The best International Women’s Day 2019 events in Toronto

Celebrate women’s rights and gender equality at these panels, parties, concerts and more

International Women’s Day is a day to thank the women in your life for everything they do. It’s also a day to celebrate all our historic achievements and, most importantly, to remind everyone there’s still a lot more work to be done.

Even with misogynists trying to drag us down, women have many achievements to celebrate.  There was closing that sex doll brothel that let men live out their darkest fantasies, and it took three years to shut down a misogynistic newspaper spewing hatred against women and Jewish people. Of course, Doug Ford‘s government immediately rolled back the progressive new sex-ed curriculum – stripping out references to consent, gender identity and same-sex relationships.

Nonetheless, women rallied together in freezing temperatures for the Toronto Women’s March in January, proving nothing can stand in the way of equal rights. So grab your girl gang and head to these inclusive events for women and allies. Maybe bring Brad and Chad – they could learn a thing or two.

The March

IWD Toronto rally and march 

Gather in solidarity and grow the resistance with women and allies. End the day at the information fair at Ryerson and support your local feminists. 

March 9, rally 11 am, march starts at 1 pm. Starts at OISE (252 Bloor West). Free. See website for details.   

Panels and talks

History vs. Women

Feminist media critic, author and Feminist Frequency web series creator Anita Sarkeesian is coming to the ROM to talk representation of women in historical narratives, as well as the role of women in the gaming industry with Globe And Mail journalist Erin Anderssen.

March 5 at 7 pm. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park). $20. See listing.  

Women Who Dare To Be Powerful

CP24 reporter Cristina Tenaglia and Nadia Hasan from the National Council of Canadian Muslims will share their stories of strength, growth and risks of daily life at this panel event. 

March 7 from 6:30 pm. Love Child Social House (69 Bathurst). $12. See listing

Women And The Business Of The Arts

NOW’s CEO and editor Alice Klein is participating in a panel in Mississauga featuring business leaders. Moderated by city manager and chief administrative officer for the city of Mississauga Janice Baker, the discussion also includes Mississauga Toyota CEO Susan Gubasta and Fielding Chemical Technologies Ellen McGregor, among others.

March 8 at 2 pm. Living Arts Centre (4141 Living Arts). Free. See website for details and to register.

An Evening With Tarana Burke

Fresh from her appearance at the Toronto Black Film Festival, the American activist and #MeToo founder is heading to Mississauga to talk about the genesis of her now-viral hashtag – and how it took 25 years of social justice work to build momentum behind it.

March 8 at 7 pm. Living Arts Centre (4141 Living Arts). $65. See website.

Parties and performance

School Girls Or, The African Mean Girls Play

Playwright Jocelyn Bioh puts an African spin on the American teen comedy genre in this show about rival beauty pageant contestants at an exclusive boarding school in Ghana.

March 5-24. Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. $15-$40. See for times.

Cocktails at the Broadview Hotel

Actor and co-chair of ACTRA’s Diversity Committee Samora Smallwood hosts cocktails and discussion for east-end business owners and residents. Speakers include Graydon Skincare’s Graydon Moffat, Pauline Alimchandani from developer Dream Unlimited and more. Proceeds benefit Red Door Shelter.

March 8 from 5:30 pm. Broadview Hotel (106 Broadview). $10.

Resilience Gala With Jully Black

Juno-winning R&B musician Jully Black will give an a capella performance and keynote address at this benefit for the Daily Bread Food Bank. The event also features a panel discussion with FemPower founder Halima Al-Hatimy and public health advocate Samiya Abdi, plus performances by Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers, poet Naeema Hassan and others.

March 8 from 6:30-11 pm. Daily Bread Food Bank (191 New Toronto). $20-$750.

Voicing Our Stories

Hart House’s variety show features stand-up comics, poets, actors and writers from a range of backgrounds. The bill includes comedian Nour Hadidi, writer Khalida Venus Hassan, improv duo Coko and Daphney, and more.

March 8 at 7 pm. Hart House (7 Hart House Circle). Free.

Hump Day Rager 

Feminist theatre collective Fourth Gorgon Theatre is throwing a party with Sistering, a service for at-risk, socially isolated women who are homeless or precariously housed. Bring supplies like soap, shampoo, tampons to donate. Door sales go towards the collective’s upcoming Toronto Fringe production of Molly Bloom.

March 6 at 8 pm. The Ossington (61 Ossington). $10-$15. See listing

SongBird North

Canadian musicians and bands Michie Mee, Elena Harte, Moscow Apartment come together to tell us the stories behind their music. Kinnie Starr hosts.

March 9 at 8 pm. Stay at Royal Conservatory’s Temerty Theatre (273 Bloor West). From $35. See listing

IWD concert at Hugh’s Room Live

The west-end music venue’s eclectic IWD concert features pianist Laila Biali, Afro-Venezuelan-influenced singer/songwriter Eliana Cuevas, bluesy vocalist Miss Emily, soul-jazz artist Joni NehRita and singer/guitarist/bassist Suzie Vinnick.

March 8 at 8:30 pm. Hugh’s Room Live (2261 Dundas West). $25, advance $20.

QRS Live Karaoke: IWD Party

Sing your heart out to Bikini Kill, 4 Non Blondes, Hole and more at this queer rock ‘n’ roll karaoke night. Handlebar’s regular DJs will also spin rock hits by Patti Smith, Le Tigre, Against Me!, X-Ray Spex and more.

March 9, doors 9 pm. Handlebar (159 Augusta). Free/pwyc.

Afrobeats @ SoSo Food Club

Afrocentric collective Kuruza has curated a party at Dundas West night spot SoSo Food Club featuring all women of colour DJs. Hangaëlle, Minzi Roberta, Ace Dillinger and Chanlmarshl will spin Afrobeats, South African house, future beats and hip-hop. Free for women all night. 

March 8 from 11 pm. SoSo Food Club (1166 Dundas West). See listing

Women From Space Festival

This four-day festival features performances by women in the city’s improvisation and jazz scenes. Each day, varying performers will be at different venues across the city, including Kayla Milmine, Bea Labikova, Tova Kardonne and Laura Swankey. 

March 8-11. Various venues. See website for details. 


Press For Progress

Build some muscle and sweat the patriarchy away for a good cause with personal trainers from Fit Squad and The Real Toronto. No one will be mansplaining this workout routine. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds go to Sistering Toronto.

March 9 from 7-10 pm. Stay Gold (65 Jefferson). $30.  


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