Toronto Weekender: January 23 through 26, 2014

Simply put, if you stay inside this weekend you’re letting the Polar Vortex win. We’re not sure when it became such a big surprise that it’s cold in Canada during the winter, but we’ve known about it since the first time December decided to introduce itself with a fist full of snow. And you know what, it hasn’t stopped us from Living Our Notable Lives (#LYNL) once yet. So bundle up, wear layers, drink hot things, do whatever you’ve got to do to stay warm but don’t miss out on any of this weekend’s extracurricular activities. You work hard for a reason; don’t let the weather stop you from playing hard too.

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival, or TO DO as it’s known locally, will have several eye-popping installations and innovative exhibitions going on throughout the city with contributions from both local and national designers. Go get learned in the art of design. 

The first part of TIFF’s mammoth, two-season Jean-Luc Godard retrospective is kicking off at the Bell Lightbox. Godard Foreverwill give you the opportunity to get to know one of the most important film directors of the 20th century. Just a heads up: if you prefer your movies in 3D, this might not be for you.  

One of Toronto’s most important lit mags, Descant, will be launching its 163rd issue with readings by Cathy Petch, Rocco de Giacomo, George Elliott Clark, and others at Charlie’s Gallery. There’ll also be food, prizes, and the opportunity to socialize with some of the city’s best writers, artists, and editors. Bring a pen.

If you like this, then you like St. Lucia. Which means you should be hitting up The Hoxton to see Jean-Philip Grobler (St. Lucia is one guy) on his first North American Tour. Looks like fellow musicians Nick Brown, Ross Clark, Nicky Paul and Patricia Beranek will also be in tow. Wear your dance pants, ladies and gents.

The ROM is turning 100, and to celebrate they’re throwing a year-long party that includes exhibitions, symposiums, conferences, and speakers. Check out the schedule to see which event most sparks your artistic interest. 

Hit up Analogue Gallery on Queen W. to see intimate photos of Bob Marley at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. The selection of shots was taken by award-winning photographer David Burnett in 1976 and captures Bob at his most relaxed. There’s gotta be a ‘No Woman, No Cry’ joke in here somewhere… 

Want something new? Hit up The Interior Design Show, Canada’s ultimate showcase for new products, designers, and concepts. Spending a few hours here will keep you on trend for the rest of the year. Or just on a new couch. 

Stop by Midnight MRKT pop-up market anytime after 9pm to get your fix of music, drink, and food all at once. A bevy of local retailers and vendors will be waiting to show you what’s in style. This is how shopping should always be.

If you’re feeling like this weekend might be a good time to embrace your inner country, you might still be able to find a ticket to Keith Urban’s show at the ACC. You might have to sell your cowboy hat to get them, but maybe that’s a good thing.

For those of you willing to make the trek out to Hamilton, late-night funny man Craig Ferguson will be performing a stand-up show at the Palace Theatre. Turns out he doesn’t need a celebrity beside him to make him pretty damn funny.   

It’s Robbie Burns Day in Toronto. Also known as, If-I-have-any-connection-to-Scotland-whatsoever-I-will-be-getting-drunk Day.The Caledonian and Fionn MacCool’s are just two spots in the city you can toast the famous poet while getting your whisky fill. 

The LCBO has teamed up with the B.C. Wine Institute to set up a number of free tastings throughout the GTA to promote the release of several spectacular Okanagan wines. Check your local to make sure you can treat your taste buds to some grapes worth remembering.  

If beer’s more your drink of choice, head down to the Steam Whistle Brewery for the craft beer festival where 18 of Ontario’s finest craft breweries will be in attendance. Main tickets have been sold out but there’ll still be some left at the gate for those of you who wouldn’t dare miss a good microbrew.  

All that drinking will certainly work up an appetite, so why not head to Kensington Market with to take part in their food tour? You’ll receive no less than six tastings that include a cheese shop, delicatessen, butcher shop, spice shop, and more. You’ll also pick up some tidbits about the history of the market and possibly even learn how and why it became such a hippie haven. 

At night, check out The Gladstone’s 11th Come Up To My Room that’s happening all weekend long. It’s an annual alternative design event that they promote by claiming it shows what it’s like inside the heads of artists and designers. We assume what they mean is that it’s a lot like drinking absinthe. 

The Comedy Bar will be hosting The Superstars of Comedy, a show presented by Sirius XM Radio featuring Alex Pavone (Yuk Yuk’s), Pat MacDonald (The Comedy Network), Ben Miner (Just For Laughs) and hosted by Matt O’Brien. Apparently Sirius XM Radio will be recording, so if you go make sure to break out your loudest, strangest laugh to ensure you make the cut.

Get in the mood to get out of town by hitting up the Toronto Travel Show. We meant all that stuff we said about handling the cold, but if you can break free for a little Southern sojourn all the power to you. If you’re looking to break free, this is where you’ll find the best deals in the city.

For lunch or dinner, hit up Ryus Noodle Bar in Baldwin Village. These guys are offering all their ramen bowls at half-price until the end of the month. A steaming bowl of delicious noodles is the perfect cure for a Saturday night that just won’t leave you alone on Sunday afternoon.   

Of course, if your aim is to keep the party going rather than settle it down, head over for a few games of Boozy Bingo at Second Floor Events. Sounds pretty self-explanatory to us… just don’t forget your dabber.

We just gave you almost 20 ways you can spend the next four days. All you have to do now is decide how you’re going to Live Your Notable Life (#LYNL). And trust us, it doesn’t start with staying inside all weekend.

Stay Notable,

The Weekender 

Top photo courtesy the ROM