What to see & do in Toronto this May 2021

Ah! May! It’s the month full of blooms. While the magnolias and cherry blossoms have opened earlier than usual and the lilacs are just coming in we can safely say that we are now clear of any more snow. The sun is shining and our hearts are full as we look forward to more time spent outdoors. It’s the month of celebrating moms and so much more. Here are a few happenings this month (even if they are still virtual) in our city…

Youth Week in Toronto: May 1 to 7. Showcasing the abilities and talents of our youth across our diverse city, this is a celebration of arts, sports, civic engagement and more. From poetry workshops to dance lessons to learning how to build your personal brand with a certified career specialist and finding employment now in the virtual job fair. Full schedule on their website.

TIFF Asian Heritage Month Programming: throughout the month of May, TIFF shines the spotlight on Asian cinema. Asian Unbound focuses on youthful narratives that transcends borders, generations, memories and identities. Films and  events are happening all month (virtually). Some highlights include “In Conversation With… Sandra Oh”, a special screening of Mogul Mowgli and much more.  Images Matter:Anti-Asian Racism and Hollywood is a FREE talk that will be available on TIFF’s social media platforms.


Toronto Storytelling Festival: May 1 to 16. With more than 80 storytellers from around the world, this festival aims to inspire, motivate and connect people from all backgrounds. Now in its 40th year, the festival offers everything from traditional storytelling, true personal stories, historical tales, legends and more. The stories are about connecting us all between land and sea.This year features guests like Chirine El Ansary (Egypt) who will transport listeners to the desert, David Francis (Scotland) who will weave song and story with the artistry of  Celtic ornament, and Stina Fagertun (Norway) who will carry Even, Coastal Sámi, and Norwegian storytelling traditions and others.

Seung Ah Kim’s performance, “Bari, the Abandoned Princess, and Her Journey through Landscapes”. Photo credit: Toronto Storytelling Festival

The Stay at Home Show: Tickets on sale May 4 to 15.  Mirvish Productions announces a new blockbuster show. The Stay At Home Show is an immersive new theatrical experience where the spectator is the star and where the goal is a healthier world for all — ideal for everyone in one household. Best thing is one ticket price ($10)  allows you multiple viewings. But if you’re looking for an premium experience there are $100 tickets if you want to go all in without going out. You have the flexibility to do what you want, as long as you stay home and do nothing. All proceeds support The AFC, a national charity with a mission to help Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. Okay, these real tickets may just be the perfect souvenir for theatre lovers of our times. Find our more at afhelps.ca or Mirvish.com

Mother’s Day Magic Show with James Allen Illusionarium: May 7, 8 and 9. While we wait patiently for this exhibition to open we can bring the magic home with this mind-boggling magic show streaming free during Mother’s Day Weekend. The pre-recorded show can be viewed any time you like over the available dates. Hosted by amazing magicians this event will offer 20 minutes of exclusive tricks and illusions. Get ready to be entertained and amazed!

ReelAbilities Film Festival: May 18 to 30. The 6th Annual festival showcases Canadian and international films including documentaries and shorts about deaf and disability cultures including filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or are Deaf. This year’s online presentations include 15 films — Give Me Liberty directed by Kyrill Mikhanovsky (Opening Film) is a dramatic comedy about a perpetually late medical transport driver steering a bus that’s effectively a microcosm of American society. The Festival offers unique points of view and  perspectives from around the world.  Also offered are workshops, filmmaker Q&As, and events.

Canadian Music Week Festival: May 18 to May 21. Now in its 38th year, the Festival is an annual showcasing event in Canada. Over the years, Canadian Music Week has featured some of the top headliners in the business alongside thousands of rising new artists. Check out the line up of this year’s artists here.

Interior Design Show: May 13 to May 16. Resilience is the theme of the Spring IDS (virtual) show with a number of keynote presentations, speakers, and more. Learn about the latest trends, current design climate, and what’s the future of design all led by though-leaders with a local and global perspective. One keynote on our radar is Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, a design anthropologist, public intellectual, and design advocate who works at the intersections of critical theory, culture, and design. As Dean of Design at @OCADUniversity, she is the first Black female Dean of a Faculty of design. She leads the Cultures-Based Innovation Initiative focused on using old ways of knowing to drive innovation processes that directly benefit communities. Her presentation,The Future of Design is Decolonized!, is scheduled for May 10.

Sing! Toronto Vocal Arts Festival: May 27 to June 6. Canada’s premier a cappella festival is held every year in May, SING! presents 10 days of outstanding concerts featuring the human voice bringing together thousands of professional singers (Canadian and international), students, teachers, divas and in-the-shower belters.

Dwayne Gretzky 99 Songs Telethon: May 23 Live and free to stream beginning at 4 pm EST.  As a follow up to Dwayne Gretzky NYE, a virtual event that drew 150,000 viewers and raising over $43,000 for charity, the band will be broadcasting live and free on YouTube and going non-stop until all 99 full songs are delivered. Expect special themed sets, special guests and lots more. Tune in anytime to listen in on the nostalgic classic pop and rock grooves performed by Toronto musicians.

Janna Watson ‘Fruit of the Loom’ exhibition at Bau-Xi Gallery: May 15 to 29. New works by this contemporary abstract artist challenges the value of craft in her new exhibition.  The pieces combine her previously separated work in painting and rug practices exploring the interactions of art and design through the her feminist and Neo-Bauhaus point of view. Details on how to view her work and other artists (Isabelle Menin, Steven Nederveen) currently showing can be found on Bau-Xi Gallery’s site.

Freehand School of Art NEW Saturday Art Workshop for Kids: New single workshops available for budding young artists. In these 75 minute sessions, participants are taken step-by-step through a drawing project starting with Jungle Cats!, using materials found at home. The class is live via Zoom and taught by qualified Toronto-based art instructors. Ideal for children ages 6 to 9.

Food for Thought: A new campaign launched by SkipTheDishes and Mealshare aims to provide meals to Canadian youth while raising awareness through teacher, parent, and child-friendly resources now easily accessible online. One in five children in Canada are food insecure and with World Hunger Day coming up on May 28, the campaign is meant to inspire conversation with young children. Also,  one of the activities is to create and share. With every share, five meals will be donated to hungry kids locally.

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto x Aburi Hana honours Asian Heritage Month: May 28 to May 30. In support and celebration of Asian Heritage Month, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and Yorkville’s Aburi Hana have joined culinary forces to create an exclusive Afternoon Tea tower. Bringing together Aburi Hana’s Kyō-Kaiseki Japanese style of fine dining and the modern French fare of Four Season’s Cafe Boulud creating a stunning array of sweet treats and savoury bites in this very special offering. Order in advance and available for pick up at the hotel.  For more information email toronto@fourseasons.com or call 416-964-0411



About Sonya Davidson 928 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.