The best things to do in Toronto this weekend: September 10-12

NOW critics pick the best film, stage, music and art events happening in Toronto for the weekend of September 10.

Toronto International Film Festival

After last year’s extremely scaled down festival, TIFF is back with a more robust program, some celebrities and directors flying in to do red carpets and more in-person screenings at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which has been largely dormant since March 2020. We’ll be posting daily dispatches with film recommendations and more plus reviews of buzzy titles. Check out all our coverage here.

To September 18. Various venues. $19-$40 (single tickets).

CaribbeanTales International Film Festival

The 16th annual film fest is going virtual this year, with a mix of livestreamed and VOD events and screenings. This year, 56 films from 17 countries are playing, including the Canadian premiere of Chris Strikes’ documentary Becoming A Queen about Toronto Caribbean Carnival legend Joella Crichton.

To September 24.

All Axis Festival

With step 3 restrictions still in effect, most music venues will likely stick to booking local/Canadian acts until international touring becomes financially viable again (ie. when 100 per cent capacity is allowed at concerts). The good news is the venue formerly known as the Mod Club is coming back to life with a seriously stacked two-day lineup of locals The Dirty Nil, DijahSB, Korea Town Acid and more.

September 10. 722 College. 6:30 pm, all ages. $10-$25.

The Dirty North

The raunchy stand-up show takes over Comedy Bar, with a lineup that includes Rahil Shaikh, Patrick Hakeem, Che Durena and Anj Scanurra.

September 10. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West). 11 pm. $51.98 (for two).

Danny Martinello

The high-energy stand-up comic with impeccable timing headlines this weekend, with opening material by the always reliable Patrick Haye.

September 10-11. Yuk Yuk’s (224 Richmond West). 7:30 pm. $50 (for two).

AsialiciousTO Carnival

More than 100 Asian restaurants across the city are participating in the second-annual prix-fixe event. This year, organizers are kicking things off with a three-day food festival in Scarborough, which will include a free Mulan movie night, a “Starry Night” variety show, fireworks, performances and lots of food.

September 10-12. Woodside Square (1571 Sandhurst). Free. Asialicious runs September 11-26.

Rapper/singer JID
Courtesy of Manifesto

Manifesto Festival

Like so many other events, the 15th annual music fest took last year off. Manifesto is coming back with a free outdoor show. The headliner is rising East Atlanta MC JID, who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville label. Buzzy R&B, hop-hop and pop acts on the bill include Savannah Ré, Notifi, Charmaine and Jahkoy.

September 11. CityView Drive-In (11 Polson). Gates 3 pm. Free.

Andrew Johnston says Hi

The hilarious queer stand-up comic, now living in L.A., brings his act to Comedy Bar for one night, with his Sittin’ Up In Our Room podcast co-host Brandon Ash-Mohammed on the bill, along with several special guests.

September 11. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor West). 9 pm. $60 (for two).

September Song

Canadian-American artist Heather Nicol was picking her two kids up in New York City blocks away from the World Trade Center when the South Tower fell on September 11, 2001. To mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, she has created an immersive audio/visual experience built around a “spatialized” audio score performed by “ghost players.” The show’s visual focal point is a baby grand piano suspended overhead.

September 11-19. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West). Free.

Veg Food Fest

The Toronto Vegetarian Association is hosting a one-day vegan pop-up food fest. Vendors include Apiecalypse Now!, Sausage Party Toronto, Ital Vital Rastarant and more. If you can’t make it IRL, the non-profit will be also be posting panels and talks on YouTube.

September 11. Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner). Noon-5 pm.


The Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is reopening for in-person screenings for the first time in 18 months on September 11. Of course, the theatre is playing many of the year’s top documentaries. But why watch a movie that someone has poured so much money, time and sweat equity into when you can watch viral videos of cute cats?! The annual CatVideoFest is bringing big-screen cuteness back and 10 per cent of ticket sales go to Toronto Cat Rescue.

September 12. 506 Bloor West. 5 pm. $15.

Art Museum at University of Toronto reopens

Several contemporary art galleries that have largely remained closed during the pandemic are coming back to life in September. This weekend, the U of T art gallery returns with Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through, a group show focused on plastic art, and a show devoted to the American countercultural video collective Top Value Television (TVTV).

15 King’s College.


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