Spring is here and we’re happy to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom across the city! While the weather is on our side, we have lots to explore! Here’s a list of what’s happening in our city this month of May!
Jane’s Walk Festival: May 5 to 7. This annual event of free public walks encourages everyone to get outside and explore the city’s neighbourhoods by foot. The walks are inspired by Jane Jacobs -a journalist, author, theorist, activist, and proud Torontonian. There are over 170 planned all across the city over three days. The volunteer led walks encourage conversations and connections. A few that caught our attention: Walls in Flower and Water Flowing Underground with Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe (Indigeous Solidarity Group), Ghost Signs of Toronto with Stephan Petar explores west end locations and the heritage of the city through long forgotten faded signs and murals). Downtown Palaces of Retail with Michale Binetti explores legendary retail spaces as well as tiny shops that have transformed the downtown area. Yonge Street’s Amazing Music and Pop Culture History with Mark Vendramini explores a side of “The Strip” you might not know about. A complete list is available here.
Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear exhibition at the AGO: This major retrospective exhibition spans the entire fifth floor of the gallery. Tillmans’ photography ranges from intimate observations to incisive commentary on the shape of our world today. He was recently named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2023). What’s also fascinating is how he makes use of the space in which his work is shown in.
Clif Cardinal’s The Land Acknowledgement or As You Like It: returns May 4 to 7 at the CAA Theatre. As word spread about Cliff Cardinal’s dynamic and provocative one-man show and as critics gave the show rave review after rave review, The Land Acknowledgement became a genuine cultural phenomenon, attracting diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds. It was obvious there were more people who wanted to experience Cliff’s brutally honest and heartfelt acknowledgement about Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous people.
The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh: Crow’s Theatre May 2 to 21. Afong Moy was only 14 when she travelled to the US. She was the first known Chinese woman to step onto American soil in 1834.This play is a dark, poetic, and whimsical, yet searing portrait of Western culture seen through the eyes of a young Chinese woman.
IN BLOOM Flowers and Footwear Exhibition at the Bata Shoe Museum: until October 6, 2023. Florals have inspired the world of fashion for many centuries. Around the globe florals represent beauty but also have deeper meanings. Spring cherry blossoms are symbols of new beginnings. Chrysanthemums symbolize joy and happiness. In this fresh new exhibition, visitors are invited to explore the inspiration that nature has provided both in meaning and source of material in shoemaking.
INLAND: Pop up at former Club Monaco flagship store (157 Bloor Street West). May 5 to 7. Over 70 Canadian designers are featured at this Spring’s pop up market. Meet the designers in person and shop their latest collections from accessories to apparel. Designers include AHIRI, Amber Groen, Bustle Clothing, L’aune, Lesley Hampton, Louve, Narces, June & Valentina and many more. Visit the site here to preview the designers.
Estrella Damm Culinary Tour Toronto: May 1 to 31.Estrella Damm beer was crafted to suit the warm Mediterranean climate, and with patio season around the corner, it’s the perfect refreshing experience. They have partnered with 25+ of Toronto’s top-class restaurants, with each chef creating custom prix-fixe menus and specialty dishes expertly crafted to be paired with Estrella Damm beer. Link here to the list of participating restaurants.
Stranger Things Experience: 8 Unwin Avenue (Port Lands area). Fans of the Netflix series will want to check this latest immersive experience! As you enter the vast warehouse space you’ll quickly learn that you are part of a sleep lab study in the small town of Hawkins. Study subjects (that’s you) will be led through a series of challenges where you will discover your supernatural power. You’re here on a mission but don’t freak out when you come across demogorgans and other creepy characters. The Upside Down will test you but don’t worry, once you’re through to the other side, a whole 80s themed zone will make it all worth while.
The Office Experience: located at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Step into the world of Dunder Mifflin where you can feel like part of the team. Explore the recreated sets of the popular television show. Sit at Pam Beasley’s reception desk, step into Michael Scott’s office, hang out in the staff lounge, try your hand at the Office Olympics and so much more! The gift shop is AMAZING. More about the experience here.
Hot Docs International Film Festival: until May 7. One of my favourite film festivals explores many genres. There’s truly something for everyone. If you’re looking for thought provoking and conversation worthy films there are many. Need some recommendations? Check out Food and Country as food writer Ruth Reichl delves into the status of the food system in America and how, Covid, for example has changed the landscape for farmers, producers, chefs and consumers. It’s an eye opener. Also check out Smoke Sauna Sisterhood where the ritual of cleansing and sharing secrets takes on a much deeper meaning for the women who create this community.
Celebrating Her: A Mother’s Day Weekend Market: Kimpton Saint George Hotel Toronto. May 13. This second annual Mother’s Day “Sip and Shop” pop-up event features locally women owned Canadian businesses. Vendors include candles by Brwn Collective, beauty and skin care products by Radford Studios, fresh flowers by Avida Flora, hand made ceramics by Common Goods Pottery and many more. Admission is free but register for your spot in advance — you’ll also receive a complimentary glass of organic wine courtesy Grow Wild.
Outside Looking In: Meridian Hall. May 12 & 13. Canada’s largest Indigenous youth performance from 13 communities to take part in the 16th annual showcase. Working with some of Canada’s best professional choreographers, 250 student dancers from across the country will take part in this spectacular stage performance. Since the inception of the dance program in 2007, OLI has played a critical role in empowering thousands of Indigenous youth from over 30 communities and achieving high school graduation rates of over 96 per cent while improving academic standing and health and wellbeing. Visit olishow.com/events
And looking ahead to June….
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child celebrates 1 year with a FREE Open House: June 1
Take a peek behind-the-scenes of the most-awarded play in history and join us for a special open house at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre on June 1. Doors open at 11:30 a.m, event begins at 12:30 p.m. Meet members of the cast and be part of a panel discussion, led by critic Richard Crouse. Enjoy door prizes, activations, and the chance to win tickets to the show. Visit Selfie Alley in the CAA Ed Mirvish lobby space to see four spectacular art pieces, made of Hogwarts House bookmarks. These pieces have been commissioned through VIBE Arts and designed by local artists, creating four pieces that represent Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. MUST RSVP to attend! LINK HERE. ( Limit two Open House tickets per account. Quantities limited. Tickets to the Open House event do not include tickets to attend a performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Tickets to the Open House event do not include onstage or backstage access.)