The best things to do in Toronto on Thanksgiving weekend

Including Picasso at the AGO, Pumpkinfest, Fried Chicken Fest, Deadmau5 and Björk Orkestral


Picasso Estate / SOCAN (2021)
Picasso Estate / SOCAN (2021)

Pablo Picasso’s The Blue Room, an oil painting on canvas (1901, 50.5 x 61.6 cm), is on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario. It’s on loan from the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., which acquired it 1927.

Picasso: Painting The Blue Period

An exhibition covering what is widely considered to be a defining time in the Spanish painter’s career opened this week at the Art Gallery of Ontario. From 1901 to 1904, Picasso primarily created monochromatic works in shades of blue and blue-green while living in Paris. Painting The Blue Period features around 70 works and is the first major Picasso show organized by a Canadian art institution since 1964.

To January 16. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas West). ago.ca

The Royal Conservatory of Music reopens

The Royal Conservatory has been busy with virtual shows, but now they’re getting back under your shared roof. Andrei Feher, director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, will conduct the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, which will launch a busy month of IRL concerts.

October 7. Koerner Hall (273 Bloor West). 8 pm. Tickets start at $25. rcmusic.com

As You Like It

Cliff Cardinal’s one-of-a-kind take on Shakespeare’s comedy has just been extended at Crow’s Theatre. See review here (includes spoilers).

To October 24. Crow’s Theatre (345 Carlaw). $39.55-$67.80. crowstheatre.com.

Paul Jacobs, ROY and Blanks at the Horseshoe

Seated-at-tables isn’t the usual vibe for a Dan Burke psych-rock show, but you’ll get to experience that for this pandemic-era show. Jangly Montreal throwback Paul Jacobs headlines, while groovy Toronto psych supergroup ROY and neo-Brit-poppers Blanks open. You can dance with your shoulders.

October 8. Horseshoe (370 Queen West). 8 pm. $18 table for four. Limited tickets available at the door. horseshoetavern.com

Matt Plays With His Friends

Matt Folliott is joined by guests Phatt Al, Piano Black (Ayaka Kinugawa and Ajahnis Charley) and Mark Little for a night of improv.

October 8. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West). 9 pm. $20. comedybar.ca

Hidden Stories: Books Along The Silk Road

This exploration of one of the most important historic trade route networks is inspired by pandemic travel restrictions. Many of the books, artifacts and artworks were sourced from local collections, including the Royal Ontario Museum and The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, in order to tell stories of the communities, cultures and craftspeople spanning China, the Middle East and Europe.

October 9-February 27. Aga Khan Museum (77 Wynford). agakhanmuseum.org

Toronto Pumpkinfest

The family-friendly fall festival is back. Pick your Halloween pumpkins and check out the Superdogs show, pie eating contests, magic shows and more.

October 9-11. Downsview Park (70 Canuck). $20. pumpkinfesttoronto.com

Fried Chicken Fest

Fried chicken helped us get through the second wave. Now Scarborough’s Street Eats Market is devoting a whole weekend to the comfort food favourite.

October 9-10. Street Eats Market (520 Progress). 12-8 pm. streeteatsmarket.com

Deadmau5 at CityView

If you were looking to get back to one of the city’s biggest clubs, you might have to wait a little bit longer. This Deadmau5 show has been moved from Rebel to CityView Drive-In. You can still dance to your favourite EDM mouse, you’ll just have to do it outdoors. But you can still buy VIP tables at the now no-longer-drive-in venue.

October 9. CityView Drive-In (20 Polson). Doors at 6 pm. $35-$65. ticketweb.ca

Nour Hadidi & Friends

Stand-up Hadidi hosts a night of comedy featuring Rob Bebenek, Courtney Gilmour, Zabrina Douglas and Arthur Simeon.

October 9. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West). 8 pm. $20-$25. comedybar.ca

Björk Orkestral

The Icelandic musician’s long-delayed global livestream concert series is finally kicking off. She’ll be backed by string players from the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra.

October 11. 4 pm. $20-$82. dice.fm

Thanksgiving Roast

If your first family reunion in over a year made you climb the walls, catch some comics dishing about family fights and quirky relatives. Marc Hallworth, Andy Wong, Ryan Dillon and Sarah Ashby share hilarious stories.

October 11. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West). 9:30 pm. $30 (for two). comedybar.ca

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