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TIFF 2013 Survival Guide: How to Avoid TIFF

TIFF not to your taste? Here's how to avoid anything festival-related, without all the FOMO.

Jake Gyllenhaal at TIFF 2012.

If you haven’t heard that the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival begins this Thursday, then congratulations! You have no need of the rest of this post.

Many Torontonians look forward to the annual 10-day extravaganza of star-stalking, party-going, and popcorn-eating (and some really, really look forward to it). Not everybody does, though. Out there is a small minority of citizens who are either indifferent to Toronto’s biggest arts event, or who actively seek to avoid the letters T, I, and F from mid-August through September. It’s a daunting task, but it can be done.

Though Torontoist will constantly be updating its TIFF 2013 page with reviews, interviews, and special features, it’s also happy to provide a few tips for those who’d like to dim the lights on the star power this year.

Avoid the Danger Zones

If one is going to avoid a film festival, one must stay away from certain theatres, hotels, restaurants, and clubs. As shown on this map, TIFF takes over much of the downtown core, including Bloor Street from Yonge Street to Christie Street, Queen Street from Church Street to Dovercourt Road, and King Street from University Avenue to Bathurst Street. Now is the perfect time to check out places in those out-of-the-way neighbourhoods you’ve heard so much about: the restaurants in Leslieville, the bars in The Junction and Roncesvalles, the trails around the Evergreen Brick Works, the street food in Little India, etc. You can even satisfy your film fix while in new territory at non-festival venues like The Revue (400 Roncesvalles) and The Fox (2236 Queen Street East)—or at The Caribbean Tales Toronto Film Showcase at Harbourfront Centre or the annual Cabbagetown Arts Festival. Just beware of any itineraries that bring you across town—the traffic will be a formidable foe.

Get Out of Dodge

If even being in the same city as TIFF tests your last nerve, then another option is to skip town entirely. Don’t have enough vacation days for an international jaunt? Luckily, early fall is still prime time to get in that road trip you had hoped to do this summer. The Grid has already outlined three getaways to American rust belt cities (Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Buffalo), and there are plenty of worthwhile drives here in Ontario, as well. Culture vultures can take in a live performance at the Stratford Festival or the Shaw Festival. The young at heart can try out a summer camp for adults this coming weekend.

Don’t Leave Home—At All

This could be the best time of the year for anyone with an intimidating to-do list. Devote some time and attention to your home DIY projects and repairs, a musical instrument, new recipes, or a book or two. These 10 days will fly by—and you’ll have a beautifully organized living room, perfect for breaking in your new Netflix account.

Press the Mute Button

Making the personal choice not to place your body anywhere near red carpets, clubland, or the swanky hotels of Yorkville doesn’t mean that everyone you know will make the same decision. Unfortunately, their business is your business, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and the speed of online journalism (ahem). But thanks to annoying stories like that one about the Royal Baby, we now have several internet tools to block any unwanted content from soiling our precious news feeds. Filttr, Twalala, and Social Fixer can filter out certain keywords—like TIFF, film, Cameron Bailey, starstalking, and cronut (just because)—to keep your online browsing festival-free.

Curate Your Own Arts Festival

Check the Torontoist Events section for daily concerts, plays, lectures, parties, and markets that are still happening despite the onslaught of movie stars. Make the most of these 10 days, and show your friends how good a time you had while they were digging through trash to find Benedict Cumberbatch’s discarded napkin. Good luck!

Want more TIFF coverage? Torontoist‘s film festival hub is right over here.

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