The Weekender: Jane’s Walk, Hot Docs and six other things to do this weekend
1. JANE’S WALK (FREE!)
Jane Jacobs believed the only way to really know a city is to get out there and walk in it. A year after her death in 2006, a group of her friends and colleagues were inspired by this idea and planned the first Jane’s Walk, a relatively small affair with 27 guided walking tours of Toronto neighbourhoods. This year, over 120 tours explore such themes as the city’s queer culture and architecture unique to the city’s bakeries. The return favourite, Places to Bonk on Your Lunch Hour, is hosted by Now magazine’s sex columnist, Sasha. May 1 and 2. Various locations, janeswalk.net.
2. THE YELLOW PARTY
This fundraiser benefits Steam Whistle’s Ride to Conquer Cancer team; the brewery has pledged $25,000 in support of the Princess Margaret Hospital. Food Network Canada celeb chef Christine Cushing will be on hand to teach Edge 102.1 DJ Todd Shapiro a thing or two about cooking, and award-winning barbecue team Team Cedar Grilling will serve up tasty grub to party-goers. April 30. $15. Steam Whistle Brewing, The Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Blvd., 416-362-2337, steamwhistle.ca.
3. SCOTIABANK CONTACT TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Every May, Contact turns the city into one big, month-long outdoor art gallery. This year’s theme, Pervasive Influence, addresses “personal and social consequences of the medium of photography” and can be seen in Finbarr O’Reilly’s photos of the Congolese people, Sara Angelucci’s photos of ceramic memorial portraits in the small Italian town of Montottone and Meta Gallery’s exhibit of works by Wayne Martin Belger, who makes a new pinhole camera for each subject. May 1 to 31. Various locations, 416-539-9595, scotiabankcontactphoto.com.
4. SPRING WEDDING SHOW
It’s wedding season, and betrothed young things will no doubt be flocking to the Drake this weekend for the hotel’s matrimonial co-production with the Wedding Co. Indie ethos is crossed with trad bridal chic, resulting in a vendor list that’s full of local artisans and Etsy sellers, as well as photographers, DJs and event planners. Crafty types will especially like DIY elements on the itinerary. Two workshops are on offer: one about printing your own custom stationery and the other on creating your own custom bouquet. May 1. $10. The Drake Hotel, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042, thedrakehotel.ca.
5. TORN FROM THE PAGES
This concert, part of the Globe and Mail Open House literary festival, features a lineup inspired by Coach House Books. Don’t expect Harry and the Potters or Draco and the Malfoys (both of which are real Harry Potter tribute bands. No, really). Instead, catch ex-Rheostatic Dave Bidini playing music inspired by Christian Bök’s Eunoia, the Billie Hollies taking on Claudia Dey’s Stunt and Paul Linklater jamming to songs about Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg. May 1. $15. Hugh’s Room, 2261 Dundas St. W., 416-531-6604, randomhouse.ca/openhouse.
6. HOT DOCS
Toronto’s other big film festival, this year’s instalment of Hot Docs features 170 films from 41 countries (see our top picks here), a new speaker series, Critical Mass, which features critics and media personalities (like the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones and the Washington Post‘s Robin Givhan) in conversation with their Canadian colleagues, and a mid-career retrospective of Tahani Rached. April 29 to May 9. $12, 10-film pass $98. Various locations, 416-637-5150, hotdocs.ca.
The classic tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster is all over the city these days. Last month, it was in Mel Brooks’s comedy, but this month the tale is given a darker, quirkier treatment in this Jonathan Christenson adaptation. Poetry, humour and music play a central role, as do beautiful costumes and sets, both of which are made completely out of paper. Previews begin April 29. $20–$92. Bluma Appel Theatre, 27 Front St. E., 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.
8. THE TORONTO JAZZ ORCHESTRA PRESENTS O CANADA
Studied nonchalance aside, we think a celebration of Canada should include more than just fireworks and backyard barbecues on Canada Day. The Toronto Jazz Orchestra is clearly of the same opinion; just look at its latest show. A tribute to both established and up-and-coming Canadian big band composers, the TJO’s annual show at the Rex features music by Rob McConnell, Phil Nimmons, Hugh Fraser and Andrew Jones. May 1, 3:30–6:30. PWYC. The Rex Hotel, 194 Queen St. W., 416-899-5299, thetjo.com.