The best things to do in Toronto this weekend: July 23-25

Wayne Gretzky (1984), a screenprint on paper by Andy Warhol. Sheet: 111.5 x 81.3 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Robert Daniel Scarabelli, 1987. © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOCAN.
Wayne Gretzky (1984), a screenprint on paper (111.5 x 81.3 cm) by Andy Warhol. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Robert Daniel Scarabelli, 1987. © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOCAN

NOW critics pick the best in-person and virtual things to do in Toronto for the weekend of July 23-25.

Andy Warhol at the AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario is open again but the big Andy Warhol exhibition is only viewable this weekend if you’re a member or annual passholder (non-members can buy tickets starting July 27). The show encompasses more than 250 works, including the American pop art icon’s early drawings, celebrity portraits, experimental films, his Silver Clouds floating metallic pillows and the large-scale canvas Christ $9.98 (positive) from Munich’s Museum Brandhorst.

To October 24. 317 Dundas West. $25 (non-members).

BIG on Bloor

The annual community art festival goes hybrid with online and in-person art installations, murals, large-scale installations and window exhibitions in the Bloordale neighbourhood. Artists exhibiting work include Jana Ghalayini, Daniel Hunt, Curtia Wright, Crafty Chas and more. The online programming will feature concerts and art workshops.

To August 31. Bloor Street West, Dufferin to Lansdowne. Free.

MOCA reopens

It’s a good weekend for art museum lovers. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is reopening after lockdown and the big draws are a new exhibition by Kapwani Kiwanga and a sound installation by Joy Wong and Florence Yee. Site-specific exhibitions by Fatma Bucak, Michael Lin, Mika Rottenberg and Krista Belle Stewart that debuted last year will also go back on display.

Ongoing. 158 Sterling. $10 (general admission).

Digital Toronto Fringe Festival

It might not feel like the Fringe we all know and love, but there are more than 65 shows and events to see over the next week and a half. Here’s NOW’s list of seven artists to watch.

To July 31. $5 for pass, pay-what-you-can. Some events free.

Groovin’ In The Parking Lot

NuFunk’s annual Groovin’ In The Park event is a drive-in show this year as part of the Beaches Jazz Festival. It’s billed as the Do Right! Soul Revue, and it’s a very groovy lineup of acts including disco band Tush, rapper Odario, the Soul Motivators and the Luvmenauts. Expect to dance in the driver’s seat.

July 23. Guildwood GO Station. $40-$60.


Steven Gallagher and Anton Lipovetsky’s musical featuring three imagined stories set during the 2003 blackout gets a workshop production at the High Park Amphitheatre. See related story here.

July 23 to August 15. High Park Amphitheatre. $49.

In-person concerts at the Horseshoe

And we’re back. The Horseshoe Tavern, one of Toronto’s best known rock bars, is reopening its doors for in-person concerts. The first two are happening this weekend with local bands Birds of Bellwoods on Friday and Julian Taylor Band on Saturday. And if you’re not ready for in-person live music just yet, both shows are also for sale as livestreams.

July 23 & 24. Horseshoe Tavern. $18.66-$40.84.

Inside Out Drive-In Summer Series

2SLGBTQ+ film fest Inside Out’s touring summer screening series touches down at Ontario Place. Todd Stephen’s Swan Song stars cult actor Udo Kier as a retired small-town hairdresser who sets to style one last client; and Carlos López Estrada’s Summertime follows a group of young people in Los Angeles whose lives intersect through spoken word. Each screening will be preceded by short films and musical acts Tafari Anthony (July 24) and TÖME (July 25).

July 24-25. Ontario Place (955 Lake Shore West). Doors 7 pm. $50.

A photo Kaytranada
Xaiver Tera

Splendour XR

It’s going to be a while before big international musicians and pop stars return to Toronto. Fortunately, Australian music fest Splendour In The Grass is going virtual (and virtual reality) with a global livestream that features Kaytranada (pictured), Pheobe Bridgers, Charli XCX, The Killers, The Avalanches and many more. In addition to streaming the performances on a good-old fashioned smartphone or laptop, you can also tune in via VR devices in what’s being billed as a livestream concert first.

July 24-25. $20-$80.

Jazz at the Rex

In-person concerts are slowly returning with some venues waiting until the restrictions allow more guests. But the Rex Hotel is back to its old self with live music every single night of the week. After a brief foray with outdoor jazz on their patio, the shows are now back inside the bar. This weekend you can catch Tim Shia’s Worst Pop Band Ever or Karl Silveira Group. Most shows are pass-the-hat pricing. Find the whole calendar on their website.

Ongoing. The Rex Hotel. 7 pm each night.

Movies Under The Stars at Trillium Park

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival just can’t get enough of Ontario Place. Now that the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival has wrapped, the ICFF is launching a 10-day outdoor screening series that does not require sitting in a vehicle. The location is Trillium Park, which boasts skyline views. The programming is focused on the best of Italian cinema and includes panel discussions.

To August 2. Trillium Park (955 Lake Shore West).


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