31 Toronto events worth checking out this May

May 1 2019, 2:37 am

It’s finally starting to feel like spring in Toronto.

This means there’s no shortage of awesome events taking place throughout the city this month. Seriously, after checking out this list you won’t have a minute to spare this May.

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Movie theatre (Liu zishan / Shutterstock)

What: North America’s largest documentary festival returns to Toronto this month bringing an outstanding selection of over 200 films from Canada and around the world to Toronto audiences.

When: On now until May 5
Time: Various screenings each day
Where: Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
Price: Tickets vary by screening

HideSeek pop-up Toronto

What: You can awaken your inner child at Toronto’s brand new and unforgettable pop-up, HideSeek this spring. Occupying a 7,000-sq-ft vacant retail space in the Dundas West neighbourhood, the pop-up invites you to escape reality and relive the days of childhood. Explore multi-sensory elements throughout the space and marvel at epic floor-to-ceiling installations.

When: On now until June 2
Time: Thursday and Friday, 12 pm to 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm
Where: Dundas West neighbourhood — 1305 Dundas Street West
Price: $25 (plus taxes and service fees) — Tickets available online

Ai Weiwei: Unbroken

What: Ai Weiwei, one of the world’s most influential living artists and human rights activists, is bringing a collection of his ceramic works to Toronto’s Gardiner Museum. Called Unbroken, the exhibit will present an array of Ai’s ceramic works while highlighting “urgent global issues.”

When: On now until June 9
Time: 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Gardiner Museum, 111 Queens Park
Admission: $15 for adults

Anthony Ricciardi DREAM SPACE Exhibit

What: DREAM SPACE is a 2,500-sq-ft immersive pop-up museum featuring Ricciardi’s original canvas work and sculpture series. The gallery acts as an entry point to a “secret and hidden” pop-up experience filled with 15 large-scale interactive installations and multi-sensory immersive spaces inspired by Ricciardi’s creations, including a pool of gold coins. Visitors will also have the chance to take one of Ricciardi’s pieces home with prices starting at $100, up to $7,000.

When: Open now until July 2019
Time: Mall hours vary by day
Where: Yorkdale Mall. 3401 Dufferin Street
Admission: Admission to the gallery is free with a $15 admission fee to access the pop-up art installation and immersive space

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert

What: For the first time ever, audiences can rediscover the magic of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while a live symphony orchestra performs Nicholas Hooper’s unforgettable score and Harry Potter soars across the big screen in high-definition.

When: May 2 to 4
Time: Every performance is at 7:30 pm
Where: 1 Front Street East, Sony Cente for the Performing Arts
Price: From $55

Toronto Jewish Film Festival

Image courtesy of TJFF

What: The Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF), showcases the best feature films, documentaries and shorts from Canada and around the world, on themes of Jewish culture and identity.  TJFF heightens awareness of Jewish and cultural diversity around the world to audiences of all cultural backgrounds, and presents films in their original languages, with subtitles, in an effort to break down racial, cultural and religious barriers and stereotypes.

When: May 2 to 12
Time: Screenings vary by day
Where: Multiple venues
Price: From $15

Spring Movie Wardrobe Sale

What: Hosted by the Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD), the Spring Movie Wardrobe Sale will be happening in Toronto on May 4 and will feature many vendors who are affiliated with the industry as well as costume professionals with items from shows they have worked on.

When: May 4
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, 33 Manitoba Drive
Tickets: Entrance is $7

Star Wars Trivia: Episodes 1—6

What: Who doesn’t love a good trivia night, am I right? This May the Fourth, Hemingway’s Restaurant is hosting an epic trivia event all revolving around episodes one to six of the Star Wars franchise! Best of all, 25% of proceeds from this event go towards the Christchurch Shooting Victims’ Fund.

When: May 4
Time: 2 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Hemmingway’s Restaurant —142 Cumberland Street, Toronto
Tickets: $9

Star Wars Day Toronto 2019

What: Back again for another instalment of Star Wars Day. Ajay Fern hosts this epic event which includes a costume contest (with prizes in 3 different categories) as well as some amazing Star Wars trivia (which also will give out some pretty great prizes). And if that isn’t enough, stick around late enough for the Far Far Away after-party with performances by Brigit O’Regan, Epic Game Music and more!

When: May 4
Time: 6 pm to 2 am
Where: The Rec Room Toronto — 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Tickets: $25

Heather Dale Album Release Concert

What: To promote her 20th album Sphere, which draws inspiration from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, Celtic singer-songwriter Heather Dale will be holding an album release concert this month.

When: May 4
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Church of the Holy Trinity
Price: From $20

Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama

michelle obama

Michelle Obama/Shutterstock

What: Former First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to Toronto this week. The Toronto stop will feature moderator Phoebe Robinson who will appear in conversation with the former First Lady.

When: May 4
Time: 8 pm
Where: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay Street
Price: Ticketmaster is sold out of tickets, but StubHub has tickets available starting at $195

Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo

What: Taking place at the CF Shops at Don Mills, Town Square, the two-day event celebrates the buzz of café culture in Toronto. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore exhibitors, savour endless free samples, learn industry secrets and participate in hands-on programs.

When: May 4 and 5
Time: 11 am to 5 pm
Where: CF Shops at Don Mills, Town Square
Price: Tickets are available online

Mindfulness of the Senses

What: Meditation instructor Cassidy Thedorf and Thai yoga masseuse and yoga instructor Leanne Davis are offering attendees of these classes mindful exploration of the senses. Enjoy guided meditation with Thai yoga massage (touch), essential oils (smell), sound healing with a crystal quartz singing bowl (sound), a mindful chocolate tasting (taste), and more. All are welcome, including beginners. You’ll want to bring along a yoga mat and a small scarf.

When: May 5
Time: 9 am
Where: Indigo Toronto Eaton Centre – 200 Yonge Street
Tickets: $31.64, available online

Veg Spring Market

What: The Veg Spring Market will be returning to Artscape Wychwood Barns for its second annual event on May 5, featuring mouthwatering vegan eats from a huge selection of vendors.

When: May 5
Time: 11 am to 6 pm
Where: Artscape Wychwood Barns – 601 Christie Street
Tickets: Available online, $5 entry

Paddle the Don

What: Manulife’s Paddle the Don is taking place returns this weekend, giving you the chance to paddle through the heart of Canada’s largest urban region to raise awareness about the health of the Don River. The event is expected to see over 700 participants in more than 300 canoes and kayaks paddle a 10.5km stretch of the river, which runs along the river from Ernest Thompson Seton Park and ends at Corktown Common.

When: May 5 
All day
Where: The event begins at Ernest Thompson Seton Park and ends at Corktown Common located at 155 Bayview Avenue
Price: $100 per boat, whether it’s a canoe or kayak

Cinco de Mayo

Margarita / Shutterstock

What: Tacos, tequila, and friends! You better believe that Toronto restaurants and bars will be throwing parties and offering drink specials for the occasion.

When: May 5
Time: Varies by location
Where: Restaurants and bars across Toronto
Price: Varies by location

Canadian Music Week

What: Now in its 38th year, Canadian Music Week is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music.

When: May 6 to 12
Time: Varies by day
Where: Venues throughout the city
Price: Varies by the show

Chefs on Deck for Camp Ooch

What: On Tuesday, May 7, Cactus Club’s rooftop deck will be turned into a special dining experience in collaboration with some of Toronto’s greatest chefs in support of Camp Oochigeas. Exclusively serving children with cancer, Camp Oochigeas is privately funded, staffed entirely by volunteers and is completely free. The participating chefs are donating their time, and Cactus Club is donating the food, wine, and space.

When: May 7
Time: Kicks off at 6:30 pm
Where: Cactus Club Cafe – 77 Adelaide Street West
Tickets: $250, available from Karen Donaldson via email or at 416-961-6624 x 238.

iHeartRadio FanFest

What: One of the biggest highlights during Canadian Music Week, the third installment of iHeartRadio FanFest, will feature a stellar line-up of hit-makers including Marshmello. Famba, Lu Kala, Neon Dreams, and THE LAUNCH’s Cassiøpeia and Olivia Lunny.

When: May 8
Time: 6 pm to 7 pm
Where: REBEL Nightclub, 11 Polson Street
Price: Tickets are $50, 19+ only

Mindful Mother’s Day Expression

Meditation instructor Cassidy Thedorf returns, this time with Arts Therapist Or Har-Gil. The pair are running a creative art and meditation workshop. The class will begin with a meditation, followed by exploring mindful expression through guided arts practices. You don’t need to have any experience in either meditation or arts to attend. Simply tap into the true essence of you. And hey… this is an ideal experiential gift for Mother’s Day.

When: May 12
Time: 9 am
Where: Indigo Toronto Eaton Centre – 200 Yonge Street
Tickets: $31.64, available online

Taco! Taco! Taco!

Eastbound taco dinner

Maizal / Instagram

What: Eastbound Brewery is teaming up with Maizal to serve up a fierce dinner featuring ceviche, grilled corn, queso, fresh tortillas, grilled fish, marinated veg and slow braised meats on May 16.

When: May 16
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Eastbound Brewery – 700 Queen Street East
Tickets: $55, available online

Operanation: Tall Tales

What: The most whimsical party of the season returns to Toronto this month, to celebrate Operanation’s 15th birthday. This year’s party will feature musical guest Joseph of Mercury, and performances from DJ Chippy Nonstop and Karim Olen Ash. Operanation will transform the iconic Four seasons Centre for the Performing Arts into a fairytale fantasy, complete with a moody purple floral installation evoking a secret garden. Guests will experience culinary innovations, signature cocktails, and more.

When: May 16
Time: 9 pm
Four seasons Centre for the Performing Arts
Price: $150

Spring Beerfest TO

What: Spring Beerfest TO is set to serve up cold beers, delicious eats, and cottage vibes in Toronto for the May long weekend. Tickets are on sale now for the boozy festival, poised to welcome the warmth of summer evenings.

When: May 18 and 19
Time: Kicks off at noon
Where: Fort York: Garrison Common, 100 Garrison Road, Toronto
Price: $24, tickets available online

Electric Island

What: Electric Island returns for its seventh annual year with a fresh lineup of local and international DJs. This year, the fun returns to Toronto Island and will be kicking off the new season over May Long weekend.

When: May 19
Time: 2 pm to 11 pm
Where: Hanlan’s Point
Price: $49.99

Collision 2019

What: Now in its sixth year, Collision was created by the team behind Web Summit, the world’s largest tech event. Collision attracts CEOs of the world’s largest companies, founders of exciting startups, leading investors, and media from more than 120 countries.

When: May 20 to 23
Time: Events throughout the day
Where: Enercare Centre, 100 Princes’ Blvd.
Price: Tickets from $695

The WOW Dinner

What: The Worldwide Network of Women is bringing Toronto its first dinner for women in tech, in the midst of the city’s hosting of Collision, North America’s fastest-growing tech conference. The special event will be held at the Gladstone Hotel on May 21.

When: May 21
Time: From 5:30 pm
Where: The Gladstone Hotel – 1214 Queen Street West
Tickets: Available online from $150

Toronto LGBT Film Festival


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What: Each year, the Toronto LGBT Film Festival celebrates the best queer film from Canada and around the world. The 28th Annual Toronto LGBT Film Festival will take place from May 23 to June 2.

When: May 23 to June 2
Time: Screenings vary by day
Where: TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King Street West
Price: Ticket packages start at $48

Blue Jays Country Do-Si-Do

What: Canadian county music artists Paul Brandt and the Hunter Brothers will headline the pregame performances for the two-day Blue Jays Country Do-Si Do this month. The first 15,000 fans to enter Rogers Centre can look forward to exclusive giveaways, a Blue Jays camo hat on Friday and a Smoakey BBQ set on Saturday. There will also be line dancing and Western-inspired performances to enjoy.

When: May 24 and 25
Time: Friday, 7:07 pm; Saturday, 3:07 pm
 Rogers Centre
Price: Toronto fans can get a two-day ticket starting at just $40

Anime North

What: Anime North will be celebrating all things anime, manga, music, games and all other forms of Japanese Culture this May.

When: May 24 to 26
Time: Friday, 5 pm to 11 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 1 am; Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm
Toronto Congress Center and Delta Hotel Airport
Price: $60 for the full weekend

Permanent AGO Infinity Mirror Room Opening

What: A year after the extremely successful touring art exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors and the ambitious crowdfunding campaign, the AGO has announced Canada’s first permanent Infinity Mirror Room will open to the public on May 25. Titled Infinity Mirror Room — Let’s Survive Foreverthe exhibit features mirrored orbs suspended from the ceiling and arranged on the ground.

When: May 25
Time: 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Where: AGO, 317 Dundas Street West
Price: The exhibit is included in general admission, which is $19.50 for adults

Gluten Free Garage

What: Toronto’s OG (and only) gluten-free pop-up marketplace returns to Wychwood Barns on Sunday, May 26. Anticipate eats from Neal Brothers, The Butternut Baking Co., Culcherd, The Burger’s Priest, Made Good, Unbun, and so many more.

When: May 26
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street
Price: Available online for $10

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