In today's Urban Planner: the arrival of TIFF, a science- and beer-filled birthday party, and a modern Greek tragicomedy.
- Film: Some see September as the death of summer, while others see it as a great time to watch movies and stalk celebrities. We are, of course, talking about the Toronto International Film Festival, taking over our theatres for 10 straight days. While we can’t possibly tell you about every film on the schedule (there are more than 300), there’s a good chance you’ll find something you enjoy amongst their many documentaries, short films, children’s programming, international cinema, Midnight Madness horrors, and other films. Check out our festival hub to find out more. Multiple venues, all day, $20–$46. Details
- Offbeat: Not many four-year-olds celebrate their birthdays with cool science experiments and beer, but Nerd Nite Toronto does! Go back in time with Richard Fiennes-Clinton of Muddy York Walking Tours as he discusses the entertainment and breweries of our city’s past. Greg Taylor of Steam Whistle Brewing will also chime in on how he and two friends went from unemployment to being the founders of an independent, award-winning company. And since it is a birthday party, Mad Science will be on hand to do nifty things with fog, ice, and fire. TRANZAC (292 Brunswick Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $5. Details
- Theatre: Meet Martha, a vengeful spinster still living with her mother. Luckily, she has the good fortune to be in charge of an inn where she drugs her rich guests, steals their money, and tosses their bodies into the river. A modern Greek tragicomedy, The Misunderstanding is a cautionary tale about the trouble one gets into when intentions are kept hidden. Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79 St George Street), 8 p.m., $15, $10 for students. Details
- Art: “Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes“ is a collaborative effort of the AGO and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, in New York City, where the exhibition recently wrapped up after a one-year run. The displays are organized by themes relating to Anishinaabe concepts of place and spirituality, and how they interact with the outside world. One of the most intriguing themes is “cottager colonialism,” which suggests that the colonization of indigenous land continues by way of vacationing tourists. Political statements are scattered throughout the exhibition, from Nadia Myre’s bead-covered pages of the Indian Act to the use of historical indigenous status documents in Robert Houle’s “Premises” series. Floral beaded bags and leggings, meanwhile, provide inspiration for the contemporary paintings of Christi Belcourt, an Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award recipient. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $19.50 (included with general adult admission). Details
- Theatre: Only about two hours away from Toronto, madness is infiltrating the town of Stratford, Ontario—but fortunately, it’s the kind that produces delightful results. Stratford Festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino has designed this year’s season around the theme “Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge,” and explores it through everything from jukebox musicals to Shakespearean tragedies. And with the festival’s increasingly popular twice-daily bus service to and from downtown (in its second year), it’s easy to get a taste of what the mania is all about. Here’s Torontoist‘s take on a sampling of this year’s festival offerings—Ira Glass and his opinions notwithstanding, a whole lot of people would welcome a chance to spend some time with the Bard and some of Canada’s most esteemed artists. Multiple venues, all day, $25–$133. Details
Art: Alex Colville’s paintings include some of the most recognizable works of Canadian art. Prints of his iconic Horse and Train and To Prince Edward Island hang in homes and classrooms and art shops around the world. And yet the Toronto-born artist, whose career spanned seven decades, is not often celebrated for the incredible influence he had on artists of many media.
With its new exhibition, “Alex Colville“, opening August 23, the Art Gallery of Ontario has mounted a show that not only documents the career of one of Canada’s most prolific artists, but also examines the nature of inspiration in art, literature, film, and beyond. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, . Details
Performing Arts: Cirque du Soleil is magical. Across from T&T Supermarket on Cherry Street, the pop-up striped tent transforms Polson Pier into a scene of fantastical fun—it’s a better location than any Las Vegas hotel or Orlando strip mall. And when you walk into the Grand Chapiteau venue, you’re welcomed into a bizarro steampunk contortionist dream.
Kicking off its North American tour in Toronto, Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s latest show. The official plot explanation is abstract and boring: there’s a Seeker in his own imaginary world called Curiosistan finding inventions with robots that smell like leather. It’s confusing to even layer a narrative over the spinning, jumping, flying and balancing. No one had no idea what was going on–but everyone loved the show. Grand Chapiteau (51 Commissioners Street), Saturday and Sunday, $55–$150. Details
- Sports: Align your body, ease your mind, and get your retail therapy all in one stop this summer at the Shops at Don Mills. Bring your mat for free Yoga in the Town Square every Tuesday and Thursday, courtesy of Titika. Shops at Don Mills (1090 Don Mills Road), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Dance: If the warm weather makes you feel like dancing, well, Harbourfront is where you need to be. Get your groove on every Thursday until the end of summer at Dancing on the Pier. Live music from the likes of the Toronto All-Star Big Band, Sean Bellaviti, and Luis Orbegoso will provide the soundtrack to each themed evening. Got two left feet? No problem! Instructors will be on hand to get your steps in order. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
- Music: There’s bound to be a lot of barbecuing, beaching, and boozing around the city this summer, so we’d like to suggest something a little more refined to keep things balanced. The Music in the Garden series features weekly performances by a variety of unique musical groups, amid the luscious greenery of the Toronto Music Garden. The Akwesasne Women Singers start things off on July 3 with a showcase of English and Mohawk songs, followed by Music from the Garden of India (July 24), an all-female fiddling supergroup (July 31), the Nagata Shachu taiko drumming ensemble (August 21), the Veretski Pass Trio (September 4), and many more. Toronto Music Garden (479 Queens Quay West), 7 p.m., FREE. Details
Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.