Where to Watch the Municipal Election
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Where to Watch the Municipal Election

From free beer, to bingo, to burlesque, we round up the best Toronto has to offer on election night 2014.

Photo by Robin LeBlanc.

Election day has arrived at long last, and whether you’re looking for in-depth analysis, a bit of levity, or just beer, the city’s got you covered. Here are some of the best places to take in tonight’s proceedings…

Beau’s Brewery Ballot Beer Giveaway
Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina) 

Beau’s All Natural Brewery and advocacy-driven marketing agency Public Inc. have struck on a refreshing way to increase voter turnout: promise the electorate beer. “Voting is about being part of your community, and that’s something worth celebrating,” said Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne in a press release.

When voters in Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina) cast their ballots they’ll be given a bottle cap that can be redeemed for entry at the Brazen Head pub, Opera Bob’s, or the Caledonian—three local bars hosting election-night parties. There, voters will get a free glass of Beau’s special election brew, Ballot Pale Ale.

“It’s quite a hoppy number with intense notes of tropical fruit,” says Robin LeBlanc, Torontoist‘s own beer writer and the award-winning author of the Thirsty Wench beer blog. “The beer finishes with a slight malty swirl followed by a nice, bitter dryness. It’s actually quite enjoyable and should see one through to the end of election night.”

Eyes on the Election
The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom
Starts at 7 p.m. Free.

Eyes On, a Gladstone entertainment staple that combines a traditional talk-show format with unusual acts (previous sets have included live pregnancy tests and onstage tattooing) is putting on a special election-themed edition. Host Stephen Eyes, along with special guest Gavin Crawford of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, lead a night of comedy, drag, and burlesque acts that “celebrate, investigate, and cry over” the voting results. The evening will include live-streaming of election coverage, and performances by Canadian Comedy Award–winner Ron Sparks, sketch comedian Stephanie Tolev, band Red Zeppelin, and transgender performance artist Judy Virago.

Bloor Broadcast: Toronto Votes
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are free and available at the box office (limit two per person).

Toronto arts lobby group ArtsVote and Samara, a non-profit organization that advocates political participation, are holding an election-viewing party at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Hosted by comedian Pat Thornton, the night will include multiple feeds of election coverage broadcasts, and “buzzword bingo” to keep track of all the campaign clichés.

A panel of experts, moderated by Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund CEO and ArtsVote steering committee member Kathleen Sharpe, will analyze and respond to election results as they come in. On the panel are choreographer, dancer, and ArtsVote steering-committee member Shannon Litzenberger; architect, urban designer, and City of Toronto Design Review Panel member Joe Lobko; and a third panelist yet to be named.

Donations will be collected for Samara, a charitable organization that conducts research and offers educational programs aimed at increasing political participation, especially among young people and new Canadians.

Also important: the bar will remain open until 10:30 p.m., which should leave ample time to crack a celebratory beer or drink away your sorrows, depending on the outcome of the election.

Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street

If you’re looking for something a little quieter than pub parties and burlesque shows, the Toronto Reference Library will be screening election coverage until it closes at 8:30 p.m. That’s only half an hour later than when the polls close. But what early voting results and analysis you are able to watch will be broadcast on the 12 LCD screens of the TRL’s Global Connect Wall, which will absolutely make you feel like you are at some kind of election mission control.