May YYZ Game Plan

The 10 biggest things to do in Toronto this month.

Photo Fest Takes Over Toronto

Thurs., April 28 – Tues., May 31
Various locations

Explore photography beyond your Instagram feed and immerse yourself in one of 60 exhibitions hosted by the Contact Photography Festival, running for the entire month of May. Exhibits are a mix of indoor, outdoor and virtual, spreading art to all corners of the city. Storefronts along Queen Street East will display images of forest spaces; The Power Plant and Ryerson Image Centre will come alive with framed photos; and several artist talks will be available on the festival’s website. Contact boasts an impressive list of national and international artists, including Toronto’s own Jorian Charlton and Brooklyn’s Tyler Mitchell.

JUNOs Rock Clubs and Awards Show

Sun, May 15, 8pm
Live award show
$50 – $105
Budweiser Stage, 909 Lakeshore Blvd. W.

For Canadian music fans who prefer the rush of a live performance over a television broadcast, the JUNO Awards are coming to town with a massive in-person celebration at Budweiser Stage. Hosted by Mississauga actor turned Marvel movie star Simu Liu, the show will include the presentation of several accolades and impressive performances from Arkells, Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, Mustafa and Charlotte Cardin. For even more JUNO activity, check out CBC Music’s JUNOfest, which hosts smaller concerts the week leading up to the final show. Performers include Elliott Brood (Lee’s Palace, Thurs., May 12) and Korea Town Acid (CODA, Sat., May 13).

Who's on First?

Thurs., May 12 – Sat., May 14, 8 pm
$19 – $89
Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West

The Art of Time Ensemble and the Writers Collective of Canada join forces to present the work of 13 writers paired with beautiful original scores and art projections. The theme “Who Is We” asks each artist to explore the meaning of community and close the divides of the last few years.

Leading LGBTQ Film Fest

Thurs., May 26 – Sun., June 5
$10 single tickets, $55 packages
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W.

A leading presenter of queer visual media, Inside Out returns with an 11-day festival that fully embraces the hybrid structure popularized during the pandemic. Returning to its old home on King Street, the festival will feature 25 screenings at TIFF Bell Lightbox, with an additional 35+ screenings online.

Super Hero Speaks Up

Fri., May 13, 8 pm
Book tour
Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St.reet W.

Before hosting the JUNO awards this month, actor Simu Liu kicks off his North American book tour in Toronto with the release of his memoir, We Were Dreamers. Liu tells the story of his family moving to Canada from China, growing up in dual cultures and his (mis)adventures in the acting world.

Fashion Week's Flare

Fri., May 6 – Sun., May 8
Fashion show
$40 – $150
Design Exchange, 234 Bay St.

Fashion Art Toronto celebrates contemporary art and design with three fashion-filled days during the first weekend of May. More than just a runway show, 40 Canadian designers will present their work both on and off stage with art installations and pop-up shopping experiences. Wear your favourite outfit and sit front row for one or all three shows and find your next statement piece. Designs include latex dresses from House of Etiquette, the sustainable apocalyptic fashion of 3ndolith and intricate beaded shirts from Naaz Designs.

Making Musical Moments Citywide

Sat., May 28 – Sun., June 12
Free with registration
Pop-up locations

Musical Stage Company ignites the city with Musical Moments, a series of interactive pop-up street performances in neighbourhoods like Little Italy, the Waterfront and Withrow Park. Free with online registration, these events include community karaoke and Indigenous artist-led pow wows. All shows culminate in a final spectacular at High Park (Sat., June 11 and Sun., June 12).

What’s the Story?

Fri., May 6 – Sun., May 15
$15 and up
Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave.

Storytelling Toronto brings the magic of traditional and contemporary storytelling to audiences online and in person at Tranzac Club. Programming highlights include African-American: Keeping Heritage Alive (Mon., May 9) with Sheila Arnold, Comedy Night (Sat., May 7) with Ali Hassan and Spoken Melodies (Fri., May 13), which combines music and spoken word.

Kids These Days

Thurs., May 5 – Sat., May 7, 8 pm
$55 – $75
Crow’s Theatre, 345 Carlaw Ave.

Canadian comedy legend Bruce McCulloch (Kids in the Hall, Young Drunk Punk) combines music, standup and storytelling for three special, intimate shows at Crow’s Theatre. Guaranteed to sell out, these performances will take audiences through a lifetime of funny and relatable personal experiences.

Lakeside Crime Scene

Fri., June 3 – Sun., June 5
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W.

Toronto International Festival of Authors hosts its first ever mini festival spotlighting the suspenseful crime and mystery genres. Public talks, writing masterclasses and youth programming will be held both indoors and outdoors at Harbourfront Centre. Special programming includes Nordic Noir, in partnership with cultural exchange Nordic Bridges.

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