Hunting for some event tips to fill your May days? Well, look no further, as ILT has prepared a list of the top ten events that shouldn’t be missed this upcoming month. Spend the weekend with your kids at the International Circus Festival, explore the city’s architecture at Doors Open Toronto, or check out the newest trends in contemporary photography — and that’s just a start. Have a look at the list and choose events that suit your taste.
1. Contact Photography Festival (May 1 to 31)
Contact Photography Festival kicks off with its 2013 theme “Field of Vision” that encourages artists to explore sight and the power hidden in creative imagination. The annually organized month-long festival brings photography and its beauty closer to the public. Last year, the festival spread to more than 200 venues around the city, and over 500 Canadian and international visitors took part in the exhibitions and supporting events across Ontario. Actually, even if you’re not a photography fan, you will certainly notice the festival, as organizers plan to introduce several public installations at TTC stations and billboards throughout the downtown..
2. Mayworks (May 1 to 15)
The Mayworks festival follows the decades-long tradition of artists’ solidarity with the trade unions, community groups, and organizations dealing with social work. It celebrates working class culture. Many of the exhibited works reflect creators’ support for social causes such as affordable housing, migrant rights, improvement of the welfare system, and the Idle No More movement. As well as the multidisciplinary arts exhibitions and events, the program also features several workshops and forums, such as discussions with Filipino migrant workers and a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop. Venues and ticket prices vary for each event, so check the website for more information.
3. Jane’s Walk (May 4 to 5)
Jane’s Walk refers to free walking tours that focus on presenting the urban landscape in a new way, emphasizing urban literacy and walkable neighbourhoods, and generally promoting people-friendly cities. The movement originated in Toronto when a couple friends of writer and activist Jane Jacobs decided to continue spreading her message after she passed away. Throughout her life, Jacobs promoted livable and fresh, community-based neighbourhoods and spent much time campaigning for her ideas. Since 2006, when the first walk took place, the initiative has been growing, and now there are Jane’s walks all around the world.
4. Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 11 to 12)
All comic arts fans can look forward to two days full of comic-related events, including readings, exhibitions, presentations, and workshops with artists as well as several panel discussions. The Comic Arts Festival welcomes both established comic authors and emerging artists to exhibit their works in extensive gallery areas. The list of confirmed artists includes such names as Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer Prize winner for his Maus), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), and Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets). The festival is free to attend, and it takes place at the Toronto Reference Library.
5. Mother’s Day Tea at Black Creek (May 12)
Black Creek Pioneer Village has prepared special programming to celebrate the day dedicated to one of the most important people in ours lives — our moms. Join your whole family and enjoy the day full of delicious food and drinks and a tour of the historic village. Visitors will enjoy a chance to recreate the Victorian ceremony of taking afternoon tea and savour some exquisitely prepared sandwiches and scones. Reservations are required to ensure enough spaces and food for everyone.
6. Vampire Weekend concert (May 16)
Vampire Weekend returns to Toronto in support of their anticipated release Modern Vampires of the City. The third album of the American indie rock band is scheduled to be presented to the public on May 6. If you want to hear some of the band’s biggest hits like “Giving Up the Gun” or “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and many more performed live, don’t miss the show this spring. The concert will be held at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, and the doors open at 6:00 p.m. Ticket prices range from $45.23 to $58.48 excluding fees.
Spring Art & Craft Show
7. Artfest at the Distillery (May 18 to 20)
Artfest Toronto celebrates the upcoming summer season with Spring Art & Craft Show featuring more than 85 artists and artisans from all over Canada. Exhibits of the participants will showcase unique and one-of-a-kind pottery, jewellery, paintings, glass, wood carvings, and clothes. Visitors can also look forward to tasting delicious gourmet food prepared at the site or enjoying live music performances by Toronto artists. The event is free, so don’t miss your chance to hunt for beautiful pieces to brighten your home in the cobblestone lanes of the Distillery District.
8. HarbourKIDS: Circus (May 19 to 21)
Kids aged 5 to 12 and their parents are all welcome to join a free weekend with Harbourfront Centre and Zero Gravity Circus. The weekend features the Toronto International Circus Festival buzzing with incredible acrobats, dazzling daredevils, and buskers that know how to deliver children’s smiles. The aim of the weekend is to inspire kids to explore their creativity and imagination by getting in touch with contemporary arts.
9. Inside Out (May 23 to June 2)
Toronto hosts the 23rd annual Inside Out Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival in May. What started as a small showcase of film and video created by and dealing with LGBTQ experiences has evolved into the largest event of its kind in Canada with more than 35,000 people attending the screenings. This year, the program features more than 200 films and videos from around the world. Festival organizers have managed to turn the film festival into an extensive celebration of LGBTQ cultures, including discussions with artists and producers, panel discussions, exhibitions, installations, and parties. Kids can look forward to Morro & Jasp and their failed attempt to host a cooking show and an acrobat nicknamed Vague de Cirque coming to say hi from Quebec.
10. Doors Open Toronto (May 25 to 26)
Accept the invitation to explore some of the greatest buildings in our city during the 14th annual Doors Open Toronto. In 2013, almost 150 buildings of historical, architectural, cultural, or social significance will welcome Torontonians to take a peek behind their doors — including many structures that remain closed for the general public for most of the year. This season focuses on the theme “Creators, Makers and Innovators.” The event includes many projects featuring older buildings that have been converted into modern spaces, while the spirit and the architectural beauty of the older designs have been preserved and re-converted in imaginative and innovative ways.
The City of Toronto started the Doors Open Toronto festival in 2000, clearly inspired by similar initiatives in Europe. Ever since its first year, the event has gained great popularity among the public and has attracted more than two million people. During Doors Open’s history, more than 600 buildings and locations across the city have been part of the project—– and we are still impatiently awaiting the start of the 2013 program.
Concerning your own visit, always make sure to check the program properly to avoid disappointment, as some of the buildings will only be open at certain times, or their access might be limited to guided tours. In addition, every year, some queues tend to form at the sites, so be prepared to wait a bit before your visit.