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What's On This Month In Toronto | May 2016

Picture of Culture Trip
Updated: 7 October 2016
There are finally enough (oh-so-subtle) signs of spring in Toronto, that it only seems fitting that our monthly guide includes outdoor adventures, to accompany the usual indoor fun. This month, Torontonians will find markets and bazaars; art exhibits and theatre performances; and seemingly endless opportunities to eat and drink, as the 6ix embraces sunshine and longer days.

MONDAY MAY 2nd – SUNDAY MAY 8th


© Harper Collins / © Cheng / © Ogrisek / © Wong

© Harper Collins / © Cheng / © Ogrisek / © Wong

PHOTOGRAPHY  |  CONTACT Photography Festival

May 1st – 31st, 2016

Each May, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival transforms Toronto into a photo-lover’s dream. From street installations to gallery exhibitions, CONTACT connects people and images in new, surprising way. Check out their Festival Planner to make the most of ths month-long festival.

MUSIC  |  Canadian Music Week

May 2nd – 8th, 2016

Canadian Music Week 2016 is finally here. This music festival and industry conference celebrates the best in Canadian music; the concert line-up is packed with brilliant shows that you won’t want to miss.

THEATRE  |  PostSecret: The Show

May 3rd – 8th, 2016

The online sensation, PostSecret.com, hits the Toronto stage with PostSecret: The Show. Experience crowd-sourced secrets – often sad, racy, or funny – brought to life. It’s guaranteed to be a visual, auditory, and emotional journey; get ready to laugh, cry, and cringe.

ART  |  OCADU GradEx

May 4th – 8th, 2016

OCAD’s graduate exhibition is back for its 101st year; now’s your chance to check out the work of over 900 talented young artists and designers.

FASHION  |  Made Inland

May 6th – May 8th, 2016

Ditch that fast fashion habit and head to Made Inland. Held in the stunning QRC West in the heart of Toronto’s fashion district, here’s your chance to shop (and mingle with) over 60 Canadian designers.

WALKING TOUR  |  Jane’s Walk

May 6th – May 8th, 2016

Celebrate your love of Toronto with Jane’s Walk – informative, quirky, and unique citizen-led walks – held in memory of urbanist and activist, Jane Jacobs. There’s a walk for everyone: brush up on the city’s culinary scene; explore Toronto’s artistic past; discover the history of Toronto’s pride movement, and more.  

MARKET  |  Blossom and Bloom

May 6th – May 7th, 2016

Head to Union Station to stock up on all your floral needs – from bouquets and expert advice, to floral crown workshops and a complimentary henna station – at Blossom and Bloom 2016. Pro Tip: this is the perfect chance to pick up something in time for Mother’s Day…


MONDAY MAY 9th – SUNDAY MAY 15th


© Nuagecafe / @ Twentieth Century Fox / Courtesy of Toronto Symphony Orchestra / © ITV

© Nuagecafe / @ Twentieth Century Fox / Courtesy of Toronto Symphony Orchestra / © ITV

FOOD  |  Veggielicious

May 6th – May 22nd, 2016

Celebrate all things vegan and delicious with Veggielicious: 16 days of prix-fixe vegan menus from restaurants, bakeries, and cafés across the GTA.

FILM & BOOKS  |  TIFF’s Books on Film: Cheryl Strayed and Wild

Monday, May 9th, 2016 

As part of their ‘Books on Film‘ series, head to the TIFF Bell Lightbox, as acclaimed writer, Cheryl Strayed, reflects on Jean-Marc Vallée’s film adaptation of her best-selling 2012 memoir, Wild.

OUTDOORS  |  Spring Plant Sale

May 13th – May 15th, 2016

Get everything you need to make your garden grow from those in the know at the Spring Plant Sale at Toronto Botanical Garden. From perennials, to vegetables, to succulents and vines – you’ll find everything you need (plus expert advice). 

MUSIC  |  Peter and the Wolf

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Toronto Symphony Orchestra teams up with the Magic Circle Mime Company for a family performance of the beloved musical tale, ‘Peter and the Wolf.’ Watch – and listen – as musicians and the conductor’s assistant work to outwit that pesky wolf.

HISTORY  |  The Etiquette of Downton Abbey

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Channel your inner Lady Mary or Matthew Crawley at ‘Toronto’s Downton Abbey‘ – Spadina Museum – and brush up on your 1920s etiquette on this tour which takes you everywhere from the simple servant’s quarters, to opulent drawing rooms.


MONDAY MAY 16th – SUNDAY MAY 22nd


© MelzinhaKpop4 / © mark.watmough / © Alpha - lamb / © Danielle Griscti

© MelzinhaKpop4 / © mark.watmough / © Alpha – lamb / © Danielle Griscti

DANCE  |  Outside Looking In

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Outside Looking In, a Canada-wide program, gives Indigenous youth and their communities the chance to engage in long-term education through dance. Catch their ultimate performance at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Arts. 

FOOD & DRINK  |  Brewers Plate Toronto

Wednesday, May 18th

Enjoy a rock ‘n’ roll celebration of food and beer as the best in both businesses come together for a night of music, gourmet eats and libations for Brewers Plate Toronto.

MUSIC  |  Kpop Con

May 20th – May 22nd, 2016

Korean pop lovers, gather at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for Kpop Con 2016 – part concert, part convention, part fan-meets – you won’t want to miss out on this massive celebration of all things Kpop. 

ART  |  Artfest Toronto’s Spring Art & Craft Show

May 21st – 23rd, 2016

What better way to spend the long weekend than surrounded by art in Toronto’s  historic Distillery District? Stroll through the cobblestone lanes and celebrate painting, photography, fine craft, sculpture, and live music from Toronto’s top artists at Artfest Toronto’s Spring Show.

FOOD  |  Halal Food Fest

May 21st – May 22nd, 2016

From cooking demos, to performances, and samples galore, make your way to the Halal Food Fest for a fun – and delicious – way to spend your weekend.

DRINK  |  Toronto’s Festival of Beer: Spring Sessions

May 21st – May 22nd, 2016

This May Two-Four, skip the crowds in cottage country, and have a staycation with Toronto’s Festival of Beer. Expect your favourite brewers – including Great Lakes Brewing, Granville Island, and Beau’s – and bites while you booze.


MONDAY MAY 23rd – SUNDAY MAY 29th


© The Royal Ontario Museum / © Creative Film / © Pexels / © nodomain.cc

© The Royal Ontario Museum / © Creative Film / © Pexels / © nodomain.cc

ART  |  ¡Viva Mexico! Clothing & Culture

May 9th – May 23rd, 2016

Explore the evolution of Mexican fashion – and history – through over 150 textiles on display at the ROM this May with ¡Viva México! Clothing & CultureFrom entire costume ensembles, to embroidery, beadwork, and more, take a peek into one of the largest collections of Mexican textiles in the world.

WEB  |  T.O. Webfest

May 27th – 29th, 2016

Calling all web gurus: now in its third year, T.O. Webfest celebrates all things web content. Head to workshops, panels, installations, and a web content-creating ‘bootcamp’ at this three-day fest.

FOOD & DRINK  |  CraveTO

May 27th, 2016

CraveTO celebrates Toronto’s food scene with some of the best street food vendors and craft brewers, with a night of dancing, drinking, and feasting.

CRAFT  |  21st Annual Textile Bazaar

May 27th – May 28th, 2016

The Textile Bazaar is surely a crafter’s dream: head to Artscape Youngplace to support the Textile Museum of Canada and stock up on all of your sewing, quilting and crafting needs. 

ARCHITECTURE  |  Doors Open Toronto

May 28th – 29th, 2016

It’s the city’s favourite open door event: from museums and churches, to sports centres and studios, explore the interiors of Toronto architecture with Doors Open Toronto. This year’s theme, Re-used, Revisited and Revised, explores how buildings have been adapted and re-used throughout the city’s architectural history.


MONDAY MAY 30th – TUESDAY MAY 31st


© Rberr11 / Courtesy of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre / © SimonP

© Rberr11 / Courtesy of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre / © SimonP

MUSIC  |  Courtney Barnett

Monday, May 30th, 2016

For a dose of Australian indie rock, head to the Danforth Music Hall to catch Melbourne’s singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.

THEATRE  |  Body Politic

May 21st – June 12th, 2016

Get ready for Toronto Pride Week at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with Body Politic, a historical drama, exploring the events, people, and politics that surrounded one of Canada’s strongest journalistic forces, as well as Toronto’s gay rights movement.

PHOTOGRAPHY  | Ordinary Weather: An Exhibition of Contemporary Photography by Nathan Cyprus

May 5th – September 22nd, 2016

Why do we lack a sense of wonder in our home city? Nathan Cyprus sets out to consider that very question with Ordinary WeatherAs part of the Contact Photography Festival, head to Toronto’s Mackenzie House to get lost in Cyprus’ photographs, and see Toronto through fresh eyes.