The best outdoor film screenings in Toronto this summer

The best outdoor film screenings in Toronto this summer

Sail-In Cinema. Photograph courtesy of Ports Toronto.

Nothing to do on a warm summer night? Grab a lawn chair, fire up the Jiffy Pop and head out at dusk to catch one of the (mostly free!) outdoor film screenings in our city. Here, a breakdown of what’s on offer at Toronto’s best pop-up cinemas.


Christie Pits Film Fest

Sundays at sunset, Christie Pits Park. PWYC.
Roughly 1,000 locals—plenty of them students—fill the grassy slopes of the Annex park’s natural amphitheatre to watch a mix of popular and critical faves.
Bring: A lawn chair and/or blanket, snacks, and $10 (suggested donation).
Watch This: Gravity (June 26), Duel (July 10), The Truman Show (Aug. 7)


Sail-In Cinema. Photograph courtesy of Ports Toronto.
Sail-In Cinema

Thursday, August 18 to Saturday, August 20, Sugar Beach. Free.
This three-night stunt event (hey, a floating, double-sided movie screen!) is getting ever more popular—last year’s fest brought a record 11,000 viewers. Landlubbers hang out at Corus Quay and Sugar Beach, while boat owners can anchor in the Harbour and get all the elbow room they want.
Bring: By land, blanket. By boat, hoodie and life jacket. Either way, snacks.
Watch This: The line-up is up to a fan vote, but options are still under wraps (the trailer above is a humble suggestion).


City Cinema

Tuesday nights, Yonge-Dundas Square. Free.
Tourists, randos and comedy lovers who can ignore the Square’s dozen other video screens will enjoy a weekly series that focuses on laugh-heavy classics with Canadian actors.
Bring: Money for food and drinks. Chairs are provided.
Watch This: Bridesmaids (June 28), Coming to America (July 5), Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Jerk (July 19; double bill)


Open Roof Festival. Photograph courtesy of Open Roof Festival
Open Roof Festival

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, 99 Sudbury. $15.
Urbanites with a taste for food-truck fare fill the rooftop for a unique evening of recent global cinema and local buzz bands. Sleeping Giant, a coming-of-age tale shot in Thunder Bay, is fittingly paired with a set by Bruce Peninsula, who composed the film’s soundtrack.
Bring: Extra cash to sample the Food Dudes truck or grab a beer. Seating is provided.
Watch This: Everybody Wants Some!! (June 21, with Matrox), Sleeping Giant (July 13, with Bruce Peninsula), A Bigger Splash (Aug. 10, Chloe Charles)


Bollywood Classics Series

Various Saturdays, Aga Khan Park. Free.
This all-ages series outside the stunning Islamic art museum presents films that influenced Bollywood. Expect artsy types and genre diehards.
Bring: A blanket or lawn chair and snacks.
Watch This: Pakeezah (June 11), Jodhaa Akbar (Aug. 13)


Free Flicks. Photograph courtesy of Harbourfront Centre
Free Flicks at Harbourfront

Wednesday nights, Harbourfront Centre. Free.
The city’s only summer-long waterfront screening series should lure plenty of tourists and families with its fun, familiar lineup. Audiences should keep their fingers crossed that no planes fly by during important scenes.
Bring: Money for treats and a sweater in case a breeze is ripping off the lake. No need for a chair—seating is provided.
Watch This: Mean Girls (June 22), Strange Brew (June 29), The Visitor (July 6)


Movies in St. James Park

Last Thursday of the month, St. James Park. Free.
This Old Town space draws neighbourhood families with its PG fare. A free drag show will precede the Kinky Boots showing, so expect a colourful crowd.
Bring: A blanket or lawn chair and snacks.
Watch This: Kinky Boots (June 30), Inside Out (July 28), A Hard Day’s Night (Aug. 25)


June 13, 2016

An earlier version of this post included TIFF in Your Park, which will not occur in 2016.