If you’re wondering what to do in Toronto during May, be sure to check out our list of top ten May events in the city. It looks like there’s an exciting month coming!
April 26th to May 6th
Every year, Toronto is proud to host the largest documentary festival in North America. As usual, this year of the festival presents more than 150 breathtaking documentary films from all around the world in about 12 venues scattered around Toronto’s downtown area. Some of the festival highlights include “Life in Stills,” which is about huge efforts to save nearly 1 million negatives of late photographer Rudi Weissenstein when her studio is about to be demolished or “Inocente,” telling an intriguing story of a young girl growing up homeless in San Diego as she discovers that art could change her life. Individual tickets to Hot Docks are $14.50 and tickets to all late-night screenings (those after 11:00 P.M.) are $5, but many more discounted packages for extra keen filmgoers are available as well.
May 1st to August 26th
The Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West) is coming up with a very special exhibition starting in the beginning of May: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso in Paris (the Parisian museum decided to send the masterpieces out to the world while its building undergoes renovation works). This unique temporary exhibition introduces more than 147 highlights from the Musée’s amazing collection and could be viewed as a major survey of masterworks by the art genius whose name became a synonym for modern art. Exhibited works will be displayed chronologically to follow the artistic development and will include Picasso’s paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the world of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, as Toronto is the only Canadian stop of the tour before the works return to Paris.
May 3rd to May 13th
The 20th annual Toronto Jewish Film Festival is an intriguing showcase of over 95 feature films and documentaries representing 15 countries that are linked with Jewish culture and identity. The festival tries to celebrate the diversity of Jewish communities all around the world also by presenting all the films in their original language with subtitles. As a part of the film competition, the David A. Stein Memorial Award will be presented to the director of the best documentary making its Canadian premiere at the festival. Several free ticketed events are also part of the festival, including free talks and couple of movie screenings. No Torontonian should miss this colourful festival celebrating the roch Jewish culture (lucky ones might even win a trip to Israel!).
May 4th to May 6th
The Good Food Festival celebrates its 20th birthday with style! The largest festival of home cooking in Canada will open in the International Trade Centre to introduce its visitors to the world of fine cuisine. The programme of the weekend dedicated to food includes on-stage cooking lessons by food experts, a presentation of wonderful cheeses and wine, and ethnic food sampling. Some of the most prominent Canadian chefs promised to come and share their skills and experience. Furthermore, besides tasting, visitors will have an opportunity to buy lots of delicious or useful stuff to bring home. The luckiest Good Food Festival visitors will also have a chance to win an amazing vacation getaway. Admission is $15 when purchased online and $20 at the door.
The Toronto Marathon is a 35-year-old tradition that offers an opportunity for athletes of all ages to challenge their limits in a downhill, fast, and scenic course around the city. All the race types (marathon, half marathon, half marathon walk, and five-kilometre run) will finish in Queen’s Park, one of the prettiest venues that could be chosen for the runs. This year, about 14,000 participants from over 45 countries are expected to participate in the run and the numbers might grow further. All the determined runners who manage to reach the finish will receive a special 2012 edition of the finisher’s medal. The price of registration for participants starts at $40. People under 18 are not permitted to take part in the marathon race.
This month-long festival encompasses what photography has to say for the contemporary world. Featuring more than 1,000 artists, the Contact Festival is the largest photography event in the world that takes place in various locations and over 200 different venues. This year’s main theme of the festival is “Public,” stimulated by the global renaissance of interest in street photography. Several exhibitions, site-specific simulations, and events all around the city will try to explore the power of photography to shape collective experience and bring things to the public sphere. The Contact festival also cooperates with Hot Docs during some of the events. As usual, numerous interesting workshops and debates will be present for the whole duration of the festival.
Take your kids out and show them a world full of discoveries and fun at Science Rendezvous, an annual festival that focuses on bringing scientific research to life on various university campuses, research institutions, and community centres all around the country. This exciting day dedicated to science includes live demonstrations, explosive experiments, and many hands-on activities for everyone. Admission is free and the experience at the Science Rendezvous is unforgettable. Some of the event sites in Toronto include all the Toronto Public Libraries, the University of Toronto campuses, the Ontario Science Centre, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and many more. It’s where people and science meet!
May 15th to May 16th
During the Forest of Reading Festival of Trees, the largest children’s literary event in Canada, children will discover the adventure of reading. The Harbourfront Centre in partnership with the Ontario Library Association welcomes two days full of fun workshops, award ceremonies (prizes named after different tree types are presented to the authors), author signings, and many more events that focus on love for books and reading. Last year, the Forest of Reading Festival of Trees was visited more than 8,000 keen literature fans and it is expected to grow even further this year. Tickets cost $14 dollars.
May 19th to May 21st
The historic Distillery District will embrace more than 85 artists and artisans from all around Canada for a huge festival of arts during the weekend from May 19th to 21st. These three days are going to be filled with presentations of a large variety of arts, wood, glass, textile, alternative clothing, pottery, photography, jewellery, and body care. Besides an opportunity to buy all of the amazing things to be found in the Distillery during the festival, the event includes many hands-on activities and interactive presentations given by professional artisans on the site. So don’t hesitate to hit the industrial part of town to get inspired and maybe also to become artisans yourselves!
Running: May 26th to May 27th
Doors Open Toronto is an annual festival for all Torontonians who are keen on architecture in our city. For two days, many historically and architecturally important buildings (especially those generally closed to the public) open their doors to welcome visitors and offer them a free and often also guided visit. In commemoration of the War of 1812 bicentennial, this year of the festival will be devoted to 200 years of building the urban city. More than 135 significant and interesting buildings will open up to highlight their city builders who took part in shaping Toronto that we know today. As every year, a photography contest is part of the festival.