Welcome to the May edition of the We’ve Been Expecting You eNewsletter – a monthly newsletter customized for members of the hospitality, tourism and service sectors. Each newsletter includes:

  • an e-guide to events for quick reference
  • helpful information on what there is to see and do in Toronto
  • details on the We’ve Been Expecting You initiative

In this issue:

Below are just a few of the May events taking place in Toronto this month! See a more complete list of what is happening.

Festivals & Events

Doors Open Toronto Presented by Great Gulf

Seneca’s Indigenous centre Odeyto. Curved wooden building, windows, red door.Doors Open Toronto presented by Great Gulf returns on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 for its 20th anniversary! The annual weekend celebration of architecture will offer free and rare access to architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across Toronto.

The full line-up of buildings and special programming including films, interactive activations, speaker series and walking tours will be announced on May 7 at www.toronto.ca/doorsopen.

Canadian Music Week

Canadian Music Week logo - white text, black backgroundNow in its 37th year, Canadian Music Week is Canada’s leading annual entertainment event dedicated to the expression and growth of the country’s music, media and entertainment industries. Combining multifaceted information-intensive conferences; a trade exposition; awards shows and the nation’s largest new music festival which spans 7 nights of performances, hundreds of bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto.

More information at cmw.net.

Jane’s Walk Toronto

group walking - fence, green lawn.Jane’s Walk returns to Toronto from May 3 to 5 and invites residents to “Walk it Out.” The global phenomenon, which kick-started in Toronto in 2007 to coincide with the birthday of legendary urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs, encourages engaged individuals to lead free walking tours of the places they live, work, and play in.

The Jane’s Walk movement celebrates the incredibly diverse variety of important stories that make Toronto a great city. Now in its 12th year, the festival welcomes residents from all walks of life to share their experiences with the common goal of creating real social change and bridging communities as we together reimagine the future of our city.

To learn more about Jane’s Walk, submit your own walk, and get a taste of what the festival has in store for its 2019 edition visit  janeswalk.org/canada/toronto. Contact: cheryll.case@janeswalk.net. #JanesWalkTO

2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Image info: Carrie Mae Weems Anointed, 2017. Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Woman in cape with crown being placed upon head - photo awash with red.
Image info: Carrie Mae Weems Anointed, 2017. Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival presents the 23rd edition of the city-wide event May 1 to 31, including its Core Programming of 23 Primary Exhibitions and 15 Public Installations. Influential American artist Carrie Mae Weems will headline this year’s Festival with an exhibition in five parts sited at distinct locations across the city, representing her first solo exhibition in Canada.

In addition to Weems, a selection of outstanding North American and international lens-based artists will present an array of projects in museums, galleries, and public spaces across Toronto. CONTACT also organizes and co-presents a wide range of programs including a book fair, book dummy reviews, lectures, panels, and workshops appealing to a wide audience.

Click through for further information on Featured and Open Call Exhibitions, and on Public Programs. The Festival is free and open to the public, with some exceptions at major museums.

SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival

Photo info: The Swingles (UK) appear in SING! Jazz it Up on May 31. Group sitting on wicker chairs surrounded by plants.
Photo info: The Swingles (UK) appear in SING! Jazz it Up on May 31

From May 24 to June 2, all the amazing sounds of the unaccompanied human voice come together for ten days of glorious singing featuring pop, jazz, folk, gospel, choral, world, barbershop, and live looping music. Featured groups this year include international super-stars The Swingles (UK), Mzansi A Cappella Ensemble from South Africa with their show, Nelson Mandela Centenary Celebration, Cuba’s Vocal Sampling, some of Canada’s leading a cappella groups including Countermeasure, FreePlay, Retrocity, Hampton Avenue, The Watch, and Pressgang Mutiny, a SING! Mass Choir conducted by Kurt Sampson with a guest appearance by Cadence, celebrated Canadian singers Heather Bambrick, David Sereda, Patricia O’Callaghan, up and coming groups The Ault Sisters, Wibi, The Yonge Guns, and Turkwaz and many more.

Chose from 10 ticketed concerts, 7 free events, and 7 workshops or buy a SING! Festival Pass and immerse yourself in singing. For more information and tickets visit www.singtoronto.com.

2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games

Youth games logo. Red and white.In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics movement, the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games will bring together 2,000 student-athletes from around the world to Toronto. For the first time, high school-aged athletes with an intellectual disability will have the chance to compete in an international sports competition.

These inaugural Youth Games will take place May 14 to 17 and feature competition in five sports: athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, floor hockey, and soccer. Competition will take place at a variety of venues in and around Toronto, including University of Toronto, International Centre, and Seneca College. Additionally, there will be other programming for athletes and stakeholders including a Youth Leadership Summit, Observers’ Program and the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg. The Toronto Police Service are proud hosts of the Youth Games, with Chief Saunders being the Honourary Chair.

All sporting events, including Opening and Closing Ceremonies are free to attend and open to the public. For details on event times and competition locations, visit youthgames2019.com.

Live Performance

African Women Acting Festival

African Women Acting Festival show posterThe 4th Edition of African Women Acting Festival “Tribute to Miriam Makeba” is to take place on May 11, at CSI Annex  2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

AWA festival will be showcasing the skills of African women artists in the disciplines of dance, music concert, spoken word, and storytelling through live performances.  Additionally there will be professionally curated African arts and craft exhibition, and African food by vendors.

There will be a screening of the film documentary about Miriam Makeba “Mama Africa”. Special Guest Artist: Zenzile Makeba Lee, granddaughter of Miriam Makeba. Other performers include, Sonia Aimy, Fatoumata Kouyaté, Faith Amour, Lamoi Simmonds, Arsene Duevi, Meseko, Mariana Balde, Rama Club, Kokofele, DJ Moussa, Vendors and more.

In addition to the concert, AWA will be recognizing its 2019 Icon Award recipients. Women who are active about women empowerment in our communities both in Africa and globally.

For more information visit: africanwomenacting.org/awa-festival/.

World Premiere of LOT X Culminates Harbourfront Centre’s Provocative Dance Series TORQUE

World Premiere of LOT X Culminates Harbourfront Centre’s Provocative Dance Series TORQUE. 4 dancers.Adelheid’s LOT X is an interactive dance experience that transports performers and audiences and through several locations at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, challenging ideas of intimacy and holding a magnifying glass to the land we are standing on and the people we stand with. Explore questions of ownership, intimacy and sharing, while the performers move with you through physical and virtual spaces. Created by one of Toronto’s most exciting choreographer Heidi Strauss, this site-specific piece was developed as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Creative Residency program and is co-presented with DanceWorks.

LOT X (May 29 to June 2) is the finale installment of Harbourfront Centre’s dance series TORQUE. Harbourfront Centre, renowned for presenting contemporary, cutting edge performances, has nurtured local, national and international dance on its stages for years. Exploring current artistic and societal themes, the curated dance series, TORQUE, features five new premiere and provocative performances created by visionary female choreographers from around the world.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit: www.harbourfrontcentre.com/torque/lot-x/.

FOUR Shows On Stage at Soulpepper!

Photo info: The Brothers Size. 3 men, in car sinking in water - surrounded by trees (illustration)
Photo info: The Brothers Size

On May 4 performances begin of the Canadian Premiere of The Brothers Size from the writer of Moonlight, the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Through Yoruba mythology, ritual, and music, comes a bracing, honest, and moving portrait of brotherhood. May 4 to 26

May 18 is the first performance of the epic family drama that everyone has been anticipating – August: Osage County, Tony Award-winner and Pulitzer Prize winner.  Featuring Founding Members, Resident Artists, and fresh faces to Soulpepper, August: Osage County is one you won’t want to miss! When their father vanishes, three daughters return home to support their mother. The result is an epic portrait of the modern dysfunctional family. Fiercely funny and bitingly brutal. May 18 to June 19.

The final performances of the Tony Award-winning play Copenhagen play May 1 to 4. Welcome To My Underworld begins May 8 in Soulpepper’s fifth partnership with RARE Theatre Company.

Visit soulpepper.ca to check out all the upcoming programming! To learn more follow on Twitter; or call the Young Centre Box Office at 416-866-8666.

The 10th Anniversary Concert Season at Koerner Hall Closes with Season Finale Festival

Photo info: Michael Ondaatje. Photo credit: Basso Cannarsa
Photo info: Michael Ondaatje. Photo credit: Basso Cannarsa

While most of the concerts in the festival are sold out, such as Peter Serkin on May 1, Anoushka Shankar on May 2, Robi Botos and Friends on May 4, and Lighthouse: 50 Years of Sunny Days on May 14, tickets are available for Art of Time Ensemble: Doghouse Roses on May 3. Steve Earle’s writing and music has captured the spirit – and the struggle – of contemporary America. Singers Andy Maize (Skydiggers), Susie Ungerleider (Oh Susanna), Tom Wilson (Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), and Gregory Hoskins perform Earle’s music with the Art of Time Ensemble, while celebrated author Michael Ondaatje and actor Rick Roberts read his words. This concert highlights Earle’s brilliant storytelling and presents his songs in new arrangements that honour and celebrate his music.

For more information and tickets, please visit www.rcmusic.com/performance.

The Toronto Consort Presents Night Games

illustration - woman in mask, behind fan. Red on white background.Artistic Direction by Katherine Hill.

You may laugh, cry, cheer, or thumb your nose, but nothing is too gauche for this season’s grand finale!

Join The Toronto Consort and Montreal’s master commedia dell’arte director, actor, and dancer, Marie-Nathalie Lacoursière, for an irreverent evening of madrigal comedy. Featuring works by 16th-century composers Orazio Vecchi and Adriano Banchieri, and a colourful array of singers, players, dancers, and actors, nothing is off-topic, and no one is safe during this old-school musical roast!

May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. May 5 at 3:30 p.m. At Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets start at $29.

Information at: event website  and Facebook.

Factory Theatre Presents the Toronto Premiere of Beautiful Man

man without shirtFactory Theatre presents the Toronto premiere of Beautiful Man, a searing satire that turns the tables on gender and power with the simple question, “What if men were the victims of the objectification and marginalization normally reserved for women?”

A trio of women are talking about the latest binge-worthy TV; a cop show with a grizzled female veteran detective, who is also watching a TV show, with an Amazon Queen, who is watching a play…all depicting gradually increasing levels of violence toward men. It is horrifying – because it is the kind of violence usually reserved for women and presented as entertainment in film and television, and IRL.

Moving and appropriately unsettling, Beautiful Man proffers a beautiful man, to be gazed upon throughout the duration of the show, while simultaneously calling out misogyny, sexism, and abuse of power.

Written by Erin Shields and directed by Andrea Donaldson, the cast features Ashley Botting, Mayko Nguyen, and Sofia Rodrigues, with Jesse LaVercombe as the beautiful man.

Beautiful Man runs May 4 to 26. For more information visit www.factorytheatre.ca.

Weston Silver Band presents Afternoon at the Proms

large group of musicians holding instruments. Graffiti on wall behind.Three-time North American Brass Band Champions Weston Silver Band (WSB) bring their signature style to Canadian and British repertoire for what promises to be a fun-filled afternoon of brass music for the whole family.

Now in its 98th year of operation, the WSB is heading overseas in June 2019 to compete at the Whit Friday Brass Band Contest in England, the first time a Canadian Brass Band has ever entered the 134 year old competition. In addition to competing, the WSB will be performing a number of concerts highlighting Canadian music and composers for audiences in England. “Afternoon at the Proms” is a preview of the ensembles’ upcoming UK Tour concert program.

Featuring a varied program of audience favourites, don’t miss this acclaimed ensemble, renowned for their exciting concerts and dazzling soloists.

Purchase tickets for May 5th here.

Junior at Harbourfront Centre

two people dancing. black, white and orange background
Photo info: image from Woogie Boogie

Targeted to children and youth ages 4 to 14 and their families, Junior (May 18 to 24) challenges young people to explore new perspectives and ask enlightening questions in a live setting. Featuring world, North American and Canadian premieres, the festival includes an extensive lineup of free and ticketed programing encompassing theatre, live concerts, dance, puppetry, circus, storytelling, arts and crafts and more, from leading family entertainers and artists from across Canada and around the world.

For a full programming lineup visit: www.harbourfrontcentre.com/junior/.

May at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Photo info: guest conductor Nicholas Collon
Photo info: guest conductor Nicholas Collon

The month of May at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is an ode to the genius of some of the greatest composers of all time, and some of today’s most brilliant pianists.

On May 7 and 8, singers Shayna Steele, Brie Cassil, and Melissa McMillan join conductor Jeff Tyzik for Queens of Soul an irresistible medley of hits made famous by the legendary divas of soul and R&B.

May 11 and 12 British conductor Nicholas Collon conducts Beethoven Symphony 5, and Israeli pianist Shai Wosner performs Mozart’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 21.

May 15 and 16 Sir Andrew Davis returns to conduct Mahler Symphony 7, and Canadian pianist Louis Lortie joins the TSO to perform César Franck’s Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra. Davis and Lortie team up again May 24 and 25 for Saint-Saëns’s virtuosic piano concerto. Respighi’s colourful Pines of Rome, Rossini’s overture to William Tell, and the World Première of Colour of Chaos by Jordan Pal complete the program.

Preeminent American pianist Jeremy Denk leads the Orchestra from the keyboard in an all-Mozart program on May 29, 30 and June 1.

Call 416-598-3375 for details!

Walking On Bombshells at The Second City

Cast of second CityLook both ways before you enter the rapid crossfire of this fast-paced, hilarious take on the minefield we’re all living in. From toxic masculinity to turtle murder, this show hits all the high notes–turning all our universal internal monologues into uproarious reflections that probably shouldn’t even be legal to say out loud.

Don’t miss this all-new, all-explosive revue from the social soothsayers of The Second City that will leave you questioning everything, especially where you sit on public transportation.

For more information or to purchase tickets: www.secondcity.com/shows/toronto/walking-on-bombshells.

Inner Elder

Photo info: Michelle Thrush in Inner Elder. Photo credit: Ben Laird. Woman with powder falling from hands into bowl
Photo info: Michelle Thrush in Inner Elder. Photo credit: Ben Laird

Created and Performed by Michelle Thrush, Directed by Karen Hines.
Co-presented by Nightwood Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts.
Onstage May 8 to 12 at Aki Studio.

Inner Elder takes audiences on a journey of transformation through laughter and real-life memories of Gemini Award-winning Cree artist Michelle Thrush as she explores her own inner elder. Using a delicate blend of Bouffon and Indigenous clowning, this performance offers a heightened experience in the theatre and an extraordinary vision of our world.

WINNER of the 2018 Betty Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Drama for Michelle Thrush. Nominated for the 2018 Betty Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production of a Play

★★★★ “A master storyteller. […] Thrush’s recollection is so vivid, it sears itself into your consciousness.” – Calgary Herald

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir

Photo info: Magnificat. gold, on blue background
Photo info: Magnificat

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir end their 40th anniversary season with Bach Magnificat from May 9 to 12 at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre. The concert begins with the burst of exuberance and invention that is Bach’s Magnificat, a timeless musical description of devotion and grace. High on Bach’s list of favourite composers was Jan Dismas Zelenka, a Bohemian immigrant to Saxony. They continue their exploration of Zelenka’s music with their debut performance of his Mass Missa Divi Xaverii, a work of miraculous beauty and dazzling joy. Then Tafelmusik gets intimate with their final Close Encounters chamber series concert, Fantasticus, on May 22 and 25. The stylus fantasticus (“fantastic style”) was all the rage in the 17th century: instrumental music written in a bold, unrestrained, and extravagant manner. The performers were urged to embrace an unbridled style of playing, virtuosic and spontaneous.

For tickets, visit tafelmusik.org.

May at Young People’s Theatre

Young People’s Theatrewoman surrounded by red umbrellas. black background (YPT) is thrilled to present the World Premiere of Antigone: 方 by Jeff Ho. An urgently contemporary adaptation of the classic Greek story, inspired by the 2014 Umbrella Movement student protests in Hong Kong and the 1989 uprising in Tiananmen Square, Antigone: will be presented ‘in the round’ on YPT’s Mainstage April 29 to May 16.

In this riveting new play, “re-education” awaits anyone who questions the state’s traditional doctrine. Antigone faces high stakes as she stands up for her brother against her father’s will. In the courage of a young woman, there is hope for the future…

Book tickets online or call 416-862-2222 x2.

Toronto Bach Festival 2019

Toronto Bach Festival 2019 - black and white image of BachCelebrate the king of baroque, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Toronto Bach Festival boasts three days of rare and well-known vocal, keyboard and other instrumental music from one of the most prolific composers and creator of so many enduring masterworks. Between May 24 and 26, head to St. Barnabas on-the-Danforth to hear leading baroque interpreters in historically informed performances: a famous Brandenburg concerto and a violin concerto, renowned Montreal harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour playing Bach’s inventive French and English suites; and cantatas and Lutheran masses. Also take in a free lecture about Bach and the French style from engaging authority Ellen Exner.

For a more informal experience, chill with a beer during Late Night with Bach at The Black Swan, where Elinor Frey plays a solo cello suite and new works created for her on the five-string cello.

Visit www.TorontoBachFestival.org for details and tickets.

Lilies; Or the Revival of a Romantic Drama at Buddies in Bad Times

close up of person in purple jacket, with scrolled wallpaper in the backgroundA queer masterpiece, reimagined…
A lemonTree creations, Buddies, and Why Not Theatre production
Onstage May 4 to 26.

In 1912, two schoolboys fall in love performing a play about Saint Sebastian. Their passion is interrupted when one is unjustly sent to prison. Decades later, several inmates agree to stage this story of young love in search of their own redemption.

Prolific indie company lemonTree creations revives Michel Marc Bouchard’s masterpiece with Walter Borden leading a cast of predominantly Indigenous and Black artists to make visible the high incarceration rates of these communities. Centring Indigeneity and diverse worldviews, the creative team bring this romantic drama into the 21st century, unearthing love, lies, and colonialism.

Get $25 tickets to any performance when you purchase before April 30.

Tickets online or at 416-975-8555

Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon Present the World Premiere of Canadian-Indigenous Opera Shanawdithit

illustration - white hand, black background. Hand pointing to sky. designs on fingers.Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon present the landmark world premiere of Shanawdithitan opera that retraces a lost people and sheds a light on a story misrepresented by history at a time when truth and reconciliation is top of mind. The title character Shanawdithit was thought to be the last living member of Newfoundland’s Beothuk Nation and through her drawings and stories the Beothuk people are vividly brought to life.

The story and libretto is written by celebrated Algonquin playwright Yvette Nolan, with a score composed by Newfoundlander Dean Burry. Featuring mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, and four other Indigenous performers. Spectacular large-scale works of art are created by five renowned Indigenous artistic contributors from Nations across the country.

Shanawdithit is being presented at Imperial Oil Theatre in Toronto from May 16 to 25. Tickets range from $35 to $150 and are now available online at tapestryopera.com/tickets.

TO Live’s Inaugural Uptown International Children’s Festival

Photo info: Lisa Loeb. Photo credit: Juan Patino Photography 
Photo info: Lisa Loeb. Photo credit: Juan Patino Photography

TO Live’s inaugural Uptown International Children’s Festival presents Grammy Award-winner Lisa Loeb, plus internationally-acclaimed theatre shows A Fool’s Errand (Quebec), and from the UK The Man Who Planted Trees and Is This a Dagger? Plus free family programming all four days outside at Mel Lastman Square.

Uptown International Children’s Festival takes place May 16 to 19.

Grammy Award-winner Lisa Loeb, best known for her platinum-selling Number 1 hit song “Stay (I Missed You)” from the film Reality Bites, is also very well-known to parents and kids for her children’s albums.

Lisa Loeb plays the George Weston Recital Hall May 17, 12:15 p.m. and 7 p.m., and May 18, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Suitable for all ages.

Mel Lastman Square will come alive with four fun-filled days of food, family entertainment and exciting interactive activities May 16 and 17, 11 p.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 and 19, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.tocentre.com.

Culinary Events

Toronto Poutine Fest

Toronto Poutine FestPoutine Festival artwork - multiple plates of poutine will take place May 24 to May 26 at Yonge-Dundas Square. This year’s festival will feature 12 food trucks and over 60 different varieties of Canada’s favourite dish, poutine! Food trucks will be making their way from all across Ontario and Quebec to rally together for an epic poutine show down.

Food options from some of the trucks will include vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and halal options. Admission is free and dogs are welcome in the Square. There will be live entertainment from open to close all weekend and also some supporting vendors as well. Last year’s event drew in an estimated 30,000 people and this year the social media following has almost doubled. This event only happens once per year so make sure to check out what is shaping up to be Canada’s biggest Poutine Fest!

Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo

person smells tea at vendor stallThe third annual Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo celebrates the city’s buzzing café culture.

The Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo is back for a third year to unearth and celebrate Toronto’s world-class café culture on May 4 and May 5. This year, the Expo has moved to a bigger venue at the CF Shops at Don Mills, Town Square, a dynamic public space in the heart of Toronto. Coffee and tea lovers will discover what’s brewing in the minds of leading coffee and tea innovators as they explore exhibitors, savour endless free samples, learn industry secrets and participate in hands-on workshops.

Canadian chef and television personality Shahir Massoud will host the 2019 Best Tea Competition (May 4) and the 2019 Best Coffee Competition (May 5), where a panel of food and drink experts will crown the city’s best cups of tea and coffee based on presentation, scent and taste structure.

For more information, please visit: www.torontocoffeeandtea.com.

Getting Around

Group Day Pass Deal Extended for the Victoria Day Long Weekend

Streetcar. building, CN tower in background. Fireworks in sky.Take advantage of the Group Day Pass this Victoria Day long weekend (May 18 to 20) to get you and your group to all of the festivities happening around the city. A great deal for sightseers!

Group Day Passes can be used for:

  • two adults or
  • two adults and four youths (13 to 19 years of age) or
  • one adult and five youths (13 to 19 years of age)

For $13.00, your group can enjoy one day of unlimited travel on the TTC.  Children 12 and under ride for free.  You can buy a TTC Group Day Pass in advance at most subway stations or participating TTC Fare Agents.  Passes are valid from the date shown on the pass until 5:30 a.m. the next day. More information at www.ttc.ca.

Film and Literature

Hot Docs Festival

audience watching movie
Photo credit: Christian Pena

Hot Docs is North America’s largest documentary festival, conference and market. This year, the Festival will present its 26th annual edition from April 25 to May 5, where an outstanding selection of over 200 documentaries from Canada and around the world will be presented to Toronto audiences and international delegates. Hot Docs will also mount a full roster of conference sessions, market events and services for documentary filmmakers, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker and the Doc Shop.

2019 Festival of Trees

Festival of trees wordmarkDo you have young readers who love to read? Have they ever been to a “rock concert” for reading?

Be part of the largest literary event for young readers in Canada, the Festival of Trees!

Every year, almost 15,000 attend the Festival of Trees for fun-filled days of award ceremonies, autographing, workshops with authors/illustrators, exciting activities and games for chances to win prizes, plus local entertainment!

Meet Canadian authors like Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Eric Walters, Wesley King, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Cary Fagan, Rob Laidlaw, Kevin Sylvester, Andree Poulin, and Paul Roux.

Don’t miss out on Canada’s largest literary Festival for young readers!

This event is open to the public and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 14, May 15, and May 16 at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre. Tickets are on sale now. Buy today at forestfestivaloftrees.ca/tickets.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Returns to Toronto

ReelAbilities Film FestivalReelAbilities Film Festival logo returns to Toronto for the fourth year in a row, May 24 to June 2, showcasing Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf.

The feature, short and documentary films at ReelAbilities Film Festival cover a wide variety of topics and issues including Dan Habib’s Intelligent Lives at the opening night gala on Wednesday, May 29, and Sophie Robinson’s Me, My, Mouth and I at the closing night gala on Saturday, June 2.

ReelAbilities will also include filmmaker Q and As, dance performances, workshops and an Accessible Comedy Night featuring stand-up, storytelling, clown, musical comedy, and more.

ReelAbilities Film Festival was established in New York in 2007. In 2016, it crossed the border into Canada as ReelAbilities Film Festival: Toronto, making it the first international chapter of the Festival.

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival

illustration - female with magazine for head, wrapped in circular pattern. Surrounded by books, comics, magazines and water.The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) Canada’s premiere showcase of comic books, graphic novels, BD, and manga, for readers of all ages! Presented by Toronto Public Library and The Beguiling, TCAF returns this May with more than 400 comic book creators from 20+ countries around the world!

Featured Guests include: Junji Ito (Uzumaki), Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon (Umbrella Academy), Emily Carroll (When I Arrived at the Castle), Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine), Vivek Shraya and Ness Lee (Death Threat), Brian Selznick (‘Hugo’).

Featured YA Guests include: Ryan North and Erica Henderson (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), Mariko Tamaki (Skim, This One Summer), Renee Nault (The Handmaid’s Tale), Tillie Walden (On A Sunbeam).

Featured Kids Guests include: Shannon and Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham (Princess in Black), Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters), Judd Winick (Hilo).

Main TCAF Exhibition: Toronto. Saturday May 11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday May 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to TCAF event spaces is free! Some programming may require advance tickets. Visit torontocomics.com for full show information.

Great Films Worth Celebrating at TJFF

Movie goers hoisted in air (Horah), holding hands, popcorn and pop spilling.The Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) explores the global diversity of Jewish stories from around the world at various cinemas around Toronto from May 2 to 12.

TJFF opens with Tel Aviv on Fire, a rarely-seen comedic satire on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and closes with an evening of music featuring live performances preceding It Must Schwing! The Blue Note Story, a must-see love letter to jazz music.

Fans of Fiddler on the Roof will get a chance to watch the highly anticipated World Premiere of Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles.

TJFF tickles the funny bone with a look back at some of the funniest television programs on Canadian TV, including The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour, the CBC sketch comedy series created by Hart Pomerantz & Lorne Michaels, and Becoming Sid Dithers: Eugene Levy from McMaster to SCTV, a spotlight on Eugene Levy’s early work.

For schedule and tickets click here.

May 2019 Events at Toronto Public Library

Building with multiple Asian signs. Asian Heritage month image.Toronto Public Library has designated May as Asian Heritage Month, and presents a free and diverse city-wide celebration of Asian culture. From author talks to film screenings and musical performances, join us at branches across Toronto to experience a variety of specially-designed events, programs and activities for all ages to experience and celebrate the broad diversity of Asian culture.

Toronto Public Library joins the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and partners in the academic arts, corporate and non-profit communities to commemorate Digital Literacy Week from May 27 to June 1. The week will once again showcase free digital and technology programs and services available across the city and celebrate Toronto’s innovative and digitally-inclusive leaders and organizations.

Learn more about programs, classes and events at library branches throughout Toronto at www.tpl.ca.

Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival

Inside Out wordmarkThe 29th edition of Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival  takes place on May 23 to June 2 at TIFF Bell Lightbox!

The largest of its kind in Canada, this festival takes place over 11 days and draws crowds of 35,000 to screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations and parties that highlight more than 180 films and videos from Canada and around the world.

For more than two decades, Inside Out has brought Toronto’s LGBT community together in celebration of the best in local and international queer cinema. Through annual Festivals in Toronto and Ottawa, filmmaker initiatives, youth engagement and year-round events and screenings, Inside Out is engaged every day in challenging attitudes and changing lives.

Festival Launch Party: May 3 at Artscape Daniels Launchpad. For more information, visit insideout.ca.

Attractions and Exhibits

May is Museum Month

children on steps of Spadina houseExperience the places where Toronto’s many pasts, presents and futures meet! Visit the Toronto History Museums during Museum Month and enjoy guided walks, selfie tours, Mother’s Day teas, Victoria Day activities and more. Guests can use their Toronto Public Library card to gain free admission to the museums Tuesdays through Thursdays all month long. www.toronto.ca/museums.

What’s on at the Aga Khan Museum

4 people looking at camera. Black and white images, green background.Join us for our Changemakers Talk Series, featuring four exceptional women who are changing outdated narratives and empowering communities around the world through art and activism.

May 11 to 12: Enjoy The Knitting Pilgrim, a multidisciplinary one-man show, illuminating the commonalities within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Artist Kirk Dunn explores what knits us together through storytelling, image projection, and his textile installation, Stained Glass.

May 16, 8 p.m.: Celebrate a musical dialogue in a new cross-art form with Emmy Award-winning tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith and acclaimed Indian kathak dancer Seema Mehta. Together they exchange beats, music, and story in a captivating show. The pair will also offer a dance class on May 15 at 1 p.m., sharing their new cross-cultural style. No experience or footwear required.

May at the Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum - multicoloured lights,Friday Night Live is back this spring! From May 3 to June 28, experience art, culture, and nature remixed every Friday night.

On May 9, explore the power and potential of seeing art as a means of transformation in Tibetan Buddhism with Dr. Sarah Richardson at ROM Daytime: Tibetan Art and the Promise of Sacred Vision.

Celebrate International Museum Day, and explore popular 17th century Chinese prints with Clarissa von Spee, at the ROM Speaks lecture, Greeting the Spring: Chinese Colour Prints from Suzhou, on May 14.

On May 18, witness the unveiling of a spectacular Romano-Egyptian Mummy portrait at, ROM Connects: Faces for Eternity: Romano-Egyptian Mummy Portraits at the ROM. Speaker Curator Paul Denis will place the ROM’s mummy portraits in their historical context, then trace the portrait’s long journey from the Fayum region of Egypt to Toronto.

Ontario Place Waterfront Segway Tours Opening this May

People riding segways at Ontario PlaceAfter a training session on how to use the Segway PT, you will get to experience the best of this amazing waterfront park and paths that make up the east and west islands of Ontario Place. This is your opportunity to share a special experience with friends and family and rediscover the waterfront.  Your tour guide will showcase the iconic places that make the park unique, including the Cinesphere, Trillium Park, lookout points, and more.  While on tour, they will point out some history and spectacular photo opportunities of Toronto’s skyline!

Tours run Saturdays and Sundays* May, June, and September and Thursdays through Sundays* in July and August. The experience is about 60 to75 minutes in length. Anyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and the minimum age requirement is 12 years old.  All riders must weigh between 100 to 280lbs. Cost is $69 plus tax per person.

*More days are available based on demand

For more information on tour times or reservations, please visit www.gotourscanada.com/ontario-place-segway-tours/ or simply www.gotourscanada.com.

The Bentway Announces: Communitas

Photo info: 'Memoria' by: An Te Liu. Artwork with bridge support, CN Tower, pyramid.
Photo info: ‘Memoria’ by: An Te Liu

The Bentway is excited to launch the Spring / Summer 2019 Season of programming, informed by the theme Communitas: The Spirit of Community! Through the lens of culture and recreation, The Bentway explores Toronto’s changing landscape as well as opportunities to unite diverse communities through shared experiences.

Communitas (May to August) brings together artists, urbanists, innovators, and community activators within the connective space of The Bentway to engage in radical experiments in collaboration, co-creation, and cohabitation: all of which are key to the future of Toronto.

The season kicks off with New Monuments for New Cities, a joint art exhibition with five members of the High Line Network—a group of 19 North American infrastructure reuse projects. The Bentway is the only Canadian project partner and will open the exhibition on May 11 with Toronto’s first-ever Monuments Summit.

For more information, please visit: TheBentway.ca.

What’s On at the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto

Photo info: The Life of a Dead Tree, by: Mark Dion. Artwork - man with bar cart and fallen tree
Photo info: The Life of a Dead Tree, by: Mark Dion

MOCA Toronto exhibits, produces and collaborates across all contemporary art forms. Discover exceptional emerging and established artists, often provocative and experimental.

New Exhibitions:

Honest Shop, May 10 to July 7: Honest Shop is a space that sells goods by makers in the local community. There is no special selection process for what can be sold – provided the products are handmade. Honest Shop aims to offer a space for cultural practices that could be considered useful, to showcase amateur crafts, making and skills, while also presenting a way for hidden talent to be exposed and supported.

Mark Dion: The Life of a Dead Tree, May 24 to July 29: Artist Mark Dion brings a massive, fully grown, deceased tree, along with its inhabitants to the museum. This specially conceived project marks the 100th anniversary of the Tower Automotive building and brings attention to our role in observing and caring for Toronto’s natural ecosystems.                                       

HideSeek is Today’s Real Life Recess

Photo credit: D. Horvath Photography. People in shopping cart surrounded by boxes of cereal,
Photo credit: D. Horvath Photography

Toronto’s newest interactive experience brings childlike wonder to life.

Inspired by childhood nostalgia, HideSeek is an immersive pop-up experience designed to let guests feel like a kid again. Their goal is simple: take a break from being a grown-up and rediscover the carefree spirit of childhood. The 7,000 square-foot space features 12 interactive and photo-worthy rooms that transport you back to a world of play, imagination and curiosity.

Designed by a creative team of Toronto-based entrepreneurs and artists, each floor-to-ceiling installation was built solely by artists from Toronto. Travel through never-ending rows of beaded curtains, gaze up at 10,000 glow-in-the-dark stars, get lost in a maze of pool noodles and indulge in cotton candy in an all-pink room inspired by a school daydream.

For a limited time only, visit HideSeek Wednesdays to Fridays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased on www.gohideseek.com/tickets. Ready or not, here we come!

The Ryerson Image Centre Presents the First Canadian Retrospective of the Work of Artist Moyra Davey for the 2019 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Photo info/credit: Moyra Davey, Subway Writers (detail), 2011/2014, 75 chromogenic prints, tape, postage, ink. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York; and greengrassi, London 
Photo info/credit: Moyra Davey, Subway Writers (detail), 2011/2014, 75 chromogenic prints, tape, postage, ink. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York; and greengrassi, London

Scotiabank Photography Award: Moyra Davey celebrates the work of Toronto-born artist Moyra Davey, winner of the 2018 Scotiabank Photography Award. Based in New York and renowned internationally for her photographs, videos, writings, and artist books, Davey’s work examines interiority and disclosure, and the intersection of private and public discourse. The exhibition includes portraiture, still life and photographs of subway scenes, along with a suite of Davey’s visually arresting films, which interweave subjective narratives with the texts and lives of her influences, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Sigmund Freud, Jean Genet, and Pierre Vallières.

Artist talk with Moyra Davey on May 8, 7:00 p.m. (122 Bond Street, room IMA-307) and curator-led tours of the exhibition on May 22, 6:00 p.m. and July 17, 6:00 p.m.

Admission to the gallery is free. Free exhibition tours daily 2:30 p.m. More information at www.ryersonimagecentre.ca.

So Much to Do At the Toronto Zoo!

Children looking at flamingos
Photo info: American flamingos

You won’t want to miss Toronto Zoo’s feature exhibit for 2019, Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea. This installation will open May Long Weekend and includes 10 larger than life sculptures of aquatic animals created entirely from plastic and other debris gathered from the ocean. PLUS, for those of you who have been waiting for the chance to go behind the scenes and get up close to the animals in their care, watch for their new Wild Encounters program starting in May. You will be able to visit areas where the world class Wildlife Care staff work and have an experience with giraffes, tigers, polar bears, penguins and more! In addition, the Toronto Zoo’s Kangaroo Walk-Thru is reopening this summer!

Check out torontozoo.com for full details on upcoming events. Be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter @TheTorontoZoo for all the latest news.*

*Events subject to change

Legends of Time at the Taras Shevchenko Museum

exhibit poster. Red bull, people superimposed on it. illustration.The Taras Shevchenko Museum is holding an exhibition and sale of the most recent works by Odesa-born, Ukrainian visual artist Oleh Nedoshytko. The show runs from the opening at 2:30 p.m., April 7 to May 24.

Come to Legends of Time to experience the artist’s exploration and expression of mystical, secular and inner spiritual realms via abstract images and bold, confident application of colour and texture. Rendered in subtle, calming pastels through a range of deeply saturated autumnal hues to bursts of bright primary colours, Oleh Nedoshytko’s paintings transport the viewer to worlds beyond their imagining.

The Museum is dedicated to popularising the life and work of Taras Shevchenko, the Bard of Ukraine, as well as the contribution of Canadians of Ukrainian descent to the social, economic and cultural life of Canada.  While you are here, please be sure to visit the permanent exhibition.

For further information: 416-534-8662 or shevchenkomuseum@bellnet.ca. Visit www.infoukes.com/shevchenkomuseum.

What’s Bringing People to Toronto


Check out some of the events, shows and live entertainment taking place this month:

For more information on live performances across the city, visit www.whatsontonight.ca. Or check out the venue event listings directly at:

No matter what kind of music you enjoy or what kind of venue you like best, there’s always something playing in Toronto. Visit the City’s Music page for links to concert listing and information on the music sector.

Visit the websites of the major conference centres for information on other events, conferences and shows: Exhibition Place, Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) and the International Centre (in Mississauga).

Tourism Services News

It’s T-Shirt Weather!

red tshirt. black mug. black baseball cap.Pick up your Toronto-branded t-shirts (and other items) at the Toronto Desk located in the Ontario Travel Information Centre in Union Station (west end of the station, near entrance to the Skywalk). Supplies are limited – get yours today!

We’ve Been Expecting You: We Can Help!

WBEY logoTourism Services offers a variety year round programs to support the industry:

Event Calendar: www.toronto.ca/eventcalendar. Promote your event on the calendar by submitting your information. Or stay up to date with what’s happening in Toronto.
Information Centres: Year round at Union Station (part of the Ontario Travel Information Centre) or seasonal at key locations around the city. Drop in to find out more about Toronto or to pick up material and maps. To provide your material for distribution to the public email us at infotogo@toronto.ca for more information.

Visitor Maps: Available free of charge. Contact us at visitorservices@toronto.ca to:

  • Request a supply to distribute to your guests.
  • Find out about advertising on future editions.

We’ve Been Expecting You (WBEY) Training: Free training covering customer service principles and providing helpful information about Toronto. Currently available online at www.wbeytoronto.ca. Email wbey@toronto.ca for more info or to ask about face-to-face session.

Are You a Subscriber?

News imageHave you subscribed to this eNewsletter…or do you have it forwarded to you by someone else? To make sure you don’t miss the next issue, please enter your email address. Watch for an email in your inbox and follow the instructions to verify your subscription. Once you have subscribed, you will receive the helpful information and industry news as soon as we release it each month. You don’t have to wait for it to be forwarded onto you!

Feedback and Ideas

What would you like to see in future editions of the Welcome to Toronto… We’ve Been Expecting You newsletter? Email us at wbey@toronto.ca with your comments and suggestions.


You are receiving this email because you subscribed to email updates from the City of Toronto regarding event listings and the We’ve Been Expecting You initiative. Do not reply to this email. If you have received this email in error, unsubscribe here.