12 Things to Check Out in Toronto in January

Snap out of it: January isn’t that awful.

As it turns out, Toronto is filled with all kinds of ways you can eat, drink, and be merry even as the holidays become a distant memory.

From acrobatics and art to bridal and booze, here are 12 things to check out this month in Toronto.


1. Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival (January 2-11)
The Toronto International Film Festival isn’t the only festival to pay attention to. Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival offers a chance to check out some of the best Canadian films of 2015, as selected by Canadian filmmakers and industry professionals. The films range from political satires and documentaries to dramas and thrillers. The festival features 10 films over 10 days for only $10 (a refreshing change from the cost of catching a flick at some of the city’s massive theatres). The event is also filled with industry panels, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and special events. Ten student shorts were also selected for the festival.

2. Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – The First Flight (January 7-10)
Start the year on a flexible note with Cirque du Soleil. The circus hits town this week with the Avatar-inspired TORUK – The First Flight, which will transform the Air Canada Centre (ACC) in all of its acrobatic and visual stimulation-filled glory. If you thought Avatar was cool to watch in 3D at the theatre, it will blow your mind when you watch it performed by the iconic Cirque du Soleil.

Errisson Lawrence Photography

3. Toronto International Boat Show (January 8-17)
Just because the lake may be frozen solid at the cottage doesn’t mean you can’t test-drive a boat (or at least board one). The Toronto International Boat Show takes over a million square feet at the Enercare Centre, allowing visitors to “cruise” the aisles for the latest marine products and gadgets and browse hundreds of boats – from 40-ft luxury yachts to customized pontoons, canoes, and sailboats.

4. TTC No Pants Subway Ride and Dance Party (January 10)
With the recent fare hikes and inconvenient service repairs, the only time you may actually have fun on the TTC is this coming Sunday. Dressing for the occasion is made easier by the fact that partygoers are encouraged not to wear pants. The Toronto Edition of the No Pants Society’s annual dance party will inspire hundreds of pant-less Torontonians to unite for an epic dance party, as they ride the rocket like never before.

5. Real: Pop Art from the AGO Collection (January 16-December 31)
On the heels of the two well-received Andy Warhol exhibits to hit Toronto this year, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) further feeds our appetite for pop art with Super Real: Pop Art from the AGO. The long-running exhibition kicks off this month, featuring an assortment of pop-art works from its own permanent collection, SuperReal. This includes Andy Warhol’s Elvis I and II, George Segal’s The Butcher Shop, Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Burger and Robert Rauschenberg’s Story.

6. Long Winter (January 16 and January 30)
There’s nothing better to get you through the long, uninspiring winter months than a dose of visual stimulation. Long Winter offers a monthly night of immersive and interactive music, installations, visual art, readings, food, and dance. On January 16, Long Winter takes over The Great Hall for an evening of affordable art, music, and comedy. As an added bonus, this month will also feature a special event at The Galleria Mall on January 30, where the courts and hallways of the mall will be filled with music, dance, projects, and installations.

Rick Clifford/Long Winter

Rick Clifford/Long Winter

7. The Interior Design Show (January 21-24)
If you have a new place (or one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get one), you should probably swap the halls of IKEA for The Interior Design Show, where you’ll find no shortage of design inspiration (and gourmet food and drinks). Here, you can check out the newest and most innovative design from both international design powerhouses to homegrown up-and-comers, with three days of exhibits, influential speakers, and leading products.

8. National Bridal Show (January 22-24)
If you got engaged over the holidays, the National Bridal Show should probably be on your to-do list. Not only do brides-to-be get in for free, the Enercare Centre will be busting at the seams in a way you’d never want to in a wedding dress with everything wedding-related, from the shower invitations to the honeymoon destinations.

9. FFWD Advertising and Marketing Week (January 25-29)
If you’re a young professional in advertising, marketing, public relations, or media, it’s probably a good career move to check out some of the programs offered at this year’s Advertising and Marketing Week. The immersive week is the country’s largest and most diverse annual gathering of advertising, marketing and media leaders, and consists of leadership conferences, galas, awards, keynote and panel presentations. Showcasing the best in Canada, the week offers a forum to highlight new ideas, future trends, and industry discussions.

10. Winter 2016 Opening Party at the Power Plant Gallery (January 29)
Join some of the city’s most influential art influencers at the Power Plant Gallery on January 29 for a public party to celebrate the opening of the Winter 2016 Season. In between cocktails (it’s a cash bar; this isn’t Power Ball) and air kisses, guests will be among the first to see the gallery’s upcoming installations. The four major exhibitions incorporate film, photography, sound, moving image and installations by world-renowned artists.

11. Winterlicious (January 29-February 11)
Just because holiday gifts and vacations have left a little dent in most of our wallets doesn’t mean we have to quiet that inner foodie craving to dine at some of the city’s best restaurants. That’s because Winterlicious returns in all of its gourmet glory. This means hundreds (literally, over 200) of prix-fixe meals from some of Toronto’s finest as they show-off their specialties – from starters to desserts. Prices range from around $18 to $28 for lunch, or $25 to $45 for dinner per person.

12. Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival (January 30)
Toronto’s boozy festivals aren’t just for the summer months. If you’re looking for something to do on the last Saturday in January, end your month-long booze cleanse a day early, layer up, and hit Steam Whistle Brewery for the Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival. The outdoor, day-long party is basically a craft beer wonderland for both lovers of beer and the gourmet grub dished up from some of the city’s finest food trucks.