Best of the and Ontario city events
May 30, 2011 6:02 PM   Subscribe

What should I hit in Montreal and Toronto? I have two weeks available and I want to bend them around unmissable events in each city. Aug/Sept.

It's my first proper go-somewhere holiday in years! I may move to one of these cities in the near future, so I want to get to know them as best as I can in the time I have. I want to meet people, see the non-touristy stuff, and get a sense of what it would be like to live there. But I'd like to fit that around a schedule of coolness: Some great music, festivals, exhibitions, and other short-term or one-off events.

Though I'm more on the cultural end of things, I'd also be keen on checking out political events and anything that makes you go 'yep, that's Canadian'.

I'll be arriving in Vancouver on August 17, then heading out from there August 19. I have until September 4 to check out excellent things.
posted by roobot to Travel & Transportation around Canada (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Toronto International Film Festival is in early September.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:15 PM on May 30, 2011 doesn't start until Sept 8 this year though. However, it's worth checking out the TIFF Lightbox, which is a newly built art-film type theatre downtown. The restaurant on the first floor is OK food but fairly overpriced.

The end of August and Labour Day weekend is kinda when a lot of people take off from Toronto and head up to lake country in the north, but that said, there will certainly still be stuff going on.

For smaller music shows and venues you can check out the ticket lists from Rotate This and Soundscapes. They also sell tickets to some music festivals.
posted by scribbler at 6:30 PM on May 30, 2011

The Piknik Electronik happens every Sunday in Montreal at Parc Jean-Drapeau. It's metro-accessible and a lot of fun if you like to dance.
posted by OLechat at 7:02 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Montreal World Film Festival August 18-28
NAPA Auto Parts 200 (NASCAR), August 19 and 20
Classic boat festival, August 19-21
Montreal Reggae Festival August 20-21
18th-century public market August 27 and 28 at Pointe-à-Callière
Mois de la Photo September 8-October 9, 2011
La Magie des Lanternes (Chinese lanterns at the botanical gardens) September 9-October 31
Montreal Comic-Con September 17 and 18
Pop Montreal sometime late September

You'll miss the bigger festivals (jazz, comedy, Formula 1) but these should give you some ideas for Montreal later in the summer season.
posted by zadcat at 7:32 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh sorry. Went too late into September.
posted by zadcat at 7:33 PM on May 30, 2011

When you're in toronto, definitely try to go to Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market - its the last sunday of each month from May to October. I went to the first one of the season yesterday, and it was SO FUN and reminded me why i love living here. Full of indie musicians and street performers and vintage clothing and vegan cupcakes and indian food carts and hipsters and hippies and families. (If you dont' manage to go on a Pedestrian Sunday, at least try to visit the neighborhood for a good wander.)
posted by Kololo at 9:03 PM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Fantastic ideas so far, and I'm so there for the market and pedestrian sunday. Keep them coming, and I'll post an itinerary when I have it worked out! :)
posted by roobot at 9:27 PM on May 30, 2011

Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition is our version of a state fair - without mych remaining agricultural stuff, but some multi-cultural stuff to counter the emphasis on carnival rides and unhealthy food.

Toronto is a city if neighbourhoods and there's good eating, window-shopping and wandering in many of them. If you're considering a move, be sure to check out: West Queen West, Liberty Village, Little India on Gerrard, Yonge & Eglinton, the Beaches, the Junction and Leslieville because those are the places youngish adults often live. If you are coming with a family, you might end up somewhere further afield but still with some bus service, like Don Mills, Agincourt, or North York Centre. If you're looking for computer-work, you might also visit the smaller cities of Waterloo and Guelph which are very tech. These are accessible by intercity bus, but I wouldn't want to live in either without a car and the commute is uncommon.

I recommend reading the websites of Torontoist, Now Magazine and Toronto Life to give yourself an insider's view of what's going on here from multiple positions.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2011

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