Get ready! We are calling June the comeback month here in the city (aka the city with the longest pandemic lockdown) It seems like many of us are more than ready to get out — maybe even for the first time in over 2 years. There’s a ton happening and whether you’re looking for a fresh date night idea or #girlsnightout or something to do the family or even for a little me time, here are just a few ideas coming in hot for June!
Luminato Festival: June 9 to 19. Finally! YAY! Returning to Toronto is this incredible 11 days of concerts, dance, theatre, music, art and literature. Starting with David Suzuki’s What You Won’t Do For Love where Suzuki and Tara Cullis present a unique and intimate theatre experience that asks whether the love we have for each other can inspire us to take action for the planet.
WeeFestival: until June 12. This arts and culture festival created for the youngest contemporary arts and culture seekers (and their families) offers events, concerts and more at four venues across the city. Some of the featured performances include: Tribal Vision Dance (June 4 at 12h following The Friendship Star) at Native Earth’s AKI Studio Mestre Sérgio Xocolate and Suzanne Roberts Smith (June 12 at 12h) following Pop! Pop! and Tricoter (Bébé)) at Factory Theatre, Kuné – Canada’s Global Orchestra (June 12 @ 14h following HauNodi 河 নদী) at Native Earth’s AKI Studio. See site for more info here.
Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival: June 9 to 12. Harbourfront Centre. The biennial festival will present runway shows, panel discussions, workshops as well as a marketplace featuring over 60 designers. Each night the Festival will host a theatrically-produced runway show – Eternal Imageries, Sovereign Matriarchs, Time Weavers, and A Letter From Home. Some of the hands-on workshops include Hide Tanning, Learn to Bead Vamps & Speak James Bay Cree, and Regalia Applique for beginners.
STREET at The Bentway: open until the end of August. Is a series of free art installations, performances and celebrations that will come to life on – and in – Toronto’s shared roadways, sidewalks, and public spaces. Some highlights include: PARADE by Mimi Lien A kinetic installation uses a motorised conveyor-belt suspended high above under the Gardiner Expressway – created by award-winning designer and MacArthur Genius grantee Mimi Lien. This epic installation really needs to be seen to be believed! Weweni Bizindan (Listen Carefully) by Ogimaa Mikana Project (Tkaronto, Canada) Continuing their practice of re-installing Anishinaabe place-names throughout the roads, highways, trails and paths of Toronto, the Ogimaa Mikana Project (Susan Blight and Hayden King) offers a new dialogue with the street. Amid the concrete, traffic, and winds of the Gardiner, King and Blight, listen and respond to the sounds of Anishinaabe life. Moko Jumbie Mas Camp by Michael Lee Poy (Maracas St. Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago; Toronto, Canada) In celebration of Carnival’s long relationship with the streets of Toronto, artist, educator, designer and architect Michael Lee Poy leads a team of artists to transform The Bentway Studio into a Moko Jumbie Mas Camp, offering free workshops for young people in stilt-walking, costume-making and more, culminating in a community parade centering balance, regalia, joy and emancipation. a wandering by the Reconstructions of Home Curatorial Collective (Toronto, Canada) Following the year-long collaboration between The Bentway and SKETCH Working Arts, the Reconstructions of Home public art project continues with an audio-visual tour, presenting a series of perspectives on street culture, and lived experiences of homelessness and houselessness. And With by Germaine Liu with soundscape design by Mark Zurawinski (Toronto, Canada) – June 25-26. Is a sound procession featuring multiple percussionists, vocalists, a mobile soundscape, and a “Wizard” that travels along The Bentway and surrounding neighbourhoods. Join scenario-maker Germaine Liu and sound designer Mark Zurawinski on a journey to experience the sounds, textures and chorus of the rumbling urban artery of the Gardiner corridor like never before.
Do West Fest: June 3 to 5. Formerly known as Dundas West Fest, Do West Fest’s 14-block summer street festival is back and bigger than ever in a new three-day format featuring free musical performances, art installations, participation of local businesses, artisan vendors and more. Over 200,000 attendees are expected for a weekend of fun with extended patios, dozens of local food trucks and childrens’ activities. And don’t forget the shopping, from both local Dundas businesses and artisans from the surrounding area. New this year is the Hippie Market Block Party at the west end of the festival between St. Clarens and Lansdowne. It’s a great opportunity to look for uniquely local gift ideas, from handmade candles from Terradomi or vintage collage art by Flanzella.
Motive Crime & Mystery Festival: June 3 to 5. The inaugural MOTIVE Festival, from the Toronto International Festival of Authors happens this month. Featuring nearly 100 authors from Canada and around the globe, over 40 in-person events, and a variety of free outdoor events all weekend long. Along with single interviews and readings, MOTIVE offers several series of events that bring world-class authors and experts together to discuss fascinating themes that can’t be unpacked in just one session. Four events explore the politics and societal effects of real-life crime and mysteries under the banner name, Critical Conversations. Several Masterclasses demonstrate key facets of crime writing, while The Re-Read series explores genre classics through the eyes of contemporary crime writers. Learn from the best and get a new perspective on topics all in one weekend. Browse events and to purchase tickets link here.
Bike for Brain Health: (June 5) Mattamy Homes and Baycrest will host the inaugural Bike for Brain Health, reviving the iconic DVP ride with a new mission – to defeat dementia. The ride welcomes all cyclists for the exhilarating opportunity to ride traffic-free along the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway. Participants can choose to complete a 25km, 50km or 75km ride in support of Baycrest, a leader in brain health and aging. Cyclists will also find Baycrest giveaways and prizes, music, magicians, kids’ activities, food and beverages.
Beyond Borders: Reshaping the Ordinaries of Hong Kong Ordinary exhibition: open until June 28 at Yorkville Village. is jointly presented by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto), Hong Kong Arts Centres and CanAsia Creative Exchange to showcase Hong Kong artists including Chan Wai-tung, Jessica Si Meng-kuan, and Frankie Yu Siu-naam, reinterpret traditional materials and artworks used in Hong Kong to create their own series of contemporary artworks for home decor or use in the modern life.
Word on the Street: June 11 and 12, Queen’s Park Circle. The annual celebration of storytelling, ideas and imagination is Toronto’s favourite literary event. Visitors can browse a vibrant marketplace for books, magazines, comics, and more by Canadian and Indigenous authors, and enjoy readings and panels featuring more than 100 authors on five stages over two full days. Coming to the Main Stage:Heather O’Neill, Jesse Wente, Maude Barlow, Charlie Petch, Nancy Jo Cullen, Rollie Pemberton (a.k.a. Cadence Weapon), Naben Ruthnum, Randy Boyagoda, Robyn Maynard. Many more are listed on their site.
Hybrid programming includes livestreams of the Festival Mainstage and Great Books Marquee that will be available on the WOTS Toronto YouTube channel for viewers across Canada. More information about accessibility and COVID safety measures are available on the festival website. Admission is free.
Fantastic Beasts at the ROM: opens June 11. Visitors will explore the natural wonders of the animal world and the mythical creatures they inspired in Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature. This exhibition, created by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and the Natural History Museum in London where it originally debuted, juxtaposes animal species from nature with the magical creatures that inhabit the Wizarding World, will be on display at ROM until January 2, 2023.
International Ceramic Art Fair at The Gardiner Museum: June 9 to 19. Making its highly anticipated return to the Gardiner Museum, attendees can view and purchase contemporary works from an outstanding roster of Canadian and international artists and galleries, and join the scheduled talks, tours, performances, and more.
Also coming up at the Gardiner Museum is SMASH: Terra, the contemporary art, cocktail, cuisine event organized by the museum’s Young Patron Circle. SMASH is a night when the next generation of artists, arts enthusiasts, and cultural philanthropists come together to celebrate the city’s vibrant arts community and see how young Canadian artists are pushing the boundaries of their media. This year’s event includes Randell Adjei (Poet Laureate, spoken word artist, author), Sami Tsang, and Jasmine Cardenas. Tickets here.
Talking Earth at the Gardiner Museum: a new permanent public artwork by Tekaronhiáhkhwa / Santee Smith will be unveiled in front of the Gardiner Museum, coinciding with the opening of the International Ceramic Art Fair (ICAF), a 10-day showcase of contemporary ceramics by Canadian and international artists. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto’s Year of Public Art 2021–2022, the sculpture was commissioned by the Gardiner to honour the ongoing Indigenous presence on Turtle Island.
On June 10, 11, and 12 at 9:15 pm, Talking Earth will be activated in a series of free public performances by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre on the Gardiner’s outdoor plaza, generously supported by Barry and Lindy Green. No registration is necessary.
TSO Free Live Stream Performances (June 9): The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) celebrates the final weeks of its 2021/22 season with a Free TSO Live Stream of Gimeno Conducts Grieg & Mahler, on June 9, 2022 at 8:00pm, and available for viewing through Thursday, June 15. The program includes two World Premières—both commissioned by the TSO as part of its Centennial Celebrations—and masterworks by Edvard Grieg and Gustav Mahler. RSVP for the Free TSO Live Stream by 11:59pm on Wednesday, June 8 at TSO.CA/LiveStream Once signed up via the RSVP form, patrons will receive a link to access the concert on the day of the performance. An archived version of the concert will also be available for viewing via the same link through June 15, 2022. Tickets for the live performance of Gimeno Conducts Grieg & Mahler in Roy Thomson Hall Thursday, June 9 at 8:00pm, start at $29 and are available through TSO.CA,
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre: The highly anticipated Canadian production of the popular musical has officially begun and with the first day of opening, David Mirvish announced even more opportunities to see the show. With additional dates released and the chance to nab last minute $40 tickets in the daily “Golden Snitch” lottery there’s even more reason to see this over and over again.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child originally cast a spell over the world as an epic two-part event. Now, the show has been boldly restaged as one singular performance by the award-winning creative team. The story picks up 19 years after Harry, Ron and Hermione saved the wizarding world, they’re back on a most extraordinary new adventure – this time, joined by a brave new generation that has only just arrived at the legendary Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Prepare for spectacular spells, a mind-blowing race through time, and an epic battle to stop mysterious forces, all while the future hangs in the balance. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany.
Festival Players of Prince Edward County: The summer season of exciting entertainment begins June 29 and runs till September 4. The season brings an expansive lineup of theatre, dance, comedy and music to the heart of PEC at one of The County’s most iconic venues – The Eddie Hotel and Farm. Beginning late June, the HAYMAKER COMEDY FESTIVAL, will feature some of Canada’s top stand-up comics, including Colin Mochrie, Deb McGrath, Elvira Kurt, Wassim El-Mounzer and Gavin Crawford, performing in the historic Red Barn Theatre. Festival Players will also present a series of COUNTY UP! Experiences through the summer, including special events, concerts, and celebrity chef dinners at the historic Regent Theatre in Picton and in the Red Barn at The Eddie. Tickets and a complete list of events can be found here.
Omaggio al Formaggio dinner event celebrating the TOCA’s Cheese Cave Reopening: June 9 opening. This exquisite evening marks the reopening of the restaurant’s famous “cheese cave”. Join in the opening evening dedicated to all things cheese! Start with the opening reception , followed by a stunning 3-course cheese-centric meal presented in classic TOCA Italian style. The evening will also include a short presentation and tasting of some specialty cheeses, as well as a tour of the renowned cave led by Afrim Pristine of Toronto’s iconic Cheese Boutique. This will surely be a cheese lover’s night to remember! Located at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel. Reservation scan be made via OpenTable $125 per person (additional $75 for wine pairings per person).
Dixon Road at High Park Amphitheatre: June 3 to June 19.
tells the story of a Somali family who immigrate to Canada in 1991 as the civil war begins to tear their homeland apart. They settle in Dixon Road, in a neighbourhood near Pearson airport that is still the heart of Toronto’s Somali community today.
Combining traditional Somali melodies, R&B and contemporary verse, Dixon Road is an exhilarating journey about dreams, displacement, and finding a new sense of home. Join The Musical Stage Company & Obsidian Theatre Company for the arrival of an extraordinary new Canadian musical.
Avalon Lavender Farm: officially opening on June 18 (International Picnic Day!) venture a little further outside of the city to this enchanting purple field filled with fresh lavender. Home to over 30,000 lush lavender plants, you can experience the farm and take in all the photo worthy moments. Be sure to take some fresh lavender home too! Bring your yoga mats for their evening sunset salutations right on site at their Celtic-style stone circle Thursdays through to Sundays in the evenings. Follow their social media for more events and happenings. Tickets and more information here.
Princess Diana: Accredited Access Photo and Art Exhibition at Casa Loma: Many special enchanted events continue to happen at Toronto’s iconic castle. For Princess Diana fans, the stunning photo exhibition offers a more intimate point of view from Official Royal Photographers. The images are displayed beautifully among the castle’s corridors and private residences amongst the castle’s historic collections.
Bob Marley One Love Experience: opening in July at the Immersive Lighthouse ArtSpace (1 Yonge) The experience will showcase never-before-seen Marley photographs and memorabilia, while immersing you in a journey through his life, passions, influences, and enduring legacy.Venture through the One Love Forest, visit the Soul Shakedown Studio and delve into the multi-sensory experience celebrating one of the world’s most beloved and unifying musical figures.
Boots and Hearts: (August 4 to 7, Burl’s Creek festival grounds). Tickets are now on sale for this popular country music and camping festival. The award winning four-day music festival attracts country fans across the nation in celebration of great music and the ultimate festival experience. The largest festival of it’s in kind in Canada is coming back bigger than ever this year with Shania Twain, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt and more! Also, this summer is the launch of the festival’s partnership with Taste Toronto – the pair is teaming up to introduce TasteTown, an all-immersive country-western VIP experience filled with exciting activations and mouthwatering food options from some of the city’s top restaurants. Visual Artist Briony will be Boots Bound to celebrate Women in Country in partnership with SiriusXM and Universal Music Canada joins forces with the festival to find the next BIG Country star!