27 things to do in Toronto this weekend: January 17 to 19

Jan 17 2020, 1:00 pm

Three words Toronto:  Treat yo’ self.

It’s the weekend, you deserve it. Make some time to do something interesting, something fun, or even something hilarious. From the Toronto Light Festival to movies on the biggest screen in town, there’s plenty to do this January 17 to 19.

Friday, January 17


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: Now until February 9
Where: York Street Park — York and Harbour Streets
Admission: Free

Toronto Light Fest

What: For the fourth year in a row, the historic Distillery District will be home to the Toronto Light Fest this winter. Designed to entertain and inspire, the light festival will be taking over the historic area, filling it with light, and becoming one of the largest open-air sculpture galleries in North America, according to organizers.

When: January 17 t0 March 1, 2020
Where: Distillery District
Admission: Free

This is Some Louvre Shit

What: For this exhibition, Thrush Holmes steps away from the flat canvas to explore three-dimensional forms. Retaining his energetic use of colour, Holmes sprays 200 15.5” cubes with recharged fire extinguishers full of heavily pigmented paint. The resulting works will be assembled and topped with neon to create a monumental installation that marries function and aesthetics in the form of a pyramid. Visitors are invited to sit, climb on, and explore the structure.

When: January 17 and 18
Time: Opening party, Friday, 8 pm to 1 am; exhibition viewing, Saturday, noon to 6 pm
Where: East Room — 50 Carroll Street

Class of 2020

What: Exclaim’s Class of 2020 is a huge multi-city festival and there are two nights of shows this weekend in Toronto. Friday’s got Emily Steinwall, Myles Castello, and Nutrients, Ferrari Garden all performing, while Saturday will see Luna Li, Basement Revolver, Ducks Unlimited, Spirit Josh, and Roach.

When: January 17 and 18
Time: Friday, 9:15 pm; Saturday, 8 pm
Where: Monarch Tavern — 12 Clinton Street
Admission: $10.50 each night

Forrest Gump: The IMAX Experience

What: It’s the greatest story ever told, about the greatest life ever lived. Forrest Gump is playing on one of the biggest screens in town. Get out and see Forrest, Jenny, Lt. Dan, and of course, Mama.

When: January 17 and 18
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Cinesphere — 955 Lake Shore Blvd West
Admission: $15, available online

After Hours

What: It’s a weekend show of some of the funniest and most talented comedic minds in the city and you’ll still have time to catch the train home afterwards. After Hours at Comedy Bar is a hilarious institution not to be missed as the venue collects the best local laugh-smiths around.

When: Friday, January 17
Time: 11:30 pm to 1 am
Where: Comedy Bar — 945 Bloor Street West
Admission: $8, available online

iskwē in Toronto

What: One of the most innovative and original artists in the world, iskwē is performing in Toronto this Friday. Promoting her latest work acākosīk, the artist experiments with musical styles from electro-pop to post-rock.

When: Friday, January 17
Time: 8 pm
Where: Mod Club — 722 College Street
Admission: $19.50, available online

The Divide | Dr. Phibes

What: It’s a double feature of some classically campy movies alongside a fully licenced bar. Watch as survivors of a nuclear attack are grouped together for days in the basement of their apartment building, where fear and dwindling supplies wear away at their dynamic in The Divide. If that’s not your speed watch as a doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife’s death.

When: Friday, January 17
Time: 8:45 pm
Where: Kingsway Movie Theatre & Cafe — 3030 Bloor Street West
Admission: Free


What: DesignTO, formally known as The Toronto Design Offsite Festival, is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 free exhibitions, window installations, and events forming Toronto’s design week. This is the 10th year of the event.

When: January 17 to 26
Where: Venues throughout the city
Admission: Many events are free, register online

Phantom of the Opera

What: Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera returns to Toronto as part of its North American Tour. The beloved story is backed by an Orchestra of 52, making it one of the largest productions now on tour.

When: Now until February 2
Where: Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King Street West
Admission: Tickets available online starting at $59

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

Saturday, January 18

DJ Skate Nights

What: Sharpen your skates and skills at Toronto’s number one outdoor winter party. This year you can expect another stellar lineup of DJs that will bring the heat to your Saturday nights.

When: Now until February 15 (Saturday evenings)
Time: 8 pm to 11 pm
Where: Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Price: Skating is free

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

Bedroom Antics

What: Bedroom Antics is a fun and lighthearted stand-up show about dating, relationships, the bedroom, and everything in between. A positive night of comedy with some of Toronto’s favourite stand-ups talking and laughing about love.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 10 pm
Where: Second City Training Centre — 99 Blue Jays Way
Admission: $15

Bushfire Relief Run – High Park Demons

What: High Park’s Aussie Rules footy club has organized a run to raise some funds to help the Australian Red Cross: Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. After a 5k participants will head to The Wicket for some hydration after the run where $1 from each beer sold will be donated.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 2 pm
Where: High Park
Admission: Register online

QS World MBA Tour

What: This event is a one-stop shop for anyone looking to pursue an MBA. You’ll
be able to meet face-to-face with admissions directors from top business schools from local colleges and around the world. You’ll also be able to get advice on your applications from industry experts, network with your peers, get resume and career guidance as well as a free professional headshot for your Linkedin profile. Attendees are also eligible to apply for a pool of scholarships, worth up to $7 million USD, to help finance their MBAs.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 1:30 to 6 pm
Where: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel — 123 Queen Street West
Admission: Free

Dumpster Raccoon Cinema: CATS SING-ALONG

What: The greatest disasterpiece of nine lifetimes, CATS, is at Dumpster Raccoon Cinema this weekend. Celebrate with a Jellicle Ball Singalong Screening. There will be live performers helping you hit all the high notes in the greatest collection of weirdos since the original Broadway production.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Revue Cinema — 400 Roncesvalles Avenue
Admission: $12 to $15, available online

Drag Brunch at Brazen Head

What: Why wait till Sunday for brunch? Shante or sashay over to Brazen Head on Saturday and join legendary Toronto queen Tynomi Banks for one serious extravaganza.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: Noon to 2 pm
Where: Brazen Head — 165 East Liberty Street
Admission: Call 416-535-8787 to reserve a table

Beaches Library Shakespeare Readers Club

What: Have fun reading Shakespeare aloud. Participants can either volunteer to read or simply listen. This is the way the work was meant to be enjoyed. Copies of the play will be available and drop-ins are welcome.

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: 2 to 4 pm
Where: 2161 Queen Street East
Admission: Free

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

Toronto fitness fundraiser in support of Australia bushfires

What: To support wildlife shelters and carers in Australia that have been affected by the devastating bushfires and extreme heat events, there will be a special series of fitness classes raising money for Wildlife Victoria. The group provides a vital link for the community between sick, injured and orphaned Australian wildlife and the appropriate response and care needed. There will be great classes as well as drinks, food, and a silent auction

When: Saturday, January 18
Time: Three classes at 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm
Where: 580 King Street West
Admission: $30, register online

Sunday, January 19

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

Love Shack

What: Come drink drinks and listen to excellent tunes. It’s time to get weird. DJ DangerCat will be playing all the best rock & roll, indie, surf, garage, and new wave hits all night. There’s also $5 rail drinks and free pool.

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 9 pm
Where: Swan Dive — 1631 Dundas Street West
Admission: No cover

Murder at the ROM

What: A curator has been murdered and a trail of clues left behind, all connected to secrets in the collections. Work in teams of two to six people and follow the clues through the museum, collecting pieces of information while piecing together a tale of greed, lust, pride and revenge. There are multiple suspects, one victim and you must crack a cryptic code left in the curator’s appointment book to solve the mystery. After solving the crime, you’re free to explore the museum!

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 1 pm
Where: Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park
Admission: $44.99, available online

Suds & Duds Clothing Swap

What: Reduce your waste, contribute to the sharing economy, update your wardrobe, and raise funds for Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto. Just bring laundered, gently used women’s or unisex items that you no longer want in your closet. Shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves and hats are all welcome.

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 2 pm
Where: People’s Pint Brewing Company — 90 Cawthra Ave Unit 101

Project Akira: Terrell’s Quarter Centurion Celebration

What: Its 2020 so that means Quarter Centurion celebrator party is going down. Celebrate at a massive rave at the two-storey sci-fi bar that is See-Scape. There’s a stacked lineup of DJs, including Karma.Love (who is celebrating his birthday).

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 9 pm
Where: See-Scape — 347 Keele Street
Admission: No cover

Sinful Sundays Burlesque

What: Sinful Sundays is Cherry Cola’s signature burlesque event. Come be entertained at the weekly “temple of tease,” featuring an always rotating lineup of gorgeous burlesque entertainers, drag, and variety acts, including performers from all over the nation.

When: Sunday, January 19
Time: 9 pm
Where: Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n’ Rolla Cabaret & Lounge — 200 Bathurst Street
Admission: No cover

Peter SmithPeter Smith

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