The best things to do in Toronto this weekend: June 24-27

Including the Pride Parade, Drive N' Queens, the Kensington Market Outdoor Art Fair and Summer Of Soul at the drive-in


NOW critics pick the outdoor, drive-in and virtual things to do for the weekend of June 24-27.

Esmaa Mohamoud’s The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us)

Contact Photo Fest launched in May, but the pandemic postponed many of the big outdoor installations until now. One of the biggest is former NOW cover star Esmaa Mohamoud’s The Brotherhood FUBU (For Us, By Us), which is on display on the side of the Westin Harbour Castle hotel – incidentally, the largest outdoor banner in the country. For Us, By Us has been a common parlance in the Black hip-hop community since the 90s. With this billboard, she takes control of the image-making associated with Blackness and imbues it with a vulnerability and fragility. If you’re heading down to the ferry dock (or water taxi) this weekend, pop by and check it out.

On display to April 1, 2023. 1 Harbour Square. Free. contactphoto.com.

Ace of Wands‘ variety show

Toronto psych-rockers Ace of Wands are putting out their new Vibrations/Rid Of Me (yes, that’s a PJ Harvey cover) single with a Wavelength-presented virtual variety show and EP release. The band tells NOW the theme is “creativity in isolation” and to expect VHS/public access vibes, found footage and interviews and performances with artists Robin Hatch and Zinnia.

June 24 at 8 pm. PWYC with proceeds going to Indian Residential School Survivors Society. wavelengthmusic.ca

Diane Arbus, Pursuing Difference

If the pandemic scuttled your plans to check out the Art Gallery of Ontario’s major Diane Arbus exhibition last year, you have another chance: Corkin Gallery is displaying a selection of the iconic American portrait photographer’s photos from the 1960s – many taken in New York City parks. The show marks 50 years since Arbus took her own life, as well as the 30th anniversary of the photographer’s first Canadian exhibition, also at Corkin Gallery.

To July 24. Corkin Gallery (7 Tank House) 10 am-6 pm. Free. corkingallery.com.

Pride Weekend

The big weekend is finally here and feels slightly more festive than we though it would when Pride first announced this year’s virtual lineup. Now that patios are open, you can celebrate with a group of four per table at a restaurant and bar in the Village (definitely a step up from Zoom). Essential online parties include Yes Yes Y’All, Alternaqueer, Yohomo, Blockorama and Catalyst. Of course, the big events – Trans Pride, Dyke Pride and the Parade – are also happening virtually. Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka will host the 40th annual parade and Allie X and iskwē are set to perform. Check out our full list of Pride Month event picks here and the 44 most radical moments from Toronto Pride history here.

To June 27. Various times. pridetoronto.com

Jimbo walks the runway on Canada's Drag Race
Courtesy of Bell Media

Drive N’ Queens

The drag world didn’t waste time pivoting to drive-ins last summer, and with Canada’s Drag Race becoming must-see pandemic TV, performers known mainly in the local queer bar, gay birthday party and bachelorette circuits are now headlining major venues like City-View Drive-In. This series is hosted by recent NOW cover star and choreo-queen Tynomi Banks, and features a different lineup each month. A hot ticket will certainly be fan favourite Jimbo’s first post-Drag Race appearance in Toronto at this first gig this Friday.

June 25. CityView Drive-In (20 Polson). Doors 8 pm. $120 and up. ticketmaster.ca

Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Hot Docs is giving Torontonians a rare chance to see Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s thrilling music doc about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival on the big screen. The movie will hit Disney+ Canada next week but you can check it out at the drive-in on Friday. Thompson mixes insightful and emotional commentary on the overlooked festival’s social and cultural significance for Black Americans, but the performance footage is also unmissable: Mahalia Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Nina Simone and Sly and the Family Stone are just a few of the musical heavyweights that take the stage.

June 25. Ontario Place Drive-in. 9:35 pm. $10 per person. ontarioplace.com.

Stay At Homo

Livestreamed from a Toronto backyard, Ajahnis Charley and Tom Hearn deliver a double-solo night of sketch comedy featuring songs, impressions, characters and more.

June 26 at 9 pm. Free (need to register). buddiesinbadtimes.com

Pirate Tails

This family-friendly circus puts a queer and disabled spin on the image of the pirate and the siren, featuring a high-flying hoop duo consisting of Erin Ball and Jayeden W.

June 26 at noon (Allan Gardens) and 3 pm (Regent Park). Free (need to register). Or online from June 25 to 27. buddiesinbadtimes.com

Kensington Market Art Fair

Pedestrian Sundays and non-profit Keep Six Contemporary Art are teaming up to turn Kensington Market into an art fair. This exhibition will feature a curated selection of ceramics, fiber art, glass, jewelry, and metal arts along with painting, drawing, sculpture, prints and photography. Check out the list of participating artists here.

June 27. Noon to 6 pm. Free. keep6.ca

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The 33 best things to do in Toronto in summer 2021

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