The best weekend events in Toronto and online: October 16-18


NOW critics pick the best weekend in-person, drive-in and virtual events happening in Toronto and beyond for the weekend of October 16.

Drive-in and in-person

TSO at the Drive-In

Drive-ins have proven to be a chill way to take in a concert – while getting out of the house and keeping a distance. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is playing two shows this weekend: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and First Ladies of Soul with vocalist Shakura S’Aida.

October 16-17. CityView Drive-In. Sold Out.

The Bentway: Safe In Public Space

Timely multi-pronged event sees creators, artists, activists and researchers ask who defines “public safety” via installations, photo essays, editorial content and talks. The project will produce a toolkit of best practices to “remake any public space into an environment that is safer, more equitable and more accessible for all.”

October 16-December. 250 Fort York and

Haunted Halloween Drive-Thru

Haunted mazes, walks and houses are out this year. If COVID-19 isn’t scary enough for you, give this 1.5 kilometre-course that promises “spooky props, eerie lighting and creepy animatronics” a shot.

Opens October 16. The Docks (176 Cherry). Drive-thru $44.95 per car, Drive-thru and SuperDogs Show $59.95.

Secret Path Week

Coinciding with the release of the posthumous Gord Downie album Away Is Mine, the third annual event raises awareness of the legacy of Residential Schools and money for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. The concert film Return To Secret Path Live begins streaming on October 17 and a benefit show – also available to stream – takes place at Burlington Centre for the Performing Arts on October 16.

October 16-22.

A photo of the Toronto band METZ
Norman Wong

Virtual (local)

Ok Miss at X Avant

The Music Gallery’s big Sunday show to cap off the X Avant fest has been postponed, but composer/multi-instrumentalist Du Yun’s hybrid rock-chamber ensemble Ok Miss will perform a livestreamed show on Friday.

October 16. 7 pm. Free.

Metz live at the Opera House

The local rockers launch their Atlas Vending album – about dealing with parenting and an ever-gentrifying Toronto – with a livestream performance of the record in its entirety.

October 17. Doors 8 pm, show 9 pm. $15.82.

The Lobby Festival in Club Quarantine

Los Angeles-based festival GXRLSCHOOL teams with Toronto’s Club Quarantine to cap off a day of creative inspiration. The Club Q crew will DJ alongside a Bratz Doll – DJ Jade, specifically.

October 17. 10 pm-midnight.

Fall For Dance North

This year’s reimagined dance festival – called The Flip Side – assembles a ton of first-rate talent, but it’s presented in such a way that’s safe, accessible and interactive. A Netflix-style digital platform offers up lots of free content, including a podcast, interactive encounters and augmented reality. 

To October 18. Free-$15.

Isabella Rossellini

Virtual (international)

A Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective: “Rufus Wainwright” Part 2

The Montrealer performs every single song from his eight studio albums over four livestream shows in his Laurel Canyon living room. Brian Green will join on guitars and Jacob Mann plays piano and keyboard.

October 16. 5 pm. $20-$25 (USD).

Isabella Rossellini: Sex & Consequences

The model-turned-actor-turned-insect sexpert’s latest sex-focused theatrical experience livestreams from her farm in Long Island, New York. A 20-minute Q&A will follow the 40-minute show.

October 16. Viewable via Zoom. Doors 7 pm. $15 (USD).

The Red Ball (2019), a chromogenic print by Erik Madigan Heck.
Courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Art galleries

Erik Madigan Heck at Nicholas Metivier Gallery

The fashion photographer and artist’s new solo show The Garden is full of painterly and dreamy images featuring his wife and sons as models.

To October 24. 190 Richmond East and online.

Jennifer Rose Sciarrino at Daniel Faria Gallery

For Swan is the Toronto artist’s fourth solo show at Daniel Faria. It features striking ecological-inspired sculptural objects encompassing fungus, algae and endangered lichen species in cast glass.

To October 31. 188 St Helens.

Lyla Rae at Prefix ICA

The Toronto artist’s architectural solo show Mirage is part of Contact Photo Fest and features the Canadian premiere of of her video installation A Meditation.

To November 28. 401 Richmond West.

A photo from Ai Weiwei's documentary CoroNation
Courtesy of Planet In Focus

Virtual film festivals

Planet In Focus

The 21st festival of ecologically inclined cinema will feature documentaries from Hot Docs and TIFF, and close with the Canadian premiere of Ai Weiwei’s Coronation, shot in Wuhan during the early days of COVID-19. 

To October 18.


Toronto’s premier BIPOC film festival is available online to all Ontarians this year, with exclusive Q&As scheduled at specific times to allow a sense of community even when we’re in separate locations. 

To October 19.

Rendezvous With Madness

The annual arts and mental health festival shifts online. Check out our podcast interview with activist Judy Rebick, subject of RWM film Judy Versus Capitalism.

To October 25. Pwyw (pay what you want). 




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