What better way to spend a hot summer night in Toronto than by taking in a movie screening in a park, on a beach or at some other unique outdoor location around the city? In what has become a tradition in the last few years, 2015 is packed with outdoor film screenings and events, and promises to be another stellar summer for Toronto film buffs.
Below is a roundup of popular outdoor movie screenings around the city.
Christie Pits Film Festival
The Christie Pits Film Festival takes over Christie Pits Park every Sunday night from July 5 to Aug. 16. The theme for this year’s lineup is “Great Villains” with a screening of F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film Nosferatu kicking things off. The film will be accompanied with a live score by musicians Del Bel.
Other movies screening in the series include O Brother, Where Art Thou? (July 12), Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (July 19), Edwin Boyd: Citizen Gangster (Jul 26), Mean Girls (Aug 2), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Aug. 9) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (Aug. 16).
All films start at sunset and are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10. Short films are also screening with the main feature and food vendors will be on site. For more information on the Christie Pits Film Festival, visit christiepitsff.com.
Yonge-Dundas Square’s free City Cinema series, in partnership with MINI Canada, is going with a musician-turned-actor theme for its slate of films this year.
Running under the title “BUT CAN THEY ACT? Music Icons in Film,” the series launches on June 16 with 8 Mile, starring Eminem. Other films include The Hunger, starring David Bowie, along with a screening of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (June 23), the 1976 version of A Star is Born, starring Barbra Streisand (June 30), Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, starring Jack Black and Mos Def, along with Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (July 7), Dreamgirls, starring Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson (July 28), Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas, along with the documentary Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (Aug. 4), Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, starring Beatty and Madonna (Aug. 11), The Wiz, starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, along with a screening of the Jackson documentary This Is It (Aug. 18), Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen Bros. (Aug. 25) and Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, starring Björk, along with the concert film Björk: Biophilia Live (Sept. 1).
For more information on City Cinema, visit ydsquare.ca.
Free Movie Nights in Earl Bales Park
The Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre at Earl Bales Park in North York is screening five free family-friendly movies this summer, starting July 30 with the TIFF in your Park (see below) presentation of Song of the Sea. Other films include Disneynature’s Chimpanzee (Aug. 6), the Oscar-winning animated film Big Hero 6 (Aug. 12), Hoot (Aug. 27) and the 2014 remake of Annie (Sept. 3), starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Cameron Diaz. For more information on Free Movie Nights in Earl Bales Park, visit toronto.ca.
Harbourfront Free Flicks
Presented by PortsToronto, Harbourfront Free Flicks runs every Wednesday at dusk from July 8 to Sept. 8 at the Harbourfront Centre’s WestJet stage. The theme for this year’s lineup of films is “Family Ties.” The series kicks off with a screening of the classic Coen Bros. comedy crime-drama Raising Arizona. Other films include Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti (July 15), Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (July 22), Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell (July 29), the New Zealand film Boy (Aug. 5), Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, starring George Clooney (Aug. 12), Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited (Aug. 19) and the remake of True Grit, starring Jeff Bridges (Aug. 26). The final film on Sept. 2 is an audience choice between The Princess Bride, The Guilt Trip, or Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. For more information, visit harbourfrontcentre.com.
Movies in the Park *UPDATED*
Movies in the Park is host to four free screenings in Riverdale Park East this summer, with each screening raising awareness and money for local non-profits Art City and The Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs. Dates for the screenings are set for Sunday, July 12 at 9:15 p.m., Sunday, July 25 at 9 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 8 at 8:45 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 22 at 8:30 p.m. The opening film is Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. The rest of the films in the series have not been announced yet.
Open Roof Festival
Returning for its sixth year, the Open Roof Festival features movies, music, food and beer (courtesy Amsterdam Brewery) every Wednesday night from June 17 to August 19 at 99 Sudbury St. (just south of Queen St. W and Dovercourt Rd).
The series kicks off June 17 with the critically-acclaimed documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and a performance by singer-songwriter Tomi Swick. Other films and musical acts include The Overnight and Del Bel (June 24), Ex Machina and Sam Drysdale (July 1), the horror film It Follows and Jessica Mitchell (July 8), The Sandwich Nazi and Toronto rapper Abdominal and The Obliques (July 15), Pretend We’re Kissing and Hooded Fang (July 22), Guidance and Rob Moir and The Great Lates (July 29), Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young and the New Orleans-inspired Heavyweights Brass Band (August 5) and Unexpected with Os Tropies (August 12). The series wraps on August 19 with a performance by July Talk’s Leah Fay and a screening of the film Diamond Tongues, which Fay also stars in.
Tickets for the Open Roof Festival are $15 each. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with bands performing first and films beginning at sundown. For more info, visit openrooffestival.com.
TIFF in the Park
TIFF kicks off its 40th anniversary celebrations this summer by returning to David Pecaut Square (215 King St W.) every Wednesday night at sunset from July 8 to September 2 for their free TIFF in the Park film series. This year’s lineup includes Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom (July 8), Whale Rider (July 15), Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (July 22), Watermark (July 29), The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth (Aug. 5), Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (Aug. 12), The Artist (Aug. 19), The Triplets of Belleville (Aug. 26) and Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightly (Sept. 2). For more information, visit tiff.net.
TIFF in your Park
Along with the TIFF in the Park series, TIFF is hosting a film series at different parks throughout the city from July 3 to Sept. 4 called TIFF in your Park. The lineup includes the animated family film Hotel Transylvania at Flemingdon Park (July 3), Fly Away Home at Lotherton Pathway (July 11), Khumba at Scarborough Village Park (July 18), Breakup Buddies at Chester Le Park (July 24), Song of the Sea at Earl Bales Park (July 30), The Good Lie at Moss Park Apartments (July 31), Beyond the Lights at Maidavale Park (Aug. 7), Ghostbusters at Shoreham Walkway (Aug. 21), Martin Scorsese’s Hugo at Panorama Community Garden (Aug. 28) and Satellite Boy at Praire Drive Park (Sept. 4). All films start shortly after sundown.
TIFF is also doing four special pop-up movie nights in addition to TIFF in your Park. These include Hugo at Union Station (July 23), Manufactured Landscapes at Celebration Square in Mississauga (Aug. 24), Pleasantville at Brampton’s Garden Square (Sept. 1), and The Sapphires at Fort York (Sept. 25).
For more information on TIFF in your Park and the pop-up movie nights, visit tiff.net.
In what is probably one the most unique film experiences in Toronto, Sail-In Cinema, presented by PortsToronto, takes over Sugar Beach the weekend of Aug. 20 to 22 for three free screenings. Using a special double-sided inflatable screen positioned on a barge, filmgoers can watch from the beach or drop anchor and watch from their boat on the water. The theme for this year is “Flashback to the ’80s” with the public getting to vote from June 18 to July 16 on what will be shown. For more information on Sail-In Cinema, visit sailincinema.com.
Under the Stars: Movies in the Park
Hosted by the Regent Park Film Festival, Under the Stars: Movies in the Park screens a film every Wednesday night from July 15 to Aug. 19 outside of Daniels Spectrum at 585 Dundas Street E. (screenings will be moved inside Daniels Spectrum if it rains). The free screenings will also include music and activities like soccer, dance classes and DJ workshops, as well as food from local caterers.
Films screening in the series include the comedy-drama Dear White People (July 15), Bend it Like Beckham (July 22), John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood (July 29), Disney’s animated Marvel adaptation Big Hero 6 (Aug. 5) and Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (Aug. 19). On Aug. 12 there’s a special Bollywood movie night.
Movies begin at 9 p.m. with activities running first from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Popcorn and drinks will be available for sale with proceeds going towards the annual festival in November. For more information, visit regentparkfilmfestival.com.
SOUND OFF: Did we miss an outdoor film screening that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.