It’s 👏🏻 the 👏🏻 weekend!
Excited yet? Or nah?
Now that weekends aren’t substantially different from the other days of the week, those three words just don’t have much resonance.
Hey, you might have more leisure time! To spend indoors! Where you’ve already spent the previous five days!
But I’m selfishly wanting to get back out and enjoy the city in a way that doesn’t involve strapping on skates and waiting for my pre-booked 45-minute window to carve misshapen O’s on a half-melted rink. Is that too much to ask?
Yes, Toronto is still in lockdown so there’s not much happening. Even drive-in movies and large-scale art projections are shelved for now. And just this week, the city extended the cancellation of all major outdoor events until July 1.
Some events, such as Doors Open and Canada Day fireworks, will be scrapped altogether, while most will continue to have virtual editions. This includes, among others, the Toronto Marathon, the Juno Awards, Ride for Heart, NXNE, Luminato, the Pride Parade, the Indigenous Arts Festival, the TD Toronto Jazz Festival and the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival.
I’ll leave it for another installment to figure out exactly what a virtual dragon boat race looks like, but suffice for now to say: if you’re planning to head outside on what looks to be a balmy weekend, you need to get creative. (Got some better ideas? I’d love to hear them!)
Five non-virtual things to do this weekend that don’t involve slush-skating
Marketing: Malls are closed, but food markets are open. This includes the farmer’s market at BrickWorks, both buildings of the St. Lawrence Market (expect a lineup getting in), the storefronts of Kensington, and the container village of Stackt.
Bonus: At Stackt, you can book at game at the city’s only outdoor crokicurl rink, whatever that is!
Dining In. With the popular Winterlicious off the menu this year, some 75 Toronto restaurants are offering affordable prix-fixe takeout under the LocalLicious banner, with $1 from every order going to charity. The event continues to March 7. See participating restaurants, from Afrobeat Kitchen to Zicatela Cocina del Mar, right here.
Dining out: Feeling brave? (I’m not.) Just to the north of Toronto, York Region is currently in the red zone of reopening, which means limited indoor dining is permitted.
Pro tip: Restaurants and bars are allowed a maximum of 10 seated diners, no matter the size of the venue. So pick a big place, book an off-peak time, and spread out.
Golfing: This weekend’s warmer temperatures make sledding, skating and ski resorts less enticing. But disc golf can be played in any weather, at any of the city’s six public courses. The family-friendly game is typically played with a variety of specialized, weighted frisbees, but any disc will do in a pinch.
Travel: Staying in any hotel right now and just ordering up room service would feel exotic, and maybe a bit dangerous, but a cheaper escape is possible. GO trains and the UP Express are running close to empty right now, especially on weekends, so pick a destination and get a car nearly to yourself.
Plus one virtual event
Long Winter TV: The organizers of Long Winter normally throw some of the most creative events in town, so this one’s worth flagging even if it’s gone virtual. Saturday’s event, live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook, features live music performances, video art, short films and documentaries, and some sort of arcade. Check it out at torontolongwinter.com and watch the previous webisode here:
I wandered through Toronto’s PATH today, feeling kind of sorry for the once bustling place, so I left behind a small souvenir. It’s hanging behind one of the billboards in this corridor between Commerce Court and TD Centre. If you find it before a custodian does, it’s yours.