Toronto Weekender: May 1 through 4, 2014

Let’s be honest, the only good thing about April was that it led us to May. And what better way to welcome a new month than with a weekend. So we went ahead and lined up the best galas, parties, concerts, comedy, drinks, dancing, and alliteration just for you. And when it’s all over, Cinco de Mayo will be waiting to finish you off. So let’s get started, shall we? Monday’s a long time from now and you’ve got more than 25 events you have to attend before then.

The 3rd Annual Right to Play Ball at the Shangri-La Hotel is one of this city’s most-sought after charity tickets. ‘Cause hey, they don’t just give these things away. Not when Russell Peters is hosting and a veritable who’s who of T.O. will be in the house.

Calling yourself Kid Ink and living up to it are two different things. Luckily this rising hip-hop star has as much talent as he does tattoos.

Women are funny. Really funny. So it’s about time Toronto held its own festival to show the world just how much we respect the female funny bone. SheDot is that time.

First Thursdays offers a late-night viewing of the AGO’s current exhibit, Francis Bacon and Henry Moore. Equally important, you’ll also find drinks, DJs, and food to go along with the must-see collection from two artistic masters. Drinking with geniuses is never a bad way to kick off the weekend.

Mixing culture and cocktails, Friday Night Live returns to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for its spring series with Party of the Century. Buck 65, Maestro Fresh Wes, Gourmet Gringos, and dinosaur bones – what other Friday night can claim all that? 

With more than 175 participating venues throughout the city, you’re going to be making Contact whether you intend to or not. After all, this is the biggest photography event in the world­. NBD. Hit up the MOCCA Launch party or wander the city with a keen eye. Either way, photography is the medium du jour.

The Raptors are in Brooklyn with a chance to close out their first round series in game six. This is the only time we’re going to be cool with you sitting on your couch on a Friday night. Though we would definitely suggest you head to Maple Leaf Square, ‘cause, you know, #WeTheNorth.

With a shiny new set of electro-funk gems set to drop (White Woman, May 16) – and an “au courant” list of guest contributions sure to get them to the album-selling side of 8.0 over at – Chromeo are here to show you exactly what you missed if you weren’t old enough to get into shows in the 80s. A must-see according to our Music in the Streets. 

The Stars on Ice are in town. We would not normally suggest it but Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be there and gosh darn it if our pure Canadian hearts don’t fall in love with them every time they take the ice. Damn you, Sochi. Damn you. 

The best way to get to know your neighbourhood (or any for that matter), 136 Jane’s Walks will take place in Toronto over the weekend. Go out and learn a thing or two about the place you live.

Indie darlings July Talk are playing the first of two shows at Lee’s Palace. If you don’t like their music, at least their Wikipedia page is super entertaining. 

Local artists designing sneakers at a museum in a live competition. That’s the coolest sentence you’ll read today.

Like funny movies? How about funny movies that were made specifically between 1914 and 1964? You do? Wow, then we literally have the perfect festival for you.

It’s Free Comic Book Day. And suddenly everywhere children left their parents basements for the first time in months…

Terroir, the annual showcase for new Prince Edward County wines, is on. Many County wineries will introduce their new spring releases and you will enjoy being pleasantly day drunk as a result.

Toronto Biggest Scavenger Hunt kicks off at Nathan Philips Square. Teams of eight or less are welcome. How many players does Google count for?

Spirit of Toronto takes over Roy Thomson Hall to celebrate its 10th anniversary. This gala (aka: drinkers’ delight) offers samples of more than 100 whiskies and premium spirits from around the world, tutored tastings, live jazz, a gourmet table d’hote, classic cocktails, and a poolside cigar bar on the outdoor terrace. This is how people who wear tuxes drink.

She was originally supposed to play at Yonge and Dundas Square but M.I.A. will now be taking the stage at Tattoo Queen West for an invite-only event. So why are we telling you? In case you find a wristband on the ground and want to know what it’s for, obviously.

Listen to this. If you like it go see the Bombay Bicycle Club.

Brody Jenner is a DJ. And that’s the worst sentence you’ll read today.

There are a ton of Contact-related openings happening over the weekend but one that focuses on the 500 best shots ever taken on a smartphone speaks to our way of life. Aptly named Instagratification, that’s exactly what we expect you’ll get from it. 

Ten award-winning Canadian and American professors present their very best lectures on literature, history, music, art, science, economics and more – ‘cause Sundays be for learning. 

After the giant debacle that was the Grilled Cheese Fest, we don’t blame you for being a little hesitant at the sight of another food festival. But considering this is the Chicken Wing Festival’s third year and they’ve received strong reviews for the past two, we’re willing to step out on a…wing. (We’re sorry, please keep reading.)

It turns out being in the business of knowing business is a pretty valuable thing these days. So speaking with admissions directors from top local and international business schools, obtaining personalized advice about your business school application, and networking with Ivy League MBA Alumni might not be a bad way to spend your Sunday. Luckily, there’s the QS World MBA Tour, smarty-pants.

Call it a fad all you want but gluten-free eating isn’t going away anytime soon. Buying into it, however, might just help make that wheat belly of yours disappear altogether. Go see and taste for yourself at the Gluten Free Expo. It could just be the best thing since sliced bread. (Wow, we’re on a roll.)

Remember when Babylon came out and you spent six weeks straight dreaming of the person you were going to marry and how great it was going to be to fall in love? Ya, us neither. But David Gray will be playing at The Danforth just in case you don’t want to remember it again.

Always one step ahead, The Drake will be holding Quatro de Mayo, an afternoon of bottles, dancing, and DJs in the Sky Yard. This is how you spend a Sunday afternoon in May that you wish was really a Saturday in May.  

The first weekend in May sets the tone for how you intend to spend the rest of your summer. So you know all those times someone says ‘no pressure’? Well, this isn’t one of them. Four days, 27 events. Go.

Stay Notable,

The Weekender


#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)

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Top photo courtesy The Drake Hotel