Now Toronto released their annual readers’ choice lists of top businesses in Toronto, and lots of local businesses ranked high. Here’s a recap of the bars, stores, restaurants and people to be voted best by Toronto locals. Congratulations to all!
Trinity Bellwoods Park ranked as runner up for Best Park (High Park won)
Congrats to Mike Layton – runner up as Best City Councillor
Pokémon Go launched in Canada on Sunday, and we’re already hooked and so are many other locals. There are PokéStops and gyms all around Ossington Village. Thanks to a lot of nearby graffiti, churches and parks, you can get a lot of Pokémon Go activity nearby.
Last night, we walked around the back alleys of our neighbourhood, taking in graffiti PokéStops, and meeting other people doing the same thing!
This year would have been Jane Jacobs 100th birthday, and the annual Jane’s Walk festival in her home city of Toronto is going to be a great way to celebrate. Free volunteer-led walks are happening all over the world this weekend, and we’ve got some you can join locally.
The local walks are starting either on Dundas West or Trinity Bellwoods Park, they focus on a number of different topics, and they aren’t even all walks! Leaders come in all varieties: we’ve been on walks led by historians and professors, to students and actors. Each walk has a write-up on the Jane’s Walk website so find something that interests you, or go on a local walk:
May 8 at 11am: Dundas West, The Real Deal: Glaciers and Beyond: This 2 hour walk being led by an architectural and social historian begins at Dundas West and Crawford and covers the evolution of Dundas West all the way to Sorauren Park
May 8 at 4pm, Anatomy of a Street Festival: 1 hour walk led by the Dundas West Fest coordinator and leader of the BIAs for both Dundas West and Little Portugal. He’ll take you from Dundas and Landsdowne to Ossington, telling stories about the creation and execution of the 4 year old festival and prepping you for this year’s on June 11.
All of these local walks are listed in our calendar, along with most local events. As you journey on any Jane’s Walks this weekend, be sure to share with the hashtag #JanesWalk
Also this weekend is another Dundas West Sidewalk sale. This Saturday, the street will still be open to traffic, but stores and restaurants will open their doors between Shaw and Landsdowne with special offers throughout the day. The Sidewalk Sale runs Saturday, September 19 from 10am-10pm.
The Garrison is a host venue for the JFL 42 comedy festival. Running September 24- October 3, JFL brings a variety of comedy shows to the city, from big name acts like Trevor Noah to hilarious lesser-known talent from across the globe. Expect to see a mix of performers in this intimate venue on Dundas West, like Kiwi Rhys Darby, familiar as the hapless manager on TV show Flight of the Conchords.
In two weeks, the Homegrown Park Crawl returns for Year 3. This event showcases a number of local parks and highlights local music and food at each stop on this travelling party. The crawl is September 27 from 12-6pm and you can buy tickets for the food from local spots like Pizzeria Libretto and Le Dolci. The crawl starts at Trinity Bellwoods Park and travels north through Fred Hamilton and Bickford before closing up at Christie Pits. Get your food tickets now!
Anything we’ve missed? Feel free to share with us.
The first weekend in October is a good weekend to be in Toronto, with fun – and free – things to do for the whole family.
Nuit Blanche is on Saturday night, and over the years, this all night art party has shifted from a free-wheeling Toronto sprawl to a corporate event clustered around the downtown core. This year, the exhibits have expanded to Chinatown and Fort York, and there are some aligned activities even closer to home.
With 19 projects by over 150 artists, Artscape Youngplace is a great local hub for Nuit Blanche. Offering a whole range of exhibits, including music, video, and illustrations, there will even be opportunities for the public to paint. There’s also an installation including students from Givins/Shaw Public Jr. School, with a kid-friendly reception in the early evening. The list of offerings at Artscape for Nuit Blanche is here.
There are also a couple of outdoor projects from community groups happening at CAMH at Queen and Ossington, an interactive art-project called PATCH, and a building initiative called Bring to the Table.
With all this on offer, you can enjoy Nuit Blanche without travelling far.
Sunday marks the second annual Homegrown Park Crawl, a free outdoor event taking place in – and celebrating – neighborhood parks. This travelling festival has something for everyone, with a long list of local musicians parading with the people from Christie Pits to Bickford Park to Fred Hamilton, finishing in Trinity Bellwoods Park.
In addition to enjoying the fall weather in some nice local parks and listening to music, the Park Crawl will also include food from some of our city’s top restaurants. If you don’t want to (or can’t) walk from park to park, each of the parks will have musical performances from performers like Heavyweights Brass Band, Samba Squad, and more. Food from local restaurants like Pizzeria Libretto and Ursa will be for sale at the start at Christie Pits and at the end at Trinity Bellwoods. All proceeds will go to the David Suzuki Foundation’s Homegrown National Park Project.
To find out other local events, keep an eye on our calendar.
World Pride is in Toronto this year and people are coming from all over to celebrate and attend parades and parties on Church Street. There are lots of events happening in Ossington Village also! Pride officially runs June 20-28, but there are some affiliated events beginning as early as tonight.
That’s right, get over to The Ossington on Wednesday, June 18 for a special edition of the storytelling show “Tales of Toronto” – Tales of Pride! It starts at 8PM and is pay-what-you-can.
One big event this weekend is a new city-wide all night art party called Nuit Rose, on Saturday, June 21st. Called a queer focused contemporary art event, there are exhibits on Church Street, plus there is a West Queen West brach. That hub is at The Gladstone Hotel and other local spots include Artscape Youngplace, The Theatre Centre and MOCCA. This one-night extravaganza celebrating World Pride features photography. painting and sculpture exhibits and installations and performances and runs from 7PM Saturday night through until 3AM Sunday morning.
Another happening this weekend that’s a little outside the box but still tying itself to Pride is Unleashed in The City’s Pup Pride Event in the Dogbowl at Trinity Bellwoods Park. This Sunday, June 22 at 1pm, bring your pups to the park for races, goody bags and conversation. It’s an open event, so if you have a dog and are in the area, head over and say hi!
Next week, The Garrison is hosting three nights of Pride parties. Stiff Cocks kicks off the weekend on Thursday, June 26th with several DJs and a fundraiser for the Friends for Life Bike Rally. On Friday night, the club becomes Electric Circus with more DJs and lots of dancing. Finally, the Saturday night event is Hotnuts World Pride. All events go late – The Garrison has extended hours until 4am for Pride.
Know of any local Pride events we may have missed? Please share in the comments or via our Facebook or Twitter and have fun out there!
Toronto’s NXNE Festival turns 20 this year, and the organizers are making a big deal of this fact, acting like longevity alone means everything. We’re not saying we agree or disagree: we’re waiting to see how this festival plays out before we decide, although we do notice diminishing choices in our area. The Ossington and Dundas area usually hosts a lot of the NXNE action, and this year we’ve still got a big presence, however there are some glaring omissions.
NXNE is primarily a music festival, but, following the SXSW model, they are trying to expand it to cover movies, comedy and interactive. Still, in our neighborhood, music is what you’ll get. Which is a shame, as in years past the Lower Ossington Theatre played host to comedy events, providing a little variety. This may simply be because the LOT is full – which wouldn’t be surprising considering the popularity of their shows.
Another sad loss, in our opinion, is that The Painted Lady was removed as a venue this year. As they were told, the organizers were paring down the list of venues and they didn’t make the cut. This is unfortunate, as we’ve seen some great performances in that little bar – plus you can’t beat the staff or the location! The Painted Lady isn’t cutting back their schedule, though: there’s music every night, including FUNxNE with Papermaps and more on Wednesday, June 18.
The venues which are participating in NXNE are all great local spots which we are sure will host great music. NXNE started June 13 and runs through next Sunday, June 22.
The Dakota Tavern has NXNE shows from Wednesday, June 18 through Saturday, June 21. The focus is usually music with a country influence, but you never know! One year we saw an Icelandic blues band and they were a blast!
The Garrison is one of the bigger local venues and the bands which play here range from synth-pop to super loud metal to everything in between. They too are hosting shows from Wednesday night through Saturday.
A new official venue this year is The Edward Day Gallery on Queen West just next to MOCCA. If you’re looking for the venue on the NXNE website or app, you won’t find it under it’s name because that would be too easy. No, it’s labelled The NXNE Festival Village at Edward Day Gallery – it’s very intuitive like that! Stupid names aside, we saw a free Stars show there a few festivals ago, and it’s indoor/outdoor space is a great place for live music. There are night shows there Thursday and Friday, Macauley Culkin’s Velvet Underground cover band plays Friday morning, and there’s a DIY Label and Art Fair, with bands, on Sunday afternoon.
Trinity Bellwoods Park once again plays host to some FREE concerts, thanks to the fine folks behind The Great Heart Festival. From Thursday – Sunday, musicians will be performing free unplugged concerts in our favorite park. Just look for the group of people sitting on blankets or the grass and listening for the beautiful sounds. Artists include The Wooden Sky from Toronto and Wake Island from Montreal.
Other local venues involved in NXNE are The Great Hall, serving as both a comedy and a music venue, and The Drake Hotel Underground, both on Queen West.
Warm weather in Toronto doesn’t last long, so we all try to spend as much time outside as we can. One of the best places in the city to enjoy the great outdoors is Trinity Bellwoods Park. There are lots of events already planned for the summer ahead, and you can always hit the park to play games or picnic with friends.
Trinity Bellwoods Farmers Market just returned a few weeks ago, and it runs every Tuesday from 3p-7p. The market offers in-season fruits and vegetables, bread, cheese, meats, fish and this year, oysters. Get your shopping done at the northwest corner of the park near Dundas West.
Almost every weekend in the summer, there are events happening in the park, including music, theatre and art. Most Toronto festivals, including Luminato, NXNE and Summerworks, usually include Trinity Bellwoods as a site.
The events start this weekend. This Saturday, head to the northeast portion of the park for a craft beer festival/fundraiser. Home Runs for Horizons is a charity softball tournament for Horizons for Youth with a twist: a craft beer garden in the hockey rink. Put on by Tallboys, with support from many Ontario breweries, go help charity by trying some brews. Saturday, May 24 from 1-7p.
For you shoppers and bargain hunters, and again, charity supporters, the annual Yard Sale for the Cure is this Saturday also. Taking part all over the city and country, the Trinity Bellwoods outpost is a Massive sale, and will feature furniture items and more. Proceeds go to fighting breast cancer. This event usually takes over the southern end of the park near Queen, and will be open from 8a-5p.
Luminato hits Toronto in early June, and one of the events, a day long literary party, is taking place in Trinity Bellwoods Park. The literary picnic is Sunday, June 15 from 12p-3:30p and will include 45 Toronto writers presenting and reading. Food kiosks and booksellers will also be present.
We don’t yet know the NXNE schedule, but based on years past, there have been plenty of free concerts in the park sponsored by both CBC Radio 3 and Humble Empire. Check out some of our NXNE posts from last year to get an idea, or wait a few weeks – we’ll tell you what’s planned.
Aside from all the fun events, you’re still free to visit the park for picnics, frisbee or tennis games. If you are picnicking in the park, don’t forget to stock up at local purveyors like Cote de Boeuf and the newly opened Lucky Penny on Shaw Street. If you are drinking in the park, be respectful. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
As always, keep an eye on our calendar, which includes events on Ossington and nearby, including Trinity Bellwoods Park. The Friends of Trinity Bellwoods also do a very good job of posting a schedule. Let us know in the comments or on twitter if you hear of anything going on – or if you spot the elusive white squirrel! Enjoy the park!
The Homegrown Park Crawl celebrates our local parks through food, music and community. It follows the path of Garrison Creek, starting in Christie Pits at 11am, with stops in Bickford Park and Fred Hamilton Park before finishing at Trinity Bellwoods Park later in the afternoon. The crawl between parks will feature parade marshalls and music. Each of the 4 parks will have food booths, eco activities, and entertainment from local performers.
The food is provided by local chefs and restaurants, including Pizzeria Libretto, and is paid with tickets which are already on sale online. Proceeds benefit the Homegrown National Parks Project, which means our parks and our community.
So jump on your bike, borrow or rent one, and join the festival for the day. Or, head over to Trinity Bellwoods around 5pm, listen for the sounds of music and look for the sight of hundreds of bicycles. I’m sure you’ll find the group!