The Long Weekender: 9 to 5, Food Truck Eats and six other ways to spend your Canada Day/Pride weekend
1. 9 TO 5: THE MUSICAL
The ’80s are so hot right now. Ripped skinnies, jelly shoes and Chuck Taylors are all in, samples and remakes of ’80s jams are de rigueur, and this musical is hitting the stage. Based on the cult film of the same name, which starred Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton, this high-energy show is basically the original Horrible Bosses. Three co-workers band together against their dictatorial boss, with a predictably slapstick outcome. June 29 to July 10. $40–$65. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., 416-644-3665, tocentre.com.
2. FOOD TRUCK EATS
Remember when Torontonians were promised more exciting street food, only to see their street food dreams go up in smoke as the Toronto A La Cart program was an utter failure? Here’s hoping this foodie event—which offers up five-spice pork belly buns (El Gastrónomo Vagabundo), cupcakes (Cupcake Diner), south Indian favourites (Tiffinday), kulfi (Joshna Maharaj), barbecue (Buster Rhino’s) and yes, even hot dogs—can prompt a street food revival. And if you’re cottage-bound this weekend, no worries. Organizers are planning follow-up events in August and October. July 2. The Distillery District, thedistillerydistrict.com.
3. CANADA DAY FIREWORKS (FREE!)
The city’s official Canada Day celebrations take place at Mel Lastman square in North York this year, and culminate at 10:15 p.m. in a rousing fireworks display. Other options for the sound-and-visual-fury crowd include the 10 p.m. show that closes out the day-long Toronto Bike Month at Woodbine Park; Ontario Place’s usual spectacular, choreographed to music and starting at 10:30 p.m; the 10 p.m. show up at Amesbury Park at Keele and Lawrence; and even this year’s Ribfest in Etobicoke (see below). Various locations and times.
4. LA FETE DU CANADA DAY (FREE!)
Hosted by the Community Folk Art Council of Toronto, this multicultural celebration of Canada’s birthday features the usual: music, folk dances and plenty of tasty eats, all from a host of cultures around the world. Later in the day, don’t miss the First Nations performance and the Bollywood dance party. July 1. Yonge-Dundas Square, cfactoronto.com.
5. PRIDE PARADE (FREE!)
We’re taking our cues from just about anybody but the mayor on this one and rocking out at the biggest event of Pride Week—the parade. Expect floats, marching bands and many, many Torontonians celebrating their LGBT friends, family or selves. Also: glitter. July 3. Parade starts at Church and Bloor, heads south to Gerrard and across to Yonge, pridetoronto.com.
6. DREAM IN HIGH PARK
A “celebratory story of kings, queens, shipwrecks and statues,” this Estelle Shook–directed take on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale is the perfect way to spend a hot summer evening. Go on Canada Day and the kids can take part in crafts, games and workshops led by the cast, followed by a free performance of the play. To September 4. PWYC (suggested donation $20). High Park Amphitheatre, 416-367-1652, canstage.com/dream.
7. RIBFEST (FREE!)
This annual food festival includes live entertainment, activities for the kids, fireworks and a haunted house built by at-risk youth, but let’s get serious here: the real draw is the meat from prize-winning barbecue masters and the Tiny Tom donuts. June 30 to July 3. Centennial Park, 256 Centennial Park Rd., torontoribfest.com.
8. ON THE PULSE FESTIVAL
A new weekend fest at Harbourfront, On the Pulse is all about fun, outside-the-box expressions of creativity. Funny people Matt Baram, Ron Pederson, Chris Gibbs and Naomi Snieckus, members of the Carnegie Hall Show, look to the everyday for comic inspiration. Musical guests include The Roots emcee Scratch and New Zealand–based Moana and the Tribe, who mash up soul, reggae and funk with traditional Maori chants, haka dance and instruments. For the kids, there’s a real-life game of Where’s Waldo?. July 2 and 3. Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, www.harbourfrontcentre.com.
9. OPEN ROOF FESTIVAL
Though Open Roof claims to be a film and music festival, we like the Globe and Mail’s description better: a “modern urban drive-in.” Every Thursday for the rest of the summer, there’s a film screening and open-air concert in the parking lot of the Amsterdam Brewery. Kick off the long weekend with a beer from the brewery and a screening of Beauty Day, a doc about reckless prankster Cap’n Video (a southern-Ontario-in-the-early-’90s version of the Jackass gang) followed by a jam session with local indie rockers The Darcys. June 30. $15. Amsterdam Brewery, 21 Bathurst St., openrooffestival.com.