With so many events in and around Toronto, it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening and what’s worth venturing out for. Here are five things we recommend doing in the city this weekend.
Jazz up your life
The 27th annual Beaches Jazz Festival kicks off Friday, and to tie in with the start of the Pan Am Games, the fest has programming planned this weekend to celebrate “the music of the countries represented” at the Games. This includes two stages at Woodbine Beach Park featuring the likes of KC Roberts & The Live Revolution (Friday at 9 p.m.), La Gran Colombia Orchestra (Saturday at 7:30 p.m,) and Bustamento (Sunday at 4:30 p.m.). And if you’re feeling active, you can join the Beaches Tune Up Jazz Run on Sunday at 8:15 a.m. The Beaches Jazz Festival runs until July 26. For more information, visit beachesjazz.com.
Celebrate the Pan Am Games with (more) music, cycling and art
If you’re more into the events surrounding the Pan Am Games than the Games themselves, you’re in luck this weekend as there are lots of great options (most of which are free). The PANAMANIA concert series brings Wyclef Jean and Serena Ryder to the stage at Nathan Philips Square Saturday night (at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., respectively) and on Sunday you can catch BADBADNOTGOOD (8:30 p.m.) and Death From Above 1979 (9:30 p.m.). Each night also concludes with fireworks. For more information on PANAMANIA, visit toronto2015.org.
Located on the CNE grounds, the CIBC Pan Am Park also opens to the public this weekend. Being promoted as the “hub of sport and culture” during the Pan Am Games, attendees can access the park for free to watch live coverage of the Games, participate in activities, and see performances from musical acts like Said the Whale (Saturday at 5 p.m.), USS ( Saturday at 8 p.m.) and A Tribe Called Red (Sunday at 9 p.m.). Check toronto2015.org for the full schedule of events and activities happening at the CIBC Pan Am Park.
READ MORE: Full Pan Am Games coverage
If you’re into art and cycling you can take in a free, guided tour of murals and installations along the Pan Am Path Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. Starting at Taylor Creek Park and ending at the Eco Art Festival near Todmorden Mills, cyclists will ride along part of the city’s 80-km multi-use trail. Stops along the way will include art installations and murals that explore the theme of diversity, including a mural by Z’otz* Collective and painted benches by the STEPS Initiative. Click here for more info.
Go back to the ‘80s
The TIFF Bell Lightbox is screening Some Kind of Wonderful Friday at 8:45 p.m. as part of their Back to the ’80s 2: Electric Boogaloo series. Written and produced by John Hughes, the classic 1987 film, starring Lea Thompson, Mary Stuart Masterson and Eric Stoltz, dives into the same teen angst themes as Hughes’ Pretty in Pink while reversing the gender roles. In Some Kind of Wonderful, it’s Masteron’s tomboy character Watts longing for her best friend Keith (Stoltz), who in turn is in love with the preppy, well-to-do Amanda (Thompson). While the basis of the film is standard fare, the film has stood up well over the years and seeing it on the big screen is sure to take you back to the synth rock, pastel-loving era. For more info on TIFF’s Back to the ’80s 2 series, visit tiff.net.
WATCH: Trailer for Some Kind of Wonderful
Spend the night in the Junction
In an effort to raise money to help people in the Junction community “gain access to fresh and healthy food through local food programs” the Junction Night Market offers up food from neighbourhood favourites like the Farmhouse Tavern, When the Pig Came Home BBQ and Cookie Martinez (to name a few), beer from popular craft brewers Great Lakes Brewery, High Park Brewery, Longslice Brewery and Junction Craft Brewery, and cider and wine from Pommies and Tawse Winery. The event takes over Pacific Ave, north of Dundas St. W. from 7 to 11 p.m. For more info, visit junctionmarket.ca.
Head to the farm
Cabbagetown’s often-forgotten Riverdale Farm is a great way to spend a few weekend hours. With 7.5 acres of land, the farm allows you to get outside, take in some of the city’s history and of course see some animals. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the craziness of the Pan Am Games, this is the perfect spot. Riverdale Farm is free to access but donations are welcome to help keep it running. For directions and operating hours, visit toronto.ca.
Let us know what you plan to do in Toronto this weekend in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
-With files from Global News’ Heather Loney