Highlights this week include talks of climate change and TIFF's Vanguards; theatre from Ireland and Alberta; and folk music at Fort York and Christie Pits.
Urban Planner is your weekly curated guide to what’s on in Toronto—things that are local, affordable, and exceptional.
Monday, September 12
It’s the fifth annual Toronto Democracy Week, a initiative by Elections Canada to fire up Torontonians’ interest in their governance models. A big part of that in the 21st century is the Open Data movement—giving tech savvy Canadians the tools to analyze the information our governments collect. Here in Toronto, organizers are hoping the Toronto Open Government Celebration—featuring community organizers and municipal reps going head-to-head in a Family Feud-style competition hosted by Twitter Canada’s Jennifer Hollett, as well as a “rapid-fire round table”—will spark more engagement with City Hall. Metro Hall Rotunda (55 John Street), 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., FREE.
The September edition of Trampoline Hall—the perennially popular lecture series featuring passionate amateurs—has Drake, technology, and productivity as topics, chosen by Pacinthe Mattar, Greg Judelman, and Roxanne Bielskis-Wright. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), doors open at 7:30 p.m. (and close at 8 p.m.), $5 rush tickets available at 6:30 p.m..
Tuesday, September 13
The Toronto International Film Festival brings all sorts of guests to our city. This year, that includes the Royal Canadian Navy. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ville de Québec, or the VDQ as the Canadian Patrol Frigate is affectionately known, is docking here this week on its first Great Lakes tour since 2012. A news release is expected on Tuesday detailing the ship’s full schedule; part of its visit includes day sails with dignitaries and VIPs. But Torontoist has learned that the ship will definitely be open for public tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 15, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, so you’ll have an opportunity to snap a selfie of yourself in the captain’s chair, just like the stars might. Sugar Beach (25 Dockside drive), September 13 to 18, FREE.
Much of TIFF’s events are exclusive and ticketed. Even some of the festival’s “free” events, like this past weekend’s Pharrell street concert, can feel exclusionary. But musician John Legend and filmmaker Mark Duplass are throwing their Honouring What’s Now And Next In Filmmaking event, part of the Vanguard series programming, open to the public. (The only catch? You must be 19+). Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema (506 Bloor Street West), 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., FREE.
Wednesday, September 14
It’s impossible to deny climate change is already having an impact on humanity, as a recent New York Times article on U.S. coastal flooding showed. The pressing questions are what can we as individuals do about it, and how can we effect change in how governments and businesses tackle the issue? This Climate Change Town Hall, featuring representatives from municipal and provincial governments and several local CEOs, hopes to shed some light on just that. Beach United Church (140 Wineva Avenue), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., FREE.
This month’s Raconteurs storytelling event has a similar theme: Changing The World. The slate of storytellers, coached by the Raconteurs team, is (as usual) a secret, right up to showtime. The Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick Avenue), 7:30 p.m., $8 in advance ($10 at the door).
The Storefront Theatre has kicked off its 2016-2017 season with a world premiere of a new show by Alberta-based playwrights Bryce Hodgson and Charlie Kerr. Blood Pact Theatre’s Kill Your Parents in Viking, Alberta is a quirky and darkly funny look at a dysfunctional family brought together by a death, and old wounds are reopened at the reunion. With all the action taking place around a kitchen table (the set is exceptional, for their presumed shoestring budget), the show could be described as a blue-collar August: Osage County—or perhaps, a cross between a Tarantino film and the sitcom Roseanne. The climactic scene goes all sorts of weird places, perhaps setting up a very different sequel, but the meat of the show—the very funny family wrangling—is worth the ticket price (especially if you get there early enough to get in on PWYC Wednesday night). The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West), Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., $20-$25.
Thursday, September 15
How easy is it to use the TTC if you have accessibility issues? Not very, by most accounts. City and TTC representatives will be on hand to hear citizens’ feedback at a TTC public forum, first on a one-on-one basis from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. then in a open town hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Allstream Centre (105 Princes’ Boulevard), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., FREE.
The Electric Cities debates, which hope to “inspire better city building,” is hosting a panel on Housing Affordability and the Greenbelt with special guests, including profs from Ryerson University and the University of Waterloo, as well as from the Metropole and Hemson consulting firms. (The event is free, but registration must be completed by Tuesday, September 13.) Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., FREE (registration required).
The entire west island of the too-long closed Ontario Place has been turned into an open air art gallery for the IN/FUTURE festival of art and music, running to September 25 and featuring performances by music acts like Bruce Peninsula and DATU X HATAW, and installations by artists like Hazel Meyer and Alex Beriault. A collaboration between Art Spin and the Small World Music Festival, it’s a rare opportunity to see the site, closed to the public for years, and the best (and cheapest) way to do so is the opening night bike tour. Ontario Place, West Island (Lake Shore Boulevard West), September 15 to 25, $30 to $90 ($15 for opening night Art Spin bike tour).
More art: Torontoist alumni Lodoe Laura has collected images of more than 150 Tibetan monks who have set themselves on fire to protest the continuing Chinese occupation since 2007. The images are pre-self-immolation and were collected and arranged by the artist in collaboration with Tibetan advocacy groups. A reception for 153, with the award-winning artist present, will take place tonight. Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., FREE.
Friday, September 16
The Rock Against the TPP tour lands in Toronto, having travelled across the U.S., rallying people against the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership. The event boasts big names like Anti-Flag and Evangeline Lilly but may have an uphill battle; a recent Globe and Mail article pegged the economic benefits for Canadians at $4.3 billion. Find out why the organizers think the cost of ceding some control over our economy to corporate interests is too great at the event (plus, there’s a slate of great bands). The Opera House (735 Queen Street East), doors at 6 p.m., FREE.
It’s been 26 years since the Dublin-based Abbey Theatre last toured in Toronto and Canada. They’re back for a short run of their award-winning production of The Plough and the Stars, a play about the 1916 Easter Rising rebellion that itself caused a riot when it premiered in 1926. Co-presented by Canadian Stage, it features an ensemble of a dozen Irish stage actors, telling the story of how lives where changed by the Easter Rising, which ushered in a period of civil unrest that lasted almost into the 21st century. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), September 14 to 17 at 8 p.m., September 18 at 1 p.m., $29 to $99.
Late tonight, it’s the seventh-annual Hip Hop Karaoke Competition Edition with special guest J-Live joining Toronto’s own DJ Grouch and more on the celebrity judge panel. Twenty contestants will spit their favourite rhymes with DJ Ted Dancin’ on decks, while hosts More or Les and Abdominal keep the show flowing. Revival Bar (783 College Street), doors at 10 p.m., $15 before 11 p.m., $20 after 11 p.m.
Weekend, September 17–18
We’re sorry to report, but it’s true: the Toronto Urban Roots Festival is the last Toronto summer music festival of 2016. This last hurrah of weekend music in the outdoors features acts like Ween, Okkervil River, The New Pornographers, and plenty of local acts too, like The Sadies and Dwayne Gretzky reprising their tribute to the Tragically Hip. Fort York Garrison Common (100 Garrison Road), September 16 to 18, doors at 1 p.m., $90 to $425.
On a smaller scale, this weekend’s Bloor Ossington Folk Festival isn’t just the last local outdoor music fest of the summer—it’s the last one, ever. The organizers plan on going out with a bang, though, with a terrific slate of acts associated with the past six years of annual programming, including The Highest Order, Julie Doiron, and CATL (plus, an open air beer garden open in the park ’til late). Christie Pits (750 Bloor Street West), September 17 to 18, beer garden opens at 12 p.m., FREE.
It seems odd to recommended seeing the Helder Brum & Friends comedy showcase when the titular comic is actually away for this edition. However, Brum has landed an exceptional guest host (Sara Hennessey) plus a great line-up, including Kye Fox, Ify Chiwetelu, Chantel Marostica, and more. Comedy Bar Cabaret Space (945 Bloor Street West), 8 p.m., $10 in advance, $15 at the door.
Have a tip for Urban Planner? Let us know via email, ideally more than a week in advance.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mistakenly referred to September 17 as a Sunday, not a Saturday. Torontoist regrets the error.
Did you like this article? Do you love Torontoist? Support articles like this by becoming a Torontoist subscriber for only a couple dollars a month. Get great perks and fund local journalism that makes a difference—support Torontoist now.