27 things to do in Toronto this weekend: January 24 to 26

Jan 24 2020, 6:55 am

The weekend is here, you made it, congratulations.

Reward yourself by doing something fun, relaxing, wild, whatever you want. There are so many awesome things going down today (including Lunar New Year celebrations!) that fit every flavour and style of human in Toronto this January 24 to 26.

Friday, January 24

DesignTO

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: Now until January 26
Where: Venues throughout the city
Admission: Many events are free, register online

LOOP

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: Now until March 1
Where: Distillery District
Admission: Free

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

Art, Architecture, Design Film Festival

What: Celebrate the architects, artists and designers who have shaped our world at Toronto’s newest film festival. Featuring special guests and exciting panel discussions.

When: On until January 26
Time: Locations vary
Where: 506 Bloor Street West
Admission: Available online

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 24 and 31
Time: 10 pm to 2 am
Where: The Piston — 937 Bloor Street West
Admission: Free if you register online

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

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

Dying.dialogues

What: Dying.dialogues is a mini-symposium that invites participants to share and reflect on design practice as it relates to the process of death. It aims to facilitate problem solving by making ‘tools’ to encourage dialogue about mortality, helping us to find perspective and turning death from something we fear into something we might learn from.

When: Friday, January 24
Time: 6 to 7 pm
Where: OCAD University — 100 McCaul Street
Admission: Free

Class of 2020

What: Exclaim’s Class of 2020 is a huge multi-city festival and it is closing this weekend in Toronto. Head out to see The Mooks, Human Magic, The Grizzley Coast, and more. It’s going to be wild.

When: Friday, January 24
Time: 8:30 pm
Where: Lee’s Palace — 529 Bloor Street West
Admission: $10.50, available online

Mark Little standup show

What: Canada’s number one good boy Mark Little tapes an hour of stand-up with help from his nemesis Andrew Bush. Your job is to watch and cheer. Little is best known for his work on Mr. D, Cavendish, and Picnicface.

When: Friday, January 24
Time: 8 pm
Where: Comedy Bar — 945 Bloor Street West
Admission: $15, available online

SAFEHOUSE

What: Toronto comes alive on Friday nights and one of the best places to see that fire for yourself is at SAFEHOUSE, Nest’s night for dancehall, hip-hop, soca, and more. Music will be provided by Junya Menace and DJ Smartiez.

When: Friday, January 24
Time: 7 pm
Where: Nest — 423 College Street
Admission: $30 at the door

Saturday, January 25

2020 Lunar New Year Celebrations

To highlight the fifteen-day celebrations and in welcoming the year of the Rat, Toronto Chinatown BIA will spearhead the celebrations with an opening ceremony in Dragon City Mall followed by a magnificent lantern exhibition, and a lineup of interactive games and performances to showcase the rich heritage of Asian traditions during the 2020 Lunar New Year Celebrations.

When: January 25 to February 9
Where: Dragon City Mall — 280 Spadina Avenue

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

AGO All Hours

What: AGO All Hours is back this weekend, inviting visitors to enjoy a day of warmth, storytelling and comfort. Check it out and experience a cozy campsite in the heart of the museum, pop-up tours and performances by emerging Toronto artists.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 10:30 am to 10 pm
Where: AGO, 317 Dundas Street West
Admission: Free with regular admission

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

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 Black Zeus.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 7:30 pm
Where: Big Rock Brewery — 1589 The Queensway
Admission: $15, available online

LAVA LAMP with DJ Fawn Big Canoe

What: Do you have a need to get down to some serious soul and disco music? Well DJ Fawn Big Canoe is ready to oblige. This Saturday he’s spinning some of the best music in from the genre into the wee hours of the morning.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 10 pm
Where: Swan Dive — 1631 Dundas Street West

Bass Witch

What: On the eve of the first witches moon of 2020, gather to bring big femme energy into a new decade. This time, organizers are deepening the frequencies with sound crafted by 40hz Soundsystem and growing into a bigger space. If you like deep mystical music, this is the event to hit.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 10 pm to 5 am
Where: Location to be revealed later
Admission: $15 to $35, available online

Tommy Youngsteen: The Very Best of The Band

What: Tommy Youngsteen is the premier Bruce Springsteen cover band, and now they’re touring now playing the very best of another group of classic rockers, The Band.

When: Saturday, January 25
Time: 9:30 pm
Where: The Horseshoe Tavern — 370 Queen Street West
Admission: $20, available online

Sunday, January 26

Chinese New Year at CF Fairview

Marvel at large-scale and eye-catching lantern displays suspended from the ceilings, and enjoy exciting cultural experiences including a modern “Street Dance” and traditional Lion Dance and eye-dotting ceremony. Blooming Cotton Candy will also be popping up in Centre Court from 11 am to 7 pm, just like at Markville. Enjoy photo opportunities with the God of Fortune who will be handing out Lucky Red Pockets with a chocolate coin.

When: January 26
Time:  2 to 3 pm
Where: 1800 Sheppard Avenue East, Toronto
Price: Free

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 26
Time: 9 pm
Where: Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n’ Rolla Cabaret & Lounge — 200 Bathurst Street
Admission: No cover

He-Tox Presents: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

What: From hell’s heart comes one of the most over-acted movies of all time. Beam yourself up to the second (and first actually good) Star Trek feature film. Enjoy the movie and be ready to yell “Khan!” when the moment comes.

When: Sunday, January 26
Time: 7 pm
Where: Church Street Espresso — 585 Church Street

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 26
Time: 1 pm
Where: Royal Ontario Museum — 100 Queens Park
Admission: $44.99, available online

Grammy Viewing Party at The Gladstone

What: Hosts Kaleb Robertson and Anasimone George will be hosting a night of laughs and large award statues while providing commentary, trivia, and more during the commercial breaks. Come and cheer on your favourite nominees and watch on-screen performances by the years biggest artist.

When: Sunday, January 26
Time: 7 pm
Where: Gladstone Hotel — 1214 Queen Street West
Admission: No cover

Tales from the Big Smoke

What: Tales from the Big Smoke brings some of the city’s best short films to the big screen. Taking a trip through Toronto over time, the films are from veteran journalists, iconic Canadian artists, and some of our most interesting creators working today, tell stories of our past, present, and future.

When: Sunday, January 26
Time: 6 pm
Where: Paradise — 1006 Bloor Street West
Admission:$14, available online

Suckers for Trivia Present: Oscar Winning Movies

What: The Oscars are right around the corner so this month movie lovers can go up against each other for six rounds of questions all about Oscar winning movies. There will be multiple rounds and categories, enough to keep even the biggest film buffs guessing.

When: Sunday, January 26
Time: 7 pm
Where: 489B Church Street