50 things to do this fall in Toronto 2015
Fall activities and events in Toronto can sometimes feel like a last chance. Before the snow falls and our minds turn towards hibernation, the city remains a playground for those who like the idea of all night art fests, comforting food, and wacky events. There's certainly no shortage of variety when it comes to things to do in Toronto this season. So throw on a sweater and enjoy fall's splendour.
Here are 50 things to do this fall in Toronto.
Check out art exhibits from dawn til dusk
Love it or hate it, Nuit Blanche is celebrating its 10th birthday this year on October 3rd. While it seems like the all-night art event can't get any bigger, the upcoming celebration will feature a slew of international and local exhibitions, including JR's Inside Out project.
Attend a tech event
Get geeky at one of this autumn's tech-centric events. Whether you're looking to put your knowledge of coding to good use at Hack & Tell or are trying to break into the business, there's an event or two that will be right up your alley.
Watch the World Poutine Eating Championship
If you can't get enough of Canada's favourite salty snack, Dundas Square is where to be on the first Saturday of October. Competitors will go head to head, devouring mountains of poutine to determine the most gluttonous eater. If you're not a contender, Smoke's Poutinerie will be serving up free poutine from 10-4, which is pretty sweet.
Vote for the AiMIA Photography Prize
Each year since 2007, the AGO has given out $50,000 in prize money to a contemporary Canadian or international photographer. You can help choose this year's winner by voting for one of the four short-listed artists. Voting closes on November 30th.
See your favourite musician(s) in concert
In the next few months everyone from Taylor Swift to Paul McCartney will be taking to stages in Toronto (for those big ticket performances, you'll probably need to turn to StubHub or Craigslist). However, there's more than just stars in amphitheatres to catch, Wavves, Wolf Alice, and Peaches all have impending shows.
Indulge at Momofuku's bun month
Momofuku Daisho will be serving up jazzed-up steamed bun during lunch and dinner. Each week, starting October 5, a notable Toronto chef will offer their interpretation on this snack-sized dish. Matty Matheson (Parts & Labour) kicks everything off and Albert Ponzo (Le Select Bistro), Rob Gentile (Buca) and Michael Caballo (Edulis) will also participate.
Do something charitable
With holiday season on the fast approach, charitable organizations are hosting a ton of events in an effort to help to those in need. Give back while still having a good time at OktoberFEAST, Run for the Cure, Love Food Fest, or one of the many other local events popping up. If you can't make it out, at least donate a can or two to a food bank.
Enjoy your coffee with some cats
The much anticipated cat coffee house, TOT cat cafe, is set to open its doors this fall after a slight delay. Feline lovers can kick back with a cup of joe before entering a glass enclosed space to play with a bevy of furry friends. Expect a line up when it finally launches, people are very excited for its arrival.
Get dolled up to play some video games
Ditch your ratty sweatpants and dress to the nines to get your game on. On October 9th the Masonic Temple will host a bevy game enthusiasts all done up in cocktail attire. The night will feature music, mingling, and - of course - plenty of videogames.
Get a new (old) wardrobe at the Toronto Vintage Crawl
On October 8, bolster your fall wardrobe at the Toronto Vintage Crawl. Around 50 stores across the city will stay open until midnight, giving you ample time shop for hidden sartorial treasures.
Eat Thanksgiving dinner out
Let's be honest, Thanksgiving dinner can be a pain to cook - especially if you're making a feast for the entire family. Skip spending the day in the kitchen and instead have one of Toronto's finest restaurant sort out all your apps, mains, and desserts. Even the vegans and vegetarians have options, with places like YamChops and Bunner's catering holiday meals.
Try Toronto's newest dinner theatre
Candyland, located at King and Bathurst, promises dinner and a show unlike any other venue in the city thanks to a menu by Frank Parhizgar (Frank's Kitchen) and a diverse range of performers.
Check out a fall film fest
Toronto After Dark, the annual horror, sci-fi, and cult film fest, is rolling back into town on October 15th for a 9-day stint. There won't be any star-studded galas (a la TIFF) accompanying the films, but if you're into all things petrifying and paranormal, this one's for you. There's also the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Fest and imagiNATIVE film & Media Arts Festival on tap this season.
Get spooked at a horror convention
Get in the Halloween spirit early by hitting up Horror-rama on October 17th. The convention will boast all the creepy, weird wonders that fear fanatics can't get enough of. Expect to find the Hyatt Regency filled with vendors, convention-goers, and celebrity guests.
Have some laughs at the Big City Improv festival
Admittedly, Just For Laughs, ending October 3rd, is a hard act to follow for any comedy festival. Big City Improv won't, however, go gently into that good night, as it's bringing many comedic greats to the city. Expect to see the likes of Colin Mochrie, Scott Adist, Deb McGrath and tons more funny men and women when the shows kick off on October 16th.
Get your fill of experimental music at X Avant X
While there are more than enough killer concerts happening this fall, X Avant is where to go if you're looking for a music festival this October. Head to The Music Gallery to catch shows by Absolutely Free, Tyondai Braxton, and many more over the course of the four-day event.
Regardless of your politics, head out to the polls on October 19 and vote in the 42nd Canadian federal election. While most of the debates are behind us, there's still a couple left before the big day.
Get poetic over some booze at the Dylan Bar
This new cocktail emporium, named after Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, is set to open soon on Danforth near Greenwood. Its menu boasts an array of craft beer and it'll also serve up spirits such as whisky and rum as well as artisanal cocktails.
Get some wardrobe inspiration at Toronto Fashion Week
While Fashion Week is an industry event, there are a few shows that the average Torontonian can hit up. Mackage, Pink Tartan, and Bustle are among the brands putting on ticketed runway events. The average cost per ticket is $50, which is significantly less than any piece you'll see on a model.
Get inspired at a TedxToronto talk
The annual TedxToronto, happening on October 22, event features a slew of diverse and accomplished speakers including a former hostage negotiator, award-winning scientists and Jordan Axani, the guy who made international news after offering a free, around-the-world trip to any Canadian woman named Elizabeth Gallagher.
Take a ride on a vintage train
If you need to get out of the city, skip pulling out your car or getting on the GO, and hop aboard a vintage train. York-Durham Heritage Railway is offering 90 minute round trips so you can see the fall colours unobstructed by skyscrapers.
Head to Not Dead Yet to get your fill of punk music
Toronto's punk festival is back for another year from October 22-25. The event will bring hardcore acts, like Boston Strangler and Title Fight, to venues across the city. Check the NDY2015 Facebook Page for the schedule and list of participating venues.
Take in the spectacle that is Art Toronto
Art Toronto takes over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for one weekend per year to present modern and contemporary art from around the world. For the 2015 edition, it's spotlighting Latin America with a curated section of galleries and projects from Mexico as well as South and Central America.
Check out new Snakes & Lattes location
The perennially packed board game cafe opened up a new location in old Andy Poolhall space. This massive outpost means that Snakes & Lagers shuttered. But don't worry, Snakes & Lattes College serves up beer and caffeinated beverages.
Hunt for some preloved and handmade treasures
With the end of warm weather comes the end of outdoor flea markets, but you don't have to kiss your treasure hunting goodbye anytime soon. Spend the first weekend of October rummaging around the for some preloved pieces at the Toronto Antique Vintage Market - you're bound to find a gem or two.
Stuff your face at Eat to the Beat
While Toronto food festivals are generally clustered around summertime, there are still a few in Autumn to help fill your belly as the days get colder. If you want to stuff your face for charity, Eat to the Beat will see 60 female chefs cooking dinner on October 27 in support of Willow Breast and Hereditary Cancer Support.
Go for a run
There is no better time of year to be runnin' through the six than fall. The weather accommodates athletes much better than the sweltering summer heat or the impending cold months. Take advantage of this by taking part in one of the running events on tap this season, many of them support charitable organizations - so you'll feel good about more than just working out.
Go to the Pancakes & Booze art show
Breakfast food and booze are a match made in heaven. Top that with an art show and you've got all the makings for a good time. Want to get in on the action? Head to the Opera House on October 23rd. Remember it's AYCE, so even if you go on an empty stomach you'll be satisfied.
Eat at a new restaurant
This summer Toronto saw the unexpected demises of a few high profile restaurants. Luckily, there's some new kids on the block ready to take their place. Spend the next few months sampling the food at these new restaus ( and - hopefully - Fring's as well).
Do a gallery hop on Dupont
Numerous Toronto galleries are migrating north towards the Dupont St. and Junction Triangle area. Head over there and check out Cooper Cole , Angell Gallery, Neubacher Shor, Erin Stump Projects and Katzman Contemporary along with the additional art galleries on St. Helens.
Meet YouTube creators at Buffer Fest
The Buffer Festival is like TIFF but for Youtube. The event showcases international video content from Youtube's finest creators through theatrical screenings and gives fans the opportunity to meet some of their favourites. Also look forward to a red carpet gala event and free meetups prior to screenings.
Check out Stryke target range
Axe throwing and archery are all the rage in Toronto right now. But, this 10,000 square foot facility in Brampton ups the ante by offering both along with even more target-related activities.
Get fit at a morning dance party
While there may be many a Good Life in Toronto, the gym is not for everyone - especially not in the morning. On some Mondays and Wednesdays (check the schedule) Morning Grind will be hitting up Toronto coffee shops and bringing DJ's along with them for dance party/workout hybrid. Participating cafes so far include Tokyo Smoke and the Youngplace Coffee Pub.
Sample some new brews at Cask Days
If you're only going to attend one beer event this fall, it's got to be Cask Days. Arguably the best annual beer event held in Toronto if not all of Ontario, this year the 11th annual tribute to real ale returns to the Brickworks over five separate sessions featuring 150 participating breweries and over 300 beers. Tiered access tickets range from $35-$80 and are already selling fast.
Take a fall getaway
Not many provinces offer better opportunities to view fall colours than Ontario, and most of the places on this list can be reached in a two hour drive or less from the city. Get a little R&R in the great outdoors this season by leaving the urban jungle in favour of a scenic escape.
Battle it out with a light saber
If you can't wait until the new Star Wars movie premieres later this year, you can awaken the force earlier thanks to a showdown that'll pit Jedi versus Sith for an epic-sounding lightsaber battle happening in the nearby galaxy of Toronto. Organized by homegrown company Newmindspace, the battle is scheduled to go down on October 24.
Warm up with a hot chocolate
There are few things more satisfying than a warm cup of hot chocolate when the temperature drops. Luckily, Toronto has more than enough cafe's serving up grade A cocoa-flavoured goodness, from Yonge and Eg to Yorkville. Hopefully, the newest hot chocolate hot spot, Cacao 70, will open its doors before the winter weather sets in.
See the Jays in their prime
The Jay's are doing amazing this season and everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon. Show your pride by rocking some merch or try to snag a coveted ticket for a game. Unfortunately, if you want to see Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and co. live from the Rogers Centre, you'll have to turn to StubHub or Craiglist (warning: the prices can get a little insane).
Warhol at TIFF
Following its 40th annual festival, TIFF is bringing Stars of the Silver Screen: Andy Warhall to Toronto. This substantial exhibition will feature hundred of artworks and of course, Warhol films. It opens on October 30.
Hit up the new Harry Potter Bar
Warm up this season with house-made "potions & elixirs" inspired by the world of wizardry at The Lockhart. Even though J.K. Rowling penned her last HP novel years ago, the hype for the franchise is still very much alive and well. Paris Xerx and Matt Rocks have brought their love of the series to new heights, creating a bar inspired by the books - that's been quite a hit - on Dundas West.
Go to a Halloween Party
If you're not down to go to your friends apartment and drink questionable punch concoctions, the massive annual Church Street bash will keep you busy all night long. Or, if you want to throwback to the 90's, head to 99 Sudbury for their Fresh Prince-themed event. Not your style? Wes Anderson fans will be flocking to The Gladstone for The Grandstone Budapest Hotel party (complete with Lobby Boy).
Book a fire pit
Bonfires aren't just for summer nights. Stay toasty warm when the weather changes from balmy to brisk by lighting a bonfire at one of Toronto's parks. Don't forget to get a permit or the cops might kill your fun.
Grow out your moustache for Movember
If ever there was an excuse to grow out your facial hair, this is it. Let your inner Sacha Baron Cohen loose by growing out your 'stache for the month of November in favour of a good cause. Proceeds go toward men's health projects, so you'll be looking stylish while helping some brothers out.
Bust a move Beatbox Championships
The country's finest vocal percussionists will throw down in Toronto the first weekend of November. Lee's Palace will host the event and a world class judging panel will be on the scene to determine the best beatboxer in the nation. Tickets are already on sale.
Play bubble soccer
Can't get enough of out of the ordinary activities? Axe throwing, escape rooms, and archery tag have all had their time in the limelight, but now it's time for something new. An indoor bubble soccer facility is opening it's doors on October 10th, giving you a whole new hobby to explore in the next few months.
Drink at a cozy bar
Sometimes you don't need a giant dance floor and strobe lights, just a homey tavern where you can sip a cocktail in peace. Instead of heading to the overcrowded like of Nest, opt for a hole in the wall like Ronnie's or The Gaslight and stay warm with a bourbon-based libation.
Be like Drake and go for a late night drive
If you can't afford to take time off, or just need to clear your head - opt for a late night drive on these scenic routes. Fall is the optimal time to explore the GTA in your car. Why? you won't have to blast the AC or battle the weekend crowds headed out to cottage country.
Relax on a staycation
Get away without ever leaving the 6. Check into a hotel or rent a cozy-cabin-inspired AirBnB listing like this one located in the Annex. Make reservations at a restaurant you've been itching to try, see a show or perhaps go exploring and do something inexplicably touristy.
Embrace the cool weather on a heated patio
Patio season may seem like a thing of the past now that the temperature has begun to take a dive, but that's certainly not the case in our fair city. Some of Toronto's top patios are covered and heated, so you can enjoy them even when it's pouring rain and 13 degrees. Some of the best include Cold Tea, Valdez, and Pilot.
What did we miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Writing by Amy Grief, Alice Prendergast, and Derek Flack.
Lead photo by Hamish Grant
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