Things to do in Toronto this weekend: June 10-12

Including Sweeney Todd, Luminato, Word on the Street, Hasan Minhaj, Canadian Music Week and a Grilled Cheese Challenge


Photo (cropped) by Roman Boldyrev

Michael Torontow swings his razor high as Sweeney Todd.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

Mitchell Cushman directs this promenade-style production of Stephen Sondheim’s dark musical about a barber who seeks vengeance against the corrupt judge who tore his family apart years earlier. The excellent cast for this Talk is Free Theater show includes Michael Torontow, Glynis Ranney, Noah Beemer, Tess Benger, Jeff Lillico and Cyrus Lane.

June 10-July 3. $79.10. Neighborhood Food Pub, 1470 Gerrard E. tift.ca

Pridezilla

Buddies’ annual Queer Pride festival features this monster of a comedy show with headliner Elvira Kurt and special guest Brandon Ash-Mohammed. Canada’s Drag Race writer and LOL: Last One Laughing Canada contestant Ash-Mohammed is a rising star – read our June cover story feature on him here. Other comics on the bill include Coko & Daphney, Tom Hearn, Bobbi Summers and hosts Rush Kazi and Robert Watson.

June 10 at 8 pm. $20-$32. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander. buddiesinbadtimes.com

The Word on the Street

The 33rd edition of the open-air book & magazine festival returns to the streets with new dates (spring instead of fall) and an old location (the north end of Queen’s Park). The event features readings by hundreds of authors – including Jesse Wente, Emma Healey and Farzana Doctor – plus an outdoor marketplace showcasing a wide range of Canadian and Indigenous books, magazines, comics, and more for readers of all ages.

June 11-12. Free. Queen’s Park Crescent from Bloor to Wellesley. toronto.thewordonthestreet.ca

Edward Burtynsky's In The Wake Of Progress lights up Luminato
Photo by Cassandra Popescu

Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress lights up Yonge-Dundas Square as part of Luminato.

Luminate Festival

The multidisciplinary festival brings arts and culture programming of all kinds to the GTA streets, parks and even public transit. Free events include the premiere of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s In The Wake Of Progress, a chronicle of humanity’s impact on the planet that will be on shown on screens at Yonge-Dundas Square; Oluseye Ogunlesi’s Black Ark, an exploration of Canada’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, at Ashbridges Bay Park; and Dreamwalker Dance’s All In Good Time, an interactive experience you can enjoy in various parks.

June 9-19. Various venues and prices, some free events. luminatfestival.com

Hasan Minhaj: The King’s Jester

The American comedian, writer and political commentator (Patriot Act) who blew away Toronto audiences in his 2016 appearance at JFL42 is in town for four live shows on his latest tour. Read our recent interview with Minhaj here.

June 10-11. From $65.50. Coca-Cola Coliseum, 45 Manitoba. ticketmaster.ca

swan lake

Dance lovers have waited more than two years to see Karen Kain’s newly imagined version of the classic ballet story. The legendary dancer is intimately associated with the role – in 1971 at the age of 19, she debuted in the lead role while a member of the corps de ballet, replacing an injured Veronica Tennant. Now, inspired by Erik Bruhn’s classic version, the retired National Ballet of Canada artistic director has emphasized the emotion and humanity in the story, set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

June 10-26. $42 and up. Four Seasons Center for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen West. national.ballet.ca

Toronto Taste

This local fundraiser for Second Harvest is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Watch 50 of Toronto’s top chefs prepare signature dishes in front of you, then enjoy tasting them. There’s also a silent auction, a live band, raffle prizes and more.

June 12 from 6 pm. $300 ($150 tax receipt). Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview. torontotaste.ca

Canadian Music Week

The six-day music conference and festival is wrapping up with lots of showcase performances and related concerts. Alt-rockers the Glorious Sons will be at Massey Hall from June 9-11 with opener JJ Wilde. On Friday, Bif Naked plays at Revival. And on Saturday you can party on Lake Ontario with the Show Bateau cruise aboard the Northern Spirit Yacht, with music by AfrotroniX, Balaklava Blues and others.

Runs to June 11. Various prices/passes and venues. cmw.net

Migration Celebration

Shadowland Theater is partnering with various community organizations to create a parade-style performance and celebration of birds. A flock of brightly costumed “birds” will dance along the pathways and float on the lagoons of the Toronto Islands, serenading the audience with a musical chorus of bird songs. Come at 1 pm if you’d like to wear a bird costume in the parade, come at 2 pm if you’d rather just watch.

June 12 at 2 pm. Free. Center Island, Toronto Islands. shadowlandtheatre.ca

Lakeshore Village Grilled Cheese Challenge

Street festivals usually feature food, but Lakeshore Village’s Grilled Cheese Challenge really leans into it. Contestants offer up their best version of the gooey sandwich, and a panel of judges picks the winner. But there’s also a people’s choice award – that’s where you come in. And once you’re all cheesed out, there’s also live music, a kids’ zone, a beer garden and more.

June 11 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Free. Lake Shore West from Islington to Second. grilledcheesechallenge.ca

Want even more events? Check out our Hot Summer Guide list of 50 things to do this summer!

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