There’s a free movie coming to a park (or ravine or beach or patio) near you
We have all winter to hibernate, so what say we stop bitching about the heat and catch a free movie under the stars instead. From indie darlings to ’80s classics, here’s a guide to some of the best screenings happening around the city this summer.
A two-fer in Trinity Bellwoods
1By day, Toronto’s west-end hot spot will host an afternoon farmers’ market (where you’ll find everything from produce to baked goods to fresh-shucked oysters) and by night, the dog bowl will become the backdrop for a screening of the 2000 Hong Kong rom-dram In the Mood for Love. Cyclists can feel hella fancy by making use of the park’s bike valet service. Tuesday, August 13. Trinity Bellwoods.
Back-to-back flicks in Christie Pits
2The Christie Pits Film Festival has been going strong since 2011. There’s a new cinematic theme each week (think coupledom, rivalry and doppelgängers), and every Sunday until the end of August, the festival pairs a Canadian short with an international feature film (the “dynamic duo,” as they call it). This year’s highlights include cult comedy The Odd Couple (July 21), starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as ill-fitted roommates, and sci-fi thriller Gattaca (August 18), which should appeal to anyone interested in seeing Ethan Hawke transform into Jude Law in the span of two hours. Until Sunday, August 25. Christie Pits.
A Corktown Commons cinema
3East-enders can get in on the dynamic duo action, too. This film series is put on by the same folks who organize the Christie Pits Film Festival, so it’s a similar spiel: there’s a weekly short followed by a feature flick, and each two-hander is selected with a theme in mind. But they’re different than what you’ll find in the west end. Here, expect a mix of cult, queer, family and Indigenous cinema, like Billy Wilder’s queer camp classic Some Like It Hot (starring Marilyn Monroe) and Switch, a lesbian film noir set in gritty 1949 Toronto. There’s also a free yoga class before the show. Until Thursday, July 25. Corktown Commons.
A movie in the Beaches
4If the free popcorn at this weekly screening session isn’t enough to get you out to the Beaches, the lineup should be. These movies are a mix of classics and blockbusters, including Beetlejuice (July 24), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (July 31) and Crazy Rich Asians (August 28). They happen every Wednesday at Kew Gardens. Until Wednesday, August 28. Kew Gardens.
A downtown silver screen
5Since the inside of Union Station is a maze of construction and caution tape, you might be better off hanging out outside at the annual Union Summer market. In addition to the regular slew of food stalls and beer vendors, there are free movie screenings every Wednesday, including The Incredibles 2 (July 17) and A Star Is Born (July 24). Arrive early to avoid having to fight someone for a picnic table. Until Wednesday, July 31. Union Station.
A starry night at Regent Park
6For six years, Regent Park’s Under the Stars movie nights have exclusively featured films with BIPOC stars, and this year’s lineup continues the tradition with Life of Pi (July 31) and Black Panther (August 14). The festivities are part of the annual Taste of Regent Park festival, so attendees can pop by the community market before the show to pick up some homemade snacks. Until Wednesday, August 14. Regent Park.
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A PG Liberty Village party
7These family-friendly screenings come with some of the best skyline views in the city. If you’re willing to let your kids stay up past their bedtime, there’s plenty on the docket this summer, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (July 19), Mary Poppins Returns (August 23), Jumanji (August 24) and the grand finale, Black Panther (September 7). Liberty Village Park.
A Sorauren Park date night
8This park has its own pizza oven, making it a good spot to zest up the default dinner and a movie date night. (There will be pierogies, too. Because Roncesvalles.) These screenings are all about the classics: catch the beloved Casablanca on July 27 and a “Crazy for Swayze” double feature on August 24, with end-of-the-world flick Red Dawn and Demi Moore as a love-crazed artist in Ghost. Until Saturday, September 28. Sorauren Park.