Seven great (and totally free) film screenings in Toronto this summer
Movies on the Common
Thursdays in July, Corktown Common
The Toronto Outdoor Picture Show—a.k.a. the people behind the beloved Christie Pits Film Festival (see below)—is packing up its big, inflatable movie screen and heading east. On three Thursdays in July, the city’s newest screening series will show a pair of sports classics and a musical in Corktown Common, the sprawling park at the foot of the Don Valley with a gorgeous, glowing backdrop of downtown Toronto.
Watch This: A League of Their Own (July 6), Hairspray (July 13), Invictus (July 20)
The East End Throwback
Scarborough Worldwide Film Festival
Friday, June 9, Albert Campbell Square; Saturday, June 10, Bluffers Park
This community film festival includes more than 20 classic and contemporary flicks, but the highlights are two outdoor screenings: Wayne’s World in Albert Campbell Square (next to Scarborough Town Centre), and Stanley Kubrick’s legendary 2001: A Space Odyssey, on the stunning shores of Bluffers Park.
Watch This: Wayne’s World (June 9), 2001: A Space Odyssey (June 10)
The Lakeside Screening
Thursday, August 17 to Saturday, August 19, Sugar Beach
By now, film buffs know the drill: boaters anchor on Lake Ontario, landlubbers set up shop at Corus Quay, and everyone enjoys a few movies on a floating, two-sided screening. Organizers let audiences pick the flicks. Will they choose Raiders of the Lost Ark? Edward Scissorhands? Mrs. Doubtfire? Voting closes July 11.
Watch This: Raiders of the Lost Ark, we hope, but you can never trust democracy.
The Adventurous Fest
Regent Park Film Festival
Wednesdays in July and August, Regent Park
Where most outdoor screening series specialize in millennial nostalgia, the Regent Park Film Festival’s “Under the Stars” series offers a more adventurous lineup, including an Italian neorealist classic, Bicycle Thieves, and a Bollywood romance, Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. But okay, yeah, they’re also showing Space Jam.
Watch This: Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na (August 2), Bicycle Thieves (August 9)
The Summer Staple
Christie Pits Film Festival
Sundays in June, July and August, Christie Pits
This weekly starlit screening is perhaps the city’s most popular, propped on the pleasant slopes of Christie Pits. This season’s lineup—all films about competition and camaraderie—opens with the 1925 silent comedy The Freshman, with live accompaniment by genre-bending weirdos The Holy Gasp.
Watch This: The Freshman (June 25), West Side Story (August 13)
The Downtown Series
Movies in St. James Park
Thursdays in June, July and August, St. James Park
This summer, the St. Lawrence screening series offers a couple of relative new releases and a classic. To get in the spirit of Pride month, catch Pride, preceded by a live drag show. For family-friendly thrills, try the adventures of Lego Batman. And, for some throwback fun, there’s Grease.
Watch This: Pride (June 22), The Lego Batman Movie (July 27)
The CanCon Party
Harbourfront Free Flicks
Wednesdays in June, July and August, Harbourfront Centre
The annual waterfront screening series highlights Canadian-filmed productions, from underrated indies (Two Ways to Heaven, How She Move) to big-budget hits (Pacific Rim) to, well, Air Bud. There’s no rule saying that a movie about a dog playing basketball can’t play Harbourfront.
Watch This: My Internship in Canada (June 12), Meatballs (July 19)