, unique beauty of the Toronto International Film Festival. It's a massive omnifestival designed to appeal to and appease all manner of film love - high, low and everything in between.
Where else, for instance, would you see the continental premiere of one of the most passionately awaited films of 2012 - Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams in a tale loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and the founding of Scientology?
It's where Spike Lee will come to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's "Bad" disc with "Bad 25."
And it's also where Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" will have its first new-century incarnation, starring Knightley and Jude Law and directed by Joe Wright, whose previous films "Atonement" and "Hanna" had scenes that were close to jaw-dropping (modern cliche or not).
For the most hard-core movie lovers, Bernardo Bertolucci's film about youth, drugs and family, "Me and You," will arrive as the great Italian master's first in a decade.
And the world will see, at long last, the first film version of one of history's most coveted novels for film adaptation, Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." It stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Stewart and is directed by Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries").
Its executive producer is Francis Ford Coppola, who has been trying to get it made since 1978.
Redford's "The Company You Keep" will feature Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie in a story about an aging radical (Redford) from the Weather Underground trying to evade the pursuit of a young investigator.
You want to see a movie that is as personal and autobiographical as movies get? There's Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell," the newest film from the actress/director whose film "Away from Her" was a heartbreaker with an amazing, Oscar-level performance by Christie as a woman suffering from Alzheimer's.
You want to see someone attack an old steroid nonentity from Sylvester Stallone with a new version full of panache? Try "Dredd 3-D," in which Stallone's extravaganza "Judge Dredd" is updated for a new millennium.
It's the festival for people who want to establish instant fan camaraderie while waiting in line.
It's also the urban film festival people flock to for as much star-watching as it is possible to do in one place (concentrate on a handful or so hotels and just as many eateries and you're unlikely to be disappointed).
It's one of the great international film events and virtually in our backyard.
See the festival's website at tiff.net, as well as the accompanying box, for further information.
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