Weekends in September are like that last scoop of ice cream or that final piece of pizza. You want to savour every last bite of the season of sunshine and shorts before it’s all gone. You definitely don’t want to waste your weekend Netflix and chilling for two days. (You’ve got the whole winter for that.) No, you’re going to get out, have fun, and soak up every second before Monday comes along and the next thing you know you're in a parka stressing about your holiday shopping. Yeah, I said the "H" word before October. It’s coming, but first, let’s enjoy the final weekend of the month.
From a mind-blowing experiential exhibit to side-splitting comedy and must-see concerts, there’s a flavour for everyone. Here’s what to do in Toronto this weekend.
Your Instagram feed is about to get a lot more exciting. For the first time, Refinery29’s 29Rooms is bringing its whimsical, ‘grammable, interactive exhibit to Toronto, opening Sept 26. This year’s theme is “Expand Your Reality” and 29 artists and visionaries are responsible for the 29 rooms (see what we did there) and pop-up galleries that will give you plenty of #content for your IG or just to humblebrag about to your coworkers. Toronto’s very own Hatecopy has designed an installation you won’t want to miss. 29Rooms runs until October 6.
Do your ab muscles need a workout? Let’s be honest, the answer to that question is always yes. The good news is laughter is the best for core strength and JFL42 is going to be the most fun workout you’ll do all weekend. The comedy festival — which opened Sept. 19 and runs until this Sunday — is packed with funny people doing great shows, but this weekend the lineup is sure to get you giggling. You’ve got Steve-O (yes, of Jackass fame), and one of America’s most successful comedians, Gabriel Iglesias, doing standup. There's also the uber-popular How Did This Get Made? podcast hosts on hand for a live taping: Hosts Paul Scheer (The League, Black Monday), Jason Mantzoukas (The League, Brooklyn 99) and June Diane Raphael (Grace & Frankie, Long Shot), bring their beloved brand of no-holds-barred hot takes on cinematic failures to Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre) this Saturday.
It might still be news to you that Sting and Shaggy released a joint album last year, let alone that they are also on tour together. The unlikely duo is actually the perfect match. They both gravitate towards pop reggae and have no business aging as well as they have. They’re also both charming as hell. Just watch them talk about how they starting working together and try not to become an instant fan. If you’re a fan of Sting or Shaggy separately, don’t worry, their show still brings the hits. You’ll get your fix of “Roxanne” and “It Wasn’t Me,” I promise. They also do my personal favourite Shaggy track, “You’re My Angel” together.
Toronto’s Oktoberfest is a three-day German festival celebrating culture, food, music, dance and of course, the star of the show, beer. On the menu of events? A Bavarian Cabaret show and a special performance by George Cash aka the festival’s very own “Oktoberfest King” of 50 years. Guests are encouraged to wear something traditional but don’t worry if you don’t have a dirndl in your closet, items can be purchased at the festival (which is held at Ontario Place) while quantities last. One last thing — in the spirit of the two-century-old celebration, you’re encouraged to introduce yourself to strangers and mingle with your tablemates so bring a friend (or two) and get your schmooze on.
This year marks the 25th-anniversary of Alegría, one of Cirque du Soleil’s most acclaimed shows. The performance features everything we've come to know and love about Cirque: mesmerizing acrobatics, gravity-defying aerialists and synchronized trapeze duos. A revamped version of the show hits Ontario Place (beside the Budweiser stage) now until November 24. It features newly crafted costumes and a best-selling soundtrack fans will recognize. If you feel like being transported to a culturally rich, death-defying world of whimsy and excess, this is your perfect weekend getaway — well, for a few hours at least.
It has been an interesting year for Daniel Caesar. With his sophomore album, CASE STUDY 01, the Grammy winner faced his first lukewarm reviews, especially in contrast to his critically acclaimed and universally beloved debut album, Freudian. He also dealt with his first major controversy when he released a bizarre drunken rant on social media in defence of his friend Julieanna “YesJulz” Goddard (who has made racist comments towards Black women). Caesar apologized shortly after. In spite of these career lows, Caesar has embarked on a tour that solidifies why he’s the chart-topping darling of R&B. The reviews for his live shows have been stellar, and even though CASE STUDY 01 is a departure from his debut album, it’s packed with a wildly inventive blend of tracks touched by Brandy, John Mayer and Pharrell to name a few. Rain or shine, Caesar will be taking over the Budweiser Stage on both Saturday and Sunday with support from opening act, reggae rising star Koffee.