A symphonic Harry Potter screening, a Halloween block party and seven other things to do in Toronto this week
Harry Potter in concert
1If you were the friend whose obsession with Harry Potter was a little too much, then this weekend’s screening of The Half-Blood Prince, accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, will definitely be your jam. In case your memory is a little hazy, this is the chapter where Harry becomes obsessed with a mysterious potions book, leading to a certain plot twist that proved no one in the Potterverse is safe. And yes, you can wear your Hogwarts uniform. October 31 to November 2, Meridian Hall.
A night of good versus evil
2Be honest: are you a hero or a villain? Choose wisely and get ready to duke it out during the Lightbox’s Halloween extravaganza, Boombox, which is a costume contest, dance party and and mystery game all in one. When purchasing tickets, attendees will choose whether to attend as superheroes, super-villains or somewhere in between—and are encouraged to dress accordingly. Partygoers will be tasked with a secret mission based on their allegiance, followed by a performance from Cirque du Soleil’s daredevil crew. Expect food from Donnelly Group, Butter Chicken Roti and O&B, plus, best of all, an open bar. October 31, TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Church Street block party
3If your inner party monster needs a serious night on the town, there’s nowhere better than the Church-Wellesley Village, which hosts Canada’s biggest and best Halloween block party. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the six blocks on Church Street between Wood and Gloucester streets will fill up with the city’s most festive and creative Halloween devotees outfitted in their most elaborate costumes. By the end of the night, expect a massive bar crawl with enough neon cocktails to light up the street. October 31, Church Street.
An evening of laughs
4When the two Daniels— MacIvor and Brooks—get together, the Canadian theatre scene buzzes. The pair broke big in the ’90s and aughts with a string of hilarious, haunting monologues that have become classics. For Let’s Run Away, their seventh and latest venture, they introduce Peter, another of MacIvor’s compelling eccentrics, whose cherished self-image clashes with the dismissive portrait of him in his late mother’s memoir. Expect poignant thoughts on the nature of identity—as well as a campy throwback to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. November 1 to 17, Berkeley Street Theatre.
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
5It’s an embarrassment of adorable-animal riches at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, from the extremely fuzzy baby llamas at the petting zoo to the very good collies herding sheep at the animal theatre. The RCMP Musical Ride, back at the fair for the first time in a decade, features nearly three dozen horses and riders performing intricately choreographed drills (with flags!) to rousing music, while the competitive horse show celebrates Olympian Ian Millar’s retirement. For the less equine-inclined, there’s ample Ontario beer and daily cooking lessons from Tutti Matti’s Alida Solomon. November 1 to 10, Enercare Centre.
A Portland variety show
6Twenty-five years ago, at a moment when indie rock by women flourished, Sleater-Kinney—named after a road near their early practice space—ruled the punk scene with their frenzied guitars and bleating vocals. After a band breakup, lead guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s starring turn in Portlandia, and a 2015 reunion, the Portland trio is back on the road (minus drummer Janet Weiss, who left the band in July) with their new album, The Center Won’t Hold. On it, the women confront their mid-life anxieties and channel their considerable Trump-related rage into huge and howling songs that are sure to have the crowd thrashing cathartically along. November 3, Rebel.
A harrowing operatic comedy
7Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni opens with an attempted rape and ends with the perpetrator, Giovanni, being dragged down to hell by demons. Tough stuff, but Opera Atelier is billing it as an “outrageous comedy” (though some of that humour is at the expense of the female characters in thrall to the charismatic nobleman). Cited by some critics as the greatest opera ever written, it’s almost Shakespearean in its combination of ribald humour, elegance and the supernatural. Opera Atelier’s stylized commedia dell’arte production hits all those buttons with unerring finesse. Baritone Douglas Williams stars as the licentious Don. October 31 to November 9, Ed Mirvish Theatre.
A pint-paired dinner
8If you live in Ontario and don’t have a deep, deep love for craft beer you must be living under a rock. Okay, puns aside, breweries Big Rock and Beau’s are teaming up to serve an eat-until-your-pants-feel-tight four-course dinner paired with (duh) beers from both breweries. Ontario farmers and suppliers like Osprey Bluffs honey, King Cole Ducks and Stonecroft Farm pork belly will have prepared for your plate by chef Ryan Lister. Obviously the beer pairings have been well thought out and yes, reps from both breweries will dish out their inspiration for the pairings along with your food. October 30, Big Rock Brewery.
A Movember kick-off
9For the month formerly known as November, our beloved bros, boyfriends, dads, husbands and best buds will again become hairy-lipped Monopoly men in the name of men’s health. And we’re here for it. To kick off the festivities, Stackt market is hosting a night of beer, music and games for Movember men to meet up and compare moustaches. November 1, Stackt.