35 events worth checking out in Toronto this January

Dec 27 2019, 6:40 am

Are you ready for this January?

Make sure you keep busy and entertained at the same time. It’ll be cold, but Toronto is not lacking in awesome events to keep things hot. (You’ll still probably need a jacket.)

Skating at Harbourfront Centre

What: When the weather starts to drop, it means it’s officially time to go skating. And it just so happens that the city’s most scenic rink has opened its doors for the winter season. The Natrel Rink is complete with heated indoor change rooms and its own rink-side bar and grill for those interested in getting a snack post-skate. The best part? Skating at the Harbourfront rink is totally free. 

When: Now until spring
Time: Monday to Thursday, 9 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 11 pm; Sunday, 9 am to 10 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Skating is free

Wax Candy: Disco Fridays

What: Playing soulful, refreshing, and uplifting Disco all night. Listen to the selection from DJ Efsharp and Cyclist at this weekly dance event. Be prepared for disco standards you already know and some deep cuts that will probably surprise you.

When: January 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Time: 10 pm to 2 am
Where: The Piston, 937 Bloor St W
Admission: Free if you register online

Martin Scorsese: A Retrospective

What: He’s one of the globe’s greatest and most iconic of filmmakers. See 27 of the master’s feature movies, playing into the new year, and see what makes Marty one of the best.

When: Now until January 4
Time: Times vary, check online
Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox — 350 King Street West
Admission: Prices vary, available online

Aurora Winter Festival

What: For the first time ever, Aurora Winter Festival will transform Toronto’s Ontario Place into a hidden village with enchanting elements inspired by the North Pole including magical characters, captivating light displays, endless fun, games, and activities.

When: Now until January 5
Time: 4 pm to 10 pm
Where: Ontario Place, 955 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Price: $17.99, available online


What: See the live version without any CGI. Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn.

When: On until January 5
Time: Times vary
Where: Princess of Wales Theatre — 300 King Street West
Admission: Tickets start at $39, available online

Tunnel of Glam

What: The celebrated Tunnel of Glam returns for its second year. Members of the public can visit this outdoor, 80 ft. pedestrian tunnel lined with 14 million reversible sequins for a delightfully festive and immersive winter time destination.

When: Now until January 6
Where: 1501 Yonge Street
Admission: Free

A Nutcracker Christmas at the Castle

What: Toronto’s only castle will host a wide range of activities and thrilling performances that will be fun for the whole family. Enjoy new shows by famed illusionist entertainer Professor Wick and ice skating performers Glisse on Ice. Guests will be surrounded by holiday magic throughout the castle which will be resplendent with holiday décor,

When: Now until January 5
Time: Daily, December 1 to January 5, 9.30 am to 5 pm; nightly, December 15 to December 30, 5 pm to 9 pm
Where: Casa Loma — 1 Austin Terrace
Admission: $30, available online

Slut Parade: A Sex Positive Comedy Show

What: Slut Parade is a sex positive comedy show hosted by Allie Pearse and a collection of Toronto’s best standup comedians sharing their best and worst stories of the sex and dating world.

When: Thursday, January 2
Time: 8 pm
Where: Comedy Bar — 945 Bloor Street West
Admission: $20

With It 60s Soul Record Dance Party

What: It’s the perfect 60s dance event. Enjoy Mod Soul, R&B, R&R, Garage Funk, and more all from the era spun up by DJ Parka Pat from Montreal along with local man DJ Nico.

When: Saturday, January 4
Time: 10 pm
Where: The Piston — 937 Bloor Street West
Admission: $10

Toronto Maple Leafs Skate for Easter Seals Kids

What: The Toronto Maple Leafs Skate for Easter Seals Kids is a fundraising event that offers fans the opportunity to skate with Toronto Maple Leafs players and alumni in support of Ontario’s kids with physical disabilities.

When: Sunday, January 5
Time: Noon
Where: Ford Performance Centre — 400 Kipling Ave
Admission: $250 minimum fundraising, register online

Julius Caesar

What: In the most powerful state on earth, a coalition of educated elites, alarmed at their leader’s populist, authoritarian reforms, conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, a civil war erupts, as ghosts, revolutionaries, and politicians contend with what they’ve done, and what’s to come.

When: January 7 to 26
Time: Times vary
Where: Crow’s Theatre — 345 Carlaw Avenue
Admission: Tickets $30 to $55

Beer and Cheese Pairing

What: Beer and cheese, the best of pals, come together in one tasty event. Join your fellow brew lovers for a house beer and cheese pairing in partnership with The Art Of Cheese. Enjoy five different kinds of cheese paired with five 5 oz tasters of Rorschach beer.

When: Thursday, January 9
Time: 7 pm
Where: Rorschach Brewing Co. — 1001 Eastern Avenue
Admission: $20, available online

9th Annual Toronto Tango Marathon

What: Head out for an amazing weekend of Argentine Tango in Toronto, with beautiful music, a great venue, lots of dancing, and delicious refreshments. There will be DJs to keep you dancing to the wee hours. Get ready for three days and three nights of non-stop Tango.

When: January 10 to 12
Where: The Continental Dance Club — 3141 Wharton Way
Admission: Prices vary, register online

Partners in Art present Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint

What: Watch history get rewritten as Swedish artist Hilma af Klint finally takes her rightful place in history as a pioneer of abstract art. Over a century after her first boldly colourful painting got eclipsed by Wassily Kandinsky, she became the subject of a monumental Guggenheim exhibition, “Paintings for the Future”—at last getting the credit she deserves. This documentary explores why it took so long.

When: Sunday, January 12
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema — 506 Bloor Street West
Admission: $11.50, available online

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Trivia Night

What: Think you know everything about New York’s favourite police officers? Tonight,  fans of the hit TV show are encouraged to participate in this epic edition of Brooklyn Nine-Nine trivia. There will be three rounds, with 15 questions each. The top three teams will win a $100 Hemingway’s gift card.

When: Monday, January 13
Time: 6 pm to 9:30 pm
Hemingway’s, 142 Cumberland Street
$9 entry per player, register online


What: This art installation is an interactive retro-futuristic machine powered by you. Visitors can hop on two at a time into one of the six illuminated cylinders and pump a lever to activate the lights and glowing images within the loop.

When: January 15 to February 9
Where: York Street Park — York and Harbour Streets
Admission: Free

F*ckup Nights Toronto Vol XXXI

What: F*ckup Nights Toronto is part of a global speaker series where stories of failed businesses and projects are shared in 330+ cities and 86+ countries. Each speaker is given 10 minutes and is able to use 10 images. After each speaker, there’s a Q&A session, as well as time for mingling and drinks.

When: Thursday, January 16
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 pm
Where: Shopify — 620 King Street West
Admission: $20 to $25, available online

Blue Jays Winter Fest

What: Winter Fest is returning for its third straight year, featuring two days of baseball fun and winter festivities. Activities include Blue Jays current player, alumni, and rookie appearances; kids activities; live entertainment; historic memorabilia; ballpark tours; and much more. Plus, the first 12,000 fans attending Winter Fest each day will receive a Blue Jays Toque

When: January 18 and 19
Time: 10 to 5 pm
Where: Rogers Centre — 1 Blue Jays Way
Admission: $20, available online

Toronto Pug Grumble

What: Bring your pugs to the Dog Bowl in Trinity Bellwoods Park this Sunday for a Toronto Pug Grumble. Get ready for lots of snorting, rolling, and grumbling. It’s basically the cutest thing going on in the city this weekend.

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 2 to 4 pm
Where: Dog Bowl in Trinity Bellwoods Park
Admission: Free

Night Hike in the Ravines

What: Join expert naturalists Lee Earl and Evergreen staff on a wintery walk through the Don Valley Brick Works Park and explore the ravines at night. Please be sure to dress warmly and wear appropriate walking shoes.

When: Tuesday, January 21
Time: 6 pm
Where: Evergreen Brick Works — 550 Bayview Avenue
Admission: Free

Toronto Night Time Record Show

What: The historic Monarch Tavern will once again play host to 10 fully stocked tables of vinyl goodness for your perusal and consumption. All styles of music will be represented, from vintage treasures to the latest wax. We’ll also be spinning the good stuff all night for you to groove to whilst digging.

When: Thursday, January 24
Time: 6 pm
Where: Monarch Tavern — 12 Clinton Street
Admission: $3

Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival

What: See some of the most powerful documentary films of some of the most serious issues happening in the world today. The annual Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival brings human stories to life in a manner that empowers the audience to demand justice for all.

When: January 30 to February 4
Time: Times vary
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema — 506 Bloor Street West
Admission: Free


What: It’s a celebration of food in the heart of winter. There will also be more than 200 restaurants offering prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus for the duration of the event, including Bar Buca, East Thirty-Six, Pukka, and Wish. Lunch menus will be priced at $23, $28, and $33 and dinner menus at $33, $43, and $53.

When: January 31 to February 13
Where: Across Toronto
Admission: Prix-fixe menus

Saturday Family Clay

What: Every Saturday is a family art day at LucSculpture. Head down and learn some of the basics of sculpting figures, building hand objects, and creating with your kids. They’ll fire all the pieces after you’re done.

When: Every Saturday
Time: 1:00 to 4:30 pm
Where: LucSculpture Art School — 663 Greenwood Avenue
Admission: $15 to $35, tickets available online

RAW Toronto

What: See a collection of great European producers and dance to some of the best tunes in the city. RAW Toronto is bringing a full line up of DJs, including British Techno masters Dense & Pika, Italian duo Moonwalk, and more.

When: Friday, January 17
Time: 10 pm
Where: 888 Yonge Street
Admission: Tickets start at $35, available online

Repair Café

What: Don’t throw it away, fix it! Bring in a broken household item to the Repair Cafe where you can get help fixing it for free. Volunteers fix household items, ranging from small household appliances such as toasters and lamps to computers and clothes. There will even be a bike repair booth available outside the library’s front doors.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 12 pm to 4 pm
Where: Toronto Reference Library Atrium
Price: No admission

John Mulaney in Toronto

What: John Mulaney has been so funny for so long, it’s starting to look like he’s never going to slow down. Appearing with an unnamed guest at this show, the Emmy award-winning comedian is going to tear it up at Meridian Hall.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 7 pm
Where: Meridian Hall — 1 Front Street East
Admission: Tickets start at $62, available online

Daft Punk Tribute

What: Around the world, Daft Punk is considered to be one of the best electronic bands in the business. Go on your own Discovery and show some Digital Love, at this awesome tribute to the French duo.

When: Friday, December 24
Time: 9 pm
Where: Mod Club Theatre — 722 College Street West
Admission: Tickets start at 29.99, available online

Black Sheep Comedy

What: Black Sheep Comedy is once again invading Big Rock Brewery with a whole new killer lineup of comedians. Sip a free 12oz beer or pop while laughing your butt off with headliner Jason Allen.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Big Rock Brewery — 1589 The Queensway
Admission: $15, available online

Karen Tam: the chrysanthemum has opened twelve times

What: Montréal-based artist Karen Tam creates immersive installations exploring the way physical experiences of spaces and objects can provide a deeper understanding of specific places, histories and communities. This will be the opening reception and the show carries on into March.

When: Thursday, January 23
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Where: Artscape Youngplace — 180 Shaw Street
Admission: Free

Winter 2020 Opening Party

What: There is a slew of new works to see at The Power Plant for the winter season. Come take a first look. Be amongst the first to experience exhibitions by Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Dawit L. Petros, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Rashid Johnson

When: Friday, January 24
Time: 8 to 11 pm
Where: The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery — 231 Queens Quay West

Great Lake Swimmers

What: See the indie-rock greats play two sets at the Paradice. Great Lake Swimmers has been a successful five-piece rock act for years. A sleeper show, full of great hits and seriously good jams, it’s not to be missed.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: 1006 Bloor Street West
Admission: Available online

GZA Live In Toronto

What: It’s the Liquid Swords 25th Anniversary Tour and it’s bringing the Wu-Tang Shaolin legend himself, GZA, to Toronto. If you’re a hip-hop fan this is the show to see.

When: Monday, January 27
Time: 7 pm
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre — 410 Sherbourne Street
Admission: $42.68 to $51.54, available online

Red Death, Enforced, Raze, and Sinner

What: It’s a collection of Trash and Heavy Metal from both here in Toronto and beyond. If you’re looking for a loud show this month, head to See-Scape.

When: Tuesday, January 28
Time: 8 pm
Where: See-Scape — 347 Keele Street
Admission: $10

Dumpster Raccoon: TMNT 2: The Secret Of The Ooze

What: It’s a classic, and it’s being shown on 35mm. The deadly Shredder has returned. He’s sharper and meaner than ever — and this time with his razored hands on the strange mutagenic compound that created his totally tubular teen foes.

When: Friday, January 31
Time: 9:30 pm
Where: Revue Cinema — 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Admission: $13 to $16, available online