Toronto Shops Plan Free Shows For Record Store Day

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

Record Store Day began in 2007 and has grown into a North America-wide party, held on the third Saturday of April (in other words, this Saturday). To celebrate, musicians big and small release exclusive records or play surprise shows. Toronto, with its wealth of indie shops, has 21 stores officially participating. Here’s a quick rundown of some the best places to go celebrate.

Details: Toronto Shops Plan Free Shows For Record Store Day

Record Store Day

The crowd filling up Sonic Boom for their Record Store Day 2012 in-store performances. Photo by Corbin Smith/Torontoist.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

As technology improves and the audio media we once loved disappear from our lives (looking at you cassettes and CDs), one musical platform that refuses to fade away is vinyl. So go out and celebrate the record in all its glory in music shops across the city. To mark the annual Record Store Day, there’ll be special giveaways, live performances, and of course, plenty of sweet deals on records. Click here to read out report of last year’s event.

Details: Record Store Day

Third Annual Show Choir Canada National Championships

  • The Queen Elizabeth Theatre (190 Princes' Boulevard)
  • All day

This one’s for all the Glee fans out there. The 3rd Annual Show Choir Canada National Championships is coming your way. It’s a weekend of singing from high schools from across Canada. Up to 20 groups will compete for the championship (as well as more than $30,000 in prizes) and you could have a front row seat to see it all as it goes down.

Details: Third Annual Show Choir Canada National Championships

420 Toronto 2013

  • Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas Street East)
  • 12 p.m.

If you’re wandering past Yonge-Dundas Square on April 20 and you happen to notice a giant cloud of smoke, it will probably have something to do with 420 Toronto. This annual celebration of the green goodness is especially significant this year, given the fact that marijuana has recently been legalized in Colorado and Washington.

Details: 420 Toronto 2013

4:20 2013 Hotbox Party

  • Hotbox Cafe (204 Augusta Avenue)
  • 1 p.m.

It’s an especially great year for 4:20 parties in Toronto given that the date lands on the weekend rather than the middle of the week. As such, you might have several different stops on your “trip.” Consider dropping in at the Hotbox Cafe which is offering a full day of live music, comedians, prizes (rolling papers of course), and many other things that will get increasingly more fun the longer you stay for (if you’re truly celebrating the date that is).

Details: 4:20 2013 Hotbox Party

An Antarctic Winter: Science at the South Pole

  • Bahen Centre for Information Technology, BA 1160 (40 St. George Street)
  • 6:30 p.m.

To celebrate International Astronomy Day, check out a lecture called “An Antarctic Winter: Science at the South Pole.” Professor Keith Vanderlinde will be discussing his time at the South Pole Telescope (where he studied light emitted from a very young Universe). He’ll also be talking about his experiences in the Antarctica winter. You’ll also have a chance to go up to the roof to view celestial objects with the UofT telescopes.

Details: An Antarctic Winter: Science at the South Pole

Pure Hemp 4/20 Show

  • Lee's Palace
  • 9 p.m.

If you’re looking to bring your 4/20 experience back to its roots, then you won’t want to miss this celebration of reggae, dub, and of course, cannabis. Pure Hemp’s 420 party features a number of musicians who will help you reach new heights including Chameleon Project, House of David Gang, The Resinators, and DJ Citizen Sound.

Details: Pure Hemp 4/20 Show

FUCK JAMS – A Dance Party

Inessa Frantowski spins at FUCK JAMS. Photo by Chantelle LaLonde.

  • Baltic Avenue (875 Bloor Street West)
  • 10 p.m.

If the name hasn’t tipped you off that this is a must-attend party, then take a look at the itinerary. FUCK JAMS – A Dance Party features MTV’s Dave Merheje and Second City alumni Inessa Frantowski (who we spotlighted here) who are dancing it up in Toronto’s new venue, Baltic Avenue. Also, get ready to groove to music by DJ Patrick McGuire.

Details: FUCK JAMS – A Dance Party


I Thought There Were Limits

Kika Thorne's Singularity. Photo by Scott Massey, courtesy of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

  • Justina M Barnicke Gallery (7 Hart House Circle)
  • All day

When’s the last time you attempted to reconceptualize the dimensions of space? If it’s been a while, you might consider checking out a new exhibition called I Thought There Were Limits, which aims to do just that. This particular exhibit is unique in that the artwork forms a relationship with the site itself (in this case, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). The work on display is brought to you by curator Julia Abraham (as part of the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto). The artists include Karen Henderson, Yam Lau, Gordon Lebredt, Kika Thorne, and Josh Thorpe.

Details: I Thought There Were Limits

TIFF Kids International Film Festival Hopes to Inspire Young Film Buffs

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival begins today. Still from The Legend of Sarila courtesy of TIFF.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

Toronto is a great city for film buffs, and thanks to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, that includes the munchkins, too. The annual festival is about to kick off for the 16th time, and this year boasts a diverse lineup of programming for all ages, the premiere of Canada’s first 3D animated feature film, and a new partnership with Sesame Workshop.

Details: TIFF Kids International Film Festival Hopes to Inspire Young Film Buffs

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival Spotlights Everything from Neil Diamond to “Hava Nagila”

Marc Halberstadt in Cowjews and Indians. Promotional still courtesy of the TJFF.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

Now in its 21st year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival remains as committed as ever to projecting every facet of the Jewish identity. This year’s programme consists of an eclectic mix of films in a multitude of genres and formats, from silent to animated. The documentaries alone cover a huge number of subjects, ranging from Neil Diamond, to Serge Gainsbourg, to Roman Polanski, and even to the history of the popular Jewish song “Hava Nagila.”

The festival opens on Thursday with a screening of the provocative Cowjews and Indians, in which filmmaker Marc Halberstadt attempts to “cut out the middle man” by enlisting Native Americans to take back his ancestors’ land in Germany. Here are a few other films worth seeking out during the festival’s run.

Details: The Toronto Jewish Film Festival Spotlights Everything from Neil Diamond to “Hava Nagila”

The 2013 Images Festival Brings Experimental Film to Toronto Audiences

Still from A Third Version of the Imaginary.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

Since its debut in 1987, Images has had a special place on Toronto’s springtime film festival slate. Though the upcoming Hot Docs is bigger, Images’ selection of experimental and independent media art often feels purer. It’s a festival that invites audiences to consider the basic elements that make moving image-based arts like the cinema so resonant.

Details: The 2013 Images Festival Brings Experimental Film to Toronto Audiences

Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch

A pugerrific pillow print.

  • Magic Pony (680 Queen Street West)
  • All day

For someone well known for her expressive and awwww-inducing drawings of pugs, U.K.-based illustrator Gemma Correll came to her love of the animal late. “I was always a cat person growing up, so I think the pug was like my gateway dog,” she said at Magic Pony, an art and design shop on Queen West that is currently hosting The Mr. Pickles Fan Club, the first Canadian exhibition of her work.

Details: Illustrator Gemma Correll Fills a Toronto Shop With Pug-Themed Merch

Toronto Space Apps Challenge

Photo by Randy McDonald from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

24 NASA-designed challenges will be tackled by teams of engineers, scientists, and general space tech aficionados at this three-day “hackathon,” the Toronto Space Apps Challenge. There are 75 cities around the world taking part, and here in Toronto, the official event is also being complemented by a youth challenge on Saturday, April 20. On Sunday, April 21, the projects and presentations will be judged and awards will be given out, followed by an afterparty.

Details: Toronto Space Apps Challenge

Brazilian Beat Dance Congress

The Brazilian Beat Dance Congress heats things up. Photo courtesy of Brazilian Beat Congress.

  • All day

This week, some of the best Brazilian dancers from Canada, the U.S., and Brazil descend on Toronto to heat things up (are you listening, weather?) for the 3rd annual Brazilian Beat Dance Congress. Take part in a variety of workshops and seminars geared to all skill levels, or just sit back and enjoy performances by the pros.

Details: Brazilian Beat Dance Congress

It’s a Full House in True West

It's brotherly love between Lee (Stuart Hughes) and Austin (Mike Ross) in True West. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 1:30 p.m.

Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.

As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.

Details: It’s a Full House in True West

The Meme-ing of Life

The Second City cast take a minute to check their Twitters.

  • Second City (51 Mercer Street)
  • 7:30 p.m.

If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is.

As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin.

Details: The Meme-ing of Life is an Epic Win

La Ronde Spins Off-Kilter

Maev Beaty and Mike Ross in La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler, adapted by Jason Sherman. Photo courtesy of Soulpepper.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 7:30 p.m.

In 1897, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler wrote a play so scandalous that at first he only shared it among his friends. It wasn’t publicly staged until 1920 and, unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar. The ruffled feathers had to do with La Ronde‘s frank discussion of sexual relationships—in particular, those between members of different social classes. But while the acts themselves were originally left up to the audience’s imagination, Soulpepper Theatre’s current, modernized adaptation goes all the way with its sex scenes.

Details: La Ronde Spins Off-Kilter

A Brimful of Asha

A Brimful of Asha. Photo courtesy of Tarragon Theatre.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married.

Details: A Brimful of Asha


  • Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

Hatch is back! For those not in the know, Hatch is the Harbourfront Centre’s annual performing arts residency, showcasing works by artists from around the city. This year’s event features exhibitions that explore the moments before and after a photograph, talk politics with LGBTQ folks in their honeymoon suite, and more, all month long. Events take place in the Studio Theatre.

Details: Hatch

Race Gets Under Your Skin

There's black, white, and a lot of grey area in David Mamet's Race at Canadian Stage. Photo by David Hou.

  • Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.

The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play.

Details: Race Gets Under Your Skin

Genealogical Genius in She She Pop and Their Fathers: Testament

She She Pop creates their own ritual for "The Passing of the Generations." Photo by Doro Tuch.

  • Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

One of Toronto’s favourite theatre trends right now is onstage partnering between an actor child and his or her actual, biological parent. It’s a way of playing out generational conflict in front of a live audience. Tarragon Theatre’s smash hit, A Brimful of Asha (on now in yet another remount), which united actor and director Ravi Jain with his mother Asha Jain, is one example. This year, as part of the Rhubarb Festival, Michael Rubenfeld took to the stage with his mother Mary Berchard in mothermothermothermother….

But Toronto is actually a bit late to the trend, as it turns out. German theatre collective She She Pop premiered their work She She Pop & Their Fathers: Testament in 2010. The performance piece fuses the famous tragedy King Lear with autobiographical elements, and it features the actors’ real fathers. At its opening Wednesday night at the Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre, as part of the World Stage season, Toronto got a first glimpse at this funny, quirky, and incredibly moving piece of theatre.

Details: Genealogical Genius in She She Pop and Their Fathers: Testament


  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Classic comedy series Theatresports is back for another season of improv hilarity. Now in its 30th year, this comedy tournament continues the tradition of allowing the audience members to choose the content of the scene and letting them judge the results; finals will be held at the end of May. Among the planned guests are comedic greats including Lisa Merchant and Craig Anderson (Canadian Comedy Award winners), Kerry Griffin (Second City alum), and many more.

Details: Theatresports