Can you believe that it’s October already? Gone are the humid days and hazy nights of summer as we bid a hearty welcome to the changing leaves and crisp air of autumn. There's never a shortage of things to see and do in the city come fall. Toronto comes alive at this time of year with events to satisfy anyone’s appetite (particularly if you’re one for spooky treats and avant-garde art exhibits). Here are my top picks for this month’s events in and around the City of Toronto.
Les Misérables (September 27–October 27)
Les Miserables by Rough Tough, Real Stuff
More than 60 million people the world over have seen Les Misérables since it first opened back in 1985 in London, England. The emotional story about charismatic ex-convict Jean Valjean trying to make good while being relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert has touched millions of people and become one of the greatest stage musicals of all time. Recently reworked and updated, this new production of Les Misérables is set to play for a limited one-month engagement at Toronto’s historic Princess of Wales Theatre. Tickets will go fast if past presentations of the show are anything to judge by — Les Misérables has always attracted huge crowds of devotees and new fans alike, and there are guaranteed to be plenty of those since last year’s Oscar-winning film adaptation premiered. You can purchase tickets for the show’s limited run online or through Ticketmaster.
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (October 5)
Every year, the Nuit Blanche contemporary art festival hosts hundreds of artists from all over the world and takes over the streets of Toronto for one evening only, from sundown to sunrise. This year marks the arrival of renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who's set to recreate his sculpture Forever Bicycles using thousands of full-scale bikes live in front of an audience. This year’s festival consists of over 100 individual art projects scattered throughout the city’s streets and neighbourhoods. Arm yourself with a map of the event before you head down and plan out your route. Things can get pretty hectic, with the huge crowds of art lovers and casual observers flooding the streets, so you’re better off planning ahead. Nuit Blanche is a free event and welcomes people of all ages. Just remember to dress warmly because the majority of the exhibits will be outdoors. For more information, visit www.scotiabanknuitblanche.ca.
Fall Home Show (October 3–October 6)
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Fall Home Show at Exhibition Place! For years, this has been the premiere destination for homeowners seeking ideas and tips on home décor, building, and entertaining. The celebrity guest list at this year’s exhibition is star-studded and sure to attract thousands of people from all over the Province of Ontario. Special guests include Jonathan and Drew Scott, stars of the W Network’s hit show Property Brothers, paint expert and Chalk Paint creator Annie Sloan, design and lifestyle guru Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, and designer Erica Gelman. What kind of home show would it be without the requisite contests, lectures, and live demos? This one is chock-full of insightful guest speakers and wonderful prizes on offer from the hundreds of vendors present at this year’s show. You can purchase tickets for the event online at www.fallhomeshow.com.
Toronto After Dark Film Festival (October 17–October 25)
What better way to celebrate Halloween than to sit in a darkened theatre and have yourself scared silly by ghoulish monsters and crazed serial killers? Well, to put it plainly, there is no better way! The Toronto After Dark film festival is in its eighth year and growing by leaps and bounds. It initially started off as a small indie-type festival featuring only a handful of films, but it’s now become a stand-out event for horror, sci-fi, action, and cult movies. This year, the festival has partnered with Cineplex — and that means better venues, better food, and more show times than ever before. Tickets are currently on sale online for the festival’s Spotlight Screening Series, which showcases four features before the actual festival begins on October 17. Please visit the Toronto After Dark film festival website at www.torontoafterdark.com for event listings, show times, and tickets.
Toronto Zombie Walk (October 26)
The annual Toronto Zombie Walk proudly supports the Heart and Stroke Foundation, with all proceeds going directly to this charity of choice. All participants are asked to register on the official Zombie Walk website (www.torontozombiewalk.ca) before the parade commences. This year’s route begins at 3:00 p.m. at Toronto City Hall and lurches its way up Bay Street towards Grenville, ultimately creeping south on Yonge Street towards its end at Nathan Philips Square. Spectators and participants alike are encouraged to dress up in their finest Halloween-inspired ensembles and meet up at the end of the walk for an evening performance from The Independents as well as other great entertainers and local vendors.
October is usually packed full of great concerts and musical events because it essentially rings in the Fall touring season for many bands and solo entertainers. This year is no different, with acts such as Bon Jovi (October 2), Nine Inch Nails (October 4), homegrown rapper Drake (October 24), and Josh Groban (October 25) all appearing at the Air Canada Centre to sold-out crowds. You can purchase tickets online or by phone through Ticketmaster. Whatever your musical taste or preference, you’re guaranteed to find something that tickles your fancy this month. Actually, you’re rather spoiled for choice if you ask me!
No matter what events you choose to attend, you’re guaranteed to enjoy yourself. Get out there this month and meet new people, experience new things, and gather as much new information as you can. One of the things that makes this city so breathtakingly wonderful is its sense of community! Everyone is encouraged to step out this month and partake of what Toronto has to offer.
Happy Halloween! If you know of any other events taking place in the city this month, please tell me about it in the comments section below.